This Mumbaikar is a scrabble champ

Mumbai : Everybody knows Scrabble, that old chestnut of a board game, played during vacations or rainy afternoons. For regular players, the game is more about language and vocabularies, but for champions, it’s about memorization and mathematical probabilities, the dictionary is a giant rulebook.
Twenty-six-year-old Sherwin Rodrigues, an Andheri resident, is a six-time National Scrabble Champion (All India Rank no. 1 2008-2011, 2013-2014). He is currently ranked no. 1 in India. He has won various other National level tournaments over the last 10 years.
His Scrabble achievements are formidable. Sherwin has represented India at five World Scrabble Championships (WSC), WSC 2005 in London, WSC 2007 in Mumbai, WSC 2009 in Malaysia, WSC 2011 in Poland and WSC 2013 in Prague. He is the only Indian to do so. His best finish was 9th out of 111 in WSC Prague.
He is only Indian representing the country to finish in the top 10 at a World Championship.
He won 2nd prize at the iGate International Scrabble Championship in 2010 & 2011. Sherwin won the GAIL Scrabble Championship held in Delhi recently, which is a National Level tournament where 44 players had participated.
Sherwin confides that his mother has been a great inspiration and has always motivated him to play the game. “My family has been a big support for me. They realized I had the potential to excel at the game at a very young age and ever since when I was in s­­chool they have been supportive in sending me abroad for international tournaments. They’ve always been encouraging and even let me play tournaments during my 10th standard prelims,” says Sherwin.
Sherwin started playing at the age of 10 in Kids Tournaments in Muscat, Oman. By the age of 12 he started playing with adults and at 13 he became the Oman National Scrabble Champion. He said a love of words propelled him into the game.
“Ideally it would be good to dedicate at least 2 hours to the game daily but that is extremely difficult to balance with work. I try to put in half an hour a day for word study and occasionally play online at the Internet Scrabble Club (ISC),” quips Sherwin.
In the Delhi tournament held recently Sherwin made a 12 letter Scrabble word– the word VOCAB was on the board and he extended it to VOCABULARIED for a bingo score. (Bingo is when one use all 7 of letters given – one get a bonus of 50 points). Though it is not a record, it is rare achievement.
“Scrabble involves a lot of strategic planning. The game is more than just words and vocabulary. While vocabulary is extremely important, the other factors such as Mathematical thinking (quick counting), probability, analytical thinking, risk assessment and end game strategy are required to perform well at the tournament level,” says Sherwin.


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