30 May - 1 June 2013 Duba i, United Arab Emirates

Official Brochure & Player’s Handbook

Welcome to Dubai for the 23rd Annual Gulf Scrabble Championships! With the 2013 tournament, we complete a hat-trick of events in Dubai and we look forward to hosting many more. The longevity of the Gulf Scrabble Championships has been nothing short of remarkable. The first event in 1991 predated the inaugural World Scrabble Championship (WSC) by a few months, making it one of the oldest international Scrabble tournaments. Our youngest competitor this year, at 12 years old, is almost half the age of the 23 year old GSC! Last year saw a first time champion: Ronald Credo, a former Philippines National Champion, who succeeded in his fourth attempt at the Gulf crown. Ronald crushed the opposition, finishing with a three game lead which saw him Gibsonized before the final few rounds. In 2013, the WSC has given way to the brand new Scrabble Champions Tournament organized by Mattel in Prague, and the top finishers from each country at the GSC will qualify for a spot in the elite division at the premier event. Thanks to Mohammad Sulaiman’s top 25 finish at the 2011 WSC in Warsaw, the UAE has been rewarded with 2 spots for Prague, which will be keenly contested by Ronald, Sulaiman and a host of UAE aces. Youth Scrabble in the UAE has had an eventful last 12 months. At the 2012 World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) in Birmingham, 14 year old Navya Zaveri created history by finishing 4th over all and was crowned the under-16 world champion. 12 year old Sanchit Kapoor finished 18th and was the youngest player in the top 25. This stellar performance by our youngsters has come at the perfect time as Dubai has been named the WYSC host for 2013! This will be the first world Scrabble tournament held in the GCC and should be a great fillip for the game in the region. The WYSC will take place at the Etisalat Academy from December 12-14 and will also feature a top class side tournament for the adults en route from Prague. So mark your calendars! This year, for the first time, the GSC will be played over 3 days and 20 rounds, a natural evolution given the level of competition. It should make for another gripping GSC, good luck to all the players! - Nikhil Soneja

1st Place 4500 AED 500 AED Jashanmal Books voucher Roy Kietzman Cup (Rolling Trophy) 3000 AED 500 AED Jashanmal Books voucher 2000 AED 500 AED Jashanmal Books voucher 1000 AED 300 AED Jashanmal Books voucher 500 AED 300 AED Jashanmal Books voucher 500 AED voucher from Jashanmal Books 300 AED voucher from Jashanmal Books 300 AED voucher from Jashanmal Books

2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place 5th Place Most Bingos Highest Game Score Highest Word Score

In addition to the above, the top 3 places and winners for Most Bingos and Highest Game Score will receive custom Crystal Arc trophies. There will be surprise spot prizes throughout the tourney for specific in-game achievements as well as for the best scoring J, Q, X and Z words overall!


THURSDAY, May 30th 1330 1400 - 2000 2000 - 2100 FRIDAY, May 31st 0800 - 1230 1230 - 1400 1400 - 2000 SATURDAY, June 1st 0800 - 1230 1230 - 1300 1300 - 1400

Registration Games 1-6 Scrabble masters dinner

Games 7-10 Lunch and prayer break Games 11-16

Games 17-20 Prize ceremony Lunch

Pairings for Games 1-15 : Lagged Australian Draw Pairings for Games 16-20 : King Of The Hill Challenge rule : 5pts penalty per word


2012 Gulf Champion Ronald Credo (r) of the UAE receiving the Roy Kietzman Cup from 2011 winner Mohammad Sulaiman (c) and Jishnu Warrier of Etisalat Academy (l)

Group photo of all the participants at the 2012 Gulf Championships


The two youngest players at the tourney, 12 year old Sanchit and 14 year old Surya, had a tense match. Both proudly sported their 2011 WYSC UAE team jerseys during the GSC.

The adjudication team was hard at work throughout the event, ably led by the tourney director Preeti Chhatbar (r), seen here with Anmol Khanna (l) and Sadanand Chhatbar (c). Almost 200 games were scored perfectly by the team and sent to WESPA for rating the next day. photos courtesy Faisal Khatib, Shruti Jagadeesh and Sadanand Chhatbar

Note: The summary is a quick introduction to the most frequently queried rules. It is not meant to replace the formal WESPA Rules document (http:// www.wespa.org/rules/RulesV2nov11.pdf). If any confusion exists, the complete rules document is the only official authority.
BEFORE STARTING: Records of previous games should be taped or clipped together. The non-starting player may choose the position of the timer. ABSENT FROM THE TABLE: If you are absent, the TD may start your clock. If you arrive with less than 15 minutes remaining, you MAY CHOOSE to play, or forfeit that game – meaning your opponent wins, with 75 points spread. If you arrive after your time expires, you MUST forfeit the game. STARTING GAME TIMER: Start your opponent’s timer when they draw the first tile from the bag. THE BAG: When tiles are drawn, the bag must be at eye level - look away from the bag.Your opponent must always be able to see the bag. Show an open hand before entering the bag. COUNTING TILES: You may put your hand into the bag to count the tiles remaining, unless your opponent is having their move and needs the bag. Announce your intention first. Keep the bag at eye level, and look away. Show an open hand both before and after placing your hand in the bag. ORDER OF PLAY: To complete a turn by playing a word, a player must, in this order: (a) place the tiles on the board (b) announce the score for the turn (c) press the timer (d) record the score for the turn and the cumulative score in the normal space on their score sheet (e) draw replacement tiles; (f) tile track (if desired) WHEN BAG IS EMPTY: It is not compulsory to record move scores or cumulative scores (until game finishes). TILE TRACKING OUT OF ORDER: If your opponent tile-tracks before drawing replacement tiles, you may ask the TD to allocate you additional time. END OF TURN: You may change a move, as long as the timer has not been pressed. After you press the timer, you cannot change the move - including the number of tiles to be exchanged, or the designation of the blank. Your turn finishes when you press the timer. If you forget to press the timer, and place your hand in the bag to get new tiles, your move is also over.
Source: WESPA (http://www.wespa.org/rules/rulessummary.shtml)

ACCEPTING A TURN: The opponent accepts the turn if he or she neither calls ‘hold’ nor issues a challenge before the player removes a replacement tile from the bag. Writing by the opponent does not affect acceptance of a turn. DRAWING REPLACEMENT TILES: If the opponent has neither called ‘hold’ nor issued a challenge, the player may draw replacement tiles. The opponent’s right to call ‘hold’ or issue a challenge survives only until the player has removed the first replacement tile from the bag. Tiles may not be drawn until the player has recorded the score. FLASH-DRAWING is unethical! (where the player fails to record scores before drawing a replacement tile, and the opponent has thus not had the chance to say “hold” or “challenge”) The opponent should call the Tournament Director if they consider the player has drawn replacement tiles too quickly for the opponent reasonably to assess whether to call ‘hold’ or issue a challenge. The TD may then still allow a challenge even after a replacement tile is drawn. HOLD: Once a player has pressed the clock, the opponent must either accept or challenge the turn, or say ‘hold’ (leaving the timer running). If you think you may want to challenge your opponent’s play, say “HOLD”, to stop them from drawing tiles. If you then decide to challenge, you now stop the timer. If you have your opponent on “hold” for over a minute, they may draw and view replacement tiles - but these remain face down on the table until you have accepted the move, or a challenge has been resolved. If you decide not to challenge, say “Accept” or “Okay”. CHALLENGE: Wait until your opponent presses the timer before challenging. Once you stop your opponent’s timer, you cannot withdraw a challenge. If your opponent starts to take new tiles without pressing the timer, you may then challenge, if you want. You should clearly say the word “Challenge”. Stop the timer, and say which words are being challenged. Hide tiles on racks. Both players walk to the challenge computer. The challenger types in all words to be challenged.The player checks words are correctly typed, then hits the TAB key (if using Zyzzyva). Words to be challenged MAY be written on a sheet of paper before leaving the table, if required. After a challenge, the timer may not be restarted until both players are seated, incorrectly-played tiles returned to racks OR the x`move score re-announced.
Source: WESPA (http://www.wespa.org/rules/rulessummary.shtml)

CHANGING: Before exchanging tiles, check there are at least seven tiles in the bag. Announce “Change”, plus the number of tiles to be changed. Place these tiles on the table, then start your opponent’s timer. Draw replacement tiles, and place on your rack. Then return discarded tiles to bag. BLANKS: State which letter the blank represents, and write it down, preferably on the result slip. Do not pronounce the whole word. OVERDRAWN TILES: Declare the overdraw, and neutralise the timer. If no new tile has touched your rack, place the new tiles face down on the table, and your opponent selects excess tiles plus two (up to the maximum number drawn), turns them face up and chooses the excess tile/s to return to the bag. If any new tile has touched your rack, all tiles on the rack plus all new tiles are placed face down on the table. Your opponent selects excess tiles plus two, turns them face up and chooses excess tiles to return to the bag. UNDERDRAWS: Call the TD if this happens at the end of the game, such that one player does not have enough tiles. DRAWING OUT OF ORDER: No penalty applies, but it could be considered unethical if deliberate. (This usually happens because a player has tile-tracked out of order, ie broken the rules!) TIMERS: The timer may only be stopped during the game, when: (a) a player says “Challenge” (b) either player wishes to resolve a score discrepancy (c) enforcing the overdraw rule (d) calling the TD to resolve a problem IN YOUR TURN ONLY: These actions may only be done during YOUR turn: rotating the board, adjusting tiles on the board, or verifying the score. (Do not touch the board once you have pressed the timer) ENDING THE GAME: When you play your final move, stop the timer (do not press it so that you opponent’s timer is still running). Your opponent must either accept the move by writing down the score, or challenge the play. If neither of these happens after five seconds, restart your opponent’s timer. SIX ZEROS: The game is also ended when there are six successive scores of zero resulting from passes, exchanges, or challenges. OVERTIME: You have gone overtime if your electronic count-down timer display shows -00:01. Subtract 10 points for each minute or part thereof by which the time limit was exceeded. If you run 10 minutes overtime, your game is forfeited. Call the TD.
Source: WESPA (http://www.wespa.org/rules/rulessummary.shtml)

SCORES: Both players must record the score for each turn and the cumulative (total) score. Check cumulative scores every three or four moves, NOT EVERY MOVE (this disrupts opponent’s play). SCORING ERRORS: (for one move, or the cumulative score) may be corrected at any time prior to signing the final result sheet, if both players agree. Check the final scores before signing the results sheet. After signing, no changes can be made without permission of the TD. RECOUNTS: (rescoring each individual move) If the final margin is 20 points or less, either player may request a recount at the end of the game, before the result slip is signed. The entire game must be recounted. Timers remain off. LEAVING THE ROOM: If you need to leave the room during a game, call the Tournament Director first - unless it is an emergency. If it is an emergency (and you do not have time to call the TD first) your opponent must immediately tell the TD that you have left the room.

#1 RULE – If you are unsure of ANYTHING, stop the timer, and CALL THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR IMMEDIATELY!

Source: WESPA (http://www.wespa.org/rules/rulessummary.shtml)

23rd Annual Gulf Scrabble Championships - PROGRESS SHEET
Rank : _______

Player’s Name : __________________

This Game Total Total Total This Game This Game


Spread Notes



Score 1 Score 2






















Anthony Gomes WESPA Rating: 1236 World Rank: 546

Armaan Arafat WESPA Rating: World Rank: -

Arvind Abraham WESPA Rating: 1710* World Rank: -

Cecil Fernandes WESPA Rating: 1443 World Rank: 421

Jonasil Kotico WESPA Rating: 797* World Rank: -

K.Sudarshan Surya WESPA Rating: 725* World Rank: -

K.V.Chidambaram WESPA Rating: 1276 World Rank: 531

Madhu Soneja WESPA Rating: 1143 World Rank: 605

Mahboob Khan WESPA Rating: 1205 World Rank: 564
Generated by CamScanner

* indicates provisional/inactive rating


Marie Fernandes WESPA Rating: 1423 World Rank: 436

Mohd. Irfan Siddiqui WESPA Rating: 1674 World Rank: 283

Mohammad Sulaiman WESPA Rating: 1689 World Rank: 274

Navya Zaveri WESPA Rating: 855 World Rank: 733

Nikhil Soneja WESPA Rating: 1507 World Rank: 390

P.M.Firdhouse WESPA Rating: 585 World Rank: 785

Pranav Rao WESPA Rating: 613* World Rank: -

Ralph Lobo WESPA Rating: 1767 World Rank: 218

Rekha Balaji WESPA Rating: 1234* World Rank: -

* indicates provisional/inactive rating


Rohaina Tanveer WESPA Rating: 1381 World Rank: 469

Ronald Credo WESPA Rating: 1864 World Rank: 139

Ryan Benemerito WESPA Rating: World Rank: -

Sanath Hemachandra WESPA Rating: 1541 World Rank: 367

Sanjeev Sreejayan WESPA Rating: 1257* World Rank: -

Selwyn Lobo WESPA Rating: 1747 World Rank: 236

Shakir Reshamwala WESPA Rating: 1437 World Rank: 427

Sonny Hemachandra WESPA Rating: 1296 World Rank: 514

Thilina Elvitigala WESPA Rating: 1223* World Rank: -

* indicates provisional/inactive rating


Uzma Saeed WESPA Rating: 985 World Rank: 693

Wone Mamadou WESPA Rating: 1617 World Rank: 313

Note: WESPA Ratings and World Ranks are taken from the WESPA website. Players have a provisional rating if they have not yet played 50 rated games and an inactive one if they have not played in the last two years, and will not have a world rank as a result. The WESPA Ratings system was overhauled last year so some might also find a significant change from previous ratings. The highest ranking player at the tournament is the current Gulf Champion Ronald Credo with a rating of 1864 placing him at 139th position, with the next best Ralph Lobo on 1767/218th, Selwyn Lobo on 1747/236th, Mohammad Sulaiman on 1689/274th and Mohammed Irfan Siddiqui on 1674/283rd. For further detail please check the WESPA ratings site at : http://www.wespa.org/ratings/index.shtml (As of 27th May 2013)



Sangeetha Hemachandra

Anmol Khanna


July 2012 Scrabble makes it to the front pages of UAE newspapers as Ronald Credo is crowned the Gulf Champion

December 2012 UAE prodigies Sanchit, Shiksha and Navya gear up for WorldYouth Scrabble Championship in Birmingham

RAPBOOK 2012-2013

December 2012 Navya creates history by finishing 4th at WYSC; Sanchit comes in 18th; Dubai confirmed as 2013 WYSC host in Birmingham May 2013 Mattel organizes Dubai Scrabble Championship at Festival City Mall with over 400 participants; Scrabble classes conducted in schools across Emirate to prepare students for event

GSC 2012 TOP 25
PLAYER 1. Ronald Credo 2. Mohammad Sulaiman 3. Ralph Lobo 4. Wone Mamadou 5. Selwyn Lobo 6. Rohaina Tanveer 7. Ricardo Gonzalez 8. Nikhil Soneja 9. K.V. Chidambaram 10. Sanath Hemachandra 11. Sanchit Kapoor 12. Anthony Gomes 13.Vineet Gangal 14. Madhu Soneja 15. Sonny Hemachandra 16. Uzma Saeed 17. Pandian Srinivasan 18. Nilusha Hemachandra 19. Batul Kaizar 20. K. Sudarshan Surya 21. P.M. Firdhouse 22. Hetal Sameer 23. Kartik Adinarayanan 24. Nadeesha Hemachandra 25. Jonasil Kotico WINS 14 11 10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 8 8 7 7 7 7 7 7 6 6 5 SPREAD +1119 +672 +827 +510 +364 +202 +314 +182 +147 -253 +223 +66 +33 -50 -129 -421 +160 -94 -388 -417 -784 -941 -354 -393 -579

h May - 1st June 2013 PARTNERS s i, United Arab Emirate
Main Sponsors

ordsmiths face off in the ONLY world-ranked tournament in the Middle East! Brought to you by:
to 8 pm to 8 pm to 1 pm
Venue Sponsor

by mony

Is your child a wizard with words? Media Partner
Register your interest in our youth program for ages 9-18 at the event!

details, visit: www.gulfscrabble.com

Support Sponsors

1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Norbert Saldanha (UAE) Naween Fernando (Bahrain) Roland Filio (Bahrain) Naween Fernando (Bahrain) Naween Fernando (Bahrain) Akshay Bhandarkar (Bahrain) Naween Fernando (Bahrain) Dean Saldanha (UAE) Akshay Bhandarkar (Bahrain) Roland Filio (Bahrain) Cecil Fernandes (Oman) Chris Abordo (Bahrain) Ricardo Gonzalez (Saudi Arabia) Selwyn Lobo (UAE) Ralph Lobo (Oman) Ralph Lobo (Oman) Akshay Bhandarkar (UAE) Mohammad Zafar (Bahrain) Akshay Bhandarkar (UAE) Mohammad Sulaiman (UAE) Mohammad Sulaiman (UAE) Ronald Credo (UAE)

Note: Akshay Bhandarkar has uniquely won the tournament representing two countries (Bahrain and UAE, twice each), though Ralph Lobo, who moved to the UAE five years ago, came very close to matching that feat in 2009 and 2010.

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