Toronto students take part in Scrabble tournament

A hush was in the room, an intensity in the air.  About one hundred students competing to be Scrabble Champion is serious stuff.

Partners Sammy Weiss and Russell Browman represented Grade 6 students from Bowmore Public School. Both said they would put down video games for Scrabble any day.

“One time I saw a really good game of scrabble and I thought I want to be able to do that,” said Russell.

They conferred quickly and in hushed tones.

They came armed with the knowledge that the answer to triumph isn’t necessarily in the big words, but the little ones, and the tricky ones.

“For instance q-i or chi, you might think would be spelled c-h-i but its actually q-i,” said Sammy.

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Sammy and Russell forged a fast friendship finding victory after victory, but insist it is all about the challenge.

“If you like words or if you like getting really happy and having fun with your friends then this is probably the game for you,” said Russell.


A few tables away, Grade 7 student Dalia Amer whispered in her partner’s ear that it is okay, they are winning “by so much.”

She said that their secret  to winning isn’t just in finding the right letters, but in strategy.

“Where you can put your words?  What’s the better place? How you can arrange them? Should I put them on the double word or triple letter?” she said.

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Words running the gamut from zits, to lice, to deaf, to qis criss-cross the boards. The kids at the Toronto district School Board tournament love putting their brains to the test.

Hours and many rounds after the tournament started, Sammy and Russell have spelled out winners (figuratively speaking) over and over.  But it wasn’t quite enough.  A total points tally from the whole day meant they fell just shy of first place.

But they were happy to take second.

“It makes you just feel good about yourself if you make a good play,” said Russell.

They didn’t get to take home a trophy, but they do go on to the city championships, with some grown-up wisdom to help them along.

“Listen to your partner don’t think its all you because your partner can really help you,” said Sammy.

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