Jighere Wellington outscored 43 other players representing all the states of the Federation to become the Asaph Zadok National Scrabble Champion held from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th August 2019. The annual event named in honour of the former Grand Patron of the NSF, was held at the VIP Lounge of the Moshood Abiola Stadium, Abuja. The tournament was graced with the presence of the Honorable Minister of Sports, Mr Sunday Dare on the opening day. The minister revealed his delight in meeting the Nigeria Scrabble players and officials. He also expressed his belief that the National Championships “deserves more media coverage and support” on his Twitter handle.
With five games remaining it was evident that this year’s national champion title was between three former African Champions viz Wellington, Moses Peter (defending National Champion) and Dennis Ikekeregor.
The ongoing National Scrabbles Championship deserves more media coverage and support, as do other sports. – Sunday Dare (Hon. Minister of Sports)
Wellington took over the lead from Moses Peter at round 21 by beating him 529-286 on Table 1 but by round 23 it was Dennis who occupied the apex leading with a point after a heavy 487-299 win against Wellington. The final round (24) was going to be the decider. Going into the final round, Wellington (18-5 +1957) paired against Ikekeregor needed only to win by any margin because of his hefty +1957 spread. Ikekeregor (19-4 +1241) needed at least a draw as he had the highest points while Moses (18-5 +1066) playing against Oshevire Avwenagha on table 2 could only aim for the second position.
Wellington showed resilience to beat Ikekeregor 407-374 for the title while defending champion, Moses Peter defeated Oshevire Avwenagha 516-355 to finish in second place. Ikekeregor finished in third while former national champion Olatunde Oduwole and Igali Precious placed fourth and fifth respectively.
GM Wellington who represented Delta State was presented with a trophy, two-hundred thousand naira cash prize and the traditional Green Jacket by the President NSF, Suleiman Gora at the closing ceremony. Delta State also won the Best State Trophy with Bayelsa and Oyo, the first and second runners-up respectively.