Saidu Ayorinde is 2016 African Scrabble Champion

Location: Kesdem Hotel, Tema, Ghana, West of Africa. Date: 18th of December 2016. Event: 12th Africa Scrabble Championship.

It was the last day of the thirty-two round 4 day tournament and the new king of Scrabble in Africa was about to be crowned. Nigeria had taken a formidable team of 21 players to the tourney including 4 previous winners of the tourney viz Ikekeregor Dennis (2004,2006), Jighere Wellington (2008,2010), Rex Ogbakpa (2012) and the defending champion Nsikan Etim (2014). Team Nigeria’s performance was looking good going into the last rounds with at least eight out of the top ten places occupied by Nigerians with two Kenyans (Njoroge Stanley and Nderitu Gitonga) giving Team Nigeria a run for her money.

ASC2016 trophies

ASC 2016 Trophies

5th seed Ayorinde Saidu had displayed his intention of being a serious contender for the African title by establishing a foothold among the top 5 midway into the tourney. By round 20 he had usurped compatriot Oshevire Avwenagha from the top spot. From that round onwards he parried all attempts to displace him from the summit, the strongest and most consistent threat coming from 6th seed Nderitu Gitonga. Gitonga eventually caught up on points with Saidu after winning round 29. They had equal wins (20 wins each), Saidu however had superior cummulative margin and they they were to face each other again in round 30. It was evident that whoever won the next round will have the edge going into the final two. Round 30 proved to be dramatic! Leading Saidu 380 – 317 with no tiles left in the bag, Nderitu chose to play GUTCHES* an unacceptable word which was challenged off instead of blocking the only spot where Saidu could play a bingo (i.e use all his 7 tiles). That was all Saidu needed to play RAILERS a bingo and win 423 – 380 to regain the 1 point lead. You can play back that game. After dispatching former Africa Champion Rex Ogbakpa 575 – 479 in the penultimate round (round 31), Saidu had established an unassailable lead of 2 points (23 wins, 9 losses) over the nearest competitor becoming the 12th African Scrabble Champion and the 11th Nigerian to win the title.

Nigeria’s Eta Karo (10) beat 4th seed Ogbakpa Rex in the last round to finish as the first runner-up (2nd) while 13th seed Umebiye Cyril dispatched Nderitu Gitonga 489 – 393 to finish in 3rd place. Nigeria was also adjudged the best team with a mean post-tourney rank of 17.7 followed by Kenya and Ghana in that order.

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Play back recorded (annotated) games

Round 32 Board 2 Karo, Eta (NGA) vs. Ogbakpa, Rex (NGA)
KOH Round 31 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs Ogbakpa, Rex (NGA)
KOH Round 30 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs Nderitu, Gitonga (KEN)
KOH Round 29 Board 1 Nderitu, Gitonga (KEN) vs. Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA)
KOH Round 28 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Ogbakpa, Rex (NGA)
KOH Round 27 Board 1 Nderitu, Gitonga (KEN) vs. Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA)
Round 26 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Etim, Nsikak (NGA)
Round 24 Board 1 Mutahi, Martins (KEN) vs. Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA)
Round 23 Board 1 Ogbakpa, Rex (NGA) vs. Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA)
Round 22 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Oyende, Allan (KEN)
Round 21 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Jighere, Wellington (NGA)
Round 20 Board 1 Jighere, Wellington (NGA) vs. Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA)
Round 19 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Omosefe, Prince (NGA)
Round 18 Board 1 Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA) vs. Nderitu, Gitonga (KEN)
Round 17 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Saidu, Ayorinde (NGA)
Round 16 Board 1 Edwin-Mugisha, Phillip (UGA) vs. Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA)
Round 15 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Idahosa Bright (NGR)
Round 6 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Etim, Nsikak (NGA)
Round 10 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Nwangi Willy (KEN)
Round 9 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Tachie-Menson, Charles (GHA)
Round 7 Board 1 Avwenagha, Oshevire (NGA) vs. Tachie-Menson, Charles (GHA)

 

Categories: Africa Scrabble.