Blogging from Nürnberg, where my housemates and I are waiting for our train to Munich. We’ve had a great time so far.
I’ve always been rather supportive of this event; because of my participation in the first two iterations of the tournament, and also because I feel it is generally a good experience to young players. I was intending to help out a little this year (officiate, maybe), but was bogged down with a report to complete over the weekend. Still, I visited and watched a few games. I had a great time watching the ongoing competition, and meeting old friends whom I first met in Manila. The field was decent this year – many of the players this year have great potential to do well, and some already have. I also got to take some pictures while walking around briefly – enjoy.
Tables 2-7, day 2
Eden Choo (SG), hat included
An All-Malaysian showdown between William Kang (MYS) and Cheong Yi Wei (MYS)
Poh Ying Ming (SIN) versus Cheong Yi Hua (MYS)
Navya Zaveri (UAE), 3rd runner-up. He seems like a bright young player who plays a lot (online) and will definitely improve over time.
William Kang (MYS), 2nd runner-up and Malaysian National Champion. He was leading by two games on the first day, but (unexpectedly) lost his lead on the second day against a tough run of opponents.
Cheong Yi Wei (MYS), runner-up. One of the most composed youths I’ve seen in the game, and great performance.
Champion Michael McKenna (AUS). Michael’s really grown up with the competition and it’s nice that he’s left it with this title. He should be proud of himself.
Though the WYSC has received a fair bit of criticism for the level of play that can go on in the competition, I do think that it has contributed in no small way to the Scrabble scene as it is today. There are players who have shown marked improvement over the course of their participation, as well as others who have improved vastly after their stint in the competition. There are players who stay in competitions after the WYSC, and some of them perform very well. I wouldn’t use players’ standards at the WYSC or between WYSC as a gauge of how successful the event has been, because some players become much stronger after the WYSCs (most notably Thacha; I might put Alastair, Oliver Garner & Goutham into this category too).
I do think, however, that reintroducing the finals would do some good for the event – it is a good chance for young players to learn from each other. I do think I learnt quite a bit from watching the 2006 finals. Moreover, this is also good publicity for the game.
Travel pictures next, I think!