Sunderland Scrabble master aims to win big at UK championships
A Wearside Scrabble whiz is heading for a major national competition.
The word is that Colin Northmore is in with a chance in the Masters tournament held by the Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP). He will be on the tiles over the weekend of July 20 and 21 in Leicester, after getting a written invite to take part.
Colin, 50, from Philadelphia, will face 15 other sesquipedalians (users of big words) at the prestigious event, which is the only invitation-only event on the ABSP calendar. The winner will be crowned as the Masters champion of 2019.
Colin is aware that some tough opposition awaits him in Leicester, but he is undaunted and quietly confident.
He said: “I’m definitely going to give it my best shot. Last year I beat two of the top four, one of whom was a World Championship runner-up. I might make the top three this time.
“You never know. Scrabble does have an element of luck. You might not be doing well, but then if you pick up some decent letters you could score 60 or 70 points. There is strategy too.”
Colin has even been sponsored for the event. Car dealers Vic Young have provided him with a hire vehicle for the weekend.
Seven of Colin’s opponents are Scrabble Grandmasters and four have Expert status. The former accountant is halfway through the five years needed for his own Expert status.
He finished fifth at the 2018 Masters and also contested last year’s World Championships in Torquay, where he faced four former World Champions.
Scrabble players at the top level of the game regularly produce “bingoes”, where a player uses all seven tiles on their rack earning 50 bonus points.
The highest scoring word Colin has played in tournament Scrabble is LATERIZE (a geological term) on a “triple-triple” for 203 points. His highest game score is 645, achieved in last year’s UK Open warm-up.
Also in his extraordinary vocabulary are FEIJOADA (as you know, a Brazilian stew), AEQUORIN (a jellyfish protein), ZEBRULA (offspring of a male zebra and female horse), and PYREXIA (a fever). However, some other words he uses are really quite obscure.