After 16 rounds of intense brain-cracking matches, UK-based Scrabble player Mohamed Alieu Kamara, was crowned champion of the Salone Scrabble Open tournament on Saturday March 11th 2017 at the Siaka Stevens Stadium Presidential Lounge in Freetown. He narrowly defeated runner-up Emmanuel King.
Eighteen players challenged for the title in 16 games within the two-day competition. This was the first time the Sierra Leone Scrabble Association organised a successful tournament under strict WESPA rules and also adopted the ‘King of the Hill Format’ with a total of sixteen games played.
Despite second place finish, Emmanuel King gave Kamara a significant challenge during the tournament. The matches were extremely close and very intense. The ace international player used experience to win the competition.
Both Kamara and King registered 11 wins and lost 5 in all 16 matches played. Kamara registered a massive spread of 1,044 as he stunned his closest competitor, King, who recorded a minimal spread of 693.
Following his win, Kamara acknowledged his opponent was the best local based scrabble player. “King is very consistent. I can’t wait to team up with him in the World Championship scheduled for November this year in Kenya”.
“I am delighted to have won the competition. It was a narrowly fought tournament and King was an extraordinary opponent to play. I appreciate the fact that I won, but he gave me a good run for my money,” the champion said.
King expressed frustration after narrowly missing out on the title, which he came very close to win.
“It is somewhat disappointing to see, but Kamara came all the way from England to win against us. I did my best to defend the home-based players”.
“From the opening match, I stayed on table one. That tells how consistent I was in the competition. On the other, Kamara is a very good player who has some amount of luck on his side, and at the same time he has vast knowledge in the game,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Vice President of the Association, Sheik Bangura, finished in third place with 11 wins and 5 losses with a spread of 96. Ibrahim Deen Swarray won 10 and lost 6 with a spread of 74. And in fifth position was Ishmael Sesay who won 9 and lost 7 and made a spread of 869.
By Magdalene S. Konneh
By Bernard Turay
Wednesday March 15, 2017.