A Scrabble marathon makes its debut next month.SCRABBLE SCENE by AZMIL ABDUL AZIZ
SCRABBLE enthusiasts can look forward to the Kuala Lumpur Scrabble Marathon 2008, which makes its debut next month. The one-day tournament which offers a RM1,000 cash prize for the champion, is expected to attract the countryâ€™s finest players.
For the first time in Malaysian Scrabble history, 15 games will be played in just one day, a whopping number, considering that a typical Scrabble tournament offers eight to nine games a day. KL Scrabble Marathon is able to squeeze in more games, as the time limit will be set at 20 minutes per player, instead of the usual 25 minutes.
The tournament will be setting a new record with the highest number of competitive Scrabble games in one day â€“ a feat which is set to be recorded in the Malaysian Book of Records. This will be the ultimate challenge of speed and fitness for all players.
As a Scrabble marathon is a new concept, here are some tips for those who plan to compete in this event:
Get enough sleep Thinking of some last-minute cramming the night before the tournament? Forget it. Itâ€™s important to get a good nightâ€™s sleep to ensure that you are fully rested. On the tournament day, youâ€™ll be playing an average of 10-12 hours of Scrabble (depending on you and your opponentâ€™s speed), so a good nightâ€™s sleep is vital.
Donâ€™t skip breakfastThe first game is going to start at 8am, and you plan to skip breakfast to make it to the venue on time. But remember, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it helps to regulate your energy level throughout the day. So start your day right by having a good breakfast.
Bring along your medication Donâ€™t forget your medications â€“ you might just need them.You never know when that nasty headache decides to make a quick visit. Be prepared in any case, and never take chances. The tournament organiser will have paracetamol handy, but letâ€™s hope no one really needs it on the day.
RelaxSome of us find competitive Scrabble stressful. But we should just relax, take it easy, and try to enjoy the moment. All competitors are part of history in the making, so why get stressed out?
Stretch between roundsDuring my days in competitive Scrabble, I noticed that Scrabble champion Kong Chock Heng will do a bit of stretching in between rounds. I guess that that is one of the ways to minimise stress and stay focused for the next game.
Keep it openWith only 20 minutes allocated for each player per game, players are likely to be under pressure towards the end of the game. Why not try to play an open game for this tournament?
A blocked board limits possibilities, increases the chances that youâ€™ll be using more time, and creates an additional headache during the end-game process.
An open board, on the other hand, will keep the game flowing, and chances are youâ€™ll finish the game ahead of time. While we canâ€™t promise to keep the board open, letâ€™s give it a shot, shall we?
Manage your timeDonâ€™t dwell too much on your first few moves. Just go for it, and save time so you can deal with complicated end-game situations later on.
Itâ€™s just a game â€“ have fun!At the end of the day, itâ€™s just a game. Make sure you have fun, and if youâ€™re lucky, you might be RM1,000 richer by the end of the day!
Those wanting more info or keen to take part, pls get in touch with our resident Scrabble sifu rhyen. 
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