James Ewruje has confirmed his new status as the champion of the newly rebranded Lekki Scrabble Classics in Lagos
The Master player claimed the overall title and emerged the best among the 100 players who competed in more than 12 games at the one-day tournament held on Sunday.
Ewruje shrugged off the challenges of tournament top favourite Tega Okiemute of Delta State in the last round to cement his pole-position on the log with 11 wins, one defeat.
He also recorded a spread of 599 cumulative points in his path to victory.
The defeat would be costly as Okiemute tumbled to the fourth position at the end after being highly rated to win the championship.
Ogun State-based Gbadebo Olufemi rallied to second position with 10 wins and two defeats plus 466 cumulative points after a win over a highly impressive Monday Christopher on Table 2 in round 12.
Coming on his heels was Khaleel Adedeji who recorded the same number of wins and defeats but dropped to third position with an inferior cumulative points of 370.
The impressive Dynamite Warriors’ engine room also revved up to snatch the intermediate category title.
Other players in the top 20 included former African champion Jimoh Saheed, John Aiyedun and Opeyemi Oloro who recieved various cash prizes for their efforts.
In other spot prizes, Bukunmi Afolayan picked the Best Female title while Philip Akhabue was rewarded with a complete scrabble kit as the youngest player.
David Ogedengbe got a surprise cash gift from the organisers for putting on a green and white shirt in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Day Anniversary.
Speaking at the tournament, held in an atmosphere of conviviality, a trademark of the club’s events, Captain of Lekki Scrabble Club Ebikeme Adowei, expressed happiness at the event.
He said the Lekki Scrabble Classics was able to achieve reasonable success due to the quality of minds who shared the same vision with one another at the club.
“We are all commonly bonded in our passion for scrabble and so we decided to have this periodic event, which is a bi-annual event.
“This we intend to organise so that we can gather the creme-de-la creme of scrabble in Nigeria to compete, have fun and win prizes.
“I’m glad we have this level of competition to offer scrabble players and we hope to sustain this,” he said.
Adowei expressed optimism that corporate organisations would key into this initiative to grow the game of scrabble not only in football, basketball but mental sports like scrabble and chess.
South-West Zonal Coordinator of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) Emmanuel Egbele also a member of the club said the tournament had met his expectations.
He said that considering the huge number of players, the ambience, the high level of competition and friendly feeling amongst the players was a perfect one.
He said the Classics impacted on the players’ mind skills as they prepared for the National Sports Festival and the Africa Scrabble Championship (ASC),
Lagos State Scrabble.
According to him, the Monopoly Association Chairman, Mr Dipo Akanbi, said the Lekki Scrabble Classics had become a kind of Mecca for players in the country.
Egbele said the open nature of the event was critical in solidifying the sports as newbies would tend to play the more established players in all categories.
In the same vein, NSF Players Representative, Segun Durojaiye, said the tournament’s role in the development of players could not be over emphasised.
He observed that the open status of the tournament had been a training ground for the younger ones as well as those out of the circuit for sometime, to get back in the game.
He said that this included students who had been at home due to the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He added that high number of entries in Lagos and the plenty players who registered for the Abuja National Opens held simultaneously, signified that the growth of the sports was not abating.
Both tournaments, according to Durojaiye, served as testing grounds for some of the players who would be in Lagos for Finale Match Day of the Mind games Scrabble Premier League and the Patrons Cup.