土曜日, 6月 26, 2004

Kobe International Scrabble Competiton

      Little did I know when I was placed here that Kobe is the place to be for COMPETITIVE SCRABBLE. Today I went to the 33rd annual 神戸国際スクラブル大会, the Kobe International Scrabble Competion. I happened to see an announcement for this event in the Kansai Time Out, and I thought I'd go check it out. It was held in the Crystal Tower, a glass skyscraper in Kobe's Harborland.
      "In some ways, Kobe is more international even than Tokyo," a Canadian Scrabble enthusiast who teaches in Kyoto told me. "Kobe has had a Scrabble Association for over 30 years."
      I have no experience with competitive Scrabble, but I enjoy a Scrabble game now and then as much as anyone. Wanting a challenge, I registered in the "expert" group. I was out of my league however, and lost both games. My first opponent was an Australian ALT I had met previously at JET events. He and I had radically different interpretations of what one wears to a Scrabble tournament, as I was wearing jeans and he was in a suit. My second opponent wore a shirt from the Scrabble World Championship he went to ten years ago in Malaysia. He threw a lot of words at me I could have sworn were not words, like AAL, OU, DEV, CH, LEY, and WUS, but when I challenged him (to challenge someone you are supposed to yell "Challenge," but what people yelled instead was "Jisho," the Japanese word for dictionary, and someone with an International Scrabble dictionary came running over) they were all there all right. After the game the Canadian woman looked at our board and told me that many of those words would not be allowed in American Scrabble. To play International Scrabble you have to learn them, I guess. Hardcore.
     We had to play with those annoying clocks they use in chess tournaments. Each player had 25 minutes to complete the game, for a total time of 50 minutes. You also had to use your time to keep track of both your own and your opponent's score, and I found it distracting to do so much math during the game.
      After two games, the results were announced and everyone got prizes. Although I played horribly, I got a nice little embroidered bag. Then they took a group photo.
      It was kind of surreal. One nice thing about it was that there were some cute Japanese kids playing in the beginning division, and they actually did quite well, winning a lot of applause when their turns came to get prizes.
      There will be another competition about this time next year, so if any of you are in the area and remotely interested in Scrabble, you should give it a try.


  • At 9:57 午前, Blogger jean-pierre said…

    And what does one wear to observe a Scrabble Match there? More casual than formal?

  • At 2:10 午後, Blogger butterflyblue said…

    Actually, more formal than casual was my impression. Everyone took it pretty seriously, and that showed in their wardrobe. I wasn't taking it too seriously, which showed in mine.



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