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Three Thai players have qualified for the biggest Scrabble tournament in the world to be held in Kenya later this year.
Qualifying for the World English Scrabble Players Association Championship to be held in Nairobi in November were Akkarapol Kwansak, 31, Thacha Koowirat, 27, and Bangkok Thai resident Gerry Carter from the UK who also represents Thailand in international Scrabble.
All three finished with identical 14 wins and four losses in a qualifying tournament held at Central Rama 3 shopping center in Bangkok at the weekend.
The WESPA championships will be the premier event for international Scrabble competition in the world this year with around 40 countries represented.
Each country has a quota based on previous performances in high level competition. Other Thai players will be chosen after the International Brand’s King’s Cup to be held in Bangkok in July.
Akkarapol is from Korat where he has opened a downtown Scrabble academy to teach young people how to play the game. Many of his young proteges have already had success in international competition.
Thacha is from Bangkok and like Akkarapol is one of the top fifty players in the world.
Gerry is a retired international school teacher who has lived in Bangkok since the early 1980s.
Said Gerry: “It will be great to represent Thailand once again in Kenya. The best players in the world will be there so the competition will be extremely tough but such is the quality of Thai players that we are always there or thereabouts”.
Thailand has had two World Scrabble Champions in the past. Panupol Sajjayakorn won in 2003 and Pakorn Nemitrmansuk was champion in 2009.
Scrabble in English – known as Crossword Game in Thailand – enjoys a high profile in the kingdom. There are many top players in the country and the game enjoys sponsorship from big business as well as patronage from the Thai Royal family.
Many tournaments in Thailand attract thousands of participants especially Thai schoolchildren.