Archive for March 15th, 2016

Notes on the 2016 North Carolina School Scrabble Championship

March 15, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
March 15, 2016

Last weekend, for the second year in a row, I volunteered at the North Carolina school Scrabble championship, a tournament held in a Chapel Hill elementary school that’s organized by my pal, D—. Since I failed to sustain any injuries this time around, I’ll write about the event itself, at least generally.

The school version of tournament Scrabble differs from the adult version in a few ways. The most significant difference by far is that adults play one on one, while youngsters play in teams of two.

Another difference worth pointing out is that school Scrabble involves students in grades four through eight. As you might expect, there’s a tremendous variety in the sizes, emotional maturity, word knowledge, tactical ability and even interest level of the players. Generally, the older teams tend to be more successful; of the two dozen teams in this year’s tournament, the five duos of eighth graders finished in the top 11 slots, as did a team composed of an eighth grader and a sixth grader. Eight of the bottom nine spots were taken up by teams of fourth and fifth graders.

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