After two days of great scrabble extravaganza, Victor Godwin has emerged as the winner of the Masters category in the Emmanuel Egbele Annual Scrabble Tournament (EEAST) held over the weekend in Lagos.
The Delta State-born jammer pushed his way to the top of the hill with 13 wins to record the highest cumulative points of 982 in the 18-round tournament as he knocked off his fiercest rival James Ewruje in the closing stages on Table 1.
James’ defeat would be costly as Prince Omosefe whose victory on Table 2, earned him a second-placed finish as he scored a higher cumulative of 855 points which subsequently pushed the Ogun State player down to the third on the log after all top three players recorded same number of 13 wins and five defeats.
For Godwin who has hovered around the peripheral of top players, this victory marked his first major title in the Nigerian scrabble circuit.
“I just want to thank God! I want to thank God!” He said with excitement as a rare smile spread across his face moments after he secured the EEAST Masters’ title. “Scrabble is not easy in Nigeria. I have been playing and praying over the years. It wasn’t easy to face top-rated players (including the current African Champion Enoch Nwali) in the Masters category and then claim victory at a tournament like the EEAST. It’s unbelievable!”
In the Intermediate Category, David Ojih, a youngster, surprised all as he snatched the title with a score of 13 wins and 717 cumulative points ahead of Musa Lateef who came second with 13 wins and 94 points while Ayomiposi Akinfemosoye finished third with 12 wins and 670 points.
Emmanuel Enyi proved to be the man of the Opens Category as he defended his title which he won at the Sophomore edition last year.
The University of Ibadan undergraduate eased away from the rest of the pack with a total of 16 wins and a massive 974 cumulative points.
Adebisi Adekola and Akpotu Benjamin finished second and third with 13 and 12 wins respectively.
2021 EEAST champion Dokun Esan re-ignited the flame that earned him the title then as he won the newly-introduced Veterans Category ahead of Ojior Osikhena and Matthew Ekpagha while Bukunmi Afolayan got the Best Female title.
She was given a cash prize of 100,000 naira by CINQ-SAA.
Interestingly, this edition took an international dimension as a two-man contingent from Ghana; Charles Tachie-Menson and Stanley Ubiedi seized the quality the tournament provided to prepare for the forthcoming World English Language Speaking Players Association Championship (WESPAC) holding in Las Vegas Nevada, USA next month.
At the closing ceremony, deserving players and individuals were recognised for their efforts at a colourful Award Night.
Notable among the recipients was Pan African Scrabble Association (PANASA) President Adekoyejo Adegbesan who was honoured with the first EEAST Legacy Award for his unflinching support for the sport.
Founder of the EEAST Emmanuel Egbele said he was fulfilled with the new heights the tournament has attained as it continues to evolve with innovations.
For the first time, a paperless process in submission of results and pairings was deployed making the Trilogy the first “Green” scrabble tournament in the world. This innovation ensured that at least a tree was saved in keeping the earth safer.
“The EEAST is gradually fulfilling what a scrabble tournament should look like. As the Best-Playing Scrabble Country in the world, we have to keep raising the bar in organised scrabble tournaments so that more champions can be discovered from upcoming generations.”
Mr Egbele who represents the South-West Zone on the board of the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) revealed plans to take the EEAST to schools as a way of deepening the sport at the grassroots.
He thanked sponsors who showed solidarity with the EEAST as he urged corporate organisations and individuals to team up with a project of developing scrabble.
The event was attended by former National chairman Gen. Gold Eburu (retd), NSF Vice President Bright Idahosa, Segun Adegbenro and other notable personalities.
Over 100 players across the country participated at the championship.
ALL THE EEAST TRILOGY WINNERS
Godwin Victor- Masters Category
David Ojih – Intermediate Category
Emmanuel Enyi-Opens Category
Dokun Esan-Veterans Category
Bukunmi Afolayan- Best Female player
Prince Omosefe-Early Birds