Sri Lankan schoolboy beats scrabble world champion

Sri Lanka’s Wigneswaran Prabaharan, an Advanced Level student of Lyceum International School, Panadura and an old boy of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, recorded an upset win over three-time scrabble world champion and one of the living legends of the sport, Nigel Richards on Friday, 7 September at the Sri Lanka Open International Scrabble Championship, one of the main international tournaments in the WESPA or the World English Language Scrabble Association annual calendar.

The event is taking place from 7 to 9 September (Friday to Sunday) at OZO Colombo, Marine Drive, Colombo-4 on a format of 24 games and 25 minutes per player with a Penalty Challenge of five (5) points per word.

Nigel Richards, born in 1967, is among the most successful scrabble players of all time. Born in New Zealand, Richards won the World Championship in 2007, 2011 and 2013, becoming the first person to have won the title more than once. He is also a five-time US national champion, an eight-time UK Open champion, an 11-time champion of the Singapore Open Scrabble Championship and a 13-time winner of the King’s Cup in Bangkok, which is said to be the world’s biggest Scrabble competition.

The Sri Lanka international Open Scrabble Championship is organised by the Scrabble Federation of Sri Lanka headed by Mahendran Kandhan.

Kandhan told “The Sunday Morning” on Friday that Wigneswaran’s feat can be rated as one of the biggest upsets in scrabble yet the world champion can still come back and win the title because the competition is held on 24 games.

“To beat a three-time world champion and one of the leading players, in the caliber of Richards, at least in a single game is considered a rare and remarkable performance,” explained Kandhan.

  • The photo shows Nigel Richards (on left) with Wigneswaran Prabaharan after the latter’s win in their scrabble match of the SL Open International Scrabble Championship, now being held at OZO, Colombo-4