OnBoard 187 availability and announcement
The latest edition of OnBoard is now available from the
database (login required).
The committee prepared the following statement, which is also
downloadable, that was intended to be sent out with postal copies.
However subsequent guidance from government means that we are unable to
post OnBoard at the present time as it does not qualify as an essential
journey. All members who usually receive a postal copy should still be
able to download the latest version from the database.
STOP PRESS — Urgent Member Communication
The latest OnBoard has been published in the midst of an extraordinary
and unprecedented situation for us all. Almost all our daily lives are
being impacted in some way by the Global Pandemic Covid-19, also known
For the ABSP, these are also worrying and uncertain times. Face-to-face
tournaments are on an indefinite pause, and it is currently unclear
if and when things will be able to return to normal. As a result, the
committee must be mindful of the potential impact and effects over the
coming months, and potentially longer.
With no ratings levy, and an expected dip in membership, the ABSP's
income is expected to be severely reduced. It is prudent, therefore,
to hold onto funds in order to protect the future of the organisation,
and ensure we can weather this storm and come out on the other side.
OnBoard is our biggest ongoing expense, so we have taken the difficult
but necessary decision to suspend production of at least the postal
version for the time being. Maintaining current standards and sourcing
fresh interesting content will be increasingly challenging with no events
taking place, and there is no guarantee we would even be able to have
it printed and posted. We hope to still produce a version of OnBoard in
some form, so please continue to send contributions to
to help us with this.
We hope you understand the reason we have taken this decision, and we
will review it on an ongoing basis as events unfold. During any break,
we will still endeavour to send out any essential communication to all
members via email if possible, and regular post otherwise, as well
as continuing to share interim updates on social media and the ABSP Website.
Facebook discussion group is the best way to keep
in touch with all things ABSP. During these times, when other social
interaction will be more limited, we'll strive to have more regular
and varied online activity including Consensus Games and Real-Time
Online ISC Tournaments. If you are not already joined, find us
by searching for 'ABSP Discussion', or via the link above.
We also have a members-only online league, which renews every two
weeks and is currently played through the EA Scrabble Facebook
app. Typically, this means completing ten games over two weeks at
your own pace, making moves at times that suit you. Your commitment
to the league is only ever for two weeks at a time, and you can opt
in and out as you wish. Search for 'ABSP Online (League)' or join at:
Please stay safe and well in these challenging circumstances, and we all
look forward to a time when it is safe to meet again across the boards
and we can look to the future with renewed energy and confidence.
Last updated: 31 March 2020
Updated statement on COVID-19 Coronavirus
The ABSP committee has issued an updated statement regarding the impact
of COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, on face-to-face Scrabble in
Please see the updated statement in full
which will be updated further when necessary as and when the government advice
Last updated: 21 March 2020
Internet Scrabble Club tournaments for ABSP members
Following on from our updated
statement, an update from Chris Harrison on some forthcoming online
I am happy to confirm that I shall be running real-time tournaments
open to ABSP Members only on the Internet
Scrabble Club on both of the next two weekends. Both are likely
to be Saturdays (28th March, 4th April) but this will be confirmed in
The first will follow a format outlined in brief in my recent Facebook
poll and the second will be paired more like a traditional face to
face event. Further format details for both will be made available when
registration opens. Natalie Zolty will be helping me a little with the
first, and Wayne Kelly helping, possibly a lot, with the second.
If you intend to take part, it is important that where possible you
have an established ISC rating which requires at least 11 rated games
to be played first. If you have not used ISC much recently, I would
also encourage you to play a few games, and better familiarise yourself
with the software. Nowadays, ISC is normally used via a web browser
at the ISC home page, but Windows users
can download and install
Wordbiz if they prefer to run a native application.
I am sure not many of you will have played a real-time ISC event before,
and we certainly haven't run one, so the first couple of events may be
a learning curve for us all, but I hope you will enjoy and appreciate
the opportunity to interact with some of your friends playing the game
you love in a environment that's as close to the real thing as can be
safely achieved right now.
Last updated: 21 March 2020
ABSP Statement on COVID-19 Coronavirus
The ABSP committee has issued a statement regarding the impact of
COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus, on upcoming ABSP-rated
tournaments in the UK and abroad.
Please see the statement in full
which will be updated when necessary as and when the government advice
Last updated: 14 March 2020
BEST 2019 Prizewinners
Congratulations to all prize winners, and thanks to everyone who took
part in 2019. There'll be plenty more fun and games ahead in 2020 so
come and sign up using the
BEST 2020 entry form and tell your friends, too!
Here's a full list of winners from the 2019 event.
| BEST CHAMPION || Brett Smitheram || £240 + Winner's Trophy || London East Regional Winner
| BEST RUNNER-UP || Wayne Kelly || £120 || North West Regional Winner
| BEST SEMI-FINALIST || Paul Allan || £90 || London West Winner
| BEST SEMI-FINALIST || Colin Northmore || £90 || North East Regional Winner
| BEST QUARTER-FINALIST || Ed Rossiter || £60 || South West Regional Winner
| BEST QUARTER-FINALIST || Paul Gallen || £60 || Ireland Regional Winner
| BEST QUARTER-FINALIST || Natalie Zolty || £60 || Midlands Regional Winner
| BEST QUARTER-FINALIST || Simon Gillam || £60 || Scotland Regional Winner
Each of the top 8 also received their own customised Regional Winner's Trophy.
| London East Winner || Philip Kelly || £40
| North West Winner || Robert Richland || £40
| London West Winner || Paul Steadman || £40
| North East Winner || Angela Margaret Brodie || £40
| South West Winner || Bob Lynn || £40
| Midlands Winner || Stewart Houten || £40
| Scotland Winner || James Squires || £40
Each Second BEST winner also received their own customised winner's
keepsake. The Second BEST final did not take place in Ireland by mutual
consent of both players. The prize money that would have been awarded
for this has been rolled over into the BEST 2020 prize fund.
4 ratings prizes were awarded for the highest one-off performances
above rating. These prizes were open to anyone, at all levels even if
they had already won a main prize.
| || Joseph Bennett || +71 || £40
| || Rachel Bingham || +58 || £40
| || Paul Steadman || +58 || £40
| || Amy Byrne || +54 || £40
Special & Spot Prizes
Thanks to Mattel and ABSP President Gyles Brandreth for
sponsoring/donating prizes for BEST 2019. As a result, we spent very
little on these added extras and could even have a couple more winners
than anticipated. Where possible we chose or allocated these prizes
with the recipients in mind.
Special Ratings Prize: Angela Margaret Brodie
Given the number of entrants exceeded the 64 budgeted for, we decided to
award a special ratings prize for average performance above rating across
the whole of BEST 2019. It was closely contested and ultimately won with
a phenomenal average performance above rating across 34 games of +22.5.
Angie wins a cash prize and a copy of the latest book by Gyles Brandreth,
"Dancing By The Light Of The Moon". The book is a collection of poems
which he encourages to be learnt by heart to aid memory techniques and
also includes a few of his stories and anecdotes. Please be aware that
now we know how to work them out, all ratings prizes for 2020 will be
awarded using this method and based on average performance above rating
across the whole event.
Most Interesting Match Venue: Temu Oluku & Barry French (Library of Birmingham)
It's fair to say there was not the greatest competition for this prize
and we are unlikely to repeat it in the future. However, the winners
are still worthy ones. Temu and Barry played their match at the Library
of Birmingham. As such it provided the biggest showcase opportunity for
Scrabble and given they had their own word wars, both Barry and Temu
will receive "Word Wars" DVD which follows 4 Scrabble fanatics on the
International Scrabble scene.
BEST Sportsmanship: Alan Abela
Alan lost out in an epic 9 game battle where he had been the favourite
going in and led most of the way. The match ran late into the night,
and yielded something of an upset when Bobbie Penn ran out the winner.
Bobbie nominated Alan for this prize because she said he remained
kind, upbeat, positive and encouraging despite the ultimate result.
Alan wins a copy of Mattel Balderdash, a board game about crazy and
High Game Score: Paul Gallen
We had 5 scores of 600 or higher, but the biggest was a 653 by Paul
Gallen. Paul also wins a copy of Mattel Balderdash.
High Word Score: Brett Smitheram (Consolation Prize Robert Richland)
Until the final weekend, this looked like going to Robert Richland who
managed not one, but two different nine-timers with the same score.
However, Brett managed to go 27 points better with his play of SKEWBALD on day 1 of the final. Brett also wins of
copy of Mattel Balderdash, but we awarded Robert a "Keep Calm &
Love Scrabble" mug in consolation for leading for such a long time.
"BEST" Word Prize: Gary Oliver (Consolation Prize Judith Moore)
We know this was a tricky task as all submissions had to include
the letters BEST together and in that order. Gary Oliver
rose to the challenge with a superb 82 point play of BESTIAL. Gary wins a special Scrabble mug for
being such a "Clever Dick". For embracing the difficult theme,
we also awarded a prize to Judith Moore of a pair of Collins Little
Scrabble Books by Barry Grossman and Mark Nyman to help her with her
ongoing progress up the ratings.
Last updated: 8 March 2020
Brett Smitheram wins BEST 2019
After 10 months, 7 rounds and over 100 matches, we finally have a
winner: Brett Smitheram is the BEST of the BEST, triumphing 9-5 over
Wayne Kelly in an exciting, but sometimes intense, final.
It's Brett's first victory in BEST, a title which had so far eluded him
having narrowly missed out in two previous finals. The third time was
perhaps a charm although it may have seemed like history was repeating as
honours were mostly shared at the start with Wayne even taking a slender
lead at times. After 10 games, the match was tied at 5-5 before Brett
opened up the first real break to lead 7-5 overnight. When play resumed,
he made swift work of things, taking the next 2 to clinch the title.
Brett had been a standout performer in BEST 2019 from the start dropping
just 6 games out of 39 on route to the final, with an average ratings
performance of 209. He has now won his 10th Major, the second in less
than a year and joins Paul Gallen as the only player to have won two
of the 2019 majors. Notably, in Brett's case they were the only two
he entered with a large, tough field assembled for both. This win caps
off a year which also saw him crowned the highest rated UK player for
a record 5th time.
Highlights of the final match included 9-timers for both
players. Brett struck first with SKEWBALD
for a whopping 217 points, obliterating the previous BEST 2019 high
word score in the process. Not to be outdone, Wayne slotted in PORTENTS four games later. Other more unusual
words played by Brett included GASOHOLS,
VALGOID and VENERERS.
Here's Brett pictured after the match with his own makeshift trophy but
we hope he will be presented with the real one soon. Congratulations
to all other prize winners – a full list will be confirmed and
made available in the coming days.
Entries are now open for the 2020 competition so come and join the fun!
Entries close on 13th April 2020.
Last updated: 16 February 2020
2019 News Archive
Click on the title of this article to access the news archive for the year.
All news article headings are now links to the full news article.
Last updated: 31 December 2019