Two Los Angeles tweens have taken home the title of 2016 North American School Scrabble Champions just days before National Scrabble Day. The annual championship was held April 9-10 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the NFL New England Patriots, and now, top Scrabble-playing students. After two days of competitive play, Jem Burch and Cooper Komatsu took home the Championship trophy and $10,000 grand prize. The win comes just ahead of National Scrabble Day, celebrated April 13, and makes them just two of many diverse and passionate competitive Scrabble champions from around the world. Mindsports International (MSI) was the official host of the competition.
More than 65 teams of children competed in this year’s event, with Jem and Cooper taking home the win. Parents and coaches cheered from within Gillette Stadium and even Scrabble super-fan Jimmy Kimmel sent a special video message to the players before the Championship began. Top School Scrabble players ranging from grades 4 through 8 competed. During fast-paced tournament play, teams of two racked up their highest scores and left their best moves on the board in pursuit of the distinguished Championship trophy.
“Holding the North American School Scrabble Championship at Gillette Stadium, a place where dedication and teamwork play a large part in winning championships, was an extraordinary experience for everyone involved,” said Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of marketing, Hasbro Gaming. “We want to thank all of the coaches and teams who traveled here to compete, and congratulate this year’s winners on their incredible Scrabble skills.”
Jem and Cooper, whose team name is Lucky Thirteen, out-spelled their opponents in six of the seven tournament rounds, catapulting them into the final matchup where they defeated Javier Contreras and Matias Shundi of Chapel Hill, N.C., 411 to 401. The final game was projected throughout the stadium, drawing cheers from family members and friends, and included several high scoring words including agnosia, jarina and quarrels.
“We’re so proud to be named this year’s Champions and it wouldn’t have been possible without practice, team work and advice from our coach Corneila Guest,” said Cooper Komatsu from Culver City Middle School. “Joining the School Scrabble program has been such a rewarding experience for Jem and I. We’ve met great friends by playing competitively and can’t wait to celebrate this amazing win.”
Young word enthusiasts who are interested in playing competitively and joining the dynamic community of School Scrabble players can find out more information on how to be involved in their local programs by visit the website for School Scrabble.
There are now digital ways to enjoy the game. To go beyond the traditional board game, there is now Scrabble for iPad, iPhone and Android from Electronic Arts. For more information on the Scrabble game and ways to celebrate National Scrabble Day, follow @HasbroNews on Twitter.