Pakistan’s Syed Emad wins World Youth Scrabble Championship

Syed Imaad Ali bagged the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) Youth Cup (formerly known as the World Youth Scrabble Championship) in the final in Karachi on Sunday.

The 15-year-old talent defeated his opponent in nine out of 13 games in Sunday’s finals as Pakistan finished first in the tournament, with Hasham Hadi Khan — another Pakistani to qualify for the final with 26 wins — coming in fourth after winning in seven games.

Ali opened up an early lead in the tournament and had soared to the top position with 11 wins and one tie by the completion of the first 12 rounds.

Syed Imaad Ali — Photo courtesy Irshad Ali Twitter

After today’s feat, he is now the first and only scrabble player to win the World Youth title twice. He previously won the 2018 championship in Dubai, clinched the Junior World Scrabble Champion­ship in Torquay, England, in November 2019, and was also the youngest player to do so.

Two more Pakistani players — Ali Salman and Usman Shaukat — remained in the top ten till the last round of the championship’s group stage but were unlucky to miss out narrowly after losing their last games.

Pakistan was awarded the rights to hold the WESPA Youth Cup for the second year running.

Syed Imaad Ali holds the trophy after winning the World English Scrabble Players Association Youth Cup in Karachi. — Photo courtesy Quetta Gladiators Twitter

The championship has been played annually since 2006 in different parts of the world but could not be played after 2019 due to the pandemic outbreak.

Pakistan had offered to host the 2020 edition online for the first time to make sure every that player was monitored and the games were played as fairly as before.

WESPA granted the hosting rights to Pakistan and the first-ever virtual championship was played in 2020.

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