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Promising Start For Gitonga In Scrabble Championships

Participants at the 2017 World Scrabble Championships take on each other at a Nairobi Hotel on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. PHOTO/SPN
Participants at the 2017 World Scrabble Championships take on each other at a Nairobi Hotel on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. PHOTO/SPN

NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenyan champion Patrick Gitonga was in inspired mood as the World English-Language Scrabble Players Association Championship enters day three in Nairobi on Friday.

At the closure of day two of the five-day championships on Thursday, Gitonga was ranked eighth with +573 marks after 14 rounds of the event.

Gitonga beat Australian champion John Holgate by 424-376 having defeated compatriot Patrick Litunya 530-382 and Toh Weibin of Singapore 488–417.

“Day three will surely be tougher. We have 118 players from 38 countries, so you can imagine the level of competition,” the 50-year-old stated.

“My desire is to maintain the tempo while working to rise up the table which is dominated by Nigerians,” he added.

Biennial competition

“What Gitonga is doing is not only great for the country but encouragement to young and upcoming players,” Scrabble Kenya Chairman Elliud Lel added after the Kenyan top seed improved from 27th on the first day to eighth.

Kenya, with 13 players taking part, is the first African Nation to host the biennial competition having finished second at the 2015 edition held in Perth, Australia.

Indian champion, Ranganathan Chakravarthy, 45, lead the standings at the end of Thursday’s games with +513 after winning 12 rounds and losing twice with Jighere placed second ahead of compatriot Peter Moses.

Eta Koro (Nigeria )and American Dave Wiegand rounded the top five places.

The top two players at the end of the 32 round competition will face off in a best of seven final on Sunday for the cash prize of Ksh2m.

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