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Scrabble champ to defend title

entertainment Updated: May 20, 2011 14:15 IST
Shweta Mehta

While other boys his age were playing football and cricket, Sherwin Rodrigues was brushing up on his vocabulary. But that didn’t make him a dull boy. He developed an interest in Scrabble at the age of 10, and barely three years later, he was participating in global tournaments.

“I’ve always loved words. I used to solve anagrams and enjoy word-building games. Scrabble seemed like the ideal game for me,” says 21-year-old Sherwin, who is gearing up to retain his title at the Bayer National Scrabble Championship, which he won last year. An active participant in the event since 2004, Sherwin even represented India at the World Scrabble Championship in 2009. He claimed the 13th spot in a field of 108 contestants.

Ask him what keeps him interested in the game and Sherwin enthuses, “It’s challenging in many ways. The winner is not just the one with the best vocabulary. You need mathematical and analytical skills and the ability to deal with pressure too.”

While the addition of Indian words like keema, aloo and gobi to the Scrabble dictionary have left several purists flummoxed, Sherwin welcomes the change: “There have always been Indian words in the dictionary. A few more won’t harm anyone, and will help us score. Besides, these words are part of our general conversations too, so I don’t see why they shouldn’t be allowed.”

Sherwin’s tips
Read to build your vocabulary.
Two-three letter words aren’t used in casual games, but help you score at tournament levels.
Seven-eight letter words fetch higher points.
Practice on anagram sites and play against other global masters.

The National Scrabble Championship 2011 will be held at The Residence Hotel from May 27 to 29. Register at or call 9892471327. Today is the last day for entries.