The deadly coronavirus has brought an unprecedented threat to our times with life all over the world having come to a stand still. This includes all major sporting events including the 2020 Olympics. Under such alarming conditions, information technology has been the saviour in many ways, including in the field of sports.
One such effort is of PSA-Pakistan Scrabble Association, which launched it’s virtual online program to conduct Pakistan Scrabble Tournament Games in association with Cinepax – biggest Cinema network in Pakistan and Alllsportspk – the largest sports website in the world.
According to PSA this effort is for the Scrabble Pakistan players to use their time constructively coupled with continuing their practice. It was also clarified that these virtual online tournaments will not be counted in the national ratings.
The online program is a joint effort between PSA and a startup software company DABBS Solutions. Allsportspk talked to Mr. Wali Muhammad Khubaib, who co-owns DABBS and is also the Techincal Director of Pakistan Scrabble Association. Interestingly, he also happens to be the developer of the Scrabble Android Application known as Wali Timer which is the official timer for PSA.
Mr. Wali explained that the virtual online option was possible due the existence of Internet Scrabble Club (isc.ro), a platform where online scrabble takes place, alongside the TSH Tournament Software used in Tournaments.
To implement it in Pakistan, the first step was to create awareness and initiate the online registration process. To register players, the first option used was the very active Pakistan Scrabble Whatsapp group. Due to certain difficulties it was discontinued and the registration process was shifted to Google Forms.
According to Mr. Wali, after registration process the major challenge was holding of the first tournament. PSA had decided to hold the first tournament on 31st March for which the registration process was initiated and 21 participants signed up. The tournament was held smoothly with only some minor teething problems.
With successfully completion of the first tournament, PSA management decide to continue and since three more virtual tournaments have been successfully held on 1st, 3rd and 10th April.
Mr. Wali, mentioned that in the next tournaments, PSA decided to increase the cap to 40-50 players. And to make the process smoother a separate whatsapp group has been created. This group comprises of the players who register and receive all updates including round by round pairings, scores collection, and also standings of rounds.
For non players to understand, the playing methodology being applied is that a total of 3-7 matches take place depending on the starting time of the tournament. Each registered player plays in a single category. And every game lasts for 30 mins (15 minutes per side).
The results of the first 4 Virtual tournaments held on 31st March, 1st, 3rd and 10th April were as follows: