By: Daniyal Sanaullah

Allsportspk ‘Penned Selfie’ series, shares the experience of 18 year old Danial Sanaullah, who as a member of Pakistan Scrabble team, participated in two of the highest International Scrabble events.

Daniyal Pen Selfies his experiences!

The Pakistan Scrabble Association, after a tough selection criterion, had selected and trained a team of fifteen players to take part in the two biggest World events in the game of Scrabble. Known as Junior World Scrabble Championship and the World Scrabble Championship, they determine and rank the Best Scrabble players of the world. In 2019 these events, were held during the month of November, as always in Torquay, England.

Since only the cream is selected after a rigorous selection process managed by Pakistan Scrabble Association, I was really honoured to be one of fifteen members of Pakistan Scrabble Team.

Having devoted considerable number of hours to word studies, working on my tactics and my gameplay, it was finally time to get onboard with my international scrabble routine. A year before when the same tournaments were held, I had stood tenth and seventh respectively and this time, knowing that my gameplay was a lot different.

I was very ambitious to do something big. The Junior World Scrabble Championship kicked off in mid-November and Pakistanis were all over the place.

Our preparations were well-reflected by our performances as Pakistan comprehensively bagged the first five spots. Individually, I was the runner up of this Championship, but this had not come that easily as it may sound. Our toughest resistance came against the English-speaking countries, particularly England, Australia, United States and Nigeria to name a few. The players from these countries were exceptionally great and it was an arduous task to outvie them, but we, through sheer hard work and determination, showcased our talent and did a great job amongst the youth and bagged a lot of accolades.

After competing amongst the youth, a greater challenge awaited us where we had to battle against an age group open to all ages. Yes, The World Scrabble Championship was next. In the Challengers’ Division, Pakistan’s dominance was outright where Pakistan managed to retain its title for the second time in a row. Beating my compatriot, Taha Mirza, in the final, I won the first-place award, while all three positions of this tournament were again won by Pakistanis as well. Again, beating its counterparts for most of the time, England, however, came as the greatest resistance which had come neck-to-neck with us in the last half of the tournament. But again, this resistance proved to be short-lived as Pakistanis came back out on top and were
victorious again as we witnessed an all-Pakistani final.

Personally, it was a feeling of sheer contentment for me as my poor run in the past two international tours was well-backed by an all-round comeback this year. My parents, my coaching staff and all my teammates were super proud of me, while getting to see my name lauded all over the press could not have made me felt more euphoric.

The highlight of this tour remains to be my semi-final game against my compatriot, Hassan Hadi Khan, where I played two adjacent words and one of them was invalid. Funnily enough, my opponent just checked the word that I already knew was valid and since you get a five-point penalty for a wrong challenge, I ended up getting an extra five points for a wrong move and this even made my way easier to win the semi-finals!

After enjoying the scenic city of the English Riviera, the tour came to an end on the 26th November and this marked an end to what I can call the best Scrabble tour of mine to date.