Scrabble, the all-time favourite board game, is returning to the school campus this year. With the fourth Inter-School Scrabble Championship coming up, students are busy mastering their game tactics.
This year, all participating students are divided into three categories: Primary School (Primary Four to Six), Secondary School Junior (Form One to Three) and Secondary School Senior (Form Four to Seven).
Each participating school may enter one team, which consists of four students, for each category.
Ho Lap College, who won the Secondary School category for the last three consecutive years, will be entering two teams this year.
'The students from the first championship are now in Form Six. We are having internal competitions to see which four students will get to enter the competition,' said Edwin Fok Yee-man, English teacher at Ho Lap College.
'Those entering the junior section are all new blood. The upper form students are giving them a hand on the skills and tactics needed to win,' he added.
Having won the last three championships, the students are under great pressure to do well again this year.
'We are practising every week. We also play at lunchtime to learn from each other,' said Ip Ka-shing, chairperson of Ho Lap College's Scrabble Club.
'One of the keys to getting high scores is to memorise as many two- and three-letter words as possible. And if you're lucky enough to get a blank tile, you must try to make use of the bonus.'
According to Mr Fok, aside from learning new English words, students also get to train themselves to think faster.
'It's easiest to see their improvement when they are engaged in a competition. The best way to train them would be a one-on-one session with an experienced player,' he said.
'The after-game evaluation is an important part of the learning process.'
Semi-finals of the Scrabble competition will take place from March 23 to 25, and the grand final is in April. Applications must be sent in by March 9. For more information, visit http://scrabble.broadlearning.net