A weekend on the tiles for young Scrabble enthusiasts

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 April, 2008, 12:00am

Hundreds of schoolchildren are preparing for a weekend on the tiles as they take part in the semi-finals of a competition to test their English vocabulary and strategy skills.

The fifth inter-school Scrabble competition taking place today, tomorrow and next Saturday will see nearly 700 students from 183 primary and secondary schools fighting it out across the word grid.

Jonathan Sin Hong-man, 15, a member of the team from Sheng Kung Hui Lam Kau Mow Secondary School in Sha Tin, said he had been playing Scrabble for three years.

'The game needs you to use a lot of different skills,' he said. 'Obviously you need to know a lot of words, but you also need to think about the scoring and think strategically.'

Jonathan said he felt confident in his team's abilities.

'We all have different strengths,' he said. 'One of my teammates has a really good vocabulary and can think up lots of words very quickly. Another is very good with numbers and can spot which position gets the best score, sometimes just by adding one or two tiles to a word.'

Winnie Lor Wing-suen, director of BroadLearning Education, which organises the competition in collaboration with the board game's makers, Mattel, said the competition was intended to spark students' interest in language learning.

'We hope that they will be able to get to grips with the way letters work together to form words,' she said. 'This is something local students find very difficult.'

The semi-finals are taking place at HKCCCU Logos Academy in Tseung Kwan O today, tomorrow and next Saturday, while the final will be held on July 5.