Netanya set for global word faceoff

It’s a new Israeli record as 45 players from 10 countries are set to battle with words at this weekend’s Fourth Israeli Open Scrabble Tournament. Players from 10 countries will take part in the Fourth Israeli Open Scrabble Tournament. Foreign …

It’s a new Israeli record as 45 players from 10 countries are set to battle with words at this weekend’s Fourth Israeli Open Scrabble Tournament.

Players from 10 countries will take part in the Fourth Israeli Open Scrabble Tournament.

Foreign players from the UAE, England, Canada, United States, Norway, Malta, Australia, Scotland and Germany will take on the Israeli wordsmiths in Netanya from February 10-12, 2012.

“We’ve become a lot more international. We started with five or six foreign players in first Israeli Open. Now we have 19 people,” says Evan Cohen, organizer of the event and Israel National Scrabble Champion. “We’re well recognized on the international calendar. We’ve had former world champions, we get top players.”

Tournament Scrabble is a serious form of the world’s most popular word game. The Israeli tournament is internationally rated and follows World English-language Scrabble Players’ Association (WESPA) rules.

“The Israeli Open offers the perfect opportunity to escape the bleakness of a European winter and play international Scrabble in one of the finest settings of anywhere it is played in the world,” says Britain’s Scrabble champion Mikki Nicholson.

The game was conceived in 1931 by an out-of-work American architect named Alfred Mosher Butts. Today, the game exists in 29 languages including Hebrew, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Braille. English is the language used by serious players and in tournaments.

Cohen says the Israeli Open “shows another side of Israel. It’s a good image that we’re projecting.”

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. She has jumped out of a plane, ducked rockets and been attacked by a baboon all in the name of a good story. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.