July 23 2014 Latest news:
by Imogen Blake
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
A Highgate teenager has added the title of under-14 Scrabble world champion to a long list of accolades in a year that saw him become the best youth player in the UK.
Jack Durand, 13, came fifth in the World Youth Scrabble Championships, held in Dubai, but was the best under-14 to make the top 10.
He has since gone on to rank 15th in the adult UK Open scrabble tournament in Solihill, where he beat the three-time world champion Nigel Richards.
Jack, who lives with his parents and three siblings in North Hill, said: “It was amazing, he’s really impressive. Of course, everyone knows of him so it was great to meet him and play him. I won the first game and I felt elation, I was really happy. Everybody wants to be a three-time world champion.”
Jack, a City of London School pupil, played a whopping 24 games of Scrabble to come fifth at the Dubai tournament last month.
Calum Edwards, who has been Jack’s Scrabble tutor for two years, said Jack had the potential to become the adult world champion some day.
“It’s a long way off. Tactically, he’s very good but it’s now a case of learning a massive amount of words. His memory is what is getting him to new heights. He’s the best under-14 player in the country and looking at the under-20s, he’s probably second or third.”
In November, Jack, who has been playing the word game since he was six and entering competitions since he was nine, became the UK’s under-18 Scrabble champion at the National Youth Scrabble Championship.
Mr Edwards, with Jack’s mum Lynne Riley, has set up a mentoring scheme for young players as part of the Association of British Scrabble Players. “The younger people get into it the better because of their memories,” Mr Edwards said. “You can play it on the internet and it’s good for help with maths and English.”