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Page 3 Profile: Jack Durand, Scrabble champion

What’s the word on the street?

Jack Durand is tipped to become the world’s greatest Scrabble player having beaten the reigning adult champion Nigel Richards during a recent tournament held in Solihull earlier this month.

Ah, a man of letters…

Well, a teenager anyway. At just 13 years of age, Jack, from Highgate, north London, triumphed over the three-time world champion during a game in the UK Open Scrabble championships.

How does he feel about defeating Richards?

Jack, who lives with his parents and three siblings 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.”

Is he new to the world of competitive wordplay?

The young wordsmith started playing for fun aged six and began competing three years later. He came fifth in the World Youth Scrabble Championships held in Dubai last month, and is currently the currently the under-14 Scrabble world champion. He is also ranked 15th in the world at any age.

Does he have any tips for the hopeful amateur?

Well, instead of devoting himself exclusively to big word scores, Jack enjoys playing tactically. The word that helped him win the National Youth Championship was “if”, which allowed him to then play the seven-letter word “indarts”, earning him the title.

Cunning! Any other useful vocabulary in his lexicon?

Over the years, some of the most memorable words he’s laid down on the Scrabble board include “quackers” and “nutsier”.

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an i…

Thankfully he has a mentor of sorts to keep him on the right track. Calum Edwards has been Jack’s Scrabble tutor for two years, and believes his protégé has the potential to become the adult world champion: “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.”

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