Britain gets its first Scrabble world champion for 21 years

Craig Beevers organises Scrabble tournaments and has been playing for more than 12 years

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The Independent Online

To the medical profession, the word gleet describes an unpleasant discharge associated with gonorrhoea.

For Craig Beevers today, it meant 24 points on the way to glory.

With the assistance of a few other outliers from the English lexicon – including a 42-pointer denoting a Muslim divorce – the 33-year-old became Britain’s first world Scrabble champion for 21 years after the grand final in the ExCel Centre in east London.

Mr Beevers, from Guisborough, near Middlesbrough, and his American opponent, Chris Lipe, from New York, had competed with more than 100 players from more than 25 countries over five days to reach the final and battle it out for the title and £3,000.

The newly crowned victor – just Britain’s second ever world champion – organises Scrabble tournaments and has been playing for more than 12 years.

His decisive play was with the word talaq, meaning a Muslim form of divorce, scoring 42 points and giving him an incontestable lead in the deciding match. He finished the fourth game with a score of 440, beating Lipe’s 412.

Other words played in the final game included ventrous, meaning adventurous, scoring 65, and diorite, meaning igneous rock, scoring 69.

Mr Beevers – who was United Kingdom national champion in 2009 – said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won. It was a closely fought championship and Chris was a very impressive opponent to play.”