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John D. Williams, Jr.
(631) 477-0033 x14
(516) 658-7583 (cell)
August 24, 2005
Reno, NV — Oregon Man Defeats Current World Champion to Win $25,000 Top Prize at the National Scrabble Championship in Reno
There were 700 hundred of them when it all started, word experts from 6 countries and 45 states. After five days and 28 rounds of SCRABBLE, it was down to two: David Wiegand, 31, a mortgage underwriter from Portland, Oregon and Panupol Sujjayakorn, 20, a student from Bangkok, Thailand. They played an astonishing best-of-five final match with Wiegand winning the last game 529-331 after falling behind 0-2. Sujjayakorn is the current World SCRABBLE Champion, while Weigand's previous best performance was 2nd at the 1994 National SCRABBLE Championship (NSC). Among Wiegand's plays were KEETS (a guinea fowl) and AULIC (pertaining to a royal court).
The National SCRABBLE Championship is considered the world's premiere event among 500 official tournaments played internationally each year. The year's NSC boasted a field that included 9 former world and National champions. Sujjayakorn is a particularly brilliant player, as his English is rudimentary at best. To train, he memorized the entire 120,000 word Official SCRABBLE Player's Dictionary. The average American has a working vocabulary of 20,000 words.
The play with live commentary was followed online at http://www.scrabbleassociation.com, which received nearly 4 million hits during the event. The final match is telecast on ESPN and ESPN2 throughout the year.
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