By BENEDICT TEMBO
Paul Kalumba of Golden Coin Bureau de Change over the weekend emerged winner of the 23rd Zambia National Scrabble Championship a record 10th time, breaking his own previous record, amassing 18 wins and a whooping spread of +1797.
Kalumba won the tournament staged at Lusaka’s Bank of Zambia Sports Club with two rounds to spare.
He bagged a K5,000 cash prize and a trophy.
“I am happy to have reached such a milestone in my scrabble life. I hope that this will motivate other players to work hard. It is not enough to be a champion, one must practice and study,” Kalumba said
He said to be the best in anything, one must invest a lot of time studying and practising their chosen field of sport.
“This is also true for all other walks of life,” Kalumba said
Justin Chansa, Zambia’s best performing player in the recently ended East and Central Africa Scrabble Championship, scooped second prize walking away with a trophy and K4,000 cash prize.
Chansa had 15 wins spread out of 1,250.
Also on 15 wins was veteran player Patrick Mulemena Mpundu.
Mpundu who tied with Justin on points, however finished third position on account of a lower spread of 1168.
Mpundu walked away with a cash prize of K3,000 and a trophy.
Former champion, Isaac Mwape registered 14 wins to claim fourth position and walked away with K2,000 while Colonel Dr. Julius Mulele bagged fith position and walked away with K1,000. Rita Bwingi won the Best lady prize of K150.
In Section B, Ivy Kanchele emerged winner with 16 wins and a spread of 1617, walking away with a K3,000 cash prize and a trophy.
Joana Chembe also had 16 wins but had to settle for second place, on account of a lower spread of 1,480. Joana walked away with a K2,000 cash prize and a trophy.
Chama Mukonkoto settled for third position, having won 12 games.
Chama received K1,000 and a trophy.
Davies Chansa, brother of Justin, emerged fourth while Bill Geebli Sam was fifth and walked away with K800 and K500 cash prizes respectively.
Most interesting was Section C, which saw 23 primary school children competing for the Junior Championship. Gabriel Musakanyina emerged winner with six wins and a spread of 462, to become the 2023 Zambia Schools Junior Champion.
Gabriel bagged a K2,000 prize and a trophy. Joe Phiri, who also had six wins and a single loss had to settle for second position on account of a lesser spread of 229.
Joe netted a K1,000. Angel Mwale emerged third with five wins and two losses and won himself K800.
Twin brothers Pingzhen Thomas and Pingzhen Che Thomas also had five wins each with respective spreads of 256 each to claim fourth and fifth positions respectively.
They won themselves K700 and K500.
Haamenyo Luyako emerged sixth with three wins, taking home K200 cash prize.
Meanwhile, the Scrabble Association of Zambia is scouting for funds to send four players to the World Scrabble Championship billed for Las Vegas, United States of America in July.
The Association is appealing to corporates to help raise the required funds for Zambia to be represented.
The two-day 22 round tournament attracted 51 players, was divided into three sections, Section A being the main event and a player needed to have a national rating of 1200 and above to qualify to feature in that category. Only 16 players were eligible to play in section A, one woman and fifteen men.
Section B, which comprised players whose rating is below 1200,attracted 12 players, eight men and four women. The most interesting was section C, which was exclusive for primary school children.
It attracted 23 contestants, 12 boys and 11 girls. The event was The tournament format was a 17 rounds swiss and last five was the King-of-the-Hill format.