AUSTRALIAN Jewish wordsmith David Eldar has been crowned World Scrabble Champion after scoring 74 points in the tournament finals on Sunday with the word “carrels”.
The 27-year-old from Melbourne beat players from 26 countries to take out the title.
“I’ve been playing the game for more than half of my life and this is the pinnacle of the game so it felt amazing,” the former King David School student told The AJN this week. “It’s pretty crazy that I achieved this.”
Eldar first took a tilt at the title 11 years ago while still a teenager.
“This is my seventh of eight attempts at the World Championships, which I started playing in when I was 16 years old,” he said. “The first two years, I finished eleventh, then I failed for a few years and three years ago I reached the quarter-finals.”
According to Eldar, the makings of a good Scrabble player are understanding game theory, possessing a great vocabulary and also being a bit lucky with the letters you get.
However, even though he scooped around $AU10,000 beating Sri Lankan-born Harshan Lamabadusurilya 3-0 in the best of five finals, Eldar, who now works as an estate agent in London said, “I have played for money before, but I wouldn’t recommend making a career out of it.”
While the winning game featured words such as “asinicos”, “obvs” and “troelies”, Eldar said the most memorable word he’s laid down was not from that match.
“The one word I always remember playing was ‘badminton’, because it’s rare to play a nine-letter-word and I’m not sure if it’s been played in Scrabble before.”
Reflecting on David’s victory, his father Yoram told The AJN he knew it was only a matter of time.
“He’s been trying to win it for a while,” Yoram said. “He came pretty close a few times so I wasn’t surprised because I thought he would eventually win it.”