It was tiles at 20 paces in Wollongong on Saturday as some of Australia’s best Scrabble players hurled high-scoring words like ‘‘zees’’, ‘‘miz’’, ‘‘vizy’’, ‘‘epoxy’’ and ‘‘jole’’ at one another.
The Wollongong Order of Really Dedicated Scrabblers’ (WORDS) biannual tournament, held at the Collegians Club, attracted 70 serious word-lovers, who battled through nine games each to compete for a cash prize.
Among the players were two former Australian Scrabble champions, three published writers and the current junior world champion, Michael McKenna.
The Baulkham Hills 17-year-old has been playing Scrabble since he was 10 and said the game had improved both his spelling and mathematical skills.
‘‘It’s much more of a mathematical game than people think, because you have to be able to do complex calculations to work out the odds of winning,’’ he said.
He said his advice for budding players was to play as many tiles as possible each turn, take risks by opening up the board and learn plenty of two- and three-letter words.
He also liked to remember a list of words spelt with just vowels or consonants. One of his favourites was ‘‘euouae’’.