It might have taken Rene Chelton more than 30 years of competitions but she has finally been crowned one of Australia's best Scrabble players.
The 85-year-old from Bellambi traveled to Hobart for the national championships at Easter and was required to play 24 games over three days. Her winning move securing the title at the eleventh hour.
"I was only half a game in front and I had to win the last one to win the tournament, and I won it on the last move of the last game," she said.
The winning word was "titi" (a small forest-dwelling monkey of South America), putting her 10 points ahead of her opponent.
Mrs Chelton and her husband Jeff began playing with words competitively in the 1980s in Sydney, and soon after founded an Illawarra club - Wollongong Order of Really Dedicated Scrabblers (WORDS).
The pair used to play at least 1000 games a year between themselves, and always took a Scrabble board wherever they went.
"We went to America once and took our little travel Scrabble with us and played on the edge of the Grand Canyon, we played in New York's skating rink at Central Park, we played on the edge of Niagra Falls," Mrs Chelton said.
"Anytime you play anywhere, people come up and talk to you."
Mrs Chelton said when playing to win it's best to try and maximise your score by putting the highest value tiles on squares of high value. Words such as "cazique" or "za" and "zo", she said.
Her main strategy, is to "score the best you can".
"I don't have a magic formula, I'm just a tough, old player," she laughed.
It's not the first trophy for Mrs Chelton, who has previously been an Australian Badminton Champion several times over and was a finalist in the Illawarra Sport Star of the Year in 1979.
While winning runs in the family. Her eight-year-old grandson is off to San Diego in June to compete in a world golfing championship - which some of her Scrabble winnings will be used to help out.
WORDS meets every Monday upstairs at the Collegians Club in Wollongong, 7pm. They also meet Friday afternoons at Collegians in Balgownie. Newcomers welcome.