Orlet Bullock dethrones Fred Collins to claim Caribbean Individual Scrabble crown
By Michael Benjamin
Orlet Bullock avenged a humiliating defeat at the hands of former local, and now former Caribbean champion, Fred Collins, during the Caribbean team championships, to lift the prestigious Caribbean Individual Scrabble crown from his head when the curtains were drawn on the that version of the Caribbean Scrabble Championships at the Bank of Guyana Sports Club, Avenue of the Republic, Sunday evening last.
The prolific word former, a St Vincentian by birth but representing Barbados, turned in an impressive display, amassing an impeccable 8 points with a positive spread of 1081 to dethrone Collins who could only manage 51/2 points with a positive spread of 231. He was eventually relegated to the third place after Trinidadian, Leslie Charles, even though amassing a similar amount of points, slipped into the second place by dint of a higher positive spread of 607.
The other positions were inconsequential but Guyanese player, Davraj Deonarine, came in for high praise after amassing 5 points from a possible 8. This is one of the relatively new players from the Enterprise ECD Scrabble Club.
Bullock is a dangerous player with a plethora of strange words and shrewd strategic applications. His resilience is awesome, evident in the early rounds of the team championships when he rebounded from a crushing 314 spread defeat at the hands of Collins to chalk up 5 wins to pilot Barbados to a 22-14 drubbing of the Guyanese players.
Bullock then endured a dismal day against the Trinidadians, surrendering games to Pat John (50), Brian Yates (69), Adolphus Alexander (30), Kurt Ross (28), Anthony Modeste (90) and Leslie Charles (151). The fact that he was able to regroup and win every one of his game just one day later speaks volumes of Bullock, obviously a special talent.
He is 28 years old but Bullock said that he is playing scrabble since the tender age of 8. He developed at a rapid pace and travelled to various countries showing off his wares. He said that only last year he had travelled to Poland and engaged in a competition where he performed commendably. Bullock said that he also competed in a competition in Poland last year as well as the USA Open championships and clinched the ninth place from among 36 other contestants. He has also competed in the World Scrabble Championships.
Mr. Bullock lauded the organizers of the just concluded tournament saying that it was of a very high standard. He said that the tournament was extremely qualitative and the various teams were engaged in a ferocious battle. He also noted the high level of camaraderie among the participating countries even amidst the desire to win the championships. He said that he was humbly delighted to have wrestled the trophy from the hands of Collins, a player he admires and for whom he nurtures utmost respect.
Meanwhile top seed, Moen Gafoor delivered the vote of thanks and admitted that the four days of competition were indeed grueling. He said that after attending most of the tournaments ever since its inauguration, he is convinced that the just concluded tournament was the fiercest. Mr. Gafoor expressed gratitude to the visiting teams for their participation even as he noted the required sacrifices of abandoning family and other commitments to do so. He also extended heartfelt gratitude to the members of the corporate community whose contribution amounted to more than US$6000 which he said was the catalyst to the success of the tournament.
The accountants of Ram and McRae accounting firm also came in for special mention for their input in the success of the fund raising raffle. Maurice Munru, a top executive of the Bank of Guyana (BOG), also a scrabble player, was commended for his hard work that contributed to the success of the tournament as well as the Governor of the BOG. Tournament Director, Elton Chase has been a major cog in the successful running of the tournament and his efforts did not go unnoticed.
Several corporate institutions were instrumental in the success of the tournament including Oasis Café, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Akbar Auto Sales, J&R Burgers, Giftland office Max, Abdool and Abdools Insurance Brokers, Courts Furniture, Woodpecker Sports Store, Guyoil, E Networks, OffRoaders, McCorp, Crown Mining Enterprise and Digicel. A more extensive list of those that contributed will be published later.
The various teams departed yesterday afternoon and will meet for the next Caribbean Championships in two years time.