The word is out on our Scrabble champ

When it comes to the Olympic marathon, African nations are often well represented. But in Scrabble, African players are few and far between according to Lismore Scrabble Club member Svend Grunnet.

Well, that was until Adeyemi Johnson joined the club two months ago.

Svend was amazed to discover the young man from Sierra Leone (who now lives in Lismore) was not just a natural, but borderline genius!

And last week Adeyemi proved his skill in a competition setting, scoring seven undefeated wins to take out the annual Lismore Anzac Scrabble Tournament, a big event drawing 42 players from as far away as Sydney.

“I don’t know many African Scrabble players in Australia and I play Scrabble tournaments all the time in Sydney and Brisbane and other places. It’s quite unusual,” Svend said. “I remember when Adeyemi walked in and we sat down and started playing and I knew immediately that he was absolutely brilliant – I’d never seen anything like it.

“His knowledge of English is amazing and he knows all the tricks and tactics of how to place his words and how to block.”

Svend said Adeyemi had played lots of Scrabble back in his homeland.

“He told me that when he went to college they didn’t have any money and not much to do, so a bunch of the guys got together and played Scrabble and apparently it became quite competitive,” Svend explained. “Every now and then a player turns up like Adeyemi who just takes to the game. He has that special something.”

Svend said he had always been the best player in the club, but had to admit Adeyemi has already surpassed him. He believes Adeyemi can play at the highest level.

“I think when he settles he’ll become a master player – those people are super-intelligent, the best of the best. He’ll be the first one we’ve ever had,” Svend said. “We’re a small little club and we’re so happy to have a player of his standard – it’s a dream come true for us.

“The president from Sydney heard about Adeyemi and has been putting out feelers about him but I said, ‘No, he’s on a five-year contract with us and I’m his manager/coach’. None of it’s true of course but I have to keep him in Lismore!”

The Lismore Scrabble Club meets every Wednesday at midday at the Lismore Workers Club with members ranging in age from mid-20 to 80. There’s no pressure to play tournaments, you can simply go along for a brain workout and make new friends.

For information, phone Svend on 6663 1156 or email louise

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