Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

And the title goes to…

Who knew there were national teams?

And The No. 1 Scrabble Nation In The World Is ...
Nigeria is the English-speaking world's Scrabble superpower. Africa's most populous nation is home not only to the global Scrabble champion, but team Nigeria ranks as the world's top Scrabble playing nation…

Wellington Jighere
The Scrabble world champion is Wellington Jighere. He's 33, has a soft voice, a slow smile and a penchant for fedoras, earning him the nickname "the Cat in the Hat."…

Jighere was crowned the world Scrabble champ last year in a grueling 32-round competition in Australia. Up to 30 of the top 100 global players are from Nigeria, which has the highest percentage of any country in the top 200…

So why Scrabble? "Ah, I didn't exactly choose Scrabble," says Jightere. "I ran into some friends who were tournament players and I beat them. They told me 'Ah, if I could do this well against them, that means I should come to the next tournament.' " He adds, "And I was like, "Ah, you mean they play this in tournaments? OK, let's go. And the rest, as they say, is history." And he laughs.

That was in 2002. Today, Jighere sits atop the global Scrabble tournament ladder…

Angela Osaigbovo
And yet Scrabble has caught on in Nigeria in a big way, among veterans and youth. There are scores of clubs up and down the 36 states of a nation of 180 million people. Daylong and weekend tournaments are held regularly and young players, like 10-year-old Angela Osaigbovo, are champions in their own right.

She's been playing Scrabble since she was 5 and began competing at age 6. "Scrabble for me is a fun way of using my academics, to help me in my hobbies and afterschool life," says Angela with a big smile…

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