Scrabble winner Paul casts a spell

Paul Allan
Paul Allan

A Rushden teacher’s lucky shirt obviously worked after he was crowned National Scrabble Champion.

Maths teacher Paul Allan, who admitted he would be wearing one of his “lucky” shirts at the championship decider which was played on Sunday in London, claimed the title after beating his opponent, Scot Allan Simmons, in a best-of-five games decider.

As well as being named National Scrabble Champion, a title he also won in 2007, Mr Allan walked away with a winner’s cheque for £2,500.

Mr Allan won in the fourth game and sealed the win by playing bandura, a Ukrainian lute, scoring 86 points and giving him an incontestable lead.

Other words played throughout the final included: Kernite – a mineral (100), mete – to measure (34), exordial – to begin (92), portage – toll on a bridge (76), shrieval – relating to a sheriff (97), valerate – a chemical salt (36) and coniines – a poisonous alkaloid found in poison hemlock (98).

Mr Allan said: “I was delighted to win, especially given the fact that the final is played to a public audience of players who expect to be impressed.”

He has won a number of other tournaments since starting to play competitively in 1993.

Mr Allan is also taking part in the first Scrabble Champions Tournament, which is being held in Prague from December 3 to 8 as part of the Minds Sports Festival.

Mr Allan reached the final after competing against 57 other players in 14 games at the semi-finals, held last month.

He started playing Scrabble as a child, playing on a computer, before joining a club and progressing to competitive games.

Talking after his win he said he wouldn’t be celebrating with a night out but would probably “just get a takeaway”.

The championships started in 1971 and more than 300 people took part in six regional championships held earlier this year.

Nearly 10,000 people watched the final online.