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Love Scrabble? All ages, experiences invited to Durham tournament

Love Scrabble? Then you'll want to head over to Northgate Mall next week for the Triangle Scrabble Tournament.

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Scrabble game board (AP Image)
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Love Scrabble? Then you'll want to head over to Northgate Mall next week for the Triangle Scrabble Tournament.

All ages are invited to the Triangle Scrabble Club event, which is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., July 23 at the Durham mall's Macy's Court. The event offers a chance for novice players - who haven't played competitive Scrabble before - to give it a shot during a six-game, unrated tournament. Experienced players will compete in a round-robin, eight-game match of one-on-one contests and work to advance in the national ratings with prizes awarded to winners in the top 20 percentile.

The public also is welcome to watch the play. Trophies and prizes for the top novice and experienced players will be awarded.

David Klionsky, director of the Triangle Scrabble Club, tells me that the event is probably best for ages 8 and up. Younger players might have a tough time playing six games. Klionsky, a teacher at Seawell Elementary School in Chapel Hill where he runs a Scrabble club , said already a few kids are signed up (along with players all the way up to their 80s).

"We don't have a separate youth division," he said. "The kids are some of the best players in some cases."

To participate, there's a $20 fee for novice players, who have never played in a tournament before, and a $50 entry fee for experienced players. Proceeds will be donated to the family of a long-time member of the group who recently passed away. Experienced players competing in the rated event also must be members of the North American Scrabble Players Association (membership isn't required for beginning players). Game boards will be provided.

If you can't make it to next weekend's event, Klionsky said the group also has weekly meetings for people to play and learn more about competitive Scrabble. It also hosts an annual multi-day tournament to raise money for the pediatric blood and bone marrow transplantation program at Duke Cancer Institute each January.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "It's a great game."

Find more information on the Triangle Scrabble Club's website.

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