WORLD YOUTH SCRABBLE CHAMPIONSHIP 2013DATE: Thursday 12th December to Saturday 14th December
VENUE: Etisalat Academy, Dubai UAE (United Arab Emirates) Sports and Leisure Club
NUMBER OF GAMES: 24 (Thursday 7, Friday 10, Saturday 7)
SCHEDULE: Play begins 2pm Thursday. Tournament finishes by 5pm Saturday. This will allow you to arrive at Dubai airport by 11.30am Thursday, and fly out after 8.00pm Saturday. If you are running late, and will not be there by 1pm, you *must* contact us - Nikhil Soneja will provide his mobile phone number closer to the event, for use in such emergencies. We can then hold your place in the tournament. Clocks will be started if you are late for a game. If you are over 25 minutes late, you will forfeit. Games are grouped into 2s and 3s. Stay in the playing area for those 2 or 3 games, except for quick comfort breaks.
Thursday 12th December:
11:45am to 1pm: Registration and t-shirt sizing. Bring proof of age.
1:30pm Welcome and random draw (no same-country matches)
2pm Game 1 begins
3pm to approx. 5.15pm - Games 2 to 4
5:30pm to approx. 7:45pm - Games 5 to 7
Friday 13th December:
8.30am to approx. 10.45am - Games 8 to 10
11:00am to approx. 12.30pm - Games 11 and 12
1:30pm to approx. 3:45pm - Games 13 to 15
5pm to approx. 6:45pm - Games 16 and 17
Saturday 14th December:
8.30am to approx. 10:45am - Games 18 to 20
11.00am to approx. 12.30pm - Games 21 and 22
1:00pm to approx.2:45pm - Games 23 and 24
3:15pm - PRIZE PRESENTATIONS
FORMAT: After the first random draw, players will be matched with someone whose performance is closest to theirs (Swiss draw). There will be a lag in most draws, meaning there is no waiting time between games. For the last few games, there will be no lags - hence it will take longer to finalise those draws. There will be resets (with repeats) after games 10 and 17. It is possible that you could play one opponent 3 times. (Gibsonising is not required, as there is no final playoff.)
TIME: 25 minutes per player
RULES: WESPA version 2
DICTIONARY: Collins Scrabble Words 2012 (CSW)
CHALLENGE: free challenge (ie no penalty for challenging correct words)
RATING: This tournament will be WESPA-rated
ELIGIBILITY: You must be born 1/1/1996 or later. Passports or ID cards will be checked for birth dates
QUOTAS: this year, we are trialling a new system re quotas. Any country which is not a WESPA member may send 2 players, without paying an entry fee. Players in excess of 2 will pay an entry fee equivalent to US$100. If you want to send more than 2, consider joining WESPA (it will be more economical). Dubai, being the host country, may send 20 players, without paying an entry fee. Dubai players in excess of 20 will pay an entry fee equivalent to $US100. All WESPA countries may send up to 10 players, without paying an entry fee, provided those names are submitted to the organiser by 30th September 2013. Players in excess of 10 will pay an entry fee equivalent to US$100. National Associations will decide which players gain free entry.
COST OF WYSC: There is no entry fee for players who have qualified to represent their country (see above). However, all players (or their associations) must pay for their own travel and accommodation.
ENTRY FEE: for non-qualifying players, and non-quota players - US$100. These fees are used to help provide this event for your enjoyment, covering some of our costs. You are therefore encouraged to send as many fee-paying players as possible!
LATE ENTRY FEE: Any players entered after 1st October will pay a late fee (equivalent to US$50), to help us fund expenses, as well as compensate for the extra work and inconvenience caused by late entries. That means, if you do not qualify for your national team, and enter late, you need to pay US$150 - being $50 late fee, and $100 entry fee for being a non-qualifying/ non-quota playing
QUALIFYING: National associations will establish local qualifying criteria (which vary between countries). Countries should set their own criteria and quotas for receiving local subsidies, and let me know if they are sending "non-qualifying" players, who should also pay an entry fee. Countries may wish to do something like Australia, (see this link) where players are chosen from those who compete in adult tournaments rather than those who restrict themselves to school events. Currently, only three have qualified. These three will be offered some financial assistance from Australia's national Scrabble association, for their fares/ accommodation. The remainder are welcome to compete, but will need to pay an entry fee, plus all their own fares and accommodation (unless they reach the criteria before 31st July)
NON-QUALIFYING PLAYERS: If you don't qualify to represent your country, you are welcome to pay an entry fee (US$100). We expect you will have some tournament experience (eg know all 2-letter words, score accurately, finish your game within 25 minutes, score around 250 to 300 minimum). You must also pay for your own accommodation and travel. Such players are treated the same as their qualifying countrymen - they will receive the same free t-shirts, tile bags etc, and will be eligible for all prizes. (Their results will *not* be used to calculate any future national quotas, unless they finish ahead of a qualifying player from their country.)
BEGINNERS: Please, for the sake of everyone else, if your child is a beginner, ensure they can score accurately - this single issue causes the most problems for organisers! Just to stress - no competent child player will be excluded from WYSC. If they fail to qualify for their own country, they can enter by paying an entry fee (and subject to supplying some information about experience). This obviously excludes young players banned from playing in WESPA tournaments because of unethical behaviour anywhere in the Scrabble world. In summary - if you want to compete, first contact your national Scrabble association. If the association cannot help, please contact me to make arrangements (and be prepared to pay $US100 to secure a place for you).
ENTRY DATE: Enter/ reserve your place by 30th September latest. Anyone entering after 1st October will pay a late fee of US$50. This is in addition to the US$100 entry fee, if applicable. Late entries will not appear in the souvenir booklet.
TEAM PRIZE:We are introducing a new prize, for the best team. That will be decided by adding results of the highest three finishers from each country, regardless of whether these are fee-paying entries or free quota. Therefore, each country should aim to enter a minimum of three players.
PRIZE STRUCTURE: trophies (plus, in some cases, prize-money) for
PLACING - the top 10 finishers
AGE GROUP CHAMPIONS - best player born 1/1/1998 or later, 1/1/2000 or later, 1/1/2002 or later, 1/1/2004 or later, and 1/1/2006 or later (players may receive more than one award - eg if you are aged 9, and finish overall 10th, you could receive 3 age awards, plus the 10th place award. In 2011, an 11-year-old won the Championship, hence taking out all except the under-10 award. Additional "age" awards may be made, if this happens again.
ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD - youngest player finishing in top 25 (usually someone aged about 12)
HIGH WORD and HIGH GAME
BEST NOVICE (who has not competed in WYSC before) and
BEST PLAYER FROM A NEW COUNTRY (eg Turkey, Malta, China)
BEST NATIONAL TEAM: Results will be totalled for the top 3 finishers from any one country. This excludes countries with fewer than 3 players (paying or non-paying).
OTHER EVENTS:Young players are invited, and encouraged, to participate in other tournaments being held either before, or in conjunction with, WYSC. This is an excellent way to improve their game, as well as overcome jetlag, if travelling from a different time-zone.
PRINCESS CUP BANGKOK (23rd and 24th November) - This is another Youth event for players born 1/1/1993 or later. This tournament has big prize-money. There is also an adult section (Collins) with less prize-money, but the opportunity to play Thailand's best (average WESPA rating ~1900). Both junior and senior tournaments will be internationally rated. Full details are on WESPA website tournament calendar. Cheap flights are available from many Asian cities to Bangkok, with Air Asia/ Jetstar/Tiger. European airlines who do cheap flights to Bangkok include Air Berlin and Swiss Air. KLM/Air France are also reasonable.
PRAGUE: It is anticipated that the World Scrabble Championship will be held in Prague sometime on/after 29th November. You may like to arrive in Europe early, to get yourself on a reasonably level time zone (3 hours difference between Prague and Dubai). There will be a side-tournament to WSC, which will include a variety of worldwide players of all abilities. It will be WESPA rated. (NOTE: at the time of writing this, nothing has been announced re WSC - we are just working on hearsay. Please check these details before booking flights to Prague. An announcement is expected by mid-May)
DUBAI WORKSHOP (Monday 9th December) for young players - beginners or experienced - run by Alastair Richards and Karen Richards. Tentatively scheduled for 1pm to 6pm.
DUBAI FUN DAY (Tuesday 10th December) See some of both the old and new Dubai. Maybe in the morning, we can organise a short bus tour through the centre of Dubai, past Burj Khalifa (the world's tallest building) then on to the indoor ski slope, which is surrounded by a large shopping mall. Those not skiing may wish to shop. In the afternoon/ evening, a desert tour can be arranged (includes a traditional bedouin meal). Details of any planned tours (prices etc) will be available closer to the event.
DUBAI SIDE TOURNAMENT (12th to 14th December) will be held at the same time as WYSC, for any adults wanting to compete. This will be 22 games (finish lunchtime Saturday), open format, with multiple resets, so that you may play the same opponent 3 or 4 times. This will make it suitable for all levels of player, as if effectively handicaps the top players. It will be WESPA rated. This tournament is adjacent to WYSC, so parents can still be "there" for their offspring. For more details, or to enter, email me closer to the date. The closing date for this tournament will be Wednesday 11th December. Bring your own equipment, if possible, plus score sheets. Send entries to email@example.com
GETTING THERE / GETTING AROUND:The national airline for Dubai is Emirates. Emirates Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world, and highly recommended, if you can get well-priced sale fares. (One strange thing you might discover when booking flights, is that it may be cheaper to fly somewhere else, and then have a stopover at Dubai, rather than fly just to Dubai. For example, we intend to visit Prague first, then back to Australia with a stopover in Dubai, saving us $400 each in airfares. This may be because the first portion of this flight is in November rather than December.) Most other international airlines fly to Dubai. When I last checked, Thai Airways and KLM/AirFrance were the most economical. There is only one international terminal in Dubai, but with separate sections for Emirates versus all other airlines (Terminal 1). The Emirates end (Terminal 3) is ginormous, so will take you longer to extricate yourself on arrival. Other international airport hubs in United Arab Emirates (eg Abu Dhabi) provide coaches from their international airports to Dubai (eg Abu Dhabi to Dubai is 1.5 hours). This means that you may like to use Royal Brunei Airlines. Etihad is another excellent AUE airline.
FROM THE AIRPORT: Taxis are available to the venue. They will cost approximately US$10 to $$15, and take 15 to 20 minutes. Print out a map showing the venue, to show the driver. Also, have Nikhil's phone number available for the taxi driver if necessary.
VISAS: Check what is required (many of you won't need any). If you need documentation to support a visa application, please contact me early - by end September if possible. Last year, a number of players missed WYSC because they did not apply for visas early enough.
ACCOMMODATION: The Etisalat Academy has residence facilities and rooms have been reserved as a group booking for WYSC. We will give you details of how to book these. Rooms are either single or double. If you are travelling with your family, please specify if it is important to have adjoining rooms. Cost of rooms will be approximately US$70-75 per night, and includes breakfast. Extra nights are available before and after the event for the same price. There is free WiFi in the hotel, plus use of all facilities, including health clubs and sports amenities. Please check whether children are allowed to use these facilities, with/without adult supervision.
FOOD: There is a dining room plus cafeteria at the venue. Otherwise, it is a short taxi ride to a large mall, where you will get any type of cuisine you desire. The most popular are American fast food, Arabic, Indian and Pakistani. Taxis to the mall will cost approximately US$6. Some local eateries will deliver to the hotel within 30 minutes. (More details of food options will be available on arrival - this is just a guide so that you can picture what is possible.) From my experience, food prices in Dubai were halfway between the more expensive UK/US/Australia, and the very cheap Asian countries like Malaysia/Singapore/Thailand.
DUBAI WEATHER: Although Dubai is a hot country, this will be their winter. Hence temperatures will mostly be around 25 degrees Centigrade, quite pleasant, but could cool off at night, particularly if you do the desert tour. (ie summer clothing required, with one light jacket)
LOCAL CUSTOMS: Although Dubai is a Muslim country, there are a large number of expats working and living there. It is also a top tourist destination, and they want to keep it that way, so are very friendly to tourists. We felt very welcome there - it is not as restrictive as most Arab countries. Every year we have a few parents who will not take their children to whatever country we choose, because of their fears - eg I know of some players who could not go to UK because of fears of terrorism. As a mother myself, I am very careful to choose a WYSC destination which I feel is safe, at least as safe as your home countries. I encourage you to allow your child/teenager to experience other cultures wherever possible. It will help them grow into tolerant adults (the downside is, they may develop an appetite for overseas travel, as my son has done!) You are not expected to wear anything different from the normal tourist. However, all clothing should be modest - no mini-skirts, plunging necklines, or naked shoulders. Men should not wear singlet tops or short shorts, but shorts below the knee are acceptable. Women are welcome to wear slacks/ jeans. Swimwear is acceptable around the pool. There may be some sessions where the pool is only open to females. However, after 5.30pm, it is apparently open to everyone. Alcohol is not allowed in the sports academy, but may be purchased at various bars in hotels or restaurants around the city, including near the airport. Please read about local laws and local customs, to ensure you do not offend. This is a link to a website advising Australians how to behave in the United Arab Emirates - I am sure it will be helpful for anyone. Do not let the cautions frighten you - it is a great country to visit, and every young person should experience cultures other than their own. Whatever career they eventually choose, some overseas travel will improve the quality of their work in future. In Nikhil's words "The main thing is that people should not feel as if they are coming to a completely foreign culture. Dubai is very modern in outlook, and people lead their lives here with as much social freedom (for the most part) as they do back on their home countries, unlike Saudi, Kuwait etc"
TO ENTER: contact me by 30st September 2013, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Mrs) Karen Richards
Chair, Youth Committee WESPA
(World English-language Scrabble Players Association)
SCRABBLE® is a registered trademark of J.W. Spear & Sons, England ( a subsidiary of Mattel Inc.) within Australia and the rest of the world (except North America). Within U.S.A. & Canada, Hasbro Inc (& Hasbro Canada Inc.) own all intellectual property rights to SCRABBLE@reg; Brand Crossword game.