Elaying on the thin edge of victory

He's got the second worst spread and the second worst average game scores. But far from languishing at the tail end of the provisional 36th Malta National Scrabble Championship premier division table, Sammy Mangion, a former National Champion (shown in photo), is holding his own in third place. 


Ranked seventh going into the competition, Mangion has been uncanny in his ability to eke out narrow wins even against the top players. In fact, his is the only draw recorded so far in this championship, against the third seed Charles Micallef. In the fewer occasions when this ability failed him, Mangion lost heavily even to lower-ranked opponents. 


With the championship now entering its third and final round, can Mangion sustain such a precarious albeit consistent winning pattern? Even if he does, will it be enough to fend off the challenge of Charles Micallef and Mario Saliba, two other former champions whose initially rocky campaigns are now gathering steam?


The latest in Mangion's series of narrow triumphs (a scoreline of 418-410) was at the expense of six-time National Champion and second seed David Delicata, who after running neck and neck in first place with top seed Theresa Brousson, has now fallen quite significantly behind the eleven time national champion. 


The final outcome is much harder to predict in Division II where the fast-improving Kevin Pirotta enjoys a slender lead over Anna Borg and Albert Zammit, both of whom have games in hand. Conversely, in the Division II Partial Championship, Paul Mifsud is close to clinching the title after dropping just four out of eighteen games.


Click here for a complete breakdown of provisional results.


(penned & published by Nicky Vella Laurenti, photo credit: John Chew)