icallef shoots to emphatic win in summer day tourney
There are two reasons that make the word EPINASTY a most fitting epithet for Charles Micallef. (seen in photo)
The first reason is that it is arguably the word that won the one-time National Champion the Santa Marija 1-Day Tournament, the only tourney of its kind to be organised this summer by the Malta Scrabble Club. Micallef hooked a very nice rack to a Y floating just short of a double-word premium to score a 4-timer worth 98 points, overcome his main rival and eventual runner-up, Nicky Vella Laurenti, in a game that was both close and closed, and win the tournament unbeaten.
The second reason why EPINASTY describes Micallef so pithily is to be found in the meaning of this rather obscure word. The online Collins Scrabble Dictionary defines it as the "increased growth in the upper surface of a plant part". Growing into a formidable competitor is what Micallef has been doing since joining the Malta Scrabble Club and taking up competitive Scrabble seriously and steadily in 2007, going on to claim his first national title nine years later. Undoubtedly, his very knowledge of this word stems from the rigour and zeal with which Charles has been building his word power over the years.
Micallef's vertical growth is set to reach new heights with his first participation in a World Scrabble Championship, the 2019 WESPA Championship to be held in Goa, India, later this year. It will be interesting to see how Micallef fares in relation not only to the mighty and multifarious opposition from over twenty countries but also to his more experienced and Scrabble-mature compatriots Theresa Brousson and David Delicata, who will also be representing Malta in this elite event.
Third on five wins in the Santa Marija 1-Day Tournament was Josephine Mayo. Albert Zammit pulled off an extraordinary feat to finish fourth, three places higher than his initial ranking, and take home the Ratings Prize.
Now back in the high 1700s, it is only a matter of time before Micallef's national player rating reaches past the 1800 mark and before the ongoing epinastic process allows him to stand shoulder to shoulder with Brousson and Delicata.
(penned & published by Nicky Vella Laurenti, photo credit: John Chew)