Sri Lanka’s No.1 rated player Lakshan Wanniarachchi and highest rated junior player Yeshan Jayasuriya have set a new Guinness World Record for the most number of Scrabble points scored in 24 hours.
This attempt that took place on 10 and 11 November 2012, at the Bay Leaf Restaurant Colombo 7, and was witnessed by office bearers of the Sri Lanka Scrabble League; the sole authority for scrabble in Sri Lanka recognised by the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA). Details of the record have been forwarded for assessment by Guinness World Record Committee, for the establishment of the said record.
The previous Guinness Record has been set by two Australians, by playing 195 games, during the total game period of 24 hours with a score of 170,682 points. This record established in July 2012 is yet to be verified by Guinness World Records, hence the official record in 162,171 points by Chris Hawkins and Austin Shin of UK, established in 2002. Lakshan and Yeshan eclipsed both the above records with a score of 196,525 points scored in 224 games.
The official record of 162,171 points was broken in the 185th game, approx 19 hours and 45 minutes into the attempt while the unofficial record of 170,682 points was broken in the 195th game, approx in 20 hours and 45 minutes. Lakshan scored approx 52% of the points while winning 140 games and Yeshan scored 48% of the points and won 84 games.
Lakshan (33), an experienced scrabble player has won the Sri Lankan Scrabble National Championship seven times and has represented Sri Lanka at many International scrabble competitions while Yeshan (17), who is a student of St. Thomas College Mt. Lavinia is an emerging scrabble player placed fourth at the World Youth Scrabble Championships in 2011.
Lakshan has represented Sri Lanka in international scrabble tournaments such as the Asia Pacific (Malaysia), World Championships six times, Melbourne Open, Bahrain Open, Mumbai Open, IGate International (India), and Causeway Masters Division (Malaysia). Yeshan who holds the highest rank by a Sri Lankan at the World Youth Scrabble Championship being fourth in 2011, also has been the All Island U13 champion (2005, 2007), All Island U18 champion (2010) and Schools Scrabbler of the Year (2011).
Lakshan who is employed as Relationship Manager (Corporate Finance) in Sampath Bank (which is also the main sponsor of the Guinness World Record breaking event) said, the bank has been a tower of strength, sponsoring him at both local and
International scrabble tournaments. “As an employee of Sampath Bank, I have been supported by the bank in all my tournaments both financially and morally and it was beyond my expectations.”
Scrabble is played worldwide and the game is played by 2-4 players, where you get 15x15 square board with 100 letters. Frequency of the letters is based on the distribution in the English Language. The two players in a tournament will pick the letters in the shape of tiles at random and make words according to the letters that they have picked. Each letter has certain number of points and the aim of the game is to accumulate more points than your opponent.
According to Lakshman, for a person to start playing the game of scrabble, he or she should possess a general knowledge in English Vocabulary and the scrabble board. To become a competitive player, he believes in sourcing knowledge through studying methods, computer programs, playing against top players in the country, and constantly rehearsing the game.