Scrabble world-record attempt at OUP

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Top scrabble player and Lincoln docotral student Chris May will attempt to set a new world record for the most simultaneous games of Scrabble at Oxford University Press.

On 11th June, from 2.30pm, May will attempt to play twenty eight games
of Scrabble simultaneously against a wide range of opponents drawn from
the UK tournament Scrabble community, as well as staff and students at
the University.

In order to break the record, May will play multiple games of Scrabble against his twenty eight different opponents and must win at least seventy five per cent of the games. The record attempt is expected to take between three and five hours. 

The current world record for “Scrabble – most simultaneous games” was set in India in 2007 by Ganesh Asirvatham, who played twenty five games at the same time.

However, having played Scrabble since he learned to read, May is now hoping to earn his place in Scrabble history. He has played Scrabble in tournaments in nine different countries, coming fifth place at the 2011 World Scrabble Championships in Warsaw, Poland.

The record attempt will be in aid of Assisted Reading for Children (ARCh), a local charity that aims to assist children who are experiencing difficulties with reading. ARCh volunteers use conversation, reading, activities and games, including Scrabble, to help children to become more confident readers.

Chris May commented, “Scrabble was certainly something that got me excited about reading as a child. I’m thrilled to be able to help a wonderful educational charity like ARCh by playing a game I’ve always loved. Breaking the record won’t be easy, but I can’t wait to try!”

Jane Rendle, ARCh Development Manager, said, “We wish Chris all the best in his record-breaking attempt. We are delighted he has chosen ARCh as his charity to support, and hope the event will help highlight the importance of reading as well as show how much fun can be had with words.”

One Lincoln student, who will be one of May’s twenty eight opponents in the record attempt, told Cherwell, “Chris stands a good chance of winning – he holds Grandmaster status and has been playing competitively for fourteen years. I can imagine he’s come up against some tough opponents in that time so he’s used to being put under a lot of stress. I’m not sure how that compares to four or more hours solid of playing 28 different opponents at once though – that’s enough to give anyone a challenge.”

She added, “If there’s enough coverage, I’m sure the record attempt will encourage more people to play, even if those people are limited to Oxford University students. It will probably remind people that it’s an interesting and competitive game, and might prompt them to join the OU Scrabble Society or play a few games in the pub occasionally.”

The event is open to the public.

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