Scrabble players in Senegal have been telling the AFP news agency of their delight to be back at tournaments in person.
Coronavirus restrictions had forced Scrabble clubs to close across the West African nation – with players turning to games online.
“The in-person game is more difficult,” Malick Ndiagne, president of Senegalese Scrabble Federation, told AFP as people are not able to cheat with dictionaries during supervised competitions.
He has just organised an event in the town of Bambilor, about 40km (25 miles) outside the capital, Dakar, where 32 players had registered but another 20 turned up.
In Senegal, the French-language version of the word game is played and AFP says the country’s national Scrabble squad has been crowned African champions several times.
Unlike English, the rarest letters in French are “W” and “K” – with those tiles carry the most points.
Scrabble addict Ahmed Kane, a Dakar shopkeeper, says he speaks Wolof, Senegal’s dominant language, with his friends and family.
“Scrabble enables me to speak and learn French better,” he told AFP.
But the addiction won’t bring in huge winnings.
Mohammed Sy told AFP at another tournament: “Scrabble brings in almost nothing.
“Sometimes my wife makes fun of me and says she prefers fishing to Scrabble. At least a fisherman brings home fish.”
Featured Image: The rarest letters in French Scrabble are “W” and “K” [Photo AFP]