A mathematical war of words.
Zobo (a type of Himalayan cattle) could not quite triumph over qanat (an irrigation channel), and the contestant was birsled (scorched). So ended the eighth World Scrabble Championships in London in November. Adam Logan, 30, a mathematician from Canada, became the new world champion, defeating Pakorn Nemitrmansuk of Thailand, 465 to 426. Over four days of triple-letter scores and obscure words, 102 players from 40 countries competed for a top prize of $15,000. Ironically, numerical skill can be more important than verbal skill in Scrabble. "You don't have to have a good vocabulary," says John O'Laughlin, 25, a player from Wisconsin. "It's a mathematical game." The previous champion--Panupol Sujjayakorn, 21, of Thailand--wen with an encyclopedic memory of Scrabble's official word list, but had a limited command of spoken English.