Champion Lismore Scrabble player Adeyemi Johnson with his trusty Scrabble board and trophies.
Champion Lismore Scrabble player Adeyemi Johnson with his trusty Scrabble board and trophies. Jacklyn Wagner

Scrabble champ not lost for words

LISMORE’S new Scrabble champion, Adeyemi Johnson, hadn’t even played competitively until he entered the local tournament at the end of last month.

Not only did he breeze through the seven competition games undefeated and with the highest score, securing him the local championship, but his stunning effort has earned him a tentative master’s status from the Australian Scrabble Players’ Association.

The former journalist from Sierra Leone started playing Scrabble for fun when he was at university 25 years ago, but had never taken it seriously.

Mr Johnson and his family fled from their troubled homeland of Sierra Leone in Africa to neighbouring Guinea when hostilities intensified in 1999, eventually settling in Lismore two-and-a-half years ago.

He now works as a nursing assistant in aged care, but hadn’t played any Scrabble until he joined the local club two months ago.

“Playing Scrabble makes me really, really happy,” he said.

“We came straight here from Sydney and what amazes me about Lismore is all the smiling faces you see. That always makes my day.”

Club president Svend Grunnet recalls the humble player turning up ‘out of the blue’ and blowing them all away with his finesse.

“He is an absolutely brilliant player. He’s won every game convincingly and I’ve never seen that before,” he said.

“The association has given Adeyemi a temporary rating of 1500 – which is well and truly a master’s level – whereas I’ve just reached 1204 after playing 10 years.”

The Lismore Scrabble Club meets every Wednesday in the Lismore Workers Club at midday.



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