Local champ Gitonga drops to 11th in championship

Friday November 10 2017

Kenya's Patrick Gitonga plays against against Nigel Richards of Australia in the World English Language Scrabble Players Association Championships at Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi on November 10, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Kenya's Patrick Gitonga plays against against Nigel Richards of New Zealand in the World English Language Scrabble Players Association Championships at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi on November 10, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By BRIAN YONGA
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Kenyan champion Patrick Gitonga on Friday dropped three places at the ongoing World English- Language Scrabble Players Association Championship at Laico Regency Hotel, Nairobi.

Gitonga finished 11th at the end of day three of the competition yesterday. He was eighth at the end of day two on Thursday.

The 50-year-old ended with a spread of +292, the highest placed Kenyan in the biennial global event that has brought together 118 players from 38 countries.

After an impressive second day, Gitonga was looking to break into the top five but it was not to be as he only won three out of seven rounds.

He started off the day on a wrong footing, losing to Nigeria’s Peter Moses 327–579 before bouncing back to see off American Dave Wiegand 382 – 341 to finish with a spread of +41 and then beat Sri Lankan champion Lakshan Wanniarachchi 485-406.

He lost the next three matches against Eta Karo, defending champion Wellington Jighere (both Nigeria) and world number one Nigel Richards of New Zealand. The home player would end the day with a 422 – 392 win against Great Britain’s David Webb.

Gitonga is hoping he can break into the top five places on the penultimate day of the competition Saturday morning.

“It was not such a good day but I dug in and was able to get a couple of wins under my belt and I am confident of a good show in the final rounds,” Gitonga said.

Thailand’s Jakkrit Klaphajonje assumed the overall leadership with a spread of +1133 with Richards placed second ahead of Moses with Jighere and Olaiya Kabir rounding off the top five positions.

The top two players at the end of preliminary round will clash in a best of seven in the final on Sunday.