Scrabbling for prizes

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THE WORLD’S eyes were on Glenrothes last weekend as the town played host to a national scrabble competition.

Fans and enthusiasts from Austalia, Japan, America and from across Europe tuned in to watch as the British Matchplay Scrabble Championship was beamed live via a unique broadcast on the internet.

Some of the best UK players travelled from as far away as Preston and Durham in England to pit their wits against fellow contestants at the day-long competition held in Rothes Halls.

Glenrothes-based organiser James Wilkie has been a tournament scrabble player for eight years and has now turned his computer skills to good use by setting up the live internet broadcasts, hosting events and even securing corporate sponsorship from high street chain Specsavers.

“Everyone is delighted with how it went” said James afterwards.

“Scrabble is hugely popular and we had viewers from around the globe numbering into the thousands, so we can say we broadcast a little bit of Glenrothes to world last weekend, which is great.”

James set up ‘Scrabcast’, a live streaming Scrabble service earlier this year and has already brought a number of competitions to a wider audience, including the recent European Open held in Malta.

Said James: “Malta was a successful competition and I’ve now been asked to do the same for the forthcoming World Youth Championships in Birmingham in December and also talk of being involved in similar tournament in Prague in the new year.”

Jim’s partner Carol Ann McCann helps out with the broadcasts and told the Gazette how they are set up.

She said: “We usually use as many as seven webcams linked up to three laptops, plus a microphone, it took time to perfect but it’s proving popular with the internet audiences.”

James holds the copyright for the broadcasting network and because of its initial success is now in talks with the Eurosport television channel with the possibility of them taking future broadcasts onto the digital TV networks.

He added: “My other passion is golf, but from October through to March the Scrabble competitions will fill up most of my time, it’s really taking off, which is great for the game.”