East Central Southern Africa Scrabble championships, Gitonga Nderitu, Muema Muumbi, Tom Mboya, Kipruto Tarus, Hillary Bushienei,
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Nderitu Gitonga retires from ECASA after victory in Gaborone

Word Warrior, the Kenya’s Scrabble team player Patrick Gitonga Nderitu has retired from playing at the East, Central and Southern Africa Scrabble Association (ECASA) championships after recording his 6th victory over the weekend in Gaborone, Botswana.

Nderitu defeated Kenya one Allan Oyende for the three day tournament played over the Easter Holiday that started on Friday to Sunday.

Nderitu and Oyende, who faced off in the last game 27, was a do or die with either of them taking the title but the last wordings put the winner on top.

“It was a tight game after he (Oyende) led in all areas and in the last minute of the last game, he played a letter that I bingled (playing all the seven letters) out and I earned a bonus 15 marks more and he was subtracted 14 points and I was the winner. I have won six titles in each country that has hosted. I won in Kenya twice, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia,” said Nderitu.

He added that he watched him play during the tournament and he was ready to shake his hand for the victory but that did not happen.

“As I watched him play, I was ready to concede and shake his hand but the last move, since we were playing together, made me. However, I regard him (Oyende) as the best player and on Sunday, it was just my day,” he said.

He explained that he has not retired from playing in other events but only from ECASA that falls in the Easter Holidays, the days he has to spend with the family back home.

“I will be playing in other events like all the national championships and World championships. I only retired from ECASA because I want to spend time with my family,” he said

Referred to as Unretired, Tripack or Gigaton said that the guy to watch is Richard Oketch, who was the team captain of Gaborone.

“We have a great future in Oketch. Oyende will dominate for sometime but watch him,” said Nderitu.

Oketch reiterated that team the Word Warriors was solid at the championships with a young team playing solid games.

“All of our players were in the top 20, meaning we are solid and ready to present the best of the best,” said the captain.

He won 19, losing 8 games to garner 1975 points ahead of Oyende’s 18 wins and 9 losses for 1271 points and David Kimani completing the podium with 967 points after recording 18 wins and 9 losses.

The champion lost the opening two games to Zambian Chipika Simanwe and Davis Apuuli from Uganda before recording the first win against Mulenga Chitundu of Zambia. He lost game 8 and 10 to Botswana’s Jared Omolo and South African Steven Gruzd respectively before going down to Oketch in game 18. Gruzd defeated Gitong again in games 20 and 21, Oyende in game 22 and 25 respectively for the title.

Top ten finishers

1.     Gitonga Nderitu (KEN) 1975 points

2.     Allan Oyende (KEN) 1271

3.     David Kimani (KEN) 967

4.     Steven Gruz (RSA) 114

5.     Richard Oketch (KEN) 691

6.     Isaac Mwape (ZAM) 478

7.     Justin Chansa (ZAM) 413

8.     Joseph Chavutia (KEN) 298

9.     Davis Apuuli (UGA) 240

10.              Bernard Amuke (KEN) 1065

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