FAIRFIELD, Conn. — He’s a warrior of words, a titan of the tiles!
Tomlinson Middle School seventh-grader Jonas Brown won his division at the 9th annual New England Scrabble Championship at the Ridgefield Library in March, going on to place an impressive seventh out of 85 competitors at the North American School Scrabble Championships last weekend.
“I like math and words. I like how you have to combine them together,” Brown said of his win. “It makes it really fun.”
The 12-year-old also won a trophy for high word score, with 84 points for the word “reading.”
Brown’s mom, Kathryn Brown, taught Jonas and his older brother, Dustin, how to play Scrabble when they were young. She was looking for something a little more mentally stimulating than Candyland to play with her kids.
“It gets old,” she said with a laugh.
When the boys showed a real aptitude for the word game, she did a little Google sleuthing and found a kids’ Scrabble club at Fairfield’s own Pequot Library.
The boys joined up, deciding to try their hand at competitions about two years ago.
And competitive Scrabble is a far cry from the game you may play around the coffee table at home, Brown said. After each play, a team has about 80 seconds to add up their competitor’s last score, come up with a word and add up their own score.
“It’s very fast,” she said.
While Dustin and Jonas play Scrabble about three times a week and take time to memorize helpful words, it’s not Jonas’ main extracurricular. He also plays guitar, bass, piano, cello and ukulele.
School Scrabble competitions are open to fourth- through eighth-graders, but the Brown brothers have made a name for themselves on the adult stage, too: Two years ago they competed as a team in an adult national competition and won the children’s division. And last year Dustin placed sixth in his division at the adult competition, winning $325.
Both boys are going on to the adult Scrabble nationals in Fort Wayne, Ind., this summer.
“Who knew?” their mom said. “There’s a whole world out there!”
Pequot Library’s Scrabble Club meets on Wednesdays through May 25. It is for 4th- to 8th-graders with all levels of experience. For more information, visit pequotlibrary.org or call 203-259-0346 ext. 16.
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