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Chingford man wins World Scrabble Championship

Ben Smitheram is a recruitment consultant from Chingford in Waltham Forest Photo: PA

37 year old Ben Smitheram from Chingford is the new World Scrabble Champion after beating a competitor he has known for more than 20 years.

Th recruitment consultant said his opponent, 49 year old Mark Nyman from Knutsford in Cheshire, was one of his 'scrabble idols' when he was growing up. The pair met when Nyman was a producer on Countdown, and invited Smitheram onto the show where he then appeared more than 10 times in his teens and early 20s.

He's known me for 20 years, and at the time when he interviewed me for Countdown he said 'What's your biggest aspiration?' and I said 'I want to win the Scrabble World Championship'.

And today I beat him in order to do it. Quite a story behind it.

– Ben Smitheram, Scrabble World Champion
Mr Smitheram's top scoring word was 'Braconid' for 176 points Credit: PA

Mr Smitheram used a number of tactical plays to secure the win - including his top scoring word, 'Braconid', a type of parasitic wasp. The word initially scored 176 points, but he then gained an extra five when his opponent incorrectly challenged it.

The all-British final took place in Lille in France today Credit: PA

The top scoring words in the match were:

  • BRACONID - A parasitic wasp. 176 points
  • VARIEDLY - 'In a varied manner'. 95 points
  • GYNAECIA - A type of flower. 95 points
  • PERIAGUA - A canoe used by American Indians. 76 points

Mr Smitheram won a prize of 7,000 Euros (around £5900) after taking the title at the match in Lille, in France today. He said he had prepared for the tournament by spending up to two hours a day revising words - but was still 'speechless' after the win.