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2003 marks the fourth time that players from across the country have come to Toronto to vie for the title of Canadian SCRABBLE Champion.
Toronto has a good claim to be the birthplace of organized SCRABBLE activity in North America. In 1975, a group of Toronto players were the first to apply to register their SCRABBLE club, and the Toronto SCRABBLE Club is now the oldest and largest club in North America. In 1996, Hasbro Canada recognized that Canadian players, who had already won the top American and World titles, needed an opportunity to test their mettle against each other. Hasbro asked the late Mike Wise, a founding member of the Toronto SCRABBLE Club, and a major influence in the evolution of tournament SCRABBLE, to organize and direct the first Canadian Championship.
The first CNSC was won by Adam Logan, then a 21-year-old mathematician and reigning American Champion, who defeated English literature specialist Peter Morris, a past World Champion, in the finals to become the first Canadian Champion.
The second CNSC was held in 1998, directed by John Chew, who had finished in 10th place in 1996, but withdrew from the 1998 event in order to direct it following Mike Wise's death that year. Joel Wapnick, a music professor at McGill and past American Champion, defeated Albert Hahn, a truck driver from Calgary, in the finals. Wapnick went on to become World Champion in 1999, and is the only player to have won all three titles.
The third CNSC was held in 2000, again directed by John Chew. The finals matched 32-year-old expat accountant Ron Hoekstra of Michigan against 1996 champion Adam Logan, and Hoekstra surprised many observers by easily defeating Logan.
The fourth CNSC has attracted fifty top players from British Columbia to Newfoundland. Among them are eleven who have represented Canada at the World Championship, including two who have won it; eleven women and 39 men ranging in age from 21 to 69 and coming from all walks of life. Some have been the subject of CBC documentaries or ESPN specials, others are playing in their first championship. Two of them will climb above their peers over the weekend and face each other on the morning of Monday, December 8th, to see who will become the new Canadian Champion. To find out which, please stay tuned to www.scrabbleassociation.com.
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