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Morning Sun
  • Scrabble group growing in Pittsburg

  • Created in 1938 by an American architect by Alfred Mosher Butts, who called it “Criss-Crosswords,” and renamed “Scrabble” in 1948 by James Brunot, the game finally became popular around 1952 when Jack Straus, president of Macy’s, played it while on vacation and got hooked.

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  • Created in 1938 by an American architect by Alfred Mosher Butts, who called it “Criss-Crosswords,” and renamed “Scrabble” in 1948 by James Brunot, the game finally became popular around 1952 when Jack Straus, president of Macy’s, played it while on vacation and got hooked.
    The word game is still popular, and growing in Pittsburg, according to Dan Lee, director of the Pittsburg Scrabble Club.
    “We meet from 1 to 5 p.m. on the first and third Saturday of the month at the Pittsburg Public Library,” Lee said. “The library now sanctions us as an official club so we can put the word out.”
    He said there are 13 on the roster now, but more coming, including some from Pittsburg State University.
    “The sky’s the limit now,” Lee said. “There are a lot of recreational, dining table players out there who might be interested in coming.”
    Which brings up the issue of how many Scrabble sets  may be needed if hordes of would-be players show up some Saturday.
    “Between me, my brother Jeff and my niece, I think we could scrape up 27 boards,” Lee said. “But that’s a good problem to have.”
    Players of all skill levels are welcome, and that’s what the club usually gets.
    On this Saturday Dr. Wil Dabbs, retired physician, drove up from Neosho, Mo., to play with the club. He started a Scrabble club in Neosho, now defunct, and has played in numerous regional and national tournaments.
    “Doc is the godfather of Scrabble in this area,” Lee said.
    Ellie Walden, however, is a beginner.
    “This is my third time here,” she said. “But when I play with these experienced players, they can only bring me up.”
    Walden had a little glitch this time when she made the word “rebow,” which was challenged by her opponent, Daniel Mayfield.
    Lee checked official sources and delivered the final word. “They don’t like rebow,” he said.
    However, things like this can happen even to more advanced players.
    “I lost a game I should have won in Ardmore, Okla., on the word ‘vogues’,” he said. “Yes, it was a musical group, but it’s also a verb having to do with fashion.”
    Scrabble players need to study, to learn “bingos” or words that enable a player to use all seven of his or her own letters in one play. A player who makes a bingo receives a 50-point bonus on top of the points for the word.
    “But you also need to study all the two-letter words you can make so that you can hook them,” Lee said. “It all works hand in hand.”
    “Doc” Dabbs backs him up on that.
    Page 2 of 2 - “About 75 percent of the plays in Scrabble are words of four letters or less,” he said.
    Lee believes that Scrabble is great for helping develop vocabulary and math skills, and would like to see Scrabble clubs started in local high schools.
    “I’d be willing to donate my time to work with the students and help clubs get started,” he said.
    In the meantime, students and anybody else interested are welcome to show up at the next Pittsburg Scrabble Club meeting on March 2. Lee has some othr plans as well.
    “There’s a one-day Scrabble tournament in June at Kansas City that we’re thinking of going to,” he said.
    Anyone needing additional information about the club may call  Lee at 620-249-2574.

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