rousson hits the eleventh
Attaining success is never easy. But succeeding eleven times, one more than that tenth-time summit that almost inevitably brings about a sense of satiety and cyclical completeness, is by all means a remarkable feat.
After winning her tenth nationals in 2015, Theresa Brousson took a two-year sabbathical from the game, which many had interpreted as her permanent retirement. But Brousson showed her undiminished grit and appetite for the game to not only make a return but to reclaim her title as the doyen of Maltese Competitive Scrabble scene.
This was undoubtedly one of the titles for which Brousson had to fight hardest. Going into her last encounter against defending champion David Delicata, with whom she was level on points, Brousson drew on all her class and experience to see off her younger rival's challenge with an unequivocal 3-0 scoreline.
While understandably disappointed with not having been able to put more pressure on Brousson during that final decisive clash, Delicata can take solace in the fact that he gave the newly crowned champion a good run for her money and that the ability gap between the two has narrowed considerably.
Former champion Charles Micallef fended off a late challenge from three time title holder Mario Saliba to claim third place. In the B1 subdivision, Moira Fenech, as expected, cruised to victory. Bottom-ranked Frans Farrugia was a distant but creditable second, just ahead of former champion Sammy Mangion, whilst Christine Strawbridge fared best in the Partial Championship.
In Division II, the initial hierarchy was maintained with the top three seeds, Dominic Borg, Albert Zammit and Anna Borg, finishing in the top three places respectively. Not so in the Partial Championship where Bryan Priest rose above the challenge of the higher-seeded Marlene Calleja and Reno Zammit, who came in in second and third respectively, to take first place.
Thanks to this win, Brousson regains the 1900+ player rating of her heyday, whilst Delicata climbs back stably to second place on the National Player Ratings List. Moira Fenech, the highest mover with +116 points, moves up the ranks from ninth to seventh whilst Bryan Priest continues his steady climb up the ratings ladder from 24th to 22nd place.
(text by Nicky Vella Laurenti, photo by Bryan Priest)