A Solihull University & University Centre Maths lecturer is preparing to travel to America to compete against rivals from around the world in the World Scrabble Championships, with $10,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Natalie Zolty has been playing the board game since childhood, and over the past 13 years has travelled to various places in the world to compete in high-level competitions.
She is part of a 14-strong team representing England in Las Vegas, where she will face competitors from 30 different countries.
“Everyone thinks Scrabble is a word game, but it’s not! Scrabble is about probabilities, averages and points, so it helps a lot if you have a mathematical background,” Natalie says. “Most of my opponents are computer programmers, doctors, teachers and scientists.”
When asked how she prepares for the World Championships, Natalie responds, “I currently practise for at least two to three hours a day in the run-up to the competitions. Some of my competitors even do physical training before tournaments because a healthy body makes for a healthy mind.”
Natalie will play eight games a day in Las Vegas as part of the global competition, which will be streamed live to the world on YouTube and Twitch. As many as 150 competitors will participate in the tournament, which will take place at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, beginning on Saturday 22 July.
Everyone at Solihull College & University Centre wishes Natalie the best of luck!