Despite the country’s 40% literacy rate, Senegal considers Scrabble as important as the national soccer team, and this week hosts the Francophone Scrabble World Championships. Senegalese dominated last year’s event, the BBC reports, and hope to repeat on home turf. “Nowhere else in the world can you find such excitement and dedication to the game,” an admiring French champion says.
Senegalese players have already claimed nine world championships, and one winner’s success even earned him a post as a governmental economic adviser. Around 600 players from 21 countries are set to attend, and could need some of the 14 words in Senegal’s Wolof dialect now in the game’s dictionary. Triple word score for xalam, mon ami?