Scottish Scrabble® Committee


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The current committee of the SSA comprises Neil Scott (President), Simon Gillam (Secretary), Ross Mackenzie (Treasurer), Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Marion Keatings and James Squires.

The minutes of the most recent committee meetings appear below, together with important decisions from previous meetings.


You can phone the SSA on 0131 339 2614 or you can email the Secretary

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16 May 2016

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Present: Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott and James Squires.
Apologies: Margaret Armstrong

1. Matters arising from the last meeting on 17 May 2015

A) Ross agreed to provide assistance to Marion in setting up TSH for the Scottish Round Robin, including possible inter-division matches.

B) Simon had liaised with Alan to coordinate the website list of rated players with the SSA membership list, but had not yet updated to remove inactive players, who would be invited to apply to continue as members if they wish. He had not yet contacted clubs to see whether they wish to be members.

C) Simon had maintained the Scottish peak rating system to March 2016, but the results were not required. It was agreed not to continue regular updates in 2016-17 and instead get data retrospectively from the new ABSP system if required for 2017.

2. Financial report for 2015 and expenditure in 2016

A) Ross's financial report for 2015 had been sent to committee members. The surplus for 2015 had been £218, mainly because of a larger than planned surplus at the 7-game event; the closing balance was £1066. It had been agreed that Kenneth Ross would carry out the independent examination.

B) In 2016 the Scottish Open would run at a loss, because numbers were lower than hoped.

C) There are no international events in 2016 for which SSA is providing financial assistance. It was agreed to have a fund-raising quiz towards possible financial assistance for players going to the 2017 WESPA championship.

3. Any other business

A) It had been agreed that Tweedbank in July 2016 will be under SSA auspices. Amy is looking into the possibility of an additional event in Nethy Bridge in September or October. Simon had not made any progress in investigating possible new venues, apart from ruling out the Glen Pavilion in Dunfermline. Committee members suggested various other possible venues.

B) Amy reported that there would be an ABSP initiative to get more children playing. We will want to participate, and benefit from their advice.


17 May 2015

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott and James Squires.
Apologies: Amy Byrne

1. Matters arising from the last meeting on 11 May 2014

A) No SSA magazine had been produced in 2014. It was agreed to stop producing them.

B) It was noted that only £100 SSA contribution was required for the Commonwealth event, rather than the £400 budgeted, because of donations received.

C) The constitution was drafted, and approved at a General Meeting on 16 May.

2. Financial report for 2014 and expenditure in 2015

A) A summary financial report for 2014 had been prepared by Ross and copied to committee members in January; it showed a balance of around £850 at end-2014, no change over the year. There were no comments.

B) A surplus of around £150 was forecast for 2015, if there were no contributions to international events.

C) It was agreed not to make any contribution to Scottish players at the WESPA championship in Australia in November 2015.

3. Any other business

A) Neil intended to start a small scrabble class in Aberdeen. This was welcomed, and it was agreed that it could be under the SSA auspices.

B) Neil advised that he intended to step down as TD of the Scottish Round Robin from 2016. Marion agreed to take over as TD, with help on the computing.

C) It was agreed that two players who were not automatically SSA members under the new constitution should become members. Any further applications could be dealt with by email.

D) Simon will check with known clubs to see whether they wish to be members.

Addendum

After the meeting, it was agreed to continue the peak rating system from April 2015 to March 2016, to select Scottish representatives for any international individual and team events in 2016. The only change is to reduce the required number of games for individual qualification to be the same as for teams, a total of at least 60 in the year with at least 15 in each 4-month period


11 May 2014

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott and Kate Surtees.

1. Matters arising from the last meeting on 16 June 2013 and other decisions taken

A) Decisions had been taken since the last meeting on a replacement player for Six Nations 2013 and on possible qualification for Scrabble Champions Tournaments 2014 and 2015 and team tournaments 2015.

B) No SSA magazine had been produced in 2013 (or 2012). Amy and Ross agreed to consider producing one in late 2014 if there was likely to be suitable material.

2. Financial report for 2013 and expenditure in 2014

A) A summary financial report for 2013 had been prepared by Ross and copied to committee members in January; it showed a balance of around £850 at end-2013, a surplus of £55 for the year. In total £350 had been contributed to the Scottish players at Scrabble Champions Tournament 2013 and Six Nations 2013. There were no comments.

B) It was agreed that there should be no contribution to Scottish players in the Scrabble Champions Tournament 2014, as entry is open to all, and there will be no Six Nations event in 2014. For the Commonwealth Scrabble Team Championship 2014 to be played in August in Clydebank, it was agreed to contribute £400 plus additional money from quizzes and other fund-raising. Amy will remind ABSP that they had offered to help in fund-raising for the event. It was also suggested that WESPA may be able to assist.

3. Any other business

A) Amy indicated that she wished to step down as Chair but was willing to remain on the committee. Kate indicated that she wished to leave the committee. It was agreed that these changes would take effect after the Commonwealth event in August. Before then, Simon will redraft proposals for the SSA constitution, taking account of the recent Irish experience, and issue them for comments from the committee and then from Scottish players more widely.

B) It was agreed that the SSA's attempt to co-ordinate the 2014 Scrabble calendar for Scotland was worthwhile, and should be repeated for 2015. It was noted that many events have reduced numbers, and there was some discussion on what formats of events would attract more players.


16 June 2013

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott.
Apologies: Marion Keatings, Kate Surtees.

1. Matters arising from the last meeting on 27 May 2012

A) Schools Scrabble: There had been a recent email contact from Albyn School in Aberdeen, about a possible Scrabble tournament for their school. Neil had volunteered to liaise with them, but no reply had been received yet.

B) No SSA magazine had been produced in 2012. Amy and Ross agreed to aim to produce the next for November 2013.

C) It was agreed that the Glenrothes tournament planned for 28 September should again be under SSA auspices, and Simon offered to be TD.

2. Financial report for 2012 and expenditure in 2013

A) A summary financial report for 2012 had been prepared by Ross and copied to committee members in January; it showed a balance of around £800 at end-2012, a deficit of £55 for the year. Over £300 had been contributed to the Six Nations hosted by Scotland; almost two-thirds of this had come from quizzes complied by Ross rather than general funds. There were no comments.

B) It was agreed to contribute £50 from SSA funds to each of the five Scottish players in the Scrabble Champions Tournament (previously World Scrabble Championship) in Prague in December 2013. There would be no financial contribution to the Scottish team for the Six Nations, to be hosted by England in November 2013. Ross agreed to produce more quizzes, this time to support general SSA funds.

3. Commonwealth Scrabble Championship 2014

A) The SSA had suggested to the ABSP that a Commonwealth Scrabble Championship could be organised in the Glasgow area around the time of the Commonwealth Games. Simon and Amy had liaised with Steve Perry, ABSP chair, and also received advice from John Chew. The suggested format was similar to Six Nations but for teams of 3 players, duration 4 days in August 2014, possibility of individual entries from countries unable to raise a team. Steve Perry had offered to consult Commonwealth countries to establish the level of interest, but nothing had been heard yet.

B) Neil suggested that it could be a world event, rather than Commonwealth; after discussion it was agreed to leave both possibilities open. He favoured only having country teams, not individuals or composite teams; this was also left open. Simon agreed to contact Steve Perry to establish whether any progress had been made, and to offer SSA assistance. A posting on world scrabble could also be done, to assess interest. Amy agreed to draft material that could be used to approach potential sponsors.

C) If a team event is arranged for August 2014, it was agreed that Scottish selection should be on the same basis as for Four/Six Nations, but with qualifying year from April 2013 to March 2014.

4. Any other business

A) For the Scottish Masters, it was agreed to keep the number of players and qualifying conditions unchanged, but to change to have 3 rounds of king-of-the-hill after the round robin, giving a total of 14 rounds. Amy agreed to check potential MSI tournament dates in February 2014, so that the Scottish Masters could avoid clashing with the MSI event and Israeli Open.


27 May 2012

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott, Kate Surtees

1. Matters arising from the last meeting on 26 June 2011

A) There had been an informal meeting of five committee members on 30 October 2011 to review progress.

B) The ABSP only had one active school contact in Scotland, and Amy had two other contacts from her efforts in 2009. It was agreed not to pursue the possibility of a Scottish youth scrabble event at present.

C) An SSA magazine had been produced for November 2011, and it was agreed to produce the next for November 2012.

D) Arrangements had been agreed to expand the Four Nations event for 2012, to include Malta and Israel, in a 20-game round robin between 6 teams. It will be held 31 August to 2 September, at the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre in Clydebank. Some sponsorship and donations had been attracted, and it was hoped to raise more, linked to live streaming on Scrabcast.

2. Financial report for 2011 and expenditure in 2012

A) A summary financial report for 2011 and notes had been prepared by Ross and copied to committee members in February; it showed a balance of around £850 at end-2011 and projected surplus of around £150 in 2012 (assuming no contribution to Four Nations). There were no comments.

B) It was agreed to contribute £250 from SSA funds to the International Team Tournament 2012 (expanded Four Nations).

3. World Scrabble Championship 2013 Qualification

A) It was agreed to follow ABSP in splitting ties on most recent peak, then highest peak (instead of splitting on highest peak).

B) It was agreed not to follow ABSP in introducing requirements for a minimum number of games in non-invitation events.

C) After a vote, it was agreed by a majority: to extend Scottish WSC 2013 qualification to those with at least one Scottish-born parent, on the same basis as those Scottish by birth, requiring notification by end-July 2012 from any player not qualifying by residence who wishes to be considered by Scotland; and to increase the required minimum number of games played in Scotland from 30 to to 40, with the intention of increasing it again to 50 for WSC 2015.

D) It was confirmed that the qualifying year runs from April 2012 to March 2013, and agreed that all other qualifying criteria should be as for WSC 2011.

Any other business

A) Actions being taken (for League, SILK and other events) in consequence of the ABSP ban affecting a Scottish player were confirmed.

B) A new event in Glenrothes on 22 September 2012 was welcomed.


26 June 2011

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott, Kate Surtees

1. Matters arising from the last meeting

A) Amy recommended that another attempt be made to organise a Scottish youth scrabble event in autumn 2011. She would provide a list of school contacts and in September Simon would try to establish what timing would best suit schools.

B) An SSA magazine had not been produced yet in 2011. Amy and Ross would collaborate to try to produce one for August.

C) Amy recommended that we pursue the possibility of expanding the Four Nations to invite other teams when it is next Scotland's turn to host (in 2012). This could involve up to 10 teams (e.g. adding Malta, Israel, Rest of Europe, N America, Rest of World), giving 36 games over 4 days, and could be attractive if scheduled next to another major event in UK. This would require investigation of potential interest from other countries, sponsorship, venues, etc. Amy, Neil, Ross and Simon agreed to serve on a sub-committee to take this forward.

2. Financial report for 2010 and expenditure in 2011

A) A summary financial report for 2010 and notes had been prepared by Ross in January; there were no comments. As agreed, the surplus from the 2010 Scottish Open had been used to reduce entry fees for the 2011 Scottish Open and Round Robin events.

B) It was agreed that the SSA would contribute £100 towards the expenses of each of the four Scottish representatives at the World Scrabble Championship in Warsaw (Poland) in October 2011, and £25 towards the expenses of each of the four team members for Four Nations 2011 in Ireland.

3. Any other business

Neil reported that there had been no progress on the venue for Scottish Masters 2012. Simon agreed to enquire about a possible alternative.

 
2 October 2010

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott
Apologies: Kate Surtees

1. Matters arising from the last meeting.

A) Amy had investigated Stirling University as an alternative venue, but it was not suitable on cost and unavailability in May. No other options were now being actively investigated, but any other suggestions were welcome.

B) There had been no progress in organising a schools' event.

C) An SSA magazine had been produced for sale in October. It was agreed that Amy and Ross would collaborate to produce a larger magazine for May 2011.

D) It had been agreed by correspondence that the Scottish Four Nations team for 2011 would be picked based on a peak rating system similar to WSC 2011, but with qualifying year August 2010 to July 2011. It had been decided to defer any decision on changing Scottish Masters qualification; the committee agreed to continue with the current qualification system.

E) Amy had approached Mattel about the possibility of a Scottish bid to host WSC 2011, but was advised that it would not be favoured. If sponsorship could be raised, Mattel suggested the possibility of bidding for a future world youth championship, and the committee suggested the possibility of expanding the Four Nations to invite other teams when it is next Scotland's turn to host (in 2012).

2. SILK

A) One match in a qualifying section had not been completed by end-September; it had been postponed because of illness. It was agreed that it could be played in early October.

B) The Four Nations 2010 had been arranged for a date clashing with the SILK final, which had been notified to ABSP well in advance, but had been overlooked because it was not in the published ABSP calendar. It had been difficult to find an alternative date for the SILK final, but it had eventually been agreed to hold it on 18-19 December, despite some inconvenience. Ross would host the first day and Simon the second. It was agreed that Simon should mention in his report to the ABSP committee that the clash had caused problems, and ask the ABSP to take steps to avoid a similar clash in the future.

3. Four Nations team 2010

For the event on 27-28 November in Wales, three of the Scottish team members were now confirmed. It was agreed that for the remaining place a definite answer would be required by 16 October. It was confirmed that the SSA will not be contributing to team expenses this year.

4. Any other business

A) The 7-game SSA event will be in Edinburgh (Carlton) on 5 February and Scottish Masters at the same venue on 12/13 February. Amy will be organising an event in Pitlochry in late March.

B) It was agreed to try to book Dewars in Perth for the Scottish (21/22 May, or if that is unavailable then the following weekend) and Round Robin (first or second weekend in August). Marion agreed to take entries for the Scottish.

C) The next SSA committee meeting will be at the Scottish in May 2011.

 
23 May 2010

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Present: Margaret Armstrong, Amy Byrne, Simon Gillam, Marion Keatings, Ross Mackenzie, Neil Scott, Kate Surtees

1. Matters arising from minutes of previous meeting in August 2009.

A) Amy had investigated the costs of using various hotels in Stirling as alternative venues for SSA events, but had not found anywhere suitable. She will now investigate Stirling University.

B) The schools event did not take place in October 2009. Amy would now contact some schools to try to establish the best time of year for an event and book a date. Ross and Marion offered to help in running the event.

C)  It was agreed that the 2011 Scottish Masters should have the same format as 2010, with no second section.

2. Financial report for 2009 and expenditure in 2010

Ross had prepared accounts for 2009; a summary was circulated with the agenda, showing a reduction of about £400 in the balance, mainly because of contributions to expenses of three Scottish players at WSC 2009. For 2010 it was agreed not to contribute to expenses of Scottish team members in the Four Nations, to maintain funds for 2011. It was agreed to produce an SSA magazine for sale in August.

3. WSC qualification criteria

Proposed new qualification criteria for Scottish places at World Scrabble Championship 2011, based on those adopted by the ABSP for England, had been circulated to committee members and others inviting comments. After discussion of the proposals and comments, it was agreed to adopt all the proposed criteria without any changes; these new criteria are appended to the minutes. It was noted that an additional Scottish event in the December-March period would make it easier for contenders to play the required number of games.

4. Any other business

A) It was agreed that it would be desirable to change the Scottish qualification for the Four Nations team in 2011 and Scottish Masters 2012 to adopt a similar system of averaging peak ratings, with the Four Nations qualifying running for the year to July and Scottish Masters for the year to November. These would differ from WSC by being limited to Scottish residents, and only require 60 games in total, of which at least 15 in each 4-month period. These proposals would be circulated for comment, with the aim of agreeing them by correspondence by July. These changes would not affect the Four Nations team in 2010 and Scottish Masters in 2011.

B) Amy proposed to look into the possibility of a Scottish bid to host WSC 2011. She would investigate possible sponsorship and also speak to Mattel, and keep the committee informed of progress.

Scottish Selection Criteria for WSC 2011

The new qualifying year runs from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2011, and is split into three four-month periods; April to July, August to November and December to March. Your peak rating in each period will be recorded, and the four players with the highest average peak will qualify for the team. If there is a tie, the player with the highest individual peak take precedence. If a player declines their place, their invite goes to the next in line based on these criteria.

To qualify you must:

i) be a paid-up ABSP member for the full qualifying period (NB: this period covers two calendar years).

ii) have been born in Scotland or meet the Scotland residency criteria which are:

- be resident in Scotland for the whole of the qualifying year; and
- have been resident in Great Britain (Scotland, England or Wales) for the preceding year.

Players with a claim to represent more than one nation must confirm to the SSA by the end of the first qualifying period (July 2010) whether they wish to be considered for the Scottish team.

iii) play at least 25 ABSP rated games in each period, and at least 100 ABSP rated games (of which at least 30 in Scotland) throughout the qualifying year.

 
9 August 2009

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League : It was agreed that from 2010 Scottish League matches should be submitted for rating as each result is received (similar to SILK), instead of waiting until all games are completed in each 2-match round.


17 May 2009

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Masters : The Scottish Masters had been held at the Carlton Bridge Centre. The players were happy to pay extra for the better playing conditions.

Self-adjudication : It was agreed that for each tournament it should be up to the TD to decide whether self-adjudication should be offered.

WESPA : It was agreed that at present SSA should not seek to affiliate direct to WESPA, with Scottish players continuing to be affiliated through ABSP.


8 November 2008

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SILK : It was agreed that the East and West regions will be replaced by two Central groups, with players allocated so that each group is of similar size and strength, and also trying to avoid long journeys. Two players will qualify from each Central group, and two from North, for a 6-player final.


13 May 2007

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British Team Tournament / Home Internationals - Scottish Qualification : Team selection will be based on ratings at 31 August. Participants must be resident in Scotland for the 12 months prior to 31 August (Scottish-born non-residents are not eligible) and they must have played at least 40 ABSP-rated games in that year, of which at least 30 must have been played in Scotland. It was agreed to offer £50 SSA funding towards the costs of each team member, for each year when the event is not in Scotland (as had been done for 2005 but not 2006).


13 August 2006

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World Scrabble Championship - Scottish Qualification : It was agreed that Scottish qualification by residence should be brought into line with UK and England, to be one complete year of residence preceding the year of qualification, instead of two complete years preceding the year of qualification.

 
30 November 2003

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Scottish Team Expenses : It was agreed that, in future, the SSA will not provide expenses for Scottish teams playing in UK events.

 
10 November 2002

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British Team Tournament : Neil Scott proposed that we organise a team tournament between Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales. [This has now taken place annually since 2004, Scotland winning the first two.]

 
Inaugural meeting

18 November 2001

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Function : It was agreed that the SSA would take over the organisation of the Scottish Championships, the Scottish League and the Scottish Masters.

World Scrabble Championships : Qualification criteria for Scottish representatives were agreed. The highest rated player(s) on 1 January of the year of a WSC will be selected, provided (1) they were born in Scotland or have lived in Scotland continuously for at least two and half years prior to 1 July of the year of the WSC, (2) they have played a minimum of 60 ABSP-rated games in the year prior to the year of the WSC (of which 30 must have been played in Scotland), and (3) they have played a minimum of 30 rated games in the second half of the year prior to the year of the WSC (of which 15 must have been played in Scotland).

Scottish Masters : Qualification criteria for invitation were agreed. The top 12 rated players on 1 January prior to the Masters will be invited, provided (1) they have lived in Scotland during the second half of the previous year, and (2) they have played a minimum of 40 ABSP-rated games in the previous year (of which 30 must have been played in Scotland).