Scrabble Player Profile: Andy Hoang

andyhoang-nssc2012Andy Hoang is a two-time School Scrabble Champion (in 2009 as a 5th grader and in 2012 as an 8th grader). He was also the 2013 Division 3 Nationals Champion.

He first got into Scrabble in 5th grade when friends suggested he join them at an after school Scrabble club. As the school bell had already rang, he had a minute to decide between taking the bus home and going to the club. Looking back, he feels thaandyhoang2t he’s made the right choice.

In addition to Scrabble, Andy enjoys chemistry, economics, music and sports.

For every game that he wins at the NASC 2016, Andy will donate money to the Honduras Foundation. He’s tweeting from the NASC at @RealAndyHoang.

Scrabble Player Profile: Jason Keller

Jason Keller hails from New Jersey. He is the chair of the NASPA Tournament Committee and he’s playing in Division 1 at the NASC 2016.

Jason Keller

In one of his most impressive recent plays, in the World Championship tournament last November, Jason played LEZ in the triple line against eventual champion Wellington Jighere. He later extended it to K(LEZ)MERS triple-triple for 212 points and won the game 608-369.

Jason may wish he was playing in the CSW Division since it’s represented by orange — his favorite color. Other favorite things include the word NAARTJIE#, Law & Order on TV, and a nice pastrami on rye for lunch.

Scrabble Player Profile: Craig Rowland

Craig Rowland with the Chew family.
Craig Rowland with the Chew family.

Craig Rowland has been a fan of word games since childhood and he played in his first Scrabble tournament in 1993.

Favourite Scrabble plays include: stacking AIRTIME alongside THEATER to make seven two-letter words; being down by close to two hundred points and bingoing out with a triple-triple ZILL(I)ONS to win; and playing a 714 point phony-free game.

Craig enjoys learning endangered European languages, he’s a big fan of English songstress Helen Shapiro, and you can read his travelogues, book reviews, and other musings at

Scrabble Player Profile: Marcela Kandanka

marcela kandankaMarcela Kandanka hails from Toronto. She has two School Scrabble kids, aged 12 and 14. After a few Orlando nationals, they wanted to try adult tournaments. After spending eight hours on a weekend driving /watching, she decided to join them, “for her own sanity.” She adds, “Now, I play way more than advisable for anyone’s sanity, and certainly more than my kids, though my son Will Robertson, now 19, is playing with me in these Nationals.”

Marcela is multi-talented: people have paid for her paintings; she has completed three marathons without talking; and she makes a mean Pad Thai. Look out for her in Division Three – she may be the female doppelgänger of Louis CK.

Scrabble Player Profile: Matt Canik

Matt CanikMatt Canik has been playing Scrabble since he was 12 years old, and he has grown up to become a high school Anatomy and Physiology teacher (which helps with all of those tricky science-oriented Scrabble words). When he’s not playing Scrabble or teaching, you may find him golfing, cooking, or playing Super Smash Bros.

Matt is currently on a 2-month, 5000+ mile road trip playing Scrabble across the continent during summer vacation, which has included many games with rival and friend Joey Krafchick. Over their Scrabble tournament history, Matt has scored wins over Joey by 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 points, tied him once, and accrued an overall record of 16.5-15.5 in their games – they may meet again in Division A in Fort Wayne!

Scrabble Player Profile: Mel Jordan

Throughout the 2016 North American Scrabble Championship (NASC), we will be sharing mini-bios of our players.

scrabble players
photo courtesy of Patty Hocker

Mel Jordan celebrates her birthday with Scrabble friends today! It was fate when she realized that the NYC Scrabble club met a block from her office. She played in her first tournament in July 2015 and this is her fourth tourney and first Nationals.

Interests other than Scrabble include law, and watching The Fall and The Bachelor. London is among her favorite places, and Tinder among her favorite websites.