More than a game… a key to a successful future

‘JJ’ Jeremy Johanson

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It’s a happy state of affairs when people, in both the public and private sectors, move positively forward to make the wishes of the Thai Nation a reality.

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For years, Khun Amnuay Ploysangngam has been a firm believer in the game of Crossword (Scrabble in other countries) as an intellectual stimulus. This popular game is giving today’s youth a fun and effective method to increase their brainpower and usage of English.

Khun Amnuay started the Crossword Club of Thailand in 1986. His first tournament had 147 players and lots of hope for a bright future. Today, there are more than 100,000 crossword players in Thailand and more than 4000 competitors at the annual grand tournament. When he first started, few people knew how to play… now game-lovers own their own crossword sets and organize their own competitions with friends.

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Parents also love to send their children to play. The Crossword Club receives more and more support from the private & government sectors, as well as His Majesty King Bhumibol and Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn.

We all know that the Ministry of Education has placed learning English very high on their list of priorities. Crossword is an excellent tool for English education. With this, a prominent member of the private sector, the Nestlé Corporation, has joined forces with the Crossword Club to promote the game, nationwide.

With the help of Nestlé, Crossword is being introduced all over Thailand.

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Last month the “Nestlé KoKo Crunch A-Math Crossword Grand Prix 2001” competition at the MBK Center in Bangkok, united Thailand’s top 400 Crossword players in 3 divisions; general public, secondary school & primary school. The primary school winner received a scholarship while the other 2 division winners received a trophy from the Ministry of Education and a plane ticket to represent Thailand in the Reno US Western Championship 2001 Scrabble competition, to be held this July in Reno, Nevada, USA.

But that was just the beginning. Nestlé and the Crossword Game Club have united with the Ministry of Education to tour 100 schools and give Crossword demonstrations on giant boards so that children may be familiarized with the game and it’s rules. Then 20 schools will participate in 5 inter-school tournaments.

This demonstration tour started last week at Assomption Primary School in Bangkok and was a big success!

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While the afternoon presentation started out very respectfully, the kids soon became so enthusiastic about the game that joyful camaraderie and excitement filled the auditorium.

After a 1-hour lesson on the general rules; point values per letter, word formation and placement on the board, counting of points per word and multiple word groups… boards and tiles were handed out and the children assembled into groups of 4 to play on their own. The entire room buzzed agitatedly, like a beehive on a hot summer day.

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Help was available from members of the Crossword Club and the kids had a great time… playing and learning together.

So that they could keep on playing and progressing with their English, each child received his own personal instruction manual outlining the rules of the game, including lists of acceptable words.

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Marc Mignon of Nestlé believes that Crossword is fun. Because it is fun, kids like to play it. They get challenging mental exercise, learning new words and thinking faster. The Ministry of Education has also recognized the value of the game to increase the English power of Thai children and this idea has met with much success.

Crossword is also very easy for everyone to play. It is a tool that can go deep into the provinces and into the countryside.

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Starting this June, Nestlé and the Crossword Game Club will also be hosting 4 regional competitions all over Thailand. Then, in November 2001 competitors will be able to come from all parts of the country, to Bangkok, to participate in the “Princess Cup”. For this event, over 4000 Crossword players will be united at Central City Bangna.

Students at last month’s Grand Prix competition praised the game highly. They said that the game has helped them with their studies, improved their vocabulary and their English. Not only is it fun, but also serious, and it gives them the necessary skills to succeed in their university studies.

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Khun Amnuay has seen the development of players who, having started at 10 years old, are now 25 years old and successful in their education and their jobs. Other than English language skills, these players have also learned skills in dealing with people and formulating tactics in business.

He now hopes that more and more children will become interested in the game and that it can be as popular as football and other sports, supporting and improving the education standard of the Thai people.

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If you love Crossword, would like information on playing, or would like to enter the competitions, you can visit:

The official Thai Crossword Game Club website:

or The English Language on-line game & dictionary website:



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