Lancelot, the Scrabble genius


Kuria Githinji, a Scrabble genius

Within a verdant bag housing 98 alphabet letters and a pair of blank tiles, the game of Scrabble unfolds as a contest of skill and wit. Luck can be fickle, leaving players with either an abundance of vowels or grappling with the elusive Q and Z or X tiles that often confound even the most adept wordsmiths.

For Kuria Githinji, a Scrabble enthusiast, Wednesday evenings and Friday afternoons are sacred moments when he can be found in the company of friends playing the game. He says it is like an addictive intellectual rush. Playing words like “ Bezants” , “Poxiest” , “ Quackers”  leaves fellow players utterly bewildered. His highest single-word score, an astounding 134 points, occasionally surpasses the total score of some players in an entire game ( apologies to them, but we are indeed in the presence of a genius wordsmith). In fact, his record breaking total game score reached an astonishing 633 points – a testament to his exceptional wit and skill.

The year 2021 marked Kuria’s debut in a National Scrabble Tournament where he was exposed to like minded people. Fast forward to 2023, he participated in the 5th edition of the National Youth Tournament, where he secured the remarkable third position. Notably, he also earned the distinguished title of the Best University Male Student—a pair of accolades that fill him with immense pride and happiness.

Passion + Innovation = Birth of “ Etymos”

As a third-year Informatics and Computer Science (ICS) student in a world fueled by innovation and boundless creativity, he seamlessly integrated his fervor for word games with his expertise in IT to create Etymos, a platform that empowers individuals to enrich their vocabulary and can explore the fascinating linguistic roots that shape different languages. This app adds an exciting element of challenge with a 14-second timer for each try and five attempts, with each question covering a wide range of topics, from currency to cuisine and couture, creating an engaging learning experience. Within this short timeframe, users not only expand their vocabulary but also gain captivating insights about Africa and its rich heritage. A smart and engaging way to learn!

To unlock new tiles…

In May 2023, through a whatsapp text in one of his class groups, he stumbled upon an opportunity about Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) YESIST 23 convention, a platform where the students can showcase their innovative ideas. Seizing the chance with an eagerness for a challenge, he applied and, without surprise, secured his spot. Following a rigorous vetting process, he soared through and advanced to the Grand Finale! Consequently, he received an invitation to present Etymos at the Arab Academy of Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport in Alexandria, Egypt.

In alignment with our shared motto, #GoPlacesWithSU, he embarked on a journey to Egypt last month, where his project garnered an honorable mention. During this remarkable experience, he had the opportunity to engage with fellow students and enthusiasts, fostering valuable connections and knowledge exchange.

Juggling Academics, Projects, and Passions: Striking the Perfect Balance

“With countless opportunities available to explore your passions and interests beyond the classroom, understanding the importance of your academic responsibilities is key as they lay the foundation for your future. 

Navigating through it all is no easy feat. I’m grateful to God who has blessed me with a family who have played a pivotal role in keeping me on track with my aspirations. I’m also grateful to my friends who have generously shared their notes and spearheaded frequent group discussions on those occasions when I couldn’t attend classes, allowing us to unite our strengths in tackling areas that challenged us in class. 

Special  thanks to Dr. Machanje who has been very instrumental in nurturing my passion and guiding me in my academic journey. His technical advice and indefatigable encouragement have consistently fueled my motivation to strive for excellence.

While you read this…

Entrepreneurship is the way to go, no doubt about it. Opportunities are there, and the moment to pursue them is right now. Don’t wait; go for it and bring your ideas to life.”


This article was written by Jemmy Kamau. 

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