Cheering for Team India won’t stop with the Olympics this year. For the first time, India makes her presence felt at the 8th World Rummikub Championship, represented by 21 year-old Odisha resident, Upendra Kumar Sahu.
Sahu, a gaming enthusiast and MBA student currently based in Bangalore, stumbled upon Funskool’s Rummikub, a tile-based game that follows the pattern of the card game Rummi, on one of his trips to the store to pick up more games. As luck would have it, the Indian Rummikub competitions were on and despite it being the first time Sahu had ever played the game, he went on to defeat 80 contenders and emerge the Indian champion.
Sahu will now face players from across the globe at the tri-annual World Championships being held in Sicily, Italy, this November. “It was an awesome experience competing with people from different parts of India and winning the championship title.
While playing I never thought of winning the title, I was just enjoying myself and was concentrating on the game. After winning I felt like I was flying in heaven,” he gushes. A tile based game for two to four players, Rummikub is based on the card game Rummy and is also known to include features from Dominoes, Mahjong and chess. It involves simple mathematical calculations, strategic manipulation of tiles and quick thinking.
He has now enlisted the help of his two brothers to prepare for the upcoming challenge. “The only thing one needs to do to win any kind of game is practice. Everyday I spend an hour practising with my brothers. I hope this will help me to win the championship title for India,” he says. Does he have any cards up his sleeve for the big game? “I haven’t planned any strategy yet. I will just play the same way I did it for the Indian title and enjoy my game,” he says. “The only thing I’m planning to do is remain calm, which is the most important thing when playing a game like this. Rest assured, I will try my best to win the title for India,” he says.
While Sahu aims to become a successful businessman in the future, he is sure of Rummikub’s success amongst Indian gamers. “Rummikub is a really awesome game, and in time as more people come to know of it, it’s going to become really popular indeed,” he says. Here’s hoping Sahu finishes top of the clean sequences at the games.