WORD wizard Mark Nyman is on the look out for the next Scrabble world champion – and he hopes to find them in Knutsford.

The 42-year-old won the world championship in 1993 in New York and has competed on an international level eight times.

Now he has started a Scrabble club to pass on his top tips to people in the town.

Mark, who used to work with Carol Vorderman and Richard Whiteley on Countdown, said: “The group is open to all ages and abilities.

“But I want the younger generation to get involved with this as it’s impressive how quickly they pick things up. Ultimately, I’d like to find a future world champion.”

Mark started the club last week and told the Guardian that one woman gave him a run for his money.

“She nearly beat me,” he added.

“She used to play at Sale Scrabble Club and had a lot of experience and was very good.

“But I must stress it’s fun and not competitive and you don’t have to play me necessarily.”

Mark, who has two children Max, five, and Kizzy, four, also teaches Scrabble to nine-year-olds at Lower Peover School and hopes to get a competition going between other schools in the town.

He said: “I’m bowled over by their enthusiasm. They often play boys against girls so there’s an extra competitive edge.

“It helps with adding and they’re learning words along the way.”

Mark says that one of the first things aspiring Scrabble players learn is how to use two-letter words to best effect.

For example, the word ‘zo’, which means a humpback yak from the Himalayas, can be worth as much as 62 points.

Mark also says he is surprised when people he teaches ask for his autograph because he’s a former world champion.

He added: “I’m aware that the label can be intimidating but I want to be their buddy and help them along.”

Knutsford Scrabble Club is held on Thursdays at 7.30pm at the Angel Hotel in King Street.

If any schools would like to talk to Mark about visiting the pupils, email nnymans@aol.com