A Scrabble lover tasted a lot more than humble pie when a bet backfired on him at the world championships.
Daniel Stembridge promised to crawl across the floor and kiss a top Scrabble player’s feet if he managed to win the world title in France.
Daniel, from Morecambe, was left having to keep his word after top wordsmith Brett Smitheram triumphed in the event in Lille.
In front of a delighted crowd at the Grand Palais, Daniel got down on his hands and knees, crawled up to the new champion and planted a kiss on his foot!
The moment was captured on video but Daniel, 43, took his embarrassment in good grace.
“Brett had been talking up his chances for some months before even a tile was drawn,” said the dad of two, who edits Scrabble magazine OnBoard.
“He’d been telling everyone how he was going to be the world champion. He was so cocksure, I made this ridiculous promise.
“So I made an announcement that should Brett win, I would crawl across the Grand Palais and kiss his feet. It seemed like a good idea at the time. There was no way I could go back on it in front of the audience and the watching world.”
Smitheram made a shaky start and Daniel’s bet looked safe. But then the Londoner made an incredible recovery, winning the majority of his remaining games over the course of the tournament before triumphing over fellow Brit Mark Nyman 3-0 in the final.
The 37-year-old scooped a 7,000 euro first prize for using such unusual words as ‘braconid’ (a parasitic wasp), ‘periagua’ (a canoe used by American Indians) and ‘zorinos’ (skunk fur).
Daniel, a Scrabble enthusiast who co-founded the Facebook Scrabble League in 2013, was working at the event as a reporter for tournament organisers Mindsports International.
The former Lancaster Road and Morecambe High pupil is known in world Scrabble circles for his witty words when writing about the popular word board game.