9-year-old Anna beats 25,000 primary school kids to win the 2016 UK BANANAGRAMS Challenge

Seeing off stiff competition in a tense and nerve-wracking word game grand final at London’s Magic Circle on Saturday (30 April), nine-year-old Anna Bauss from North London, has beaten 25,000 other children to be crowned Top Banana at the 2016 BANANAGRAMS Challenge.

The youngest of the 12 finalists, Anna who attends Rhodes Avenue Primary School, sailed through three rounds of the addictive anagram game, BANANAGRAMS, before taking to the main theatre stage in a nail-biting last game against two other children.

“It feels really exciting, I actually can’t believe it!” Said Anna, as she accepted her specially-designed Top Banana trophy and a £1,000 cheque for her school from the game’s inventor, Rena Nathanson. “I came here today for a fun day out, not thinking I would win, but I did and it’s amazing! I’d never played the game before my school started running the BANANAGRAMS Challenge at lunchtimes but I really love it and I prepared for the final by learning lots of two-letter words. All my friends have been really supportive, and I can’t wait to get back to school to tell them all about it.”

The BANANAGRAMS Challenge is a tournament for primary schools, which sees children from Key Stage 2 compete at BANANAGRAMS – a seriously challenging yet fun anagram game which combines speed, intellect and vocabulary skills. Once each school finds its ‘Best of the Bunch’, that child heads to an online elimination round where the final 12 is decided through a series of different word games. This year, it attracted 750 schools across the country and also took place in the United States for the first time, with the US winner being crowned last month in Rhode Island. The Challenge is soon to be replicated in other territories including Australia.

BANANAGRAMS’ inventor, Rena Nathanson, who took part in a live Q&A session hosted by Deej Johnson, author of the Collins Little Book of BANANAGRAMS, at the final said, “For someone so young, and who’s only been playing BANANAGRAMS for such a short period of time, Anna is quite the expert! She’s definitely been doing her homework and played some great words in her final winning grid. It’s hard to believe she’s only nine!

“I’m thrilled with how the BANANAGRAMS Challenge continues to gather momentum and it’s exciting to see it being rolled out to other countries around the world now too. Our objective is to get more kids playing BANANAGRAMS in the classroom, using it as a fun tool to help their understanding of words and language. Registration for the 2017 Challenge is open now and we can’t wait to see more young children going wild with words next year!”

Visit www.bananagramschallenge.co.uk for further information about The BANANAGRAMS Challenge.

"We all love Bananagrams – such a fun game for all ages!"
— Cindy Crawford
"Playing Bananagrams with friends! I love this game! I was just named Bananagrams Ninja! Be afraid, I’m amazing!"
— Kelly Clarkson
"(I'm a) self-proclaimed Bananagrams champion..."
— Andrew Luck | Indianapolis Colt's Quarterback
“Why it's fun: Manages to be speedy, challenging and super-simple at the same time.”
— AARP Magazine on Zip-It
“Can you spell P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N”
— Boston Globe
“Bananagrams go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!”
— Cool Mom Picks
“Good luck prying this anagram game [Bananagrams] away from students.”
— Scholastic
“Appletters will tickle word lovers to the core.”
— Everyday with Rachael Ray
“Gotta love the Bananagrams.”
— Kathie Lee Gifford
“This [Bananagrams] is so portable, I stash it in my car.”
— Kristen Bell
“Who’s up for a round of Bananagrams, anybody?”
— Jimmy Kimmel
“I love Bananagrams.”
— Ellen DeGeneres
"Maggie Smith loves it. They'll be like 'can we have you back on set' and she's just like [imperious wave of the hand] 'not now.' "
— Lily James, Lady Rose on Downton Abbey
"...one of my favorite games ever, Bananagrams – a fun, fast,addictive word game that will become a family favorite"
— Katie Couric