Top Banana

11 year old Solomon Kendrick crowned TOP BANANA 2017

Eleven-year-old Solomon Kendrick of Aldrington CE Primary School in Hove, has beaten 50,000 other children to be crowned Top Banana at the 2017 BANANAGRAMS Challenge Grand Final in London on Saturday 29th April.

This was Solomon’s second attempt at being crowned Top Banana, as he also made the final in 2016. This year, he 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.

“I can’t believe it,” said Solomon, having scooped the trophy and £1,000 for his school. “I was so relieved just to get through the semi final so it was amazing to win. My letters at the start of the final were quite easy. I had a lot of vowels, so I kept using them up. Then I just kept going and going. I couldn’t stop. I was in control.

“I came here thinking I wanted to play as I normally play and just have fun playing Bananagrams, It’s been a really great day and I’m so happy I won.”

Solomon made it all way to the final at last year’s Challenge before finishing runner up, and reveals the secret to his success this year is lots of practise and a slightly new tactic. “I haven’t really changed too much of my strategy, apart from making my grid diagonal. It makes it easier for when you come to putting your peeled letters into your grid. Other than that, I just kept practising and practising, getting better and better.”

And to future Challenge competitors, Solomon has a word of advice. “Read The Little Book of Bananagrams,” he stressed, “It really helped me. I learnt all the two letter words and the book also taught me some words I didn’t know the meaning of.”

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, “”The day was fantastic and all the players held well deserved places at the final. After a tense few rounds I was so pleased to see Solomon, having defended and return to hold his position in the top 12 from last year, become 2017’s Top Banana! He has great technique when building his word grids, is super fast and is a very worthy winner!”

Check out photos from the day here…