Player cheats at US Scrabble competition
Filed under: News
The US National Scrabble Championships, taking place in Florida this week, has hit the headlines due to one of the top young players caught cheating by hiding tiles.
John Williams, executive director of the US National Scrabble Association, said a male player was ejected in round 24 of the 28-round event.
According to the Associated Press in Orlando, the cheating competitor was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the youngster conceal a pair of blank tiles by dropping them on the floor. When confronted by the tournament director, organisers said he admitted foul play.
Williams, who has served as executive director for 25 years and co-authored a book on the popular board game in 1993, said this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament. The player could not be identified because he is a minor.
Scrabble tournaments have been running in America since 1972, with the first national competition launched in 1978. The World Scrabble Championship is the most prestigious title in competitive English-language scrabble, held every second year since 1991. The current World Scrabble Champion is Nigel Richards from New Zealand, who won the title and $20,000 (£12,752) prize fund at the 2011 event held in Warsaw.
The number of players competing in the tournament has risen steadily from 48 in 1991 to 106 in 2011. A set number of places is allocated to each competing country and the national associations in each country must determine which of their players will represent them. This is typically done through a national ratings system; qualifier tournaments or a combination of the two.
Players accumulate points during one-on-one Scrabble matches by pulling random letter tiles from a bag of 100 and trying to create words. The winner of the 350-player US National Scrabble Championships tournament receives a top prize of $10,000 (£6,400).
The ejected player at the event this week had finished a previous game and failed to reinsert the blank tiles, which can be used as wild card letters, back into his bag in an attempt to use them at his discretion in the next game, organisers said.
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