S-c-a-n-d-a-l rocked the U.S. National Scrabble Association (NSA) at their annual championships, this year in Orlando, Florida. A player competing in the third of four divisions last week cheated, though he was caught before it could lead to a victory.
Cheating is not easily done at Scrabble and there is a code of fairness among players. But in this case the offending player ignored that code and apparently the Scrabble world is somewhat shocked over it. "It's the first time it's happened in a venue this big," said John D. Williams Jr., the NSA executive director. "The Scrabble world and the internet are a-buzz."
Hiding Scrabble blank tiles
The player who cheated, he's a young player and has not been named by the NSA, did so by hiding extra blank tiles from his previous game, a win, and attempting to use them to gain points in his next game. Obviously doing such a thing would be fraught with the chance of being caught, given only a set number of each tile is included in any game, and he was discovered in the attempt, though it's unclear exactly how his ruse became known.
It's not the only advantage players will attempt to get at competitions such as this one, Williams Jr. said. Players will, for example, take minerals before playing in an effort to boost brain power and give them an edge. "We're one step away from drug testing," Williams joked. "But no steroids so far."
The winner of the tournament, and the $10,000 that comes with victory, was Nigel Richards, his third straight U.S. national championship and fourth overall.