English-language Scrabble

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English-language Scrabble is the original version of the popular word-based board game invented in 1938 by US architect Alfred Mosher Butts who based the game on the letter distribution in The New York Times in English.

The Scrabble variant most popular in English is standard match play, where two players compete over a series of games. Duplicate Scrabble is not popular in English, and High score Scrabble is no longer practised.

Although English is a worldwide language, the official list of allowable words and some tournament rules change between territories.

North America[edit]

The main Scrabble associations in North America are the National Scrabble Association (NSA) and North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA). NASPA is starting to sanction official clubs and tournaments in 2009, taking this role over from NSA. The NSA will continue to coordinate activities such as the school Scrabble program, literacy fundraisers and casual Scrabble clubs.[1]

Tournaments range from one day tournaments that are composed of only 6 or 7 games, to the National SCRABBLE Championship, which lasts 5 days and 31 games. The NSA maintains a ratings system based on wins, ties and losses, with ratings ranging from just over 2000 to under 300.[2] Larger tournaments can also carry significant prize money. The official dictionary is the Official Tournament and Club Word List. When a player challenges a word he considers to be invalid, if the word is invalid it is removed from the board with a score of zero. However if the word is valid, the player who challenged the word loses his turn.

Scrabble clubs are also run that meet on a regular basis, usually weekly or biweekly at the same venue. Players usually play a smaller number of games than they would play at a tournament.

United Kingdom[edit]

Match play Scrabble is also practised at tournament at club level in the UK. Tournaments follow a similar structure to American ones, usually at least 6 games but weekend tournaments where players play 12 to 16 games are not uncommon. The official Scrabble association the Association of British Scrabble players sanctions official tournaments with official ratings, ratings range from about 200 to about 60. The official dictionary is called SOWPODS. In contrast to American tournaments, players do not lose a move if they challenge a valid word, which in general means more words are challenged.

Hong Kong[edit]

There are only Scrabble competitions for primary and secondary school students in Hong Kong. Inter-School competitions were held by companies and organisations such as Mattel and Broadlearning. In May 2015, Hong Kong Student Scrabble Players Association organises the Inter-School Scrabble Championship. Some schools, which are active in the field of Scrabble, also organise invitational Scrabble competitions every year.

Smaller countries[edit]

Many countries have small English-language Scrabble associations. 23 countries have been represented at the World Scrabble Championship including countries where English is not an official language, like Romania, Thailand and France. Other countries that do not use the Latin script also may play in English if the language is not suitable for Scrabble, such as Japan.


  • High game (OSPD) – 830 by Michael Cresta (MA), October 12, 2006. Cresta defeated Wayne Yorra 830-490.[3][4]
  • High game (OSW) – 793 by Peter Preston (UK), 1999.[5]
  • High game (SOWPODS) – 750 by Edward Okulicz (Australia), 2004. As Edward's opponent passed without playing on the majority of his turns, this record is of debatable legitimacy. The recognised record for Australian SOWPODS play is 698 by Chris May, 2006.[6]
  • High combined score (OSPD) – 1320 (830-490) by Michael Cresta and Wayne Yorra, in a Lexington, MA, club, 2006.[3][4]
  • High combined score (SOWPODS) – 1157 by Phillip Edwin-Mugisha (Uganda) and Vannitha Balasingam (Malaysia), at the 2009 World Scrabble Championship.[7]
  • Highest losing score (OSPD) – 552 by Stefan Rau (CT) to Keith Smith's (TX) 582, Round 12 of the 2008 Dallas Open.[8]
  • Highest tie game (OSPD) – 502-502 by John Chew and Zev Kaufman at a 1997 Toronto Club tournament.[3]
  • Highest opening move score (OSPD)BEZIQUE 124 by Sam Kantimathi (CA) in Portland, OR Tournament in 1992. The highest possible legal score on a first turn is MUZJIKS, 128.
  • Highest opening move score (SOWPODS) BEZIQUE 124 Joan Rosenthal.[6] BEZIQUE 124 Sally Martin [6]
  • Highest single play (OSPD)QUIXOTRY 365 by Michael Cresta (MA), 2006.[3][4]
  • Highest single play (SOWPODS)CAZIQUES 392 Karl Khoshnaw.[9]
  • Highest Average Score (two-day tournament) (OSPD) – 467 by Joel Sherman over 11 rounds; Wisconsin Dells, WI 1997.


External links[edit]