Stewart Holden

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For the English footballer, see Stewart Holden (footballer).

Stewart Holden (born 5 September 1979) is a competitive Scrabble player from the United Kingdom. Holden is originally from Oxford but has resided in Belfast, Northern Ireland since 2008. He represented England at the World Scrabble Championship 2003, where he finished in 62 place, and represented Northern Ireland at the World Scrabble Championship 2011 where he finished in 28th place and achieved the highest game score of the tournament (694pts).

He is consistently ranked inside the top 50 competitive Scrabble players in the world and was the runner-up in the 2007 National Scrabble Championship.[1] Holden is an active committee member of the Association of British Scrabble Players[2] and in October 2005 established his own business, Tilefish, selling Scrabble equipment and resources; the enterprise was sold to a fellow ABSP committee member Amy Byrne in July 2008.

Holden compiles the weekly Scrabble puzzle for The Guardian newspaper.

Holden was the editor of The Scrabble Player's Handbook, a free 162-page ebook written by twelve former World Scrabble Championship participants including Andrew Fisher and Allan Simmons. The book was launched on 1 January 2013 and had been downloaded over 10,000 times within two weeks. It received widespread coverage in Scrabble media.


In 2004, Holden was the overall winner of Series 51 of the long-running British television game show Countdown. Holden won eight games to become an octochamp, including a score of 137 in his last preliminary match which was, at the time, the third highest score in the history of the programme. His eight-game score of 870 was also the third highest score since the introduction of the 15-round format in 2001.

Holden returned for the series finals as the number one seed, beating Steve Graston in the series final with a scoreline of 104-81. He was invited back for the twelfth Champion of Champions series but declined due to the conflicting dictionaries used in Countdown and competitive Scrabble affecting his performance in the latter game.[3] Since 2008 Holden has also contributed the content for a daily desktop calendar of Countdown puzzles.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ 2007 National SCRABBLE Championship
  2. ^ Association of British Scrabble Players profile of Holden - URL accessed 15/01/2013.
  3. ^ c4countdown message with Holden declaring his not taking part in the Champion of Champions series - URL accessed 05/11/06.