World Scrabble Championship 2019

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World Scrabble Championship 2019
19 November 2019 – 24 November 2019
Number of players46

The Mattel World Scrabble Championship 2019 was a Scrabble tournament organised by Mattel and Mindsports Academy (MSA) to determine the world champion in English Scrabble held from 19 to 24 November 2019.

The event was split into two divisions according to players' World English-Language Scrabble Players' Association (WESPA) ratings; the top division comprised some 46 players. 35 games were played on the first four days, after which the top eight proceeded to a 3-game quarterfinals, with the winners advancing to a 5-game semifinals on the same day; the top two players, defending champion Nigel Richards and 2017 champion David Eldar, played a best-of-five final the day after for the top prize of $8,000. Richards beat Eldar 3-1 to earn an unprecedented fifth world title.


The main event was preceded by a Junior World Scrabble Championship (JWSC) from 16 to 18 November that was won by 13-year-old Pakistani Syed Imaad Ali.[1] The World Scrabble Championship 2019 took place at the Riveria International Centre in Torquay, Devon, England from 19 to 24 November.[2] The prize fund for the tournament was $20,000. There were also concurrent events played in five different languages including Catalan, Spanish, French, Norwegian, and German.[3] Three former world champions participated in the main event, including four-time world champion and three-time defending champion Nigel Richards (2007, 2011, 2013, 2018), Brett Smitheram (one title: 2016), and David Eldar (one title: 2017). Former world championship finalists Chris Lipe (2014) and Harshan Lamabadusuriya (2017), alongside former North American Scrabble Championship winners Dave Wiegand (2005, 2009) and Peter Armstrong (2015), also took part in the tournament.[3]



After 35 preliminary rounds, the top eight in the 46-man division advanced to the quarter-finals. Nigel Richards, David Eldar, Harshan Lamabadusuriya, Peter Armstrong, and Dave Wiegand qualified, alongside JWSC winner Syed Imaad Ali, Paul Gallen, and Jason Keller; Brett Smitheram and Chris Lipe were knocked out of contention, finishing eleventh and fourteenth respectively.

Position Name Number of wins Cumulative spread
1  Nigel Richards (NZL) 29 +3578
2  David Eldar (AUS) 23 +1995
3  Harshan Lamabadusuriya (LKA) 22 +1698
4  Paul Gallen (NIR) 22 +1268
5  Jason Keller (USA) 22 +713
6  Peter Armstrong (USA) 21.5 +341
7  Dave Wiegand (USA) 21 +1273
8  Syed Imaad Ali (PAK) 21 +656



Quarterfinals (best of 3) Semifinals (best of 5) Final (best of 5)
1  Nigel Richards (NZL) 2
8  Syed Imaad Ali (PAK) 1
 Nigel Richards (NZL) 3
 Paul Gallen (NIR) 1
5  Jason Keller (USA) 1
4  Paul Gallen (NIR) 2
 Nigel Richards (NZL) 3
 David Eldar (AUS) 1
3  Harshan Lamabadusuriya (LKA) 1
6  Peter Armstrong (USA) 2
 Peter Armstrong (USA) 1
 David Eldar (AUS) 3
7  Dave Wiegand (USA) 0
2  David Eldar (AUS) 2


 Nigel Richards (NZL)  David Eldar (AUS)
3 1
Born 1967
52 years old
Born 1990
29 years old
Finalist and winner of the World Scrabble Championship 2007, World Scrabble Championship 2011, World Scrabble Championship 2013, and World Scrabble Championship 2018 Finalist and winner of the World Scrabble Championship 2017
WESPA Rating: 2176 (World No. 2) WESPA Rating: 2157 (World No. 3)
Round Nigel Richards David Eldar
1 392 428
2 416 402
3 496 363
4 516 463

The two finalists were New Zealander Nigel Richards and Australian poker player and real estate agent David Eldar. Both were former world champions; Richards won the world championship in 2007, 2011, and 2013, and was also the defending champion,[5][6] while Eldar clinched the title in 2017.[7][8] Richards triumphed 3-1,[9] winning three games in a row after conceding the opening game to Eldar, and became world champion for an unprecedented fifth time. Notable plays by Richard included the 140-pointer GHOSTIER and UPGAZED (106).[10] A best-of-five third-place playoff was contested by Paul Gallen and Peter Armstrong; Gallen won 3-2.


  1. ^ "Pakistan's Imaad youngest World Jr Scrabble Champion". The Nation. 20 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Mattel World Scrabble Championships". English Riviera Bid. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b "World Scrabble Championship 2019". Mattel. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Division A Round 35 Standings". Mattel. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  5. ^ "New Zealander Nigel Richards wins fourth World Scrabble Championship title". Wirral Globe. 28 October 2018.
  6. ^ Ives, Mike (29 October 2018). "Scrabble's World Champion Masters the Tiles in 2 Languages". New York Times.
  7. ^ Pempus, Brian (10 October 2017). "High-Stakes Online Poker Player Crowned Scrabble World Champion". Card Player.
  8. ^ "World Scrabble champ crowned after 74-point 'carrels'". BBC. 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Nigel defends world Scrabble title". The Nation. 26 November 2019.
  10. ^ McLean, Max (25 November 2019). "World Scrabble Champion defends crown with 'Ghostier'". The Independent.

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