ORLANDO, Fla. — One of the top young Scrabble players in the country has been kicked out of the game’s national championship tournament in Florida after he was caught hiding blank letter tiles, organizers said Tuesday. John D. Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said that a male player was ejected from the 350-player event in Round 24 of the 28-round event.The cheating was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the ejected player conceal a pair of blank tiles by dropping them on the floor, organizers said. Blank tiles can be used as wild card letters. When confronted by the tournament director, he admitted to it, organizers said. Williams, who has served as executive director for 25 years and co-authored a book on the popular Hasbro board game in 1993, said this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament. However, he said it’s been known to occur at smaller, regional events. “It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this,” he said. “It’s the first time it’s happened in a venue this big though. It’s unfortunate. The Scrabble world is abuzz. The Internet is abuzz.”
Who doesn’t cheat playing board games? Whether it be at the National Scrabble Association Championships or with gramps in the old folks’ home if you’re not cheating then you’re not trying. Hiding blank tiles is as part of the game as trying to land a triple word. Next thing you’re going to tell me is that you’re not supposed to look at someone’s tiles when they get up to go to the bathroom or that you’re not supposed to make up words when you know there’s no dictionary around. That’s burlz (which means stupid. Origins in Old English, I believe). Board games are just a contest to see which family member or friend takes things way too seriously and it looks like the “player at a nearby table” won this round.
PS – “The Scrabble world is abuzz” is my new favorite sentence.