Boy Kicked Out Of National Scrabble Championship After Getting Caught With The Worst Cheating Strategy Ever

Illustration for article titled Boy Kicked Out Of National Scrabble Championship After Getting Caught With The Worst Cheating Strategy Ever

Division 3 isn't exactly the big time in the Scrabble world—It's roughly the skill level of "any great living-room player out there," says the National Scrabble Association's executive director—but this is still the championship. Not a county championship, not a state championship, but the national freaking championship of the United States of America, the greatest Scrabble-playing nation on earth. And if you're not cheatin', you're not tryin'.


One kid was sure tryin'. The player, unidentified because he's a minor, was booted from the tournament after he had already progressed to the 24th of 28 rounds. He was hiding blank letter tiles, and caught only after he accidentally dropped them on the floor.

"It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this," [executive director John D. Williams Jr.] said. "It's the first time it's happened in a venue this big though. It's unfortunate. The Scrabble world is abuzz."

"Abuzz!" That's 25 points. And also totally impossible, since there's only one "Z" in the bag. Unless you've got a blank tile up your sleeve.

It's worth pointing out that this kid's plan to cheat was, perhaps, the most poorly planned criminal enterprise in recorded history. There are only two blank tiles in the Scrabble bag. How on earth was he going to use them? Presumably, he was waiting for the exact right moment to deploy a seven- or eight-letter word, collecting those 50 precious bonus points. But what a risk! What if he later drew a real blank tile, and was unable to dispose of it without being seen? What if the other player ended up drawing both legit blank tiles, exposing the fraud to anyone who can count to three? What if he's a dumbass who couldn't keep from dropping his palmed blanks on the floor?

Thankfully, the integrity of the Scrabble tournament remains intact. Cheating has no place there. Save it for the national championship of Monopoly, where it's pretty much expected that you'll help yourself to an extra hundred bucks here and there when you're the banker.

Group: Scrabble player caught cheating at US event [AP]