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A top young Scrabble player has been kicked out of a national championship Scrabble tournament in Florida after he was caught hiding blank letter tiles.
The cheating player was spotted by a player at a nearby table when the cheater, through use of concealed blank tiles, dropped his concealed tiles on the floor.
When confronted by the tournament director, the player admitted to cheating, organizer said.
Officials refused to identify the player by name because he is a minor.
John Williams, executive director of the US National Scrabble Association, said that this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament.
“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.”
In Scrabble matches, players accumulate points by pulling random letter tiles from a bag of 100 and trying to create words. The ejected player had finished a previous game and never returned the blank tiles from that game in an attempt to use them to his advantage in his next match, organizers said.
There are four divisions of the tournament and he was competing in Division Three. Williams said that Division Three was equal to “any great living-room player out there.”
Williams said there was usually “good self-policing in the Scrabble world” as players strive to protect the integrity of statistics in the competitive circuit.
The winner of the tournament receives a top prize of $10,000.