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Scrabble Champions Tournament 2013

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From 3rd to 8th December the 12th international Scrabble Champions Tournament took place in Prague (Czech Republic). The tournament is set every second year in a different country, starting 1991 in London. Among 110 players, who came from all over the world, three-times-winner Nigel Richards won the first price and took $10.000 as prize-money with him.

The Championship

The Scrabble Champions Tournament, formerly known as World Scrabble Championship, constantly attracts more and more participants. While 48 competitors entered the tournament in 1991, 14 years later the number doubled to 102. This year even 110 players were count and battled their way through 31 preliminary rounds. After that, the four best ranked competitors met in the finals: Paul Gallen (Northern Ireland), Sammy Okosagah (USA), Komol Panyasophonlert (Thailand) and Nigel Richards (New Zealand).

This tournament is the world’s most popular English-language Scrabble competition. This year it was renamed by Mattel, one of the organizers of the contest in Prague. The Toy Company and Mind Sports International hosted the Scrabble Champions Tournament at the Andel’s Hotel and gave it the title Scrabble Champions Tournament (SCT). John Chew was in charge of the general live presentation through the media, which covered a wide variety this year (livestream,videos, photos, reports, scoreboard etc.).

The Competitors

58 countries send their competitors to Prague. Concerning the selection of the players every country has its own rules to choose their representatives. The most people usually come from the U.S., UK and Canada. Of course that’s related to the fact, that the native English speakers are found there.

You can find a list of all 110 participants from 2013 on the official site of the Scrabble Champions Tournament 2013. Looking at the ranking list of previous contests, you can say it’s a general rule that the native speakers win the tournament. Only twice, competitors from Thailand (2003 and 2009) won the SCT, apart from that the U.S., England, Canada and New Zealand were among the 1st ranks.

He did it again!

In the final round New Zealander Nigel Richards battled against Komol Panyasophonlert from Thailand. Richards, a three times 1st rank (2007, 2011, 2013) and once 2nd rank (2009) for the last four championships, also won the US National Championship five times. Up to now he is the only one to claim both titles simultaneously. Starting his Scrabble career in 1997 Nigel Richards is now well known among the international players. Through the years he won more than $200.000 in national as well as international Scrabble competitions. A detailed ranking of Richard’s previous plays can be found on the site of cross-tables.

Richards is a special character. He is not very euphoric or emotional during the tournaments or even at his rankings – a kind of outsider. But he insists to play Scrabble for the sake of the game. It’s simply a challenge and a pleasure for him to play. That might be the key for his success. Nevertheless, the 46-year-old New Zealander is a strict professional at Scrabble. He frequently studies word lists up to 15-letter-words, especially before the tournaments.







Nigel Richards (NZL)



Komol Panyasophonlert (THA)



Sammy Okosagah (USA)



Paul Gallen (NIr)



Brett Smitheram (Eng)



Craig Beevers (Eng)



Dave Wiegand (USA)



Paul Allen (Eng)



Andrew Fisher (AUS)



Jim Kramer (USA)

The next Scrabble Champions Tournament will be given in 2015. Probably a lot of yet known competitors will participate again, like Nigel Richards. Let’s see how long he is going to hold the Champions’ title.

Did you follow the reports of this years’ Scrabble Champions Tournament or did you maybe visit one of the former tournaments? You can share your experience and opinion in the comments below or via our facebook-page.

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  • Scrabble board: lykiana, "Scrabble" auf, CC: Some rights reserved.

7 Responses

  1. Oh, come on — you didn’t even get several of the top 10 in the right order… what fake-sounding reporting.

    • Hi Ze,
      I haven’t been there either and would be interested in your intel from the event.
      As far as I can see from other sources, the author has the top 10 listed in the right order.

    • Hello Ze Tristan, if I made a mistake you are free to post a correction. I got the information from the official media site of the tournament. If you have some other information or if you were at the tournament yourself, we would offer you the possibility to write another review.

      I’m pretty new with Scrabble an the Tournament, so it’s possible I missed something interesting. But the article was also supposed to be read by hobby Scrabble players, to give a first sight at the topic.

      • The website I offered you is that of the tournament director, John Chew, himself. You may even check his small commentary sections for interesting tidbits along the way. Feel free to email me about what you’d like me to write. It’s very good of you to write about this, since the lack of easily-found info on the web is astounding.

        Scrabble is huge in the world now, but the Scrabble tournaments have not tapped into this in a natural way, many prefering to be wordlist-freaks, big fish in a small pond, instead. Nigel Richards is quiet and pithy, but friendly and witty. You can ask Stefan Fatsis for the lovely chapter he wrote after a rare interview with Nigel.

        • Hej, I also used the official website of John Chew for research. Here I got the prize list from ( We’ve already written John Chew, why the prizetable differs from the ranking of the 31st round, waiting for an answer.

          We would be happy if you write something about the tournament yourself, maybe including an explanation of the rating system. If you are interested feel free to email me (

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