'Tiger Woods Of Scrabble' Nigel Richards Wins French Scrabble Championship Despite Not Speaking French

Gregory Wakeman

Nigel Richards, who is known within the Scrabble community as the "Tiger Woods of Scrabble," has won the French Scrabble Championship, even though he can't speak a word of French.

Richards was able to claim his title after he memorised the entire French Scrabble dictionary in just nine weeks. The 48-year-old's impressive feat proved to do the trick, too, and a close friend of Richards, Liz Fagerlund, has now provided further details on how he claimed his prize.

Fagerlund told the New Zealand Herald, "He doesn't speak French at all -- he just learned the words. He won't know what they mean, wouldn't be able to carry out a conversation in French, I wouldn't think."

Yves Brenez, the vice president of the Belgian Scrabble federation, who also organized the Francophone championships, speaking to FranceTV, via the Mirror, confirmed Fagerlund's assumption.

"He's not a francophone, I can confirm that," Brenez explained. "Nigel will say 'bonjour' with an accent and he can also give the score in French, which is obligatory, but that's all."

Richards won in the final after he beat Schelick Illagou Rekawe by two games to nil. Unfortunately for Rekawe, his embarrassment was deepened by the fact that he is a French-speaking man who hails from Gabon, west Africa.

But how was Richards able to memorize the entire French scrabble dictionary? Well, it helps that he has a photographic memory. In fact, the extent of this talent has seen him called "extra-terrestrial" by some.

Despite only starting to play the game when he was 28, Richards soon developed an almost perverse talent for it. Ricards has won the English world Scrabble championships three times, the U.S. national championships five times, and the U.K. Open six times.

Very little is known about Nigel Richards, other than the fact that he is excellent at Scrabble. Speaking of Richards, John Baird, who is secretary of the Christchurch Scrabble club, explained, "He's a very elusive character. I think the American Press get frustrated when he wins over there because he's a man of few words. He only comes out with one or two word answers, which is completely ironic."

[Image via WonderHowTo]