During a Scrabble championship in Florida, one of the country’s top players was kicked out of the game for cheating, according to MSN. Organizers claim that the kid was hiding blank tiles during the competition, which ultimately resulted in the participant’s disqualification.
John D. Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, explained that the young male was removed from the tournament after a contestant at a nearby table noticed the kid concealing blank tiles by dropping the game pieces on the floor. When he was confronted about the accusations, the competitor admitted to cheating. Since the boy is a minor, his name has not been made available to the public.
For those who haven’t spent hours upon hours of their lives playing the popular board game, blank tiles are used as wild cards in Scrabble. Naturally, they tend to come in quite handy when you’re attempting to build long or high-point words.
“It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this,” Williams 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.”
The Guardian reports that the ejected player never inserted his blank tiles back into the bag after using them in a previous match. Williams says that Scrabble players are pretty good at self-policing themselves during tournament play. After all, nobody wants to compete against a person who is attempting to cheat by withholding blank tiles for themselves.
Out of the 350 individuals who have signed onto to participate in the national tournament, only one person will walk away from the experience as the winner. In addition to bragging rights, the champion will take home a cool $10,000 for their efforts.
Scrabble was invented in 1938 by Alfred Mosher Butts, who based the game on his previous mind-bender Lexiko. Presently, the game is available in 121 countries, and has sold approximately 150 million copies worldwide.