Monday, August 20, 2012


From the Associated Press:

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — One of the top young Scrabble players in the country has been kicked out of the game’s national championship tournament in Florida after he was caught hiding blank letter tiles, organizers said Tuesday.

John D. Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said that a male player was ejected from the 350-player event in Round 24 of the 28-round event.

The cheating was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the ejected player conceal a pair of blank tiles by dropping them on the floor. Blank tiles can be used as wild card letters. When confronted by the tournament director, he admitted to it, organizers said.

Williams, who has served as executive director for 25 years and co-authored a book on the popular Hasbro board game in 1993, said this was the first incident of cheating at a national tournament. However, he said it’s been known to occur at smaller, regional events.

“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.”

Williams would not identify the player by name or age because he’s a minor. 

So, this bozo decides he's going to cheat at Scrabble.  You know, that is a sure sign of a society in decline, when even teenaged wonks try to get ahead in a board game by cheating, and do so in a feckless manner.

You get the feeling that the young unnamed man here was some sort of genius right out of the crib: probably read a lot, knew a lot of words, and shouldn't that have been enough?  No.  You also get the feeling (at least, you do if you are I) that his parents encouraged him to go into the high-pressure world of competitive scrabble, where the top prize of $10,000 looms like a huge carrot in front of frenzied contestants.  And maybe, his mom and dad told him that it's ok to get an edge in life.  After all, son, it's ok to cheat on your taxes, so long as you don't get caught.  And if mom "forgets" to pay for the 100-lb sack of Dog-B-Fed down at the Food Clown, well, so Rover eats for free.  What could be wrong?

I might be all wet here; it could be that the parents of this misguided youth guided him as well as any parents ever, and he got off track all on his own.  Maybe.  But I do know that somewhere he got the idea that cheating is right. And that is so wrong. 

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