Posted at 02:42 PM ET, 10/17/2011

Scrabble player accused of hiding ‘G’ — a short history of cheating wordsmiths

The game of Scrabble, which has torn apart families for years with its high-pressure wordslinging, has seen its share of cheating scandals, but this year’s may be the most high stakes.


Nigel Richards of New Zealand (R) plays scrabble with Mark Nyman of Britain at the 2011 World Scrabble Championship. (KACPER PEMPEL - REUTERS)

At the just-concluded World Scrabble Championship in Warsaw, a Thai player became convinced that England's Ed Martin had swiped a 'G' tile and hidden it away.

While officials declined demands to strip search Martin, who won the match by a single point, an aura of uncertainty over Martin lingers. The Brit did not win the overall championship title; two-time winner Nigel Richards of New Zealand took the title.

Below, a brief history of other fraudster wordsmiths:

High-stakes: In January 2009, Mohammed Zafar, Bahrain and Gulf champion of the seventh Causeway Challenge in Malaysia, was found guilty of cheating. His cheating method: “to master a way of drawing tiles that involved bringing several tiles to the top of the bag, glancing at them, and selecting the tile preferred, thus heavily determining a good balance of letters on the rack,” according to the inquiry chairman said. Rules say that tiles must be drawn at shoulder length.

Low-stakes:A five-year-old boy once phoned Leicester police to complain his sister was cheating at Scrabble.

Cheating on purpose: For the last four years, New York has held a Scrabble for Cheaters tournament to acknowledge that cheating is simply the way some people like to play.

New ways of cheating: The iPhone app Words With Friends, one of Apple’s most-downloaded apps, has dozens of posts in which players argue that just because they’re good doesn’t mean they’re cheating. But since the app allows players to check whether a word is legitimate or not before playing it, others argue it encourages a practice that should be considered cheating

How to catch a cheater: Forums on Scrabble often point out that people use an “anagrammer” to cheat. Here’s how to spot whether your brother or mother is being just as sneaky.

By  |  02:42 PM ET, 10/17/2011

Tags:  World, Scrabble, cheating

 
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