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.
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.