Competitive Scrabble Players

What’s in a word? Hours and hours of entertainment.

Most people have heard of Scrabble. But, how well can they play the game?

Unlike living room players who may take forever and a day to put a word on the board, competitive Scrabble players (who follow the rules of the National Scrabble Association) use digital timers to keep their games moving. Each player has a total of 25 minutes to make all of her/his moves in a game. (Usually that’s more than enough time. But if a player happens to go beyond 25 minutes, then that player is penalized at the end of the game. The penalty? Reducing his/her final score by 10 points for each minute or portion of a minute beyond the allowed 25.

Besides being keenly aware of the time element in a game, competitive Scrabble players keep their mind on several other key factors as they play. They include the following: (1) creating as many words as they can, using all at once all seven of the letters on their racks (i.e. bingos), (2) using esses and blanks to make bingos, and (3) not getting stuck with the Q at the end of a game (which would mean having to give an opponent a 20-point boost to her/his final score.

More than once, a competitive player will put down a strange looking word on the board (e.g. qoph, wud, cion, etc.). However, a player doesn’t have to know the meaning of a word in order to play it. Upon seeing such a word, an opposing player has to decide whether or not to challenge it. But, sometimes a player will not challenge a play, even when she/he knows it is no good. Why? Simple enough. The player figures she/he can take advantage of an opening created by that unchallenged word being on the board.

Even for competitive players, Scrabble remains a game of both luck and skill. In short, having a good vocabulary does not necessarily mean victory for a player. How Lady Luck influences the distribution of the letters as players draw them from the bag during a game counts as a key factor in determining who will win and who will lose.

Each game is different. And competitive Scrabble players can play for hours on end, making their moves and hoping that Lady Luck won’t betray them.

Scrabble. Let the games continue!

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