Have you ever heard about official scrabble tournaments? Strange as it may seem, they do exist! Apparently, words have the power needed to bring people together and battle it out in these "war of words!"
There are all kinds of tournaments, from very simple to incredibly complicated. Recently, I had the opportunity to assist in this very peculiar contest I didn’t know much about.
Scrabble is a game in which each player attempts to score points by laying out words on a board. Words can be formed horizontally or vertically and they can cross words that were previously on the board. The hardest requirement is hat all the letters that are put down result only in valid words that appear in the dictionary.
The game is played with 2 to 4 players on a board that has 15 by 15 squares to lay down letters.
Each player receives a specific number of letters, drawn randomly from an opaque bag. Every letter in the alphabet has its own value, with low values for easy letters and higher values for letters that are more difficult to use in a word. Each word that is formed obtains a score that depends both on the value of the letters used and on the position of the word on the board. Harder to reach squares will result in extra points when occupied.
A scrabble tournament was organized in my town by the owners of the local bookshop. There were 12 participants playing in groups of four.
First prize was a book of choice, to be selected in the bookshop.
This local tournament was a great opportunity to meet people interested in the game. Scrabble has recently been gaining popularity, mainly thanks to the digital version called Apalabrados, that can be played on smartphones.
Note: Since 1997 a Scrabble World Championship is held in Spanish. The tournament moves to a different city in Spain every year.