Scrabble Player Gets Ousted From National Championships for Cheating

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Kacper Pempel / Reuters

How many points does the word “cheat” score?

One of the top Scrabble players in the country was kicked out of the national championship being held in Orlando, Fla. after a player at a nearby table saw the player in question hoarding blank tiles, which can act as wild cards in the game.

(MORE: Tile and Error: Cheating Scandal Rocks the World Scrabble Championship)

The National Scrabble Association has refused to identify the player — a minor — who had managed to make it all the way to the 24th round. There are 28 rounds in total.

According to tournament representatives, the cheating player, who was playing in the third division, forfeited all of his wins after the indiscretion was discovered. The tournament categorizes players into four different divisions.

(MORE: A Brief History of Scrabble)

John D. Williams, Jr., the executive director of the association, says it’s the first time it’s happened on the national level, though cheating tend to happen more at the regional competitions.

“It gets pretty deep. We’re one step away from drug testing,” Williams responded (jokingly) to the Associated Press when he was asked about how strictly players are monitored. Tournaments are usually self-policed by other players.

(And by the way, in case you were curious: the word “cheat” is actually worth seven points in an English version of the game.)

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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John Kratus
John Kratus

Idiot reporter: the word "cheat" is worth 10 points. Why go out of his way to report on it if he gets the score wrong?