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Published:October 19th, 2011 10:43 EST
Cheater Spells Trouble for Scrabble Tournament

Cheater Spells Trouble for Scrabble Tournament

By Donna Cavanagh

Is there not one honest person left in this world?  Each day we are inundated with news about corporate cheating, marital cheating, sports cheating, student cheating, teacher cheating, but there was one place where we knew cheating was not tolerated. There was one contest where honor and intelligence still had meaning. That was until this year, when cheating might have knocked at the door at one of the most prestigious contests of brain power known to mankind, and someone might have answered.

Okay, enough melodrama.  The cheating scandal rocked the World championship of -- are you ready?  Scrabble.  Yes, the word geeks had a cheating scandal. Who could fathom this?  Fathom by the way is worth 14 points in the Scrabble world that is if there are no double or triple word or letter scores.

A contestant from Thailand accused a British opponent of stealing a "G"tile and hiding it during their match.  And while little can drive a wordsmith to lose his temper, this alleged act made the Thai contestant display emotions not usually witnessed at international Scrabble tournaments. In other words, he was ticked.  He demanded loudly that the judges str(i)p search the British player to find the hidden "G" spot?   Okay, those were not his real words, but I could not resist.

Well, since none of the judges were police officers, prison guards, airport security agents or p(o)rn stars, none felt comfortable enough to conduct the str(i)p search. It seems no one brought those latex gloves with them in the event that someone hid a tile in the innermost crevices of the human body.  Plus, I would guess one would have had to receive written consent before the contest agreeing to the possibility of str(i)p searches. Call me old fashioned, but I don`t think a str(i)p search is the type of activity one should be allowed to just spring on another person unless of course one is carrying odd objects and is ready to board a plane.

Anyway, in a not so surprising move, (surprising  - 14 points), the judges refused to conduct the search, and as there was no other evidence of the hidden "G", the British contestant walked off with a Win (win - six points).  However, I don`t know if this eased the loss for the Thai guy, but the accused British cheater did not become World Champion. In a later match, he lost to a guy from New Zealand who had won the championship several times before.  

The World Championship of Scrabble will go on and the best wordsmiths in the world will attend.  Perhaps, next year the judges should invest in full body x-ray scanner. Just the threat of walking through that device might curb the temptation to cheat.