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Subject: Contestant caught cheating; thrown out of National Championships rss

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Bill Gallagher
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I found a link on my EarthLink home page today about a person who was caught cheating during the national Scrabble championship event being held in Orlando FL. Prior to round 24 of the 28-round event, the player (whose name cannot be divulged, as he's under 18) was seen by a player at a neighboring table dropping the two blanks (which can be used as any letter) on the floor while placing tiles from the previously played game into the bag, then hiding the blanks. When confronted by one of the tournament directors, he confessed. He was thrown out of the tournament, and vacated all wins. The opponents he beat were awarded "forfeit wins" in accordance with Scrabble tournament rules.

This was in Division 3 of a (I believe) four division event. Although certainly not a world class player, the typical Division 3 player would nonetheless beat probably 90% or more of us BGGers.

One report can be found at http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/14/2951768/scrabble-playe...
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Rik Van Horn
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When the kid was asked for a comment, he could only say..."I'm coming up blank here."
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Randy Cox
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Why is a player playing with the same set from game to game? I would think that you pick up the game you just played and then get seated and paired somewhere else for the next game.
 
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Bill Gallagher
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Randy Cox wrote:
Why is a player playing with the same set from game to game? I would think that you pick up the game you just played and then get seated and paired somewhere else for the next game.

To clarify... after each game, the tiles are rearranged into a 10x10 grid on the board. That ensures both players there are exactly 100 tiles before placing them in the bag.

Also, to speed things along, through Round 24 (I believe), match-ups are done in mini round-robins, meaning you're grouped for three games at a time. Each group of four plays at a specific table with two boards on it. In essence, within each group:
--- Round 1 of 3: A vs. C, B vs. D
--- Round 2 of 3: A vs. D, B vs. C
--- Round 3 of 3: A vs. B, C vs. D

This does make it likely that you will play two consecutive games on the same board.
 
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Presumably they didn't do that, i.e. the 10*10 grid.

The article I read wrote:
The ejected player had concluded a previous game and never reinserted the blank tiles into his bag in an attempt to use them at his discretion in the next game, organizers said.
 
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Brian Williams
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Karlsen wrote:
Presumably they didn't do that, i.e. the 10*10 grid.

The article I read wrote:
The ejected player had concluded a previous game and never reinserted the blank tiles into his bag in an attempt to use them at his discretion in the next game, organizers said.


The 10x10 grid is to check that all tiles are present before placing them in the bag. The cheating came after the tile check.
 
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John McD
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My understanding from the Guardian article on it was that he'd been dealt the blank tiles in his previous game, not played them, and attempted to palm them for the next game. In any event, it was in the attempt to palm them that he was caught, so a standard check may have caught him later anyway.

Perhaps the check at that level doesn't happen after every single game?


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/15/hidden-scrabble-...
 
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Bill Gallagher
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BlackSpy wrote:
Perhaps the check at that level doesn't happen after every single game?

It's supposed to. From the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) Official Tournament Rules dated 16 June 2011 (note that this may not be the most current version), Section III.B (Confirming the Number of Tiles) states:

Before each game, verify that 100 tiles are present. Either player may also confirm exact distribution. If you realize after the game has started that 100 tiles are not present, or that the distribution is inappropriate, the game proceeds with the incorrect set. After each game, leave all tiles on the board to facilitate verifying the count for the next game.

The rule is certainly enforced at the National and World Championship events, as well as at many larger regional events. I'll accept that it's not necessarily the case at one-day local tournaments or club play.

In addition, players are bound to notify the relevant players (the two in the game) or tournament staff of any rules violation or impropriety that is observed at a game (whether yours or someone else's).
 
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