M Loebach
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shakeshakeshakeshakeshake

Like most good Canadians my morning listen to our public broadcaster was tainted by the announcement that a man had been ejected from a $10,000 Scrabble tournament due to cheating.

He was found with extra BLANK Scrabble tiles hidden up his sleeve.

Could someone explain how this would work?
Eventually, I would think he would be found out.
Towards the end of the game when the 3rd blank tile made its way to the board or was revealed at the end of the game when deducting points.

I understand there could be a different number of blanks depending on the language. I do not know the distributions for all the languages. Regardless, if you are playing in a $10,000 tournament, that extra tile, especially a BLANK is going to stick out by the end of the game.

My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?

(Maybe the "ejectee" is reading this)

It sort of reminds me of a really silly western movie spoof I saw. Or maybe it was bugs bunny?

The first guy at a poker table puts down four aces and looks smug, the second guy puts down four aces and looks just as smug and the third guy puts down 5 aces including something like an Ace of "wheels" or something and proclaims himself a winner.

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Pete Belli
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This cheating player is an amateur.

Everybody knows you turn a letter tile over and pretend it is a blank, then place your seven letter word.

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pete belli wrote:
This cheating player is an amateur.

Everybody knows you turn a letter tile over and pretend it is a blank, then place your seven letter word.



Actually, never tried that one.

The challenge I have is, "how do you get to the end of the game without 3 BLANKS showing up?"
The third blank would tip off that something is wrong for an average player, let alone a tournament player.

Any ideas?
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MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?

Palm a real blank once it's revealed?

Hope the other player winds up with the third blank, accuse her of cheating and try to get her disqualified?

Carry an engraving kit and use it to make any letter you want while your opponent takes a bathroom break?

The mind boggles...
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Matt Kruczek
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I suppose you could use it as a placeholder on your rack whilst you stash a high-scoring letter up your sleeve and wait for a premium square to become available.

It might have made more sense if he'd had some of the more popular letters up his sleeve to pull out to form seven letter words from a difficult rack, or maybe an I to match up with a Q or an A with a Z, then replace them with the "original" tiles once he drew them. Still a very risky "strategy" and would have to be done within the first quarter of the game to make the odds of a replacement appearing worthwhile.
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matt_k wrote:
I suppose you could use it as a placeholder on your rack whilst you stash a high-scoring letter up your sleeve and wait for a premium square to become available.

It might have made more sense if he'd had some of the more popular letters up his sleeve to pull out to form seven letter words from a difficult rack, or maybe an I to match up with a Q or an A with a Z, then replace them with the "original" tiles once he drew them. Still a very risky "strategy" and would have to be done within the first quarter of the game to make the odds of a replacement appearing worthwhile.


That's a good one.
The other one I thought of is an "advance".
You use the BLANK earlier at a key point (probably for a BINGO or a block). Then you pin your hopes on the 75% chance you will draw one of the game's BLANKS and you put that one back up your sleeve.
That plus the fact you know you are holding a BLANK allows you to play more aggressive up until you spend it.

On a side note, I really thought GrogNads would be in on this discussion.

goo
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E Decker wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?

Palm a real blank once it's revealed?

Hope the other player winds up with the third blank, accuse her of cheating and try to get her disqualified?

I really like this one ... It turns Scrabble into Poker.

Carry an engraving kit and use it to make any letter you want while your opponent takes a bathroom break?

"Where did you get fifth letter "U"??? And why does it have an umlaut???

The mind boggles...


Don't get me started on Boggle.
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matt_k wrote:
I suppose you could use it as a placeholder on your rack whilst you stash a high-scoring letter up your sleeve and wait for a premium square to become available.


I don't think I would have thought of this one.
Wait ... you sound like you speak from experience...
Hmmmmmmmmmm.

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MrZoz wrote:
matt_k wrote:
I suppose you could use it as a placeholder on your rack whilst you stash a high-scoring letter up your sleeve and wait for a premium square to become available.


I don't think I would have thought of this one.
Wait ... you sound like you speak from experience...
Hmmmmmmmmmm.



One of my other hobbies is magic (ie the art of illusion and misdirection, not the card game. More than one confused conversation on that front).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
...or is that just what I want you to think... :eeeeevil:
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MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.
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Dreadnaut wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.


Most likely explaination. Wonder how he was caught. Any further details?
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Sam Holden
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If you play more than one game without moving then you palm the blanks while returning the tiles to the bag after the first game, and then in the next game add them to your rack when drawing from the bag.

In fact you could do the same thing for the first game by doing a tile count and distribution check at the start and them palm the blanks putting putting all the tiles in the bag.

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Dreadnaut wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.

That is exactly what happened, in fact (and 24 rounds in!). If this young man wanted his performance at this tournament to be noteworthy then he got his wish.
yuk
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/scrabble-player-cau...
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VAXT wrote:


I note how the director uses the word "abuzz" twice in two sentences. It's like he can't stop himself.
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matt_k wrote:
VAXT wrote:


I note how the director uses the word "abuzz" twice in two sentences. It's like he can't stop himself.


abuzz
25 points!
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Brother Jim wrote:
Dreadnaut wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.

That is exactly what happened, in fact (and 24 rounds in!). If this young man wanted his performance at this tournament be noteworthy then he got his wish.
yuk


Okay ... now for a loaded aside question.
What would you do for the people in the previous 23 rounds?
Regardless of if he cheated, there was a possibility...



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MrZoz wrote:
matt_k wrote:
VAXT wrote:


I note how the director uses the word "abuzz" twice in two sentences. It's like he can't stop himself.


abuzz
25 points!


Only if you're playing Super Scrabble. There's only one scoring Z in regular Scrabble.
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parkrrrr wrote:
Only if you're playing Super Scrabble. There's only one scoring Z in regular Scrabble.


That's why you palm a blank tile, of course.
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parkrrrr wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
matt_k wrote:
VAXT wrote:


I note how the director uses the word "abuzz" twice in two sentences. It's like he can't stop himself.


abuzz
25 points!


Only if you're playing Super Scrabble. There's only one scoring Z in regular Scrabble.


Or if you're palming letters from other Scrabble sets ninja
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timgoddard wrote:
parkrrrr wrote:
Only if you're playing Super Scrabble. There's only one scoring Z in regular Scrabble.


That's why you palm a blank tile, of course.


That response is why I said "scoring."
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MrZoz wrote:

What would you do for the people in the previous 23 rounds?


The HuffPo article said he forfeited his wins. I'm not sure what the format of the National Scrabble Championship is, but if it's an elimination sort of thing (as seems likely) it does seem like that would suck for the people he "beat" in the previous rounds. At least it probably won't negatively affect their ratings.
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MrZoz wrote:
Brother Jim wrote:
Dreadnaut wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.

That is exactly what happened, in fact (and 24 rounds in!). If this young man wanted his performance at this tournament be noteworthy then he got his wish.
yuk


Okay ... now for a loaded aside question.
What would you do for the people in the previous 23 rounds?
Regardless of if he cheated, there was a possibility...





"Players in the national tournament format play multiple matches over the five-day event. The winner is determined by a combination of their overall record against other players and the cumulative point spread over the entire tournament."

With his previous wins in forfeit, the players would have those rounds recorded as "wins" instead of losses, but the cumulative point spread could be a mess, unless they credited his previous opponents with his point spread for each match forfeited.

Now that could prove to be a can of worms since it cannot be proven he cheated in the rounds before he got caught. I think the whole tournament class he was in is completely FUBAR!

I hope this kid gets BANNED FOR LIFE!
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VAXT wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
Brother Jim wrote:
Dreadnaut wrote:
MrZoz wrote:
My question to the BGG community is: Does anybody have any thoughts on how this would work?


I don't think he had extras. I believe he was palming them in between games. Since there would be a 100 tiles, 2 of which are blanks, the game would start with only 98 tiles and the 2 blanks would be up his sleeve.

That is exactly what happened, in fact (and 24 rounds in!). If this young man wanted his performance at this tournament be noteworthy then he got his wish.
yuk


Okay ... now for a loaded aside question.
What would you do for the people in the previous 23 rounds?
Regardless of if he cheated, there was a possibility...




"Players in the national tournament format play multiple matches over the five-day event. The winner is determined by a combination of their overall record against other players and the cumulative point spread over the entire tournament."

With his previous wins in forfeit, the players would have those rounds recorded as "wins" instead of losses, but the cumulative point spread could be a mess, unless they credited his previous opponents with his point spread for each match forfeited.

Now that could prove to be a can of worms since it cannot be proven he cheated in the rounds before he got caught. I think the whole tournament class he was in is completely FUBAR!

I hope this kid gets BANNED FOR LIFE!



I was thinking ...

IF (and it's a big if) everyone he cheated against was still around you could eliminate him then start a ladder/elimination challenge, in order, from his first competitor until the match he was caught at.

Ex. If his first game was against Allan, the second against Bob, then Charlie and so on... then Allan plays Bob, Winner plays Charlie and so on... until you get to the opponent he was playing when caught

Then ... Play the match he was caught at and proceed.
Unfortunately, not only would you probably be short some people, but you would have to freeze the tournament until he caught up.

Banned --- definitely?
Life??? how about 10 years?

I yield the floor to the Scrabble tourney players to comment.

ML
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parkrrrr wrote:
MrZoz wrote:

What would you do for the people in the previous 23 rounds?


The HuffPo article said he forfeited his wins. I'm not sure what the format of the National Scrabble Championship is, but if it's an elimination sort of thing (as seems likely) it does seem like that would suck for the people he "beat" in the previous rounds. At least it probably won't negatively affect their ratings.


The National Scrabble Association reported on their championship website:

"Just as round 24 was starting, the tournament director was called over to division 3 and it was discovered that two blanks were not put into the tilebag as they should have been when the board was cleared off to start the game. The player was questioned and admitted to taking them. Dallas Johnson then ejected (a now ejected player) from the tournament. His opponents at this event will be retroactively given forfeit wins."

I'd like to know how well he was doing--every win and spread affects your ratings big-time.
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