The Man Who Won The French Scrabble Tournament Without Speaking French

Samuel Reason - December 16th, 2019

It seems impossible but the title is exactly what happened, the world champion of English scrabble decided to take his career to new heights by conquering the scrabble tournament of France. Of course, there was one problem, Nigel Richards spoke no French. But those are just schematics it seems when you are scrabbling champion, Richards simply learned the dictionary by heart.

npr.org

A New Zealand native, Richards has won several of the scrabble titles the world has to offer in the English language. His latest victory came after studying a French dictionary for a couple of weeks, yes that is right, just a couple of weeks. Nigel Richards is known in the world as the best scrabble player, and he has cemented this title by winning not only in English but in French also. Though switching languages does not seem that much of a big deal, to compare, it would be like a professional basketball player switched to tennis and then won Wimbledon immediately.

Because the French Scrabble dictionary has over 386,000 words for example compared to the North American scrabble version containing 187,000 words. And it is not just about words, to be a great scrabble player you need to be good at maths because every top player knows that scrabble is a game of spatial relations and board geometry.

Richards just has that type of brain that when he reads words he can conjure them up and remember without any issues. Nigel has explained before that if he hears the world then he will not remember it, but if he reads a page of words in a list then he never forgets them.

The amazing part is he did not just learn French words by heart, he adapted his very scrabble strategy to take into account the way of French lexicon. This allows Richards to limit the opponents scoring potential heavily and squeeze out the best possible points setups with the letters he has drawn.

In the world of scrabble, Richards appears to be unbeatable with three world championships in English and over five victories in the U.S. National Scrabble tournament. Many of the media that follow the scrabble tournament scene have regularly called him a strategic genius then make him the best scrabble player on Earth.

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