2015 North American SCRABBLE Championship

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The 2015 North American SCRABBLE Championship (previously known as the National SCRABBLE Championship) will take place on August 1-5, 2015 at the Silver Legacy Resort, 407 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501, and Reno Ballroom, 401 N. Center St. Reno, NV 89501. This webpage will be updated regularly as additional details became available.

Live Event Coverage

Live Event Coverage will be available throughout the event.

Feedback Form

Please give us your feedback using the 2015 NASC Feedback Form.

Information obtained through the Feedback Form will be posted to the Evaluation Form Submissions page. The information will be shared with and evaluated by the Advisory Board, and then shared with the membership at large.


Online registration is available as of January 29. A list of registered players is available at this link and on cross-tables.com. The rest of this section describes in detail the various terms and conditions of registration, most of which are also discussed on the registration form.

Registration will close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 22, 2015, after which players will only be accepted if they do not make a division odd.


To play in the NASC, you must (1) be a NASPA member, and (2) have played in an officially sanctioned SCRABBLE tournament to earn an official tournament rating. If you live in the United States or Canada, that rating should be a NASPA rating; if you live elsewhere it may be a WESPA rating or other comparable national rating.

If you meet these criteria and prefer to play using the international Collins (CSW) lexicon, you may do so. If your CQR is 1400 or higher, you must play in Division 1. If it is 1399 or below, you may play in Division 1 or 2. If fewer than 20 players register in either division, the director reserves the discretion to adjust the ratings cutoff to provide for two divisions of at least 20 players each, or to combine the divisions into a single Collins division. If time permits, the affected players will be polled for their preference. The qualifying NASPA CSW rating is the highest tournament rating attained at the end of a NASPA CSW-rated tournament which finished during the period from August 9, 2014 to July 22, 2015 (the start of last year's Championship to the close of registration). (If you had a NASPA CSW rating prior to this period, but did not play during the period, your qualifying rating is that unchanged rating.) The CSW divisions will be NASPA and WESPA rated.

If not, then the TWL division(s), numbered 1–4, in which you may play depend on your rating as follows. If you do not have a NASPA rating, you must play in Division 1, the open division. If you do have a NASPA rating, then your division eligibility is based on a Qualification Rating (QR), which consists of the highest tournament rating attained at the end of any NASPA TWL-rated tournament (or segment of a split-rated tournament) which finished during the period from August 9, 2014 to July 22, 2015 (the start of last year's Championship to the close of registration). (If you have a rating, but do not play during this period, your QR is your unchanged current rating.) If your QR is 1800 or higher, you must play in Division 1. If it is in the range 1400–1799, you must play in Division 1 or 2. If it is in the range 1000–1399, you must play in Division 1, 2 or 3. If it is below 1000, you may play in any of the four divisions.

Player division assignments will be reviewed after July 22, 2015 to ensure that everyone is registered in the correct division. If the division in which you registered is not one in which your QR permits you to play, we will automatically move you up to the lowest permissible division.

Collins Division

Due to the inability to achieve a field of at least 20 Division 2 Collins players, the Collins Division at the 2015 NASC has been combined into a single division.

If you are thinking about travelling from overseas to play in this event for the first time, please read our 2015 NASC for Overseas Visitors page.

Again this year, there will again be a separate division of players using the Collins lexicon at the North American Scrabble Championship.

If you do not have a tournament rating (NASPA, WESPA, or other equivalent rating deemed acceptable by the Championship Committee), you must first obtain one at a regular tournament before competing in the Championship.

The Collins division will be run using NASPA rules, except that the Collins lexicon will be used and the challenge penalty will be 5 points per word. The Collins division will be NASPA and WESPA rated.

Entry Fees

The base entry fee for all divisions is $160.

Youths, defined as those whose 18th birthday is after August 1, 2015, may pay $50 to play in any division.

The above fees will be increased by $50 after May 31, 2015. For example, a non-youth player signing up on June 1, 2015 would pay $210, while a youth would pay $100.

Players accepted after the close of registration on July 22, 2015 must pay a $75 late penalty. For example, a non-youth player signing up on July 23, 2015 would pay $285, while a youth would pay $175. Acceptance of registrants after July 22, 2015 is not guaranteed, and will generally only be permitted if it does not cause a division to be uneven.

Players not staying at the host hotel for the duration of the event must also pay a commuter/facility fee of $20 per day ($100 maximum). The commuter fee does not apply to those local to the Reno area. Verification of status as a hotel guest will be performed at registration/check-in and throughout the event. Players staying at the host hotel for only part of the event must pay the full commuter fee, and may then apply for a refund of $20 per day stayed at the host hotel (to a maximum of $100) after the conclusion of the event, by providing the Championship Committee with hotel confirmation number and dates of stay.

Fees payable are computed based on when (Eastern Time) funds are received in full. If you are not paying right away online at the moment when you register, please be sure to allow enough time for your mailed payment to reach us.

Division Changes

To change divisions after you have registered, please email the organizing committee at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org. Division changes are subject to the following conditions:

  • After registration closes on July 22, 2015, if your division change would increase the number of players who may potentially have to have byes (if you would make two divisions odd, or would make a smaller division odd), you will be waitlisted until this is not the case.

If your rating rises above the limit for the division in which you registered, you will automatically be moved to the lowest division for which you qualify.


If you paid your tournament fees by credit card, any credit owing to you will be issued to your card; otherwise, we will mail a check to your membership address as shown in your member profile. No refunds will be issued after the refund deadlines described below.

All refunds are subject to a cancellation fee of $15.

If you decide you need to cancel your registration, we will refund your entry fee (and commuter fee, if applicable), if you so request by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 22, 2015.


Rules, Code and Terms/Conditions

By registering for the NASC, you agree to abide by the NASPA Tournament Rules and Code of Conduct, and agree to comply with the 2015 North American SCRABBLE Championship Terms and Conditions. In particular, some games at this tournament, probably the highest Division 1 board without a Gibsonized player, will be annotated live. If you refuse to play a designated game with annotation, you will forfeit it, and may at the director’s discretion be assigned a spread penalty of −200 points.

Minor Release

A Minor Release and Consent Form will be required for all players under age 18 as of August 1, 2015, and may be downloaded and submitted in advance, or executed by a parent or guardian at registration.

Player Bulletin

Please read our Player Bulletin, and check it again for last-minute updates before you travel to the event.

Equipment Required

Participants in the 2015 North American Scrabble Championship are responsible for bringing all equipment necessary to play in the tournament. If neither player in a game has equipment available for their game, a double forfeit may be imposed.


The Championship Committee reserves the right to modify the above to account for unforeseen special circumstances.


For the first time since 2006, the NASC will feature a finals match; and for the first time ever, each division will end with elimination play-offs among the top 8 players.

The first 21 rounds will be paired as before using tsh, including Gibsonization on spread. That is, there will be an initial phase of fixed pairings based on pre-event ratings. Then in each following round (until Round 21) up to 12 top contenders will be paired separately from the rest of the field, minimizing repeats in each of these two groups. Subject to some technical constraints, the lowest-ranked contender will be paired with the highest-ranked as yet unpaired contender where the pairing will not result in unnecessary repeats; the noncontenders are paired Swiss.

Players who finish in the top 8 in their division after 21 rounds will advance to elimination brackets. Those who do not will continue to play for additional place prizes based on their final placement, paired as in the preceding rounds.

On Tuesday morning, the top 8 players will play a best-of-4 quarterfinal match seeded 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, 4-5; the rest of the players will play rounds 22-25. If one player wins the first three games of a best-of-4 match, the fourth game is not played. If the match ends 3-1, the player with more wins wins the match. If the match ends 2-2, the player with more spread within the best-of-4 match wins the match. If the match ends 2-2 and players are tied on spread, then if time permits a fifth game will be played; if there is insufficient time, the match winner will be determined by drawing tiles. The higher-seeded player goes first in odd-numbered rounds within the match.

On Tuesday afternoon, the quarterfinal winners will play each other in a best-of-4 semifinal match with the 1-8 winner playing the 4-5 winner and the 3-6 winner playing the 2-7 winner; the losing quarterfinalists will play the first three rounds of a consolation match to determine 5th through 8th place; the rest of the players play on with rounds 26-28. The match winners will be determined as in the morning session. The player with the better quarterfinal record goes first in odd-numbered rounds within the semifinal match.

On Wednesday, the two semifinal winners play each other in a best-of-5 final match; the losing semifinalists play a best-of-5 match to determine 3rd and 4th place; the losing quarterfinalists play the last three rounds of their consolation match; everyone else finishes out the event with rounds 29–31. If one player wins 3 games in a best-of-5 match, they are immediately declared the winner. Should the match end with each player having an identical record (2½-2½ +0), the players will be declared cowinners and split their combined prizes.

For further information about the main pairing system, please refer to the section on Chew pairings in the tsh documentation. For historical data about how past events might have gone with playoffs, see 2015 North American SCRABBLE Championship Playoff Simulations.

Hotel/Travel Information

Hotel Registration

The official event hotel is the Silver Legacy Resort at 407 N. Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89501. Online registration is available at this link or you may call the hotel at 800-687-8733 and use the group code NASPA15 to receive our group rate. Tournament entrants are eligible for our special rate of $99/night on Friday-Saturday, and $69/night Sunday-Thursday (single or double occupancy; plus tax and $16/night in resort and facility fees) at the event hotel - use booking code NASPA15; those who live outside of the Reno area and do not either book a room at the host hotel or book a room within our group block at one of the other hotels listed below, will pay a $100 facility fee to contribute the cost of the venue space. The midweek rate will be available before the event from July 27-30, 2015. Late departures will also be accommodated at the group rate subject to availability, but the group rate is not available for the weekend following the event.

Hotel bookings at our group rate are subject to availability within our group rate block of rooms, and must be booked before July 1, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

The Silver Legacy is located down the block from the Reno Ballroom, 401 N. Center St. Reno, NV 89501, where tournament play will be conducted. Many after-hours activities will be held in the Silver Legacy meeting rooms.

Hotel and Event Parking

The Silver Legacy offers free self and valet parking in covered garages.


The Silver Legacy and its partner properties boast 21 different eateries, catering to all tastes and budgets. To view the many restaurant options available in Reno, Nevada, please visit the Reno Restaurants Page on the Visit Reno-Tahoe website.


There is much to see and do in the Reno-Tahoe region. Local attractions and activities can be explored on the Events Page of the Visit Reno-Tahoe website.

Roommate Wanted

If you need a roommate and would like a listing here, please complete the NASC Roommate Request Form.

IMPORTANT: When you get your roommate, please contact the committee so we can remove your listing.

  • Troy Millington is seeking a male or female, smoking or non-smoking roommate at the Silver Legacy, checking in on July 31 and checking out on August 5. He does not have a room reservation. Contact him at tmillington@gmail.com or 403-819-2576.

Ride Wanted

If you need a ride/rider to or from the tournament, and would like a listing here, please complete the NASC Ride Request Form.

IMPORTANT: When you get your ride/rider, please contact the committee so we can remove your listing.

  • Margo Kuno is seeking a ride from the tournament venue to the SF Bay area, at any time after the tournament ends. Contact her at margok52@hotmail.com.
  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft and one other person are seeking a ride from the San Francisco area to the tournament venue on July 31, 2015 at any time. Contact Caroline at cpolakscowcroft@gmail.com or (040) 042-7627.
  • Jason Keller is seeking a ride from the tournament venue to Sunnyvale, CA or anywhere close to that area on August 5 at about 3:00 p.m. Contact him at orangejkel@gmail.com.

Airport Transport Information

Reno, Nevada is served by the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. For complete airport information, please visit www.renoairport.com.

Airport Shuttle

The Silver Legacy offers a free hotel shuttle to guests of the resort. The shuttle departs from the airport on the quarters of the hour from 5:15am to 11:45pm. Upon your arrival at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, proceed to the baggage claim area and follow the signage directing you to the general airport shuttle area to board the Silver Legacy shuttle.

The Silver Legacy shuttle also offers complimentary transportation to guests from the hotel to the airport at the top and bottom of the hour from 5am until 11pm.

Many other hotels in the area also offer complimentary shuttle transportation. If you are not staying at the host hotel, please check with your property for shuttle information.


To play in the first round on Saturday morning, you must check in between 10:00 A.M. and 7:00 P.M. on Friday, July 31, 2015, at the NASC registration desk (location to be announced later). You may ask a friend to check in for you by proxy, if you cannot check in in person. If possible, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org to notify us in advance of proxy arrangements. If you check in by proxy, but do not show up to play, then neither you nor your proxy will be permitted to check in by proxy at future events. If you do not check in before the desk closes at 7:00 P.M., you may join the championship in progress as soon as it is convenient for the pairings staff to add you back in; this may not take place before Sunday morning. No refund will be issued to latecomers.

When you check in, you will be given an announcement sheet. This is to reduce the number of announcements that have to be made on Saturday morning, so that the event can get underway quickly. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the announcements and tournament schedule.


This schedule for the 2015 North American SCRABBLE Championship may be modified to add new events, or possibly to change room locations. Also, until about a month before the event, it should be considered an early draft, with only the times for registration and the main event to be set in stone. Once the event begins, please check this schedule for changes at the beginning of each day.

Friday, July 31, 2015

10:00 A.M.–7:00 P.M.
Registration (Reno Ballroom Salon)
10:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Silver Baron E)
12:00 P.M.–4:00 P.M.
Early bird tournament, restricted to NASC Staff and other NASPA directors (Reno Ballroom)
4:30 P.M.–5:30 P.M.
Committee meeting for Division Leaders, Division Assistants, Auxiliary Staff (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
7:30 P.M.–10:00 P.M.
Opening Reception (Silver Baron C-D and Rum Bullions Patio)

Saturday, August 1, 2015

8:30 A.M.–8:50 A.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
8:50 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Group Photos - School SCRABBLE/Youth Players (Reno Ballroom)
8:55 A.M.–9:10 A.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
9:10 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 1–4 (Reno Ballroom)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Canadian Committee and Technology Committee lunch meetings (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 5–7 (Reno Ballroom)
6:30 P.M.–10:00 P.M.
Advisory Board Dinner Meeting (Roxy Restaurant)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Silver Baron E)
8:00 P.M.–11:00 P.M.
Trivia Contest (Silver Baron D)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

8:30 A.M.–8:50 A.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
8:50 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Group Photos - Past NSC Champions/Division Winners (Reno Ballroom)
8:55 A.M.–9:05 A.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
9:05 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 8–11 (Reno Ballroom)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Club/Director Committee and Rules Committee lunch meetings (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
World Youth Events informational meeting (Silver Baron C)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
2:55 P.M.–3:00 P.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
3:00 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 12–14 (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Silver Baron E)
8:00 P.M.–11:00 P.M.
A-Math Event (Silver Baron C)
8:30 P.M.–11:30 P.M.
Evening Musicale (Silver Baron D)

Monday, August 3, 2015

8:30 A.M.–8:50 A.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
8:50 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Group Photo - NASC Staff (Reno Ballroom)
8:55 A.M.–9:00 A.M.
Group Photo - Nevadans (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–9:10 A.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
9:10 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 15–18 (Reno Ballroom)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Membership Committee, Tournament Committee and International Committee lunch meetings (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 19–21 (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Silver Baron E)
8:30 P.M.–10:00 P.M.
Town Hall meeting (Silver Baron D)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

8:30 A.M.–8:50 A.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
8:50 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Group Photo - International Players (Reno Ballroom)
Group Photo - Family Members together at NASC (Reno Ballroom)
8:55 A.M.–9:00 A.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 22–25 / Best of 4 Quarterfinals (Reno Ballroom)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Dictionary Committee lunch meeting (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Social Media Committee lunch meeting (Reno Ballroom Foyer)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
2:55 P.M.–3:00 P.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
3:00 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 26–28 / Best of 4 Semifinals (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Silver Baron E)
8:00 P.M.–9:30 P.M.
Director meeting (Silver Baron D)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (Reno Ballroom)
8:55 A.M.–9:00 A.M.
Announcements (Reno Ballroom)
9:00 A.M.–1:00 P.M.
Rounds 29–31 / Best of 5 Finals (Reno Ballroom)
2:00 P.M.–3:30 P.M.
Prize Ceremony (Silver Baron A)
3:00 P.M.–7:00 P.M.
Tear Down (Reno Ballroom)

The Rose Award

Bob and Andi Schoenman, creators of Protiles, honor Rose Kreiswirth's memory. Rose was an expert Scrabble® player for over 30 years and cherished the game for its educational values. An accomplished player, Rose was as well known for her sense of fairness and her congeniality as she was for her competitiveness. The Rose Award will be awarded each year at the North American SCRABBLE Championship to a female player who, in the opinion of the judges, best exemplifies the fierce competitiveness and compassion that we remember Rose for. Thank you, Bob and Andi Schoenman!

Other Donors

If you are interested in donating prizes to events at the championship, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org.


For information about sponsorship opportunities at the championship, please contact Chris Cree.


Full details about cash and merchandise prizes are listed on the prize table.

2015 Bracketology Contest

[bracket]ology is a contest to see who can best predict the outcome of the first year of bracket match-play at the climax of the inaugural 2015 NASC in Reno, Nevada. Like the NCAA’s March Madness, whoever has the best bracket, wins! More details can be found at the 2015 Bracketology Contest page.


Chris Cree
Dallas Johnson
Webmaster / On-Site Executive
John Chew
Assistant to the Director
Sue Grogan-Johnson
Master of Ceremonies
Alan Stern
Member Services
Alice Ching-Chew
Division Leaders
Division 1: John Robertson
Division 2: Dan Stock
Division 3: Kieran O'Connor
Division 4: Arthur Moore
Collins: Jason Idalski
Division Assistants
Division 1: John Merlau
Division 2: Shelley Ubeika
Division 3: Sue Tremblay
Division 4: Diane Moore
Collins: Jim Pate
Data Entry
Division 1: Tim Crotty
Division 2/3: Reese Daniel
Division 4/CSW: Vince Castellano
Internet Reporter
Sherrie Saint John
Internet Photographer
Patty Hocker
Kate Watson - TWL
Ian Chew - TWL
Jackson Smylie - Collins
Lisa Kessler - Collins

Other Volunteers

Thursday, July 30

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the playing room for the tournament.

  • Edward Gowash
  • John Robertson
  • Chris Schneider

Friday, July 31

Volunteers are needed to help with registration and check-in.

10:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M.

  • Lila Crotty
  • Eric Grosskurth
  • Lisa Kessler (until 11:45)

12:30 P.M.-3:00 P.M.

  • Eric Grosskurth
  • Joyce Stock
  • Brad Whitmarsh

3:00 P.M.-5:30 P.M.

  • Kate Fukawa-Connelly
  • Michael Donegan
  • Matthew O'Connor (after early bird)

5:30 P.M.-7:00 P.M.

  • Kristy Zurbrick
  • Brad Whitmarsh

Saturday to Wednesday: Game Days

Laptops for Adjudication

We will need at least 10 laptops for adjudications. The laptops will need the latest version of ZYZZYVA. Please be sure the correct word list is in operation and disable your screensaver in the playing area during games.

  • Art Moore
  • Diane Moore
  • Joshua Sokol-Rubenstein
  • John Green
  • Vince Castellano
  • Vince Castellano
  • Michael Donegan
  • Dan Horowitz

Clean and Pack

We need about 15 Clean and Pack volunteers to help collect and box NASPA tournament supplies to be shipped back to the storage facility after the awards ceremony on Wed., August 5, 2015.

  • Tim Crotty
  • Lila Crotty
  • Kristy Zurbrick
  • Michael Donegan
  • Joyce Stock
  • Robin Lewis

Unassigned Volunteers

Following is a list of those who have volunteered, but do not yet have a specific assignment:


Only vendors of merchandise licensed by Hasbro will be provided with vendor space and permitted to display and/or sell products inside the tournament venue (which includes the playing room, after hours room, meeting rooms, and any other function rooms or prefunction space used by NASPA during the event). Licensed vendors are subject to prior approval by NASPA, at its sole and absolute discretion.

Other vendors who wish to sell products must do so at their own expense from their own rented space (hotel room, meeting room, etc.), subject to any applicable regulations. NASPA accepts no liability or responsibility for such vendors or their activities.

Archived FAQ

  1. When/where is the 2015 National SCRABBLE Championship?
    August 1–5, with mandatory registration on July 31, at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, NV.
  2. Will there be two Collins divisions at the 2015 NASC?
    Maybe, if attendance continues to increase. We'll make a decision about this in early 2015.
  3. Why was the Pairings Committee not consulted about the adoption of a playoff format in 2015?
    The mandate of the Pairings Committee is “to evaluate and certify pairing algorithms for tournament use”. The bracket pairing format has long been certified for tournament use, and has been used previously in a number of other tournaments. So there was nothing for the Pairings Committee to do in this case.
  4. Who decides the format of the NASC?
    The NASPA Championship Committee is charged with organizing and running our annual championship tournament. The Championship Committee makes hundreds of decisions with respect to the organization of the NASC. The Championship Committee functions much like the organizers/directors of other NASPA tournaments, choosing a venue, negotiating terms, setting entry fees, establishing division cutoffs, determining pairing format, etc.
  5. Why is the membership not consulted on changes to the NASC?
    The Championship Committee has always sought feedback from players at the conclusion of every championship. We consider the opinions of our membership very carefully when making plans for future tournaments, and believe that we have improved on the tournament year by year. Some of the changes to the NASC that have arisen from member feedback include: offering the option to play in the Collins lexicon; offering multiple Collins divisions; modifying the cutoff for the Collins division; modifying the cutoff for TWL Division 1; shortening the Qualifying Rating period; adding a staff/directors Early Bird; adding ancillary events like a Lunch Bird, Trivia Contest, and Tag Team Tourney; and offering a Youth Division.
  6. Why will there be playoffs at the 2015 NASC?
    While many players have been happy with the traditional pairing format used in the recent championships, there have been some criticisms of that format. Some have argued that it requires the division leaders to play very strong competitors over and over, while those who have a worse record early in the tournament have the opportunity to employ a “Swiss gambit” to make a late surge and secure a higher place in the tournament having faced less stringent competition. The new pairing format came about in part because of its success at last year’s SCRABBLE Champions Tournament. But a secondary factor in choosing this format was the ability to address the concerns expressed by some of our membership. So, while we didn’t conduct a poll of the membership on the pairing format, the choice of this format was responsive to concerns raised by NASPA members. In the same way that we have committed to allowing our members to play in their preferred lexicon, we want to provide our players who favor this format an opportunity to experience a championship paired in this way.
  7. Are playoffs unfair?
    Every pairing format has advantages and disadvantages. And every tournament must foreclose the opportunity for some players to win or place highly at some point during the event. For those reasons, any number of pairing formats can be fair to the participants. What is of critical importance is establishing the pairing format in advance, so that the competitors have the ability to know what is required to win or place in the event.
    Initiating the playoff bracket after round 21 means that the competitors will already have played the equivalent length of 1½ typical weekend tournaments. Some players may be shut out of the championship bracket based on the luck of the draw during one or more games. But, that is simply the nature of SCRABBLE play. Luck is a factor in our game.
    Those who are excluded from the championship bracket still have the ability to compete for 9th place and lower, and also have the ability to compete on a game by game basis to test their skills against each of their competitors in the final 10 games. At every championship, there are players who are mathematically eliminated from 8th place and above at the end of round 21. Those players have always continued to play and give their best, regardless of their place in the standings. Similarly, with the bracket format, each player will give his or her best in each game, seeking to improve rating or standing in the tournament, and most of all, drawing enjoyment from playing SCRABBLE games at the biggest, most significant NASPA tournament of the year.
  8. Will there always be playoffs?
    We will solicit particular feedback from our attendees after the 2015 NASC. We will consider carefully what our members have to say about the advantages and disadvantages of this format, and will use that information to determine the pairing format for the 2016 NASC.

Further Information

This page will be updated as the event draws nearer. If you have urgent questions about the event, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org.