2017 Rule Changes

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Proposed rule changes for 2017.

Rewritten Rules

II.E. Right to a Second Opinion

If a player feels that a Director has made an incorrect ruling, she or he has the right to request a second opinion from another Director, if one is available. If the two rulings differ, a third opinion may be requested. In any case, the first Director has the final say, but is encouraged to reconsider an initial ruling if it differs from subsequent ones.

IV.I.1. When to Hold or Challenge

After your opponent places a word and ends his/her turn, you have an opportunity to challenge the play.

You may not challenge the play after your opponent draws a tile, except under the terms of any of the following rules:

  • Rule IV.G.2.a. Failing to Start Opponent’s Clock
  • Rule IV.G.2.c. Not Allowing Sufficient Time for Holds or Challenges
  • Rule IV.I.2.a Courtesy Rule


When challenging the final play of the game, see Rule V.E. Neutralizing the Clock on the Out Play. Otherwise, when there are no more tiles left to be drawn in the bag, your opportunity to challenge does not expire.

You may record your opponent’s score before challenging.

You may extend the time you have to challenge a play by holding the play: preventing your opponent from drawing replacement tiles as described in Rule IV.I.2. Holding the Play. You may hold a play whenever it would be legal for you to challenge a play.

IV.I.2. Holding The Play

To reserve the right to challenge a play, say “hold” or otherwise ask your opponent not to draw tiles. Your opponent may then not draw tiles until the held play is released, or challenged and adjudicated, except per Rule IV.I.2.a. Courtesy Rule. Your clock continues to run.

For the sake of clarity, it is strongly recommended that you take possession of the bag when you hold a play, and offer it back to your opponent if you subsequently accept the play.

To release a held play, say “OK”, “Accept”, give the bag back to your opponent, or otherwise indicate that the play is no longer held. Adjudicating the challenge or ending your turn also release a held play. There is no limit on how long you can hold a play.

IV.I.2.a Courtesy Rule

After you have held your opponent’s play for 15 seconds, your opponent may draw provisional replacement (“courtesy”) tiles without denying your right to challenge the play. To draw provisional replacement tiles, your opponent must clearly state an intention to do so, then keep any such tiles separate (not on the same rack) from any unplayed tiles for as long as the play is held.

If you make a successful challenge, your opponent shows the drawn tiles to you and returns them to the bag before removing the challenged play from the board. If any new tiles have been combined (see “Glossary” on page 38) with unplayed tiles, you place facedown the original unplayed tiles and all newly drawn tiles and apply Rule IV.B.5. Overdraws to them, counting the illegally played tiles as tiles in possession not mixed with newly drawn tiles. After the overdraw procedure is complete, the illegally played tiles will be returned to the offender’s rack.

If your opponent returns the drawn tiles to the bag without showing them to you, you have the right to view X+2 tiles from the bag, where X is the number of tiles returned, or all of the tiles in the bag, whichever is fewer.

If you make an unsuccessful challenge, your opponent simply moves the drawn tiles to his/her rack.

IV.K.4. Requesting a Second Opinion

Either player may request a review of a manual adjudication from another Word Judge, and may obtain a third opinion if the first two differ. In any case, the first Word Judge has the final say, but is encouraged to reconsider an initial ruling if it differs from subsequent ones.

New Rules

There are no proposed new rules yet.