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This page discusses North American tournaments and ratings using the Collins lexicon, and is part of our introduction to Collins (SOWPODS) in North America. For brevity, we will refer to the North American and International lexica, OTCWL16 and CSW15, as TWL and CSW respectively.
While there have been occasional tournaments played to the international lexicon in the US since the 1990s (the ’93 World Championships in New York, for example, because the Worlds have always used the international lexicon), and occasional others such as Wisconsin Dells, Toronto, and Texas, it was in 2010 that the number of CSW tournaments started to increase significantly. This was in large part due to NASPA’s decision to allow CSW to be rated, which has given the impetus to several organizers to add CSW divisions, or create new tournaments to meet demand.
It remains to be seen how much these numbers will continue to increase, and what the long-term future of the CSW scene will be, but the possibility of being able to play CSW exclusively, if one would like to, is now workable.
Also of note is that there are a significant number of prominent international tournaments with quite substantial sponsorship and prizes, several of which are well into the $1000s, and some over $10,000. These are listed at the WESPA website.
The most concise and visual overview of current CSW tournaments can be found at cross-tables, where upcoming tournaments are listed, and those offering CSW divisions have a yellow CSW icon next to them. This list is not guaranteed complete, for example, the monthly Berkeley tournaments do not normally post their entrants list, so the CSW icon does not show up. CSW divisions are usually conditional on 4 players entering the division, and there is not normally more than one division.
The NASPA website lists all upcoming rated tournaments on the calendar of future events. Clicking any event brings up the expanded listing, and doing a find-in-page for "Collins" or "CSW" can locate tournaments that may not have been shown in cross-tables.
For information on directing a CSW tournament, or adding a CSW division to a tournament, see the page on Directing SOWPODS tournaments.
Tournaments played to CSW in North America and sanctioned by NASPA are rated under the NASPA SOWPODS rating system. Thus:
Playing a CSW tournament has no effect on your regular NASPA rating
As well as the national systems, CSW tournaments in North America are eligible to be rated by the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA), the governing body of the English game worldwide, under their international system. In other words, if you play a CSW tournament, you can get a world ranking. However, non-NASPA CSW tournaments in North America cannot be WESPA rated. The WESPA system uses a different formula to NASPA, but the resulting distribution of ratings is broadly similar.
The NASPA SOWPODS system is described further on this wiki, but is essentially identical to the regular rating. Existing tournament software such as tsh and Director! can handle this. Hence, if you are already directing a tournament, adding a CSW division to it is straightforward.
Those with a regular NASPA rating from TWL start with that same rating under NASPA SOWPODS, but with zero games.
Several players are rated under two or more of the rating systems, and it is possible to compare their ratings in different systems.
Please direct comments about this page to its author, Nick Ball.