Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!


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Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:27 am

What has the world come to?

    The game’s national championship tournament, held over the last five days in Orlando, Fla., was shaken by the disqualification of one young player for pocketing blank tiles in an attempt to cheat. Suspicious opponents flagged him, and the young man fessed up, tournament officials said. They would not release his name because he is under 18, but in the small world of the game’s culture, the news is already a bombshell.

    “People were just appalled,” said Stefan Fatsis, author of the book “Word Freak,” about competitive Scrabble, who was competing at the tournament. “It’s easy to poke fun at Scrabble, but people who play it competitively take it very seriously. The community prides itself on integrity and honesty and sportsmanship.”

    But as with anything that involves winning and losing — particularly with money involved — it is not above cheating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/sport ... nted=print
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Marlow » Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:53 am

I cheat all the time in Scrabble. I make up words, give them very plausible definitions, intimidate my opponent (9-year-old grandson) with a stare and DEFY him to challenge me! :twisted:
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Master Po » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:02 am

Marlow wrote:I cheat all the time in Scrabble. I make up words, give them very plausible definitions, intimidate my opponent (9-year-old grandson) with a stare and DEFY him to challenge me! :twisted:


Well, you have to level the competitive playing field somehow! :wink: :)
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Conor Dary » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:12 am

I wonder if people cheat at chess? Such as when your opponent isn't looking change a couple of pawns for queens.
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Marlow » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:18 am

Conor Dary wrote:when your opponent isn't looking change a couple of pawns for queens.

OK, made me laugh out loud. I'm picturing three queens out there and the puzzled look of the opponent trying to figure what seems different about the board. :D
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby lonewolf » Thu Aug 16, 2012 11:32 am

Dunnot what happened.. I may have to figure out how to cheat at chess.
I taught my now 11 year old grandson to play chess and now he beats me fair and square about half the time..while playing wifi games on TV..
At least I can still beat his 6 year old brother..at scrabble..
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby j-a-m » Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:33 pm

Conor Dary wrote:What has the world come to?

That's not nearly as shocking as the Japanese robot that supposedly wins rock-paper-scissors all the time.
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby LopenUupunut » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:00 am

Conor Dary wrote:I wonder if people cheat at chess? Such as when your opponent isn't looking change a couple of pawns for queens.
People certainly do cheat at chess on occasion, but typically not in that way. At high levels, cheating usually involves either 1) attempts to receive help from strong chess computers in some way or 2) touch-move violations (cases where the player picks up one piece, decides to move another piece instead and pretends the whole thing never happened - even Garry Kasparov did this once). In time scrambles in speed chess, moves are sometimes made partially on the opponent's time. Other cheating methods have included tampering with the clock or with your score sheet (the record you keep of which moves have been played in the game - there are various reasons why falsifying this might be advantageous) or intentionally making illegal moves. Chess (like many other games) has sandbaggers. There have been claims of teammates throwing games on purpose so one of them can win the whole tournament; a common claim is the Soviets did this a couple times to secure the World Championship, but that has never been proved and might well not be true (usually, they didn't need to!) A couple infamous players have based their whole careers on bribed opponents or even fake tournaments.

Also, false accusations of computer cheating have become quite commonplace...

Mind you, what I believe is the very first recorded claim of cheating in chess or a chess-like game - an ancient Jewish story involving King Solomon - does indeed revolve around removing one of the opponent's pieces when he's not looking :wink:
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Re: Cheating in Scrabble. Horrors!

Postby Powell » Mon Aug 20, 2012 1:12 am

Conor Dary wrote:What has the world come to?

“People were just appalled,” said Stefan Fatsis, author of the book “Word Freak,” about competitive Scrabble, who was competing at the tournament. “It’s easy to poke fun at Scrabble, but people who play it competitively take it very seriously. The community prides itself on integrity and honesty and sportsmanship.”


Being a competitive Scrabble player myself, I'm afraid I'm not the list bit surprised. Some people always try to gain an advantage in a competitive situation by whatever means they can. I don't believe it's about money, either; the prize money in the game is negligible over here, but these things still happen.
I'm sure Fatsis isn't surprised, either, despite his comments. I've read his book, and he gave multiple examples of ways in which people have cheated in Scrabble tournaments.
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