Bored of winning the English-language Scrabble world championship three times and U.S. National Scrabble tournament five times, Nigel Richards put his eyes on the French-language Scrabble World Championship, and won, all while not speaking a lick of French. 

Former president of the New Zealand Scrabble Association and a friend to Richards (a New Zealand native) Liz Fagerlund told the New Zealand Herald, 

“He doesn't speak French at all, he just learnt the words. He won't know what they mean, wouldn't be able to carry out a conversation in French I wouldn't think."

That’s because Richards only studied the French Scrabble dictionary which he began to memorize in late May, so says the French Scrabble Federation.

Scrabble expert Stefan Fatsis called Richards the “best Scrabble player of all-time," while applauding Richards memorization feat by explaining that French Scrabble has 386,000 words, while North American Scrabble has 187,000. As someone who’s never played Scrabble and whose only knowledge of it comes from Jennifer Lopez’s character in The Wedding Planner, color me impressed. 

But Fatsis didn’t end his praise there saying, 

“It is a game of mathematics. It's a game of strategy, it's a game of spacial relations and board geometry. You have to have a math brain to be great at Scrabble."

This English major doesn’t have a “Math brain” so I’ll be leaving the Scrabble to the pros like Richards.


[via NPR]