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What is competitive Scrabble play and what draws people to it? Stefan Fatsis wrote a best-selling book about his personal experience entering the world of Scrabble tournaments, but let’s see if we can cover the key points in a brief webpage.
So you’ve been a Scrabble player for fun for a while. Maybe you get together for a regular game with some friends, or spend a few hours a day playing online. You think you’re pretty good at the game and get to wondering if there’s more to it, or maybe you hear about a local club or tournament. A web search brings you to our website, so now what? Here are the things that casual players first notice about competitive play.
Many players try their hand at competitive play at a NASPA club before taking on a tournament. The chances are good that you live near a NASPA club. Take a look at the club roster for the club director’s contact information and give him/her a call or send an email. Almost all clubs are extremely welcoming to newcomers, and give them a lot of help with the transition to competitive play.
A club is a good place to learn the basics of competitive play, and to get regular practice facing better players. We strongly recommend that players attend at least one club session before attending their first tournament. At a tournament, players play more seriously and directors are busier, with less time to help out newcomers.
If you live in an area not served by any of our clubs, it’s possible for even a newcomer to start a new club. Doing so involves paying a small fee, taking an open book test about the rules, and then being apprenticed to an experienced director until they’re sure you know everything you need to know. Please contact our Club Committee to learn more about this process.
Some clubs run a monthly one-day tournament on a Saturday or a Sunday, most clubs run a larger multiday once a year, and then there are very large events like the annual championship where several hundred players compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.
All of our open sanctioned tournaments are listed in our tournament calendar. If you don’t see one listed near you, ask your club director: some events are listed as far as a year in advance, but others may not appear until several weeks before they take place.
Each director sets his or her tournament’s entry fee. Players may compete in separate divisions according to their tournament rating, and divisions may have different fees. Be punctual at tournaments: if you are a first-time player and do not arrive in time for registration, your director may think you are not going to show up and remove you from the event. On the other hand, if something comes up and you have to cancel at the last minute, always inform your director
To play in a tournament, you must also have a paid NASPA membership. You should sign up online, and may either pay at the same time using a credit card, or pay your director cash when you arrive at the tournament.
If you have any questions about competitive Scrabble play that are not answered here, please email us.