A Scrabble champion from New Zealand just won the French-language Scrabble World Championship without being able to speak a word of the language. Nigel Richards, who has won multiple Scrabble championships in his native language of English, apparently just started studying a French dictionary about eight weeks before the tournament took place. But reading a dictionary is not the same as learning a language (which probably isn’t required of a Scrabble tournament anyway), and Richards likely couldn’t tell anyone what any of those words actually mean.
The tournament took place in Belgium, and Richards apparently beat a “rival” whose native language is actually French. But what is Scrabble beyond groups of letters? It’s not a vocabulary contest — it’s just spelling, really. Still, the contestants were apparently “gobsmacked” and were asking if Richards was “extra-terrestrial or something.”
Richards holds five U.S. National titles and won the World Scrabble Championship three times, plus he won the King’s Cup, a Scrabble contest in Thailand. I want to see him win in Sanskrit. If there is a competition in Sanskrit, I’ll bet he can win that too.
(via NZ Herald)