World Scrabble Championships

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

Nigel Richards, a 40-year-old playing for New Zealand, became the world Scrabble champion on Nov. 12, 2007. He gained the title and $15,000 by winning a playoff against Ganesh Asirvatham of Malaysia. Held in Mumbai, the international tournament featured 104 players from 41 countries. The competition has occurred every other year since 1991. Richards succeeds Adam Logan of Canada who won the 2005 competition.


Scrabble was invented by an unemployed American architect named Alfred Butts, who started tinkering with a word game in 1933. Originally called Lexico, Butts gradually developed the game over the next five years. He also changed its name a number of times, from Lexico to New Anagrams, to Alph, Criss-Cross, Criss-Crosswords, and finally to Scrabble. In December 1948, Scrabble received a copyright and trademark approval. Its popularity has skyrocketed since then. More than 100 million games in 27 languages have been sold around the world.


According to the World Scrabble Championship site:

  • The highest number of points that can be scored on the first move is 128: MUZJIKS (means Russian peasants).
  • Playing BENZOXYCAMPHORS (a type of chemical) along the edges of a Scrabble board will net the highest score for a word: 1970 points. (This has never been achieved thus far.)
  • The highest word score actually netted in a competition was CAZIQUES (the plural for a West Indian Chief): 392 points, by Karl Khoshnaw of Manchester, England.
  • The highest score ever achieved in one game was 1049 points by Philip Appleby from Lymington, England, in 1989.
Year Dates Place Players Winner
1991 Sept. 27-30 London 48 Peter Morris, U.S.
1993 Aug. 27-30 New York 64 Mark Nyman, UK
1995 Nov. 2-5 London 64 David Boys, Canada
1997 Nov. 20-24 Washington 80 Joel Sherman, U.S.
1999 Nov. 4-7 Melbourne 98 Joel Wapnick, Canada
2001 Dec. 13-17 Las Vegas 88 Brian Cappelletto, U.S.
2003 Oct. 21-24 Kuala Lumpur 90 Panupol Sujjayakorn, Thailand
2005 Nov. 17-20 London 105 Adam Logan, Canada
2007 Nov. 9-12 Mumbai 104 Nigel Richards, New Zealand
Source: The World Scrabble Championship .

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