What Does It Take to Be a Competitive Scrabble Player?

February 4, 2022

At Literary Hub, Oliver Roeder talks about his passion for the classic word game and his stint as a competitive player. He discusses his childhood love of the game, the fun of anagramming, and the best practices used in preparation for competitions. “Scrabble’s top players are people who can memorize coded information and quickly turn it into ordered meaning,” Roeder says. “Most players study with the help of a computer program; Zyzzyva (“The Last Word in Word Study”) is the most popular. These digital flash cards display letters in alphabetical order—​that is, as an alphagram. During gameplay one does the same with the letters on the rack, tightening the connection to earlier study. For example, the program might display AAEFLMOT. Your job, then, is to try to mentally rearrange those letters into the word MEATLOAF. Or if it displayed AAGKNOOR, you’d try to find KANGAROO. AEIKRSTW becomes WATERSKI, ADELOPT becomes TADPOLE, DGMOPRU becomes GUMDROP, ABINORW becomes RAINBOW, and so on.”

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

is an assistant editor at The Millions. She is a graduate of the Inkluded Academy 2021, a summer publishing course for graduates from BIPOC communities, and works as a freelance writer and uploading specialist.

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