Winning SCRABBLE and the Nature of Expertise

In case you didn’t hear the news, there was a major shake-up in the competitive SCRABBLE world last summer in Buffalo. Conrad Bassett-Bouchard, a 24-year old graduate student from Portland, Oregon, won the $10,000 first prize at the National SCRABBLE Championship, making him the youngest American to ever win the tournament. But the big news was that the win ended Nigel Richards’ run of four titles. Richards, a reclusive New Zealander, is widely regarded as the best SCRABBLE player of all-time—the “Michael Jordan of the game,” as one co-competitor put it.