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Nigel Richards Named World Scrabble Champion After Defeating Jesse Day In London

He Also Won The French Championships, A Language He Doesn't Speak

October 29, 2018

There is a new World Scrabble Champion, as Nigel Richards defeated Jesse Day in London Sunday to claim the title. This is nothing new to Richards as he won the title previously in 2007, 2011 and 2013. Richards also has two victories in the French version of the championships, winning that title in 2015 and again this year.

While his multiple titles are impressive, the French version stands out, as Nigel Richards doesn’t even know the French language. Instead, according to Richards, he has memorized the French Scrabble dictionary. Even without first-hand knowledge of the language, the French competitors were still fearful of Richard’s skillset, as he proved they should be.

Nigel Richards won this year’s title with a final score of 572 to 450, besting Jesse Day, a data scientist from New York. Day called Richards one of the greatest of all time after the defeat. While his resume is impressive, Nigel Richards is ranked the second best player in the world, according to the global rankings.

Richards has a career scrabble record of 2,758 wins, 833 losses, and 11 ties. He sits behind Malaysia’s Ganesh Asirvatham in the world rankings. He may sit number two in the rankings, but he is now the official World Scrabble Champion, after taking home top prize in the $20,000 pool tournament in London.

Nigel Richards, a New Zealander currently living in Malaysia didn’t pick up the game until he was 28 years old. According to his mother, “When he was learning to talk, he was not interested in words, just numbers.” While not interested according to his mother, Richards has clearly found a career in the game of words, becoming one of the world’s greatest Scrabble players.

Via The New York Times