Champion Scrabble player reveals the top secret you need to know to score high

Virgin Radio

6 Sep 2022, 10:48

Credit: Getty

Want to know the tricks behind playing a top game of Scrabble? One champion tournament player has shared his tips and secrets on how to win big, which could bag you up to $10,000 (£8,600).

WESPA Senior Scrabble Championship Howard Warner, from New Zealand, who has been playing since he was a child, told Urbo about his savvy Scrabble-winning secrets. He said: “The big misconception is that it’s about words.

“Another big misconception is that the only way to score well is to get on the triple word score.

"The fact is there’s many, many, many ways of scoring very well in the game of Scrabble, and also many ways of stopping your opponent from scoring well. 

“That’s the offensive approach and the defensive approach, and a good player combines the two.”

Credit: NZ Association of Scrabble Players

He added: “The main difference, at the domestic level, [is that] people think it’s about words.

“I always tell people, ‘If you’re interested as words as language, write or read.’ 

“For Scrabble, it’s more about letter combinations that are used for scoring points. So it’s a very mathematical game. 

“And it just so happens that many of the top players are also very good bridge players, chess players, poker players. They’re applying the same sort of numerical and strategic approaches to those games. 

“The only difference is, instead of working with spots on cards or imitation soldiers, they’re working with letter combinations.” 

Warner said he practises every day and explained: "I don’t prepare for a tournament.

"I prepare for tournament play, generally, and it’s an ongoing thing. It’s daily.

"A marathon runner might be clocking up their miles every day, and we’re similar. Everyday, I will do my anagram revision.

"I should just explain how we learn words. You generally learn the words from two letters up to five letters by rote, until you just have them all there, just sitting in your memory constantly.

"And you play the smaller words a lot, so they don’t need a lot of revision. Once you learn them, they’re just there, ready for use. It’s the words from six letters to eight letters long, and sometimes even nine letters long, that you generally learn by anagram combinations.

"You want to be able to recognise the anagram combination as soon as it’s on your rack and know all the permutations. There are programs and apps around now that help us refine this learning. I spend around an hour every day just going through all these, revising all my anagrams.

"I’m not learning the words. I know all the words I need now, I’m just revising; anagrams."