Kiwi Scrabble pro tipped for 6th US victory

Last updated 13:37 09/08/2014
Nigel Richards
Roger Cullman
KIWI CHAMP: Christchurch born Richards, who resides in Malaysia, is the undisputed best player in the world having also won the World Scrabble Championship three times.

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The odds are on New Zealander Nigel Richards to extend his record breaking streak of scrabble victories to six as the United States National Scrabble Championship kicks off today.

Christchurch born Richards, who resides in Malaysia, is the undisputed best player in the world having also won the World Scrabble Championship three times.

The 47-year-old picked up the game at 28 and now dominates the international Scrabble scene. He is ranked first in the United States with the gap between first and second almost the same between first and 20th, statistics blog FiveThirtyEight reports.

"He has held the first or second ranking on the continent since 2002, the year of his first National Championship. He holds the record for the highest Scrabble rating ever achieved."

Notoriously press shy Richards is based in Kuala Lumpur and makes a living playing Scrabble. He's also a trained engineer.

"Beyond all that is the sheer virtuosity of his gameplay, his uncanny gift for constructing impossible words by stringing his letters through tiles already on the board."

Competitive Scrabble tournament games are played one-on-one, with each player getting 25 minutes to complete all of their turns.

The annual United States National Championship features 31 games and is the most prestigious competition in the country.

Richards has played more than 2000 competitive games, according to the World English-language Scrabble Players' Association (WESPA), with a 75 per cent win rate. His average score is 460, which is a lot of triple-letter scores using q and x.

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