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Offical Rules of SCRABBLE                 Printable Tip Sheet

9/25/12: Top Ten Things to Know

(about Tournament Scrabble!)

9/22/12: Jason’s Tips on Short Words

Jason Keller recently placed 11th in the National Scrabble Championships.  Learn some of his secrets!

In round 8 of this year’s National Scrabble Championships, I scored 40 points or more in six straight turns (and after a 34-point play, I added another 75-point play and won 510-377). Three of those plays were JOB making JO, ON, and BE for 41; FAY making FE, AY, and YE for 40; and HEP making FEH, AYE and YEP for 47. Notice the lengths of those words. No word that I made was longer than three letters, yet I managed to score 128 points with those plays!

Jason Keller on Jeopardy!

The moral of this little story (besides the fact that I’m awesome) is that knowledge of the two- and three-letter words can really pay off. Good players look for “parallel plays” when appropriate. If a word is on the board and you may be able to place another word on top of (or below for a word placed horizontally, or next to if the word is placed vertically) it, forming valid words in both directions and scoring points for each word formed, as I did with each of the plays I described.




Jason at the 2011 Scrabble by the Sea, with Mary Scott, Executive Director of The Arc of Monmouth.

If the right tiles are placed on the premium squares (double and triple letter, double and triple word), you can get a big score for a short play. This is especially true of the power tiles: J, Q, X, and Z. Each of them forms at least a single two letter word (JO, QI, and ZA), and the X is especially useful in this regard, as it formed a two-letter word with each vowel (AX, EX, XI, OX, and XU). If you make a parallel play that puts a power tile on a triple-letter score, the J and X score 48 points on their own, and the Q and Z score 60! Just for those tiles!

You may also be able to get nice scores for other tiles using the same idea. My FAY play had the Y on a triple-letter, and my HEP play put the H on a double-word, and they scored big, but even one-point tiles can be used to make plays that score significantly more than their face value. For example, a play of IT can be worth 41 points, if a Q is next to a triple word score.

And more good news: there are only 101 acceptable two-letter words in the Official Club and Tournament Word List , and many of them common. If you run through them a few times, or play enough, they should be easy to remember. There are 1015 three-letter words. That’s a little bit larger of a list to memorize, but it is doable.

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