As a small girl, I remember my parents playing Scrabble on a Sunday afternoon. When Husband and I first met, one of the things that we discovered we had in common was a shared love of words and that we too enjoyed Scrabble. To really get maximum enjoyment it’s essential to play an opponent who performs at a similar level. I can well recall the frustration of playing it with my young children. The unwritten rule was that I could only use words that they had a reasonable chance of knowing. I didn’t much like Snakes & Ladders but it was less tedious!
The forerunner of the game we know as Scrabble today was invented in 1931 by New York architect, Alfred Butts. He first called it Lexico, and later Criss Cross. James Brunot later redesigned it and remarketed it as Scrabble and in 1954 it was first sold in the UK.
According to the World English Language Scrabble Players Association, the world’s top ranking player is Ganesh Asirvatham whose highest score was 709. Husband and I have kept a record (written inside the box lid) of our best scores. As you might expect, we’re not quite at world class level but we do generally achieve respectable scores.
Of course, the aim is not only get a high score but to stop your opponent getting a half-decent one! To this end, we often play a very tight game full of short words each of us making it difficult for the other to ‘go’, but other times we concentrate on 7 letter words. There’s no pre-agreed format – it just happens at some point early in the game. The rules say that the players each draw a scrabble tile and the nearest to ‘A’ goes first. Sometimes we change this rule and the person who gets nearest to ‘Z’ starts. Radical, I know!
It’s been quite some years since we played more than very occasionally (perhaps a single game when on holiday) but the enforced lockdown has revived our enthusiasm. Inside the box lid we’ve recorded our best achievements:
Highest score (me): 502 (16th October 1995)
Highest score (Husband): 514 (29th February 2004)
Highest joint score: 874 (7th June 2000)
Do you Scrabble?