How far would you go to win at a game of scrabble?

Okay, that question makes it sound like I’m leading up to a murder, but a few years ago, something pretty insane and scrabble-related did go down.

In 2015, New Zealand’s Nigel Richards won the French Scrabble Championship despite not knowing French. How? He memorised the entire French scrabble dictionary in just 9 weeks. Sacre bleu!

Before he started preparing for the championship, this vernacular vagabond’s vocabulary was limited to ‘Bonjour’. But he started learning every word in that dictionary, and even though he didn’t know what any of them meant, he had them locked away in his brain to whip out when the need arose.

The Guardian

To reiterate, Richards can’t even hold a conversation in French, and yet, he beat a French scrabble master 2 games to nil. He even challenged his opponent’s use of certain verb forms, and was given a standing ovation by the French crowd.

Previously, Richards had won the English world Scrabble championships three times, the US national championships five times and the UK Open six times. 


The abilities Richards possesses originate from a photographic memory as well as prodigious mathematical skill. This allowed him to learn the words of the ODS (Official Scrabble book), and utilise it in a binary sequence in his head.


How much do you want to bet Nigel’s favourite song is Words by Boyzone?