Scrabble Nationals and March Madness?

The North American Scrabble Championship is THE event of the year for the Scrabble community in the Americas. Hundreds of players from the US, Canada, and even places such as Thailand gather in some city in the US and play 31 games of intense, competitive Scrabble. This year’s championship starts very soon, on Saturday, August 1st, in sunny Reno, Nevada.

The championship has been held on a bi-yearly basis since 1978, and yearly since 2008. The top prize has been as big as $25K, although nowadays it is around $10K, mostly due to Hasbro withdrawing their sponsorship of the tournament. However, it is as fiercely competitive as ever, and for the first time, the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is hosting a March Madness style bracket contest.

Nationals this year is almost 2 separate tournaments; the top 8 players in each division after 21 games will be put in a bracket to determine the two finalists for the final day. The rest of the players will continue to play the last 10 games for other prizes. Although some players are expressing skepticism regarding this format, I am optimistic about the change and of course hope to make the top 8 in my division.

NASPA’s bracket contest, called “Bracketology”, allows NASPA members to pick who they think will make the top 8. Once the top 8 is set, the contest will change to pick the winners of the quarters, semifinals, and finalists. Those who choose best can win prizes such as entry to next year’s Nationals, or money to buy items from the NASPA store (tiles, racks, shirts, and other cool swag).

Check out my Collins Division Bracket -- who else should I pick?

Check out my Collins Division Bracket — who else should I pick?

You have to be a member of NASPA to sign up. Check it out here:
http://www.scrabbleplayers.org/w/2015_Bracketology_Contest

We’re very excited for Nationals to start this year and hope to bring you lots of cool coverage. Stay tuned!

Cesar Del Solar, Aerolith.org

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