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Scrabble World Champion Drops 100-Point Word On His First Turn

Photo: Gareth Cattermole | Getty
Photo: Gareth Cattermole | Getty

New Zealand’s Nigel Richards, 51, has won his fourth Scrabble World Championship after beating American Jesse Day in this year’s final. His very first word went for 100 points.


That word was “zonular” (“like a zone”), but he also scored 84 with “phenolic” and 68 on “groutier”. His opponent had some big words of his own—scoring 95 for “maledict”(no, not the Doom enemy)—but it wasn’t enough to overcome that 100-point opening, with Richards going on to win the best-of-five final 575 to 452.

The Kiwi takes home £8000 (USD$10,200) in winnings, ABC News reports.

We’ve actually written about Richards before; he famously won the French Scrabble championships in 2015 without being able to speak a word of French, and incredibly won them again earlier this year.


Here’s how the board looked by the end of it:

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs

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I don’t even see zonular on the board in that final picture...