ShareThis Page
More Lifestyles

Scrabble rocked by S-C-A-N-D-A-L as top U.K. player banned

| Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
Competitors take part in the World Scrabble Championships in 2005 at an hotel in north west London. The Association of British Scrabble players has banned one of its star players, Allan Simmons, for three years after an independent investigation concluded that he had broken the rules of the popular game, it was reported on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.
Competitors take part in the World Scrabble Championships in 2005 at an hotel in north west London. The Association of British Scrabble players has banned one of its star players, Allan Simmons, for three years after an independent investigation concluded that he had broken the rules of the popular game, it was reported on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

The Association of British Scrabble players banned one of its star players for three years after an independent investigation concluded that he had broken rules in the popular word game.

Allan Simmons has authored books on Scrabble and contributed game coverage to The Times newspaper, which first reported his ban from competition. The London-based newspaper says it will no longer use him as a contributor.

A committee member for the association, Elie Dangoor, said Monday that three independent witnesses saw Simmons put a hand with freshly drawn letter tiles back into a bag to draw more tiles — contrary to the rules.

"The natural conclusion had been that he had been cheating," Dangoor said.

There were four instances dating back to 2016, and the committee conducted an independent probe which was concluded a few weeks ago. The matter came to larger public attention only recently, and was discussed during the World English Language Scrabble Players Association event that ended Sunday.

Simmons told the Times he denied cheating, and that he had suffered the same "untimely bad luck from the bag as anyone else."

"You have to remember that at the top level, games can be quite intense and there's a lot going through one's mind let alone remembering to religiously ensure tile drawing rules are followed meticulously," Simmons was quoted by the Times as saying. "From the outset I have said that no one is beyond suspicion and complied fully with the investigative process."

Dangoor said that Simmons had been "a huge part of the game's development" and that there was "great disappointment," as he is a liked and respected part of the Scrabble community. But action had to be taken.

"There's no one person bigger than the game," Dangoor said.

Efforts to reach Simmons were unsuccessful. The Times quoted him as saying he planned to concentrate on "more important things in life."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me