Scrabble Competitions – English Language Championships

Scrabble players all over the world partake in a number of different competition formats to showcase their game strategy and word-making skills. In this article, WordsRated looks at the major tournaments available at adult and youth level, as well as their annual winners.

  • Major Scrabble tournaments are typically split between world events and national/regional events. 
  • National/regional events may be restricted to players from the given territory, or open to other players.
  • Youth tournaments are also available to players under the age of 18 years.
  • Based upon his accomplishments in the game, New Zealander Nigel Richards is widely considered to be the greatest Scrabble player of all time.
  • He has won the World Scrabble Championships 5 times, the Scrabble Players Championship (NASPA) 5 times and the WESPA Championship 2 times, in addition to an abundance of other titles.
  • Overall, he has a tournament win percentage of around 75% and is estimated to have earned over $200,000 in prize money.
  • The first ever winner of the World Scrabble Championship was English-born Peter Morris, who won the title in 1991.
  • As of 2023, Australian David Eldar is the current holder of the WESPA Championship (which replaced the World Scrabble Championship).
  • For the Scrabble Players Championship, Canadian Josh Sokol holds the 2023 NASPA title and Nigerian Wellington Jighere holds the 2023 Collins title.

Adult Scrabble tournaments

A number of significant Scrabble competitions are available for adult players to take part in. Some of the game’s most important competitions are held in North America, Europe and Asia.

WESPA Championship

A biennial world event that uses the previous WSC format, upon which teams must qualify from national organizations. Many other national associations have since adopted WESPA’s rules for use domestically.

  • Has been held every other year since 2015.
  • As of 2023, 4 different players have won the WESPA Championships.
  • Nigel Richards is the only player to have won the tournament 2 times.
2015Wellington JighereNigeria
2017Akshay BhandarkarBahrain
2019Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2021Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2023David EldarAustralia

World Scrabble Championship

The World Scrabble Championship was seen as the top Scrabble international tournament in the world. Although it was initially held only in odd years, it became an annual event in 2013.

  • The competition ran from 1991 to 2019 across 18 editions.
  • Nigel Richards won the tournament 5 times, more than any other player.
  • Players from the United States, Canada and England each won the tournament three times.
1991Peter MorrisUnited States
1993Mark NymanEngland
1995David BoysCanada
1997Joel ShermanUnited States
1999Joel WapnickCanada
2001Brian CappellettoUnited States
2003Panupol SujjayakornThailand
2005Adam LoganCanada
2007Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2009Pakorn NemitrmansukThailand
2011Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2013Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2014Craig BeeversEngland
2015Wellington JighereNigeria
2016Brett SmitheramEngland
2017David EldarAustralia
2018Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2019Nigel RichardsNew Zealand

Scrabble Players Championship 

The Scrabble Players Championship is organized by NASPA Games to be an open event. It is typically held as an annual summer tournament in the US, attracting several hundred players.  

NASPA format

  • After its inaugural tournament in 1978, it is still ongoing as of 2023.
  • Players from the United States have won the tournament on 21 occasions, more than any other country.
  • Nigel Richards has won the tournament 5 times, more than any other player.
1978David PrinzUnited States
1980Joe EdleyUnited States
1983Joel WapnickCanada
1985Ron TiekertUnited States
1987Rita NorrUnited States
1988Robert WatsonUnited States
1989Peter MorrisUnited States
1990Robert FeltUnited States
1992Joe EdleyUnited States
1994David GibsonUnited States
1996Adam LoganCanada
1998Brian CappellettoUnited States
2000Joe EdleyUnited States
2002Joel ShermanUnited States
2004Trey WrightUnited States
2005Dave WiegandUnited States
2006Jim KramerUnited States
2007James LeongCanada
2008Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2009Dave WiegandUnited States
2010Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2011Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2012Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2013Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2014Conrad Bassett-BouchardUnited States
2015Matthew TunnicliffeCanada
2016David GibsonUnited States
2017Will AndersonUnited States
2018Joel ShermanUnited States
2019Alec SjöholmUnited States
2022Michael FagenCanada
2023Josh SokolCanada

Collins format

  • Started in 2012 but is still ongoing as of 2023 (a total of 10 editions).
  • Austin Shin is the only player to have won the tournament 2 times (in 2017 and 2022).
  • Players from the United States have won 50% of the Collins Scrabble Word tournaments.
2012Sam KantimathiUnited States
2013John O’LaughlinUnited States
2014Adam LoganCanada
2015Peter ArmstrongUnited States
2016David EldarAustralia
2017Austin ShinUnited Kingdom
2018Evans ClinchyUnited States
2019Jesse DayUnited States
2022Austin ShinUnited Kingdom
2023Wellington JighereNigeria

Canadian National Scrabble Championship

The recognized Canadian national Scrabble competition. Entrants must be invited to play, with invitations only offered to Canadian players with the highest rankings.

  • A total of 10 events took place between 1996 and 2018.
  • Adam Logan won the tournament a record 5 times.
  • Joel Wapnick is the only other player to win the tournament multiple times (2 times).
1996Eric Tran
1998Adam Logan
2000Adam Logan
2003Joel Wapnick
2005Adam Logan
2008Adam Logan
2011David Boys
2013Ron Hoekstra
2016Joel Wapnick
2018Adam Logan

UK National Scrabble Championship

Held every year, the UK National Scrabble Championship is considered to be the most prestigious Scrabble tournament in the United Kingdom. Participation is restricted to players who are UK citizens or residents.

  • Has taken place annually since 1971, with the exception of 1995, 2020 and 2021. 
  • As of 2023, there have been 50 editions of the tournament.
  • Philip Nelkon and Mark Nyman have each won the tournament 4 times, which is more than any other player.
1971Stephen Haskell
1972Olive Behan
1973Anne Bradford
1974Richard Sharp
1975Olive Behan
1976Alan Richter
1977Mike Goldman
1978Philip Nelkon
1979Christine Jones
1980Joyce Cansfield
1981Philip Nelkon
1982Russell Byers
1983Colin Gumbrell
1984Mike Willis
1985Esther Byers
1986Viraf Mehta
1987Nigel Ingham
1988Margaret Rogers
1989Russell Byers
1990Philip Nelkon
1991Phil Appleby
1992Philip Nelkon
1993Allan Saldanha
1994Mike Willis
1996Andrew Fisher
1997Andrew Cook
1998Mark Nyman
1999Evan Simpson
2000Brett Smitheram
2001Mark Nyman
2002Mark Nyman
2003Harshan Lamabadusuriya
2004Mark Nyman
2005Wale Fashina
2006Jake Jacobs
2007Paul Allan
2008Allan Simmons
2009Craig Beevers
2010Mikki Nicholson
2011Wayne Kelly
2012Paul Gallen
2013Paul Allan
2014Chris May
2015Craig Beevers
2016Phil Robertshaw
2017Austin Shin
2018Edward Martin
2019Phil Robertshaw
2022Brett Smitheram
2023Paul Allan

UK Open Scrabble Tournament

An open tournament based in the United Kingdom that brought together Scrabble players from around the globe. However, due to its format, winning the title does not make a player become the national champion. 

  • As of 2023, only four players have ever won the title.
  • A total of 13 tournaments have taken place.
  • Nigel Richards from New Zealand has won a record 10 tournaments.
2008Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2009Helen GipsonScotland
2010Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2011Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2012Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2013Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2014Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2015Paul AllanScotland
2016Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2017Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2018Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2019Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2020Ed MartinEngland

Brand’s Crossword Game King’s Cup

The competition was seen as a way to promote the use of English and the winner of the tournament was honored with a trophy from the King of Thailand. Attracting up to 8,000 players, it was previously the largest Scrabble tournament in the world.

  • The tournament ran from 1989 to 2019, through 33 editions.
  • Nigel Richards has been the champion of the tournament 15 times, more than any other player.
  • Thailand has had 11 winners, the US has had 3 winners and England has had 2 winners.
1989Apichit VichitjitkulThailand
1990Charles GoldsteinUnited States
1991Mark NymanEngland
1992Pakorn NemitrmansukThailand
1993Ong-Arj CharuwanThailand
1994Sam KantimathiUnited States
1995Jakkrit KlaphajoneThailand
1996Charnwit SukhumrattanapornThailand
1997Jakkrit KlaphajoneThailand
1998Joel ShermanUnited States
1999Mark Nyman*England
1999Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2000Nigel Richards*New Zealand
2000Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2001Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2002Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2003Pakorn NemitrmansukThailand
2004Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2005Panupol SujjayakornThailand
2006Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2007Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2008Suanne OngMalaysia
2009Pakorn NemitrmansukThailand
2010Pakorn NemitrmansukThailand
2011Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2012Helen GipsonScotland
2013Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2014Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2015Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2016Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2017Komol PanyasophonlertThailand
2018Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2019Nigel RichardsNew Zealand

*These two tournaments were held in January under different sponsorship

Singapore Open Scrabble Championship

The Singapore Open Scrabble Championship was founded in 1998 and boasts a large number of participants. It is designed as an open, non-invitational Scrabble tournament to attract players from different countries.

  • Ran every year between 1998 and 2017.
  • The most recent champion is Toh Weibin from Singapore (2017 edition).
  • Nigel Richards has won the tournament 12 times and is also the only player to win it multiple times. 
1998Michael TangSingapore
1999Ganesh AsirvathamMalaysia
2000Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2001Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2002Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2003Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2004Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2005Andy KurniaSingapore
2006Tony SimSingapore
2007Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2008Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2009Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2010Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2011Aaron ChongMalaysia
2012Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2014Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2016Nigel RichardsNew Zealand
2017Toh WeibinSingapore

Youth Scrabble tournaments

Youth players also have the opportunity to take part in significant Scrabble competitions for their age group. Many participants in these competitions eventually go on to compete at an adult level.

World Youth Scrabble Championships

The global Scrabble tournament for players under the age of 18 years. It has been held as an annual competition since 2006.

  • As of 2023, there have been 18 editions of the tournament.
  • The tournament has been won by players from 8 different countries
  • Syed Imaad Ali from Pakistan is the only player to have won the tournament 2 times.
2006David EldarAustralia
2007Toh WeibinSingapore
2008Charnrit KhongthanaratThailand
2009Suanne OngMalaysia
2010Ker Jen HoMalaysia
2011Anand BharadwajAustralia
2012Michael McKennaAustralia
2013Moiz Ullah BaigPakistan
2014Jack DurandEngland
2015Nicholas HongSingapore
2016Sanchit KapoorUnited Arab Emirates
2017Aabid IsmailSri Lanka
2018Syed Imaad AliPakistan
2019Tarin PairorThailand
2020Napat Vatjaranurathorn*Thailand
2021Syed Imaad AliPakistan
2022Ali SalmanPakistan
2023Hivin DilmithSri Lanka

*Player of the tournament. This edition was won by Thailand as it was a team tournament.

North American School Scrabble Championship

Entry is only open to school students from North America. To participate, students must be between 3rd and 8th grade. 

  • As of 2023, the tournament has taken place 19 times.
  • Andy Hoang, Erik Salgado, Jeffrey Pogue, Jem Burch, Matthew Silver, Nathanael Campos, Noah Slatkoff, Walden Giezentanner and Zach Ansell have each won the tournament two times (joint 1st).
  • The most commonly represented states/provinces for winners are Connecticut (8 winners), California (7 winners) and North Carolina (6 winners).
2003Nick AmphlettMassachusettsJohn EzekowitzMassachusetts
2004Thomas Bao CaliforniaEric JohnstonCalifornia
2005Scott CardoneOhioAsif RahmanOhio
2006Aaron JacobsMassachusettsNathan Mendelsohn Massachusetts
2007Aune MitchellConnecticutMatthew Silver Connecticut
2008Logan Rosen ConnecticutMatthew Silver Connecticut
2009Andy Hoang North CarolinaErik SalgadoNorth Carolina
2010Evan McCarthyNew HampshireBradley RobbinsNew Hampshire
2011Alex LiOntarioJackson SmylieOntario
2012Andy HoangNorth CarolinaErik SalgadoNorth Carolina
2013Kevin BowermanNorth CarolinaRaymond GaoNorth Carolina
2014Thomas DraperNew JerseyJacob SassTexas
2015Noah KalusNew YorkZach AnsellCalifornia
2016Jem BurchCaliforniaCooper KomatsuCalifornia
2017Zach AnsellCaliforniaJem BurchCalifornia
2018Jeffrey PogueConnecticutNoah SlatkoffOntario
2019Jeffrey Pogue ConnecticutNoah SlatkoffOntario
2022Walden Giezentanner MissouriNathanael Campos Connecticut
2023Walden Giezentanner MissouriNathanael Campos Connecticut