|Scrabble Association, Singapore|
Mailing address: 10 Anson Road, #16-16 International Plaza, Singapore 079903
Web master: webmaster at toucanet.com
Scrabble Association Tournament Rules and Regulations 2015
Individual tournament organizers are permitted to introduce
amendments, modifications and additional rules within
reason, and with the prior consent of the Scrabble
Organisers may opt to use the Tournament Rules promulgated
by the World English-Language Scrabble Players' Association
(WESPA), and must so specify when tournament details are
announced. Singapore applies the 5-point-per-word challenge
penalty as specified in the WESPA rules.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT GUIDELINES
Pairing: The conventional pairing method, either
singly or in combination, is "King-of-the-Hill" with or
without repeats or Round Robin.
Win criteria: Position shall be determined first by
number of wins, ties counting as half a win, then by
cumulative margin of victory or "spread". If one or more
players are tied, then the position is acknowledged to be
tied with no tie-breaks and organisers should determine the
fairest way to award prizes for the tied position, where
applicable. (revised 2014)
Divisional ratings: The Scrabble Association
maintains tournament players ratings. When there is more
than one division in a tournament, it is recommended that
organizers decide and announce beforehand how entrants will
TOURNAMENT GAME RULES
The following rules are additional to and take precedence
over the standard Scrabble Rules issued with the British
version of the game produced by J.W. Spear and Sons PLC:
- It is the responsibility of each player to check his
opponent's plays and scores. A player must keep score
and running total for both himself and his opponent.
- Time allotted: Each player is permitted a total
of 25 minutes each on the clock in which to complete all
- Overtime Penalties: Each player who exceeds his
time will at the end of his game deduct from his total
score ten points for each minute or part thereof by
which he has exceeded his allotted 25 minutes.
- Equipment: Players may use their own clocks,
boards, tiles and racks. Racks must be such that the
opponent can count the number of tiles on the rack. In
case of disagreement and where the equipment available
is functionally equivalent, the player going second has
the option to select the equipment to be used. Players
may use their own score sheets and/or tile tracking
- Preference should be given to functionally superior
equipment namely digital clocks, smooth "Pro" tiles
and turntable boards.
- Starts: If not otherwise specified by the
organizers, the players shall draw tiles to determine
the start as described in the standard Rules.
- End of turn: A player must not remove any tile or
shift the tiles on the board once he has activated his
opponent's clock. A player's turn is deemed to have
ended when he starts his opponent's clock. (If a player
forgets to activate his opponent's clock, he is deemed
to have ended his turn when he replenishes his rack.)
- Tile drawing: The player whose turn has ended
may then replenish his rack by drawing the required
number of tiles from the bag and first placing them
face down on the table before placing them on his
rack. The rim of the bag should be held at eye
level while drawing tiles. A player who has
inadvertently drawn tiles out of turn need not
return the new tiles to the bag except where
overdrawn (see rules on overdrawing tiles).
- Blank tiles: Blank tiles may be nominated as any
letter. The player must state what letter each blank
represents after which that blank will represent the
specified letter for the duration of the game (unless
successfully challenged off). Both players must note on
their score sheets the letter the blanks represent and
ensure that these records are in agreement before play
- Tile exchange: Instead of playing words on the
board, a player may choose to use his turn to exchange
one or more tiles provided there are at least 7 tiles
in the bag. The player will score zero for that
- Procedure for exchange: On deciding to exchange
tiles, place face down on the table as many tiles from
your rack as you wish to exchange. State the number of
tiles you wish to exchange. You may then start your
opponent's clock. Draw a like number of tiles from the
bag and place them face down on the table. Place the
discarded tiles in the bag and shuffle the bag.
- Passing: A player may opt to pass his turn and
score zero for that turn. In this case the player should
state "PASS" and activate his opponent's clock without
playing any tiles onto the board.
- Challenges: A player may
challenge any word(s) played by his opponent in the
- Hold procedure: A player considering a
challenge should call "HOLD" within 15 seconds after
the completion of the opponent's turn.
If HOLD is called before the held player's rack is
fully replenished, that player may continue to
replenish his rack after the play is accepted or in
any case one minute (or as nearly as can be
determined from the clock) from the end of his turn.
A player replenishing his rack while a hold is still
in effect should keep fresh tiles separate from
leftover tiles so that they may be returned to the
bag in the event of a successful challenge.
Acceptance of a play after a hold is called should
be signified clearly by announcing "ACCEPTED" and is
There is no limit to the length of time for HOLD.
- Challenge procedure: On taking the decision
to challenge, the challenger should call "CHALLENGE"
and neutralize the clock at which point the
challenge becomes irrevocable. The challenger must
write clearly on a Challenge Slip one or several or
all of the words formed by the challenged player
during the turn just concluded. The challenged
player may verify the accuracy of the completed
Challenge Slip. The Challenge Slip should then be
handed to tournament word judges for a ruling. The
challenger may continue to shuffle his tiles.
- The word judges will return a ruling as to whether
the words challenged are ACCEPTABLE or NOT ACCEPTABLE.
the words challenged are deemed acceptable (i.e.
included in the specified word authorities) the
challenge is unsuccessful. Otherwise the challenge
is successful and the challenged player must
withdraw his play from the board and return any
replenishment tiles to the bag. If any of the
replenishment tiles have been mixed with leftover
tiles, the successful challenger may draw at random
the required number of tiles from the challenged
player's entire rack and return them to the bag
before his opponent withdraws his play from the
board. Both players may view the returned tiles
before they are replaced in the bag. Where
all words challenged are ACCEPTABLE
5 points for every word
challenged are added to the turn score of the
- The word judges must rule only as to whether the
challenge as a whole is successful or unsuccessful,
and in cases where more than one word is challenged
must not indicate whether any particular word is
- The decision of the judges on the success of
challenges is final. Players who doubt the accuracy
of the judgment may request a recheck, which will be
granted at the discretion of the judges.
- After the challenge is concluded and scores have
been recorded, the challenger's clock is started.
- Overdrawing: It may happen that Player A, on
replenishing his rack, draws more tiles from the bag
than needed. Suppose the number of excess tiles is N. If
Player A has not yet placed the fresh tiles on his rack:
his opponent Player B may pick at random N + 1 tiles
from the fresh tiles, inspect them, return 1 tile of
Player B's choice to player A and the rest to the bag.
If any fresh tiles have been mixed with those on the
rack so that there are N excess tiles, Player B may pick
at random N + 2 tiles from Player A's rack, inspect
these tiles, return 2 tiles of Player B's choice to
player A and the rest to the bag. Both players may view
the tiles which are being returned.
Player A may stop the clock until the excess tile(s) are
returned to the bag.
- Players must not consult any word list, dictionary or
any other forms of reference during the game except
where specifically permitted by the rules of the
- With effect from 1 September 2015, the reference for
acceptability of a word is Collins Official Scrabble
Words 4th edition ("CSW15"), published in May
of the Scrabble Association may issue revisions and
amendments to the allowable references from time to
time. Adjudication aids such as computer programs may be
used by tournament organizers, who shall be responsible
for ensuring the accuracy of such additional aids.
- A game ends and the clocks should be neutralized when
- One of the players has played all his tiles AND the
bag is empty; OR
- There have been 6 successive
of zero scores, i.e. 3
from each player
which are either challenged off, a tile change, or a
- The tournament director has declared an end to the
- Tile penalty: After the game has ended, the
player who has finished all his tiles adds to his score
TWICE the total tile value of his opponent's remaining
tiles. If both players have tiles left on their racks,
each player should deduct from his score the total tile
value of his residual tiles.
- Checking scores and recounts: During the game and
immediately after the game has ended, if the players
find that their records of scores do not match, they may
neutralize the clocks and resolve the discrepancy. If
both players' records match, a recount may be allowed
only at the discretion of the Tournament Director.
- Complete set of tiles: A game result will still
be valid even if it is discovered after commencement
that the number and distribution of tiles was incorrect.
It is the responsibility of the players to ensure that
they are playing with a complete set before
- Emergency Breaks: A player may leave and later
return to a game in progress if emergency circumstances
warrant and under the supervision of the Tournament
Director. The player may leave only after he has ended
his turn and activated his opponent's clock without
replenishing his rack. He may replenish his rack upon
- These Rules cannot be expected to cover every
eventuality and players are expected to exercise common
sense and courtesy in observance of these Rules. All
matters in doubt or dispute shall be referred to the
Tournament Director whose decision is FINAL.
Return to Scrabble Association home page
© 2019 Scrabble Association
Last updated: 1 Sep 2015