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Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French 

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Old 07-22-2015, 02:51 PM
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Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

The 48-year-old has been labelled a "freak", "enigmatic" and "amazing" by those in the Scrabble world.

He claimed the title in Brussels after memorising virtually the entire francophone Scrabble dictionary, and then needed a translator to thank the audience.

Federation spokesman Antoine Rousseau said Richards had just nine weeks to prepare for the competition.

Richards beat Gabonese player Schelick Ilagou Rekawe in a three-hour final match to take the title.

The New Zealander already dominates English-language Scrabble with three world championships, five North American titles and 11 wins at the prestigious King's Cup in Thailand, sponsored by the Thai royal family.

"Nigel's a word freak," said John Baird, secretary of New Zealand's Christchurch Scrabble Club.

"He is already recognised as the best Scrabble player in the world and this [win] certainly cements that position."

A trained engineer, Richards reportedly began playing Scrabble at 28 years old at the request of his mother, who was frustrated that his photographic memory was making their card games too one-sided.

He proved dazzling at the word game, even though he favoured mathematics at school and was never much of an English student.

"My understanding is that Nigel can look at a page and retain the whole thing, it sticks like a photograph," Mr Baird said.

"On top of that, he's obviously got a very good ability to mix up the letters and see the word possibilities."

Mr Baird feels the great chess masters are a more valid comparison to Richards, who like many of them, appears awkward in the spotlight, refusing interview requests and sharing little of his personal life.

It is believed Richards travels the world competing in Scrabble competitions, keeping largely to himself, with bicycle riding being his only other known hobby.

"He's a very elusive character," Mr Baird said.

"I think the American press get very frustrated with him when he wins over there because he's a man of few words.

"He only comes out with one or two-word answers, which is completely ironic."

Richards remains number one on the World English-Language Scrabble Players Association ratings after amassing 1,927 victories from 2,549 games, a winning percentage of 75.59.

He will participate in more Scrabble competitions in Belgium this week.

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Old 07-22-2015, 03:41 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

I wonder what he's like with numbers, he could clean out a few casinos in Vegas if he were discreet and not greedy.

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Old 07-22-2015, 04:39 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

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I wonder what he's like with numbers, he could clean out a few casinos in Vegas if he were discreet and not greedy.
nope. Just a hint and he would be out. The only scammers who clean out casinos play the long game. I know you said discreet and not greedy but still. Also he looks slightly noticable.

This is a awesome story though. The guys a don

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Old 07-22-2015, 04:47 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

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Originally Posted by icheerthebull View Post
nope. Just a hint and he would be out. The only scammers who clean out casinos play the long game. I know you said discreet and not greedy but still. Also he looks slightly noticable.

This is a awesome story though. The guys a don
The long game as in not greedy, discreet as in having a shave and looking presentable.
Counting cards isn't illegal but as you say if the house suspects someone they are out.

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Old 07-22-2015, 08:39 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

What sort of money can he make playing scrabble?

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Old 07-22-2015, 08:42 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

I looked it up, apparently he has made around USD$200,000 worth of Scrabble winnings in his life time. That isn't that much (unless he has a job too and does this as a hobby.) Cannot imagine there would be anything in the way of endorsements either, and if he is travelling around to play he has probably spent a large chunk of that on airfares and accommodation.

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Old 07-22-2015, 09:44 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

As soon as I saw him I said "poor guy" Hope he's happy. Looks lonesome as hell.

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Old 07-22-2015, 11:06 PM
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Re: Kiwi Wins Francophone Scrabble Championship Without Speaking Any French

I prefer the ghetto version of monopoly...

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