Association of British Scrabble Players

ABSPThe Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP) was formed in 1987 as a not-for-profit association to promote interest in the playing of Scrabble. We co-ordinate tournaments and the provision of a rating system for players in the UK, as well as providing information and support to members, tournament organisers and tournament directors. Media Contact Point

Tournaments Coming Soon
Mar 24-27Pitlochry, 24+ Rds
Mar 30Dalston, 8 Rds
Mar 30Stillington, 9 Rds
Mar 31Stillington, 7 Rds
Mar 31Ilford, 8 Rds
Mar 31BEST - Closing Date for Entries
Apr 6-7German Open, 15 Rds
Apr 6Cumbernauld, 7 Rds
Full Calendar

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Seen an interesting Scrabble word played and want to know what it means? Search for it in our comprehensive Words section:

New! three and four letter valid or phony quizzes. See how many words you can get right in this handy little game. Great for improving your short word knowledge.

3 Letter Words | 4 Letter Words

Are You The BEST?

Forget Torvill & Dean, Kim & Kanye or Posh & Becks, the only partnership you need have come together to run the BEST knockout competition every Scrabbler worth their salt wants to be a part of.

Natalie Zolty & Chris Harrison have teamed up as BEST Organisers for 2019 and are bringing you the same event you all know and love, together with a little added extra besides. We hope you will like the changes we have made, but more importantly spread the word and get those entries flying in. There were 85 entrants last year – let’s try and make 2019 another bumper year! The entry form is available HERE

Membership Renewal

It’s that time of year again. Full details here on the available methods to renew your membership for 2019 or pay by paypal here

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UK Open 2019 - Goodbye Austin

Another year and another excellent UK Open to kick the Scrabble year off. Chris Harrison opened his campaign in the Warm Up with five bonuses in a row against a globe-trotting Richards, but it was Karen, not Nigel and wasn’t even enough to top round 1 standings. That honour went to Theresa Brousson on the comeback trail, with Nigel only 5th. Normal service was resumed from round 2, with Nigel hitting the top spot, a position he would hold right through until the end. His closest rival in the Warm Up was Natalie Zolty, but she would need to beat him in the final round by a meagre 557 points... In any event, she was secure in 2nd place and Theresa won her final game to finish 3rd. Other Division winners were Paul (Tranmere) Thomson, Ian Nichol and Geoff Cooper.

Natalie hotfooted it home for an interview on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire's Culture Club. Having heard some of the words played, presenter Dave Marshall Barrett is not about to enter next year's event, but Natalie assured him that clubs around the country welcome players of all levels!

It would largely be business as usual for Nigel in the main event too, but he didn’t have it all his own way with Harshan Lamabadusuriya, Ed Martin and Wayne Kelly pushing hard, and giant-killing Mick Healy taking his own personal record against Nigel to 2-0. Ultimately, it was Austin Shin who would come out of the pack to launch the strongest assault, but he would need to beat Nigel five times in a row, and fell at the 4th hurdle. He had done enough to claim Runner Up’s spot though, with Harshan rallying for 3rd place. Other strong performances came from Rik Kennedy in 4th and Ahmed Khan 5th earning him a new ratings peak of 172.

For Nigel it was his 10th UK Open title, and including side events, he now has 20 wins from 22 attempts at this tournament. For Austin, pictured here with the UK’s 2nd biggest improver of 2018, Sumbul Siddiqui, it was his last event in the UK before his move overseas, and whilst we all wish him well, it will be sad not to see him as regularly on the UK circuit. He has been a permanent fixture across more than two decades, evolving into a true ambassador at the very top of the global game. #Scoringneverstops and I am sure he will continue to be a force to be reckoned with in his new surroundings.

Ebi Sosseh was the top seed in Division B and for the most part looked the one to beat. However, it was Andrew Eames who was amassing the best spread and by the final round, it was almost double that of any others. Although still behind on wins, a victory in the last round could still be enough if Ebi lost. Ebi did indeed lose, but so did Andrew, by just 11pts and so the top 2 remained unchanged. Division C was very tightly fought with 4 players all on 19 wins going into the final round - Ann Golding, Breda O’Brien, Stany Arnold and Jack Mitchell. Ann had the best spread, but needed to win which she duly did, and with the four all matched against each other, Stany was the other victor, vaulting her above Breda into 2nd place. Full results for all divisions can be viewed here.

Craig Beevers streamed many of the top games so you can get at least a flavour of what a great event the UK Open is, by checking out his twitch channel. Videos only stay on twitch for 2 weeks but will also be available on youtube soon. Congratulations to all prize winners, and thanks to everyone who contributed in making the event such a success.

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Edinburgh Scrabble Club Turns 40

Edinburgh Scrabble Club recently celebrated their 40th Anniversary in some style with a tournament at the Carlton Bridge Club, home to the club’s regular Monday night meetings. Over the years the club has been fundamental in the development of tournament scrabble in Edinburgh, with members organising the first Edinburgh tournament, the first Scottish Championships, and introducing the Scottish League.

In October’s edition of Onboard, the ABSP’s bi-monthly magazine for members, long-standing club members Margaret Harkness and Amy Byrne looked back fondly at some of their most treasured memories of the club, with special mention given to meeting the wonderful mix of characters from every walk of life and culture all with a shared passion for the game.

Appropriately given the milestone, 40 players including some from overseas took part in their latest event across 3 divisions with a bumper crop of 29 prizes awarded. Everyone in attendance received a commemorative pen, and among the delicious sweet treats available was a celebration cake, cut by longest serving club member Kenneth Ross, as pictured. You can view some additional photos from the event here.

Joyce Clegg was unbeaten in Division C, with one of the club’s youngest members, 13 year-old Rory Kemp in 2nd place. Sandra Hoffland pipped Brian McNaughton to top honours in Division B - both were on 6 wins but Sandra was almost 500 spread points clear. The top division saw the return of a once familiar face, Helen Gipson playing her first rated Scrabble in over three years. For Helen, it obviously was just like riding a bike as she finished the day as only the 2nd unbeaten player, 2 games clear of her nearest rival, Alan Sinclair. Helen would like to thank everyone for welcoming her back as if she had never been away and is totally shocked but happy with such a good result.

Here’s to the next 40 years!

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Winter Matchplay 2018

Congratulations to division winners Phil Robertshaw, Anne Ashmore, Margaret Staunton and all other prize winners at the Winter Matchplay event.

One of the strongest fields of the year assembled in Division A including defending champion Austin Shin, 2018 BMSC winner Lewis Mackay, and 2018 BMSC runner-up Phil Robertshaw. However, it was Diane Pratesi who set the early pace, the only player unbeaten after the opening four games. Having clawed their way up the rankings, Phil and Austin held the top two spots overnight, both with a 7-2 record but it was Austin who got off to the better start on Sunday, opening up a two game cushion at the top. Fast forward a couple of rounds, and the standings had a whole different look – Lewis had taken the lead, but only on spread and a crucial loss in round 16 put paid to his chances of taking the title.

The final round would therefore see a straight shoot-out between Phil and Austin, their fourth tussle of the weekend, many of which took place like this one on camera. The tournament clincher can be viewed already on the Qwizical Scrabble YouTube channel. with further games to be uploaded in due course. The streaming coverage overall was very well received, and the committee would like to thank Jessica and all helpers and commentators who made this possible, not only at this event but at many others this year. The game itself was always close, and features an extremely tense conclusion, only fitting given what a tight battle it had been throughout the weekend. Ultimately, Phil came out on top this time to take a first ever victory at the Winter Matchplay, and his fifth major title overall. A win in the final round was enough to take Lewis back into 2nd place, with Austin finishing 3rd. Further down the field, 180+ performances from Ahmed Khan and Rick Blakeway saw both rewarded with a four point ratings increase.

In division B, Anne Ashmore dropped just one game on day 1, but was chased hard by Kim Hands - the two would have an extended battle for top honours at the close of day 2. Although the advantage was with Anne, if Kim could win twice in succession, and by decent margins, Anne could be toppled. Kim won the first, but not the second and so Anne rounded out the winner with 14 wins, the highest total of the weekend. Moira Conway won the battle for 3rd place with Ann Golding defying her ranking to finish 4th.

A drawn game in round five made things interesting for a long time in division C, but ultimately proved less relevant as the final round, like in the other divisions was a straight fight between the top two. Margaret Staunton took the victory this time, with Ruth Cawsey 2nd and Mel Maltz completing the top 3. Barbara Morris took the ratings prize.

Among interesting plays spotted on boards were FLUIDRAM - a unit of liquid capacity, UNTENTY - a Scottish adjective meaning careless, and JEREPIGO – a sweet fortified wine, similar to port. One of the most talked about plays though came from Lewis, who certainly wasn’t bogged down by his excellent QUAGMIRY for 257(+5) points. For those interested, Phil has also put together a photo album on Facebook of all his boards from this weekend, the photo shown here is from his final round 17 game.

New Club

Marjorie Struggles is starting a new club in Pilsley, which is just south of Chesterfield. The club will welcome players of all ability levels when the first meeting is held on Monday 12th November. Please see this flyer for further details.

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NSC 2018

Congratulations on behalf of the ABSP to champion, Ed Martin and all other prize winners at the 2018 NSC. A 52-strong field contested the main event, with the top seven all rated 189 or higher.

Scoring never stopped on Saturday for defending champion Austin Shin who went into Sunday unbeaten, but a tightening of the closing pack saw four players on an 11-3 record with just two rounds to play - NSC debutant Jamie Jones and event sponsor Elie Dangoor joining Austin and Ed in the top 4. The nail-biting final shootout saw Ed build a strong early lead over Austin only to see it reduced to just 14 points after nine moves apiece.

A tense end-game seemed likely, although a poor late pick up effectively put paid to Austin’s chances of being the first player since Mark Nyman to take back-to-back NSC titles. In the end, a margin of just 36 points clinched the title for Ed – 13 wins was certainly not unlucky for him this year. A late surge for 2012 NSC champion Paul Gallen was enough to take third place, with Lewis Mackay and Natalie Zolty rounding out the top seven.

It was a rare UK outing for Ed since his move to Sweden, and in fact the first time he had contested the NSC finals since 2014. It is his third victory at a UK Major event, although his first since 2007, a gap of eleven calendar years. Joyce Cansfield, Terry Kirk and Jackie McLeod share a current record gap of sixteen calendar years between Major wins although there are a number of active players who could threaten this particular statistic over the coming years.

Speaking about his win, Ed said “It was a great honour to win the tournament with so many excellent players in the field. Austin especially was a marvellous opponent and a pleasure to play, he is the absolute definition of a good sportsman. I have been entering the NSC on and off since 1991 so it was a long time coming for me! It was nice that there were a few familiar faces there from those days like Mauro Pratesi, Robert Richland and Barry Grossman. All in all I was delighted to win, thanks so much to all the people who organised the event and the live coverage.”

Relative newcomer Jamie Jones was for many the biggest surprise near the top, although those aware of his recent tussle in Best with Harshan Lamabadusuriya, ultimately only decided by spread points, knew not to underestimate him. His performance of 200 was 38 points above his 162 start rating.

Paloma Raychbart topped the Plate standings at the close of day one and never looked back finishing two games clear of her nearest rival Mike Whiteoak. Paul Coyle and Rafal Dominiczak completed the top four. South African Gwen Rea playing in her first UK tournament finished in fifth place impressing with the Afrikaans word OPGEFOK – her opening rating certainly not “badly damaged” despite losing that game.

There was much to like about the venue, with roomy playing conditions and relative ease of access. We have noted some feedback, mostly about refreshments. However, there have been a lot of major events held in London and the South this year and the NSC has traditionally been an event that moved around the country allowing more people the opportunity to attend. With that in mind, organiser Wayne Kelly will soon be looking at more Northerly venues for next year. Thanks go to him, and all his team for their hard work making the 2018 event such a success.

The final game can be viewed on the Qwizical Scrabble YouTube channel. More videos will be uploaded when the streaming team are available to do so.

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BMSC 2018

The committee would like to send their congratulations to BMSC division winners Lewis Mackay, Gerard Fox and Geoff Cooper as well as all other prize winners at what was a great weekend at a venue which may become a new permanent home for the tournament.

Victory for Lewis was probably especially sweet after he missed out on the title last year by just 6 spread points. It is his 2nd victory at the BMSC and his 8th Scrabble Major, which ties him in 4th place on the all-time list. Mark Nyman leads the way with 23 major titles. The battle for the BMSC 2018 came down to a straight shoot-out between Lewis and Phil Robertshaw, playing his first rated scrabble in nearly a year. Harshan Lamabadusuriya, Austin Shin & Chris Vicary rounded out the top 5. Division B winner Gerard Fox finished on 20 wins, the most of any competitor.

Overall, the ABSP have received excellent feedback about the venue. Features such as comfortable, spacious bedrooms, covered walkways, roomy playing conditions and an extensive choice of food proving most popular. A number of minor issues were also identified which will help us to shape any future planning, but overall it was a definite step up in quality from previous years at Sutton Bonnington. Many players were also suggesting it was even better than Yarnfield… We are developing a great relationship with the venue, so it’s likely there will only be further improvements if we return next year.

Thanks also go to Wayne Kelly, James Burley and Ash Coldrick for their hard work in running the event, as well as Mauro and Jessica Pratesi who organised the streaming and annotation, and all commentators. The title clincher is available to watch HERE with further videos to be added to the channel in due course.

Committee Changes

The ABSP would like to inform all members of some changes to the committee which have taken place after the recent AGM pack was sent out. Mike Whiteoak, in his role as chair announced these to those present at the AGM, and new committee members were elected alongside those remaining for the coming year.

Colin Nicol will replace Rick Blakeway in the role of Clubs Co-ordinator, and Chris Harrison will take on a new role of Communications & Complaints Officer. This will incorporate some elements of the role vacated by Bob Violett, but also more liaison with members and responsibility for announcements. In addition, Elie Dangoor has left the committee for personal reasons, so we offer our thanks again to Elie, Rick, Bob and also Peter Ashurst and Rachel Bingham, all of whom have now completed their service.

Therefore, the full current committee is now as follows:

Mike Whiteoak – Chair/Tournament Co-Ordinator/Ratings Officer

Laura Finley – Secretary

Wayne Kelly – Treasurer/ABSP Events Organiser/Deputy Ratings Officer/Titles Registrar

Anand Buddhdev – Technical Officer

James Burley – Youth Officer

Chris Harrison – Communications & Complaints Officer

Colin Nicol – Clubs Co-Ordinator

Nuala O’Rourke – Membership Secretary

Natalie Zolty – Publicity Officer/Onboard Advisor

ABSP Discussion Group

We have a new Facebook discussion group solely for ABSP members to enable more interactive and responsive communication within the community around ABSP matters. There are already over 100 members. Please come and join in at

ABSP Online Scrabble League

Do you enjoy playing friendly Facebook Scrabble games against other members?

Would you prefer to pit your wits in a more structured competition?

Well now you can.... ABSP Online is a new league exclusively for ABSP members.

The league will run fortnightly on a Tuesday, starting on Tuesday July 11th. Games will be played on the Facebook Scrabble app and you'll have two weeks to complete all your games. Initial divisions will be based on ABSP rating and thereafter by promotions and demotions at the end of each round. This is initially a trial and as things progress, we may add other types of competition.

(Note – online games are, of course, not ABSP rated!)

To find out more and register to play, join the facebook group (you will need a Facebook account and the EA facebook scrabble game).

You will also need to be registered on

Registration is free for ABSP members - we will add you when you join the facebook group.

If not currently a member, you can join the ABSP at

Give it a try, let's see how many ABSP Scrabblers we can fit into a virtual room.

Spread the word!


FREE One Day Tournament Offer

A keen Scrabble player but never played in an ABSP tournament before? Now any first-time player can enter their first one day event FREE. Look at our tournament calendar to find an event near you.


Every ABSP member in the UK would have now received a special omnibus edition of OnBoard (a collection of the best of previous features and content from recent years) called 'WE LOVE SCRABBLE'. We are pleased to be able to make a pdf version of this omnibus edition available to download:

Free WE LOVE SCRABBLE download