It would seem that Scrabble would be a scandal-free game, but that is not always the case. Cheating has occurred at the highest level at the World Scrabble Championships in Torquay, England. Surprisingly, this is not the first time this has happened!
This time, Alexius Quashie, believed to be from Ghana, was kicked out of the tournament during a game with UK expert Brett Smitheram. Quashie was caught on camera peeking into the bag and appearing to return an unwanted tile.
There are rules in place to try and reduce a player’s ability to cheat. When drawing a tile, players are supposed to hold the bag at eye height with the head turned away. Being able to look into the bag and pick and choose your tiles would mean that you got a huge strategic advantage over your opponent. Players who are caught cheating in competitive play can get banned for years.
Previously, former UK champion Allan Simmons was banned for three years for cheating in 2017, and Thai player Pichai Limprasert was suspended for one year.
However, in this case, there is even some controversy over whether or not Quashie cheated. Michael Quao posted on Facebook that Quashie is not a cheater. He said that there were two bags, one inside the other and Quashie’s hand accidentally entered the wrong part of the bag. When that happened, he needed to remove it and reinsert it, making it appear like he was cheating.
He has threatened legal action against the organizers Mindsports International. MSI has not commented publically so far.