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#scrabble: French language champion does not speak the language

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By Euronews
#scrabble: French language champion does not speak the language

A man who does not speak a word of French has won the French-language Scrabble World Championship.

Nigel Richards from New Zealand beat a French-speaking Gabonese national in the final in Louvain, Belgium.

Mr Richards is said to have learned the French Dictionary and conjugations in just nine weeks earlier this year.

Who is he

Nigel Richards has already won the English-language version of the title three times, in 2007 2011 and 2013. He is a 11-time Singapore Open Champion winner, a 12-time winner of the Kings Cup, the biggest Scrabble competition in the World, and five-time US national champion.

He originates from Christchurch in New Zealand, and is now based in Malaysia.


Scrabble is a board game played by two to four players. It is played on a board of grid cells which each takes a single letter. It has certain squares that multiply the number of points awarded.

The game was invented in 1938 and was originally called Criss-Crosswords by American architect Alfred Mosher Butts.

The game’s big break came allegedly when the president of Macy’s department store played the game while on holiday. When he returned he found that his store did not stock the game and subsequently placed a large order.

It is currently sold in 121 countries and available in 29 languages. More than 150 million sets of the game have been sold worldwide.

Triple word score

Nigel’s winning words:

MIAULER – meow
ANATROPE – a botanical term for flowers that grow upside down
ENOUAT (verbe énouer, third person singular, imparfait subj.) -untie
REGNANTS – people who rule. rulers
CANIDÉ – biological genus including dogs, wolves, foxes.

When his opponent tried to use a form of the verb fureter (to snoop, or investigate), Mr Richards pointed out that it did not exist.