How to win at Scrabble

The word tile board game Scrabble has a wide and loyal community of players, and a frequent source of material and inspiration for writers (See The New Yorker’s coverage of the 2008 Big Apple Scrabble Tournament and Slate’s recap and analysis of a record setting match that ended with a score of 830-490) and designers (Scrabble tile benches, keyboards, cufflinks, picture frames and artsy commercials). The game has a low barrier to novice players, but it can become quickly frustrating. The game rewards not knowledge of one’s comprehension of the English language per se, but instead mastery of complete lists of obscure words, which is often achieved via brute memorization. It’s irrelevant if you know the definition of the word. What matters is whether you’ve memorized all two-letter words. So what’s a casual player to do in the face against superior Scrabble competition? The answer: You might lose friends and maybe a little bit of your self dignity in the process, but as Mehal Shah explains in this short entertaining tutorial, you just have to fight dirty.