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2013 National SCRABBLE Champion Nigel Richards (New Zealand), Between NASPA Copresidents John Chew (L) And Chris Cree (R). Photo: Patty Hocker (NASPA).

Today spelled V-I-C-T-O-R-Y for Nigel Richards, a New Zealander and resident of Malaysia, who was named the winner of the 2013 National SCRABBLE Championship. Richards, a 45-year-old professional SCRABBLE player and reigning World Champion, took home the $10,000 prize and has now won the title five times, four times consecutively. Richards’ final record was 24 wins, 7 losses and 1934 cumulative points.

2013 National SCRABBLE Champion Nigel Richards (New Zealand), between NASPA Copresidents John Chew ( ...

2013 National SCRABBLE Champion Nigel Richards (New Zealand), between NASPA Copresidents John Chew (L) and Chris Cree (R). Photo: Patty Hocker (NASPA).

More than 500 top wordsmiths, coming from as far as Thailand and Great Britain, gathered in pursuit of vocabulary greatness to compete in the intense five-day tournament, which was held July 20 through July 24 at the Riviera Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. The competitors each played in 31 one-on-one games with specialized equipment including "non-Brailleable" tiles, custom boards, and the Official Tournament and Club Word List. Players competed in one of five divisions, according to skill level and word list, and were ranked based on their victories and the number of points by which they outscored their opponents.

“The National SCRABBLE Championship continues to bring together some of the most skilled competitive SCRABBLE players,” said Billy Lagor, Senior Vice President, U.S. Marketing, Hasbro. “We are thrilled to see such excitement and passion for the game and congratulate Nigel Richards on his fourth consecutive victory, as well as all participants in this year’s tournament.”

In the final round, Nigel Richards had enough of a lead over runner-up Komol Panyasophonlert, a 28-year-old telco employee from Bangkok, Thailand, that he could afford to lose by up to 55 points without losing the championship. Panyasophonlert won their final game 442-421, playing words like SYNERGIA, BEGORAH and BARISTAS to Richards’ AGOROT, SOLEI and PIX and claimed second place with a record of 24 wins, 7 losses and 1868 cumulative points. The top American was third-place Will Anderson, a 28-year-old editor from Croton, NY, who finished with a record of 23-8 and 1623 points.

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