Robot learns to play dirty Scrabble

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Beating people at Scrabble is already no contest for computer programs, which can easily memorise entire dictionaries. Now a Scrabble-playing program has gone one better by playing dirty. Developed by Eyal Amir and Mark Richards at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the program is able to predict which letter tiles other players hold, and use this information to choose moves which block a high-scoring word that an opponent might otherwise have played. This aggressive gaming style gives it the edge over previous Scrabble programs, which focus solely on maximising their own scores. To predict what tiles other players hold, Amir and Richards's program begins by eliminating those tiles that have already been played.

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