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.
It's time to throw away your outdated dictionary and dust off those tiles, baby, because Scrabble is getting some new words. The folks behind Scrabble are beefing up the official Scrabble player's dictionary with 300 new words to keep up with the times and give veteran players some fresh verbs and nouns to memorize. SEE ALSO: Blue shell your friends to bankruptcy in Mario Kart-themed'Monopoly' The 70-year-old board game will be putting out the sixth edition of Merriam-Webster's The Official Scrabble Player's Dictionary this fall, and although not all of the words are exactly new to the English-American lexicon, they're certainly new to the competitive word game. In order to be added to the Scrabble dictionary, words have to fit within a few rules: "Words must be found in a standard dictionary and cannot be abbreviations, capitalized words, or words containing hyphens or apostrophes. All words must also be between two to eight letters in length."
A Scrabble whizz has won his fourth world championship - playing the word "groutier" to win the title. Nigel Richards, 51 and from New Zealand, beat Californian Jesse Day in the final at the Westfield centre in west London on Sunday. Groutier - which means cross, sulky or sullen - scored 68 points. Mr Richards, who also won the French-language title this year, said: "It was a closely-fought championship and Jesse was a very impressive opponent." Mr Richards' other high-scoring words in the final included zonular, which means like a zone and earned 100 points, and phenolic, a synthetic resin, which earned 84 points.
A recruitment consultant from east London has fought off other wordsmiths to be crowned Scrabble World Champion. Brett Smitheram from Chingford defeated fellow Briton Mark Nyman in three straight rounds during the contest's final in the French city of Lille. The 37-year-old's highest scoring word was BRACONID, meaning a parasitic wasp, which earned him 176 points. Mr Smitheram, who also collected a 7,000 euro ( 5,873) prize, said he was "absolutely thrilled to have won". It was the former UK champion's first victory at the tournament.