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2018 North American SCRABBLE Championship

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INFO ON THIS PAGE IS PRELIMINARY AND SUBJECT TO CHANGE.


The 2018 North American SCRABBLE Championship will take place on August 4–8, 2018 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, 153 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY, 14202. This webpage will be updated regularly as additional details became available.

NSC 2018 logo

Live Event Coverage

For continuously updated results from our event once it gets underway, please visit the LIVE COVERAGE section.

Registration

Online registration is open. A list of registered players is available on this website and on cross-tables.com. The rest of this section describes in detail the various terms and conditions of registration, most of which are also discussed on the registration form.

Eligibility

To play in the NASC, you must (1) be a NASPA member, and (2) have played in an officially sanctioned SCRABBLE tournament to earn an official tournament rating. If you live in the United States or Canada, that rating should be a NASPA rating; if you live elsewhere it may be a WESPA rating or other comparable national rating.

TWL Divisions

If you meet the eligibility criteria and wish to play using the Official Club and Tournament Word List 2016 (TWL), you may do so. Four TWL divisions will be offered, divided by Qualification Rating (QR), with unlimited play-up available. If your QR is 1800 or higher, or if you do not have a NASPA rating, you must play in Division 1. If your QR is in the range 1400–1799, you must play in Division 1 or 2. If your QR is in the range 1100–1399, you must play in Division 1, 2 or 3. If your QR is below 1100, you may play in any of the four divisions.

Your QR consists of the highest tournament rating attained at the end of any NASPA TWL-rated tournament (or segment of a split-rated tournament) which finished during the period from July 26, 2017 to July 26, 2018 (the start of last year's Championship to the close of registration). If you have a rating, but do not play during this period, your QR is your unchanged current rating.

Player division assignments will be reviewed after July 26, 2018 to ensure that everyone is registered in the correct division. If the division in which you registered is not one in which your QR permits you to play, we will automatically move you up to the lowest permissible division.

Collins Divisions

If you meet the eligibility criteria and prefer to play using the international Collins (CSW) lexicon, you may do so. If your Collins Qualification Rating (CQR) is 1500 or higher, you must play in Division 1. If it is 1499 or below, you may play in Division 1 or 2. Players who only have a WESPA rating will be permitted to play in Division 1 or 2 if that rating is 1399 or below. If there are fewer than 20 players registered in either division as of July 5, 2018, the divisions will be automatically combined into a single division.

Your CQR is the highest Collins tournament rating attained at the end of a NASPA CSW-rated tournament which finished during the period from July 26, 2017 to July 26, 2018 (the start of last year's Championship to the close of registration). If you had a NASPA CSW rating prior to this period, but did not play during the period, your qualifying rating is that unchanged rating. If you do not have a NASPA CSW rating, but have a NASPA TWL rating, your CQR is your TWL QR. The Collins division will be run using NASPA rules, except that the Collins lexicon will be used and the challenge penalty will be 5 points per word. The Collins division will be NASPA and WESPA rated.

If there will be two divisions, player division assignments will be reviewed after July 26, 2018 to ensure that everyone is registered in the correct division. If the division in which you registered is not one in which your CQR permits you to play, we will automatically move you up to the lowest permissible division.

Information for International Players

If you are thinking about travelling from overseas to play in this event for the first time, please read our 2018 NASC for Overseas Visitors page.

Again this year, there will again be one or two separate divisions of players using the Collins lexicon at the North American Scrabble Championship.

Players must have a NASPA, WESPA or other equivalent rating deemed acceptable by the Championship Committee prior to competing. Those players with only a WESPA rating will be allowed to compete in CSW2 division if that rating is 1399 or below. For participants with both NASPA and WESPA ratings, the NASPA rating will be used to determine eligibility for CSW2.

The Collins division will be run using NASPA rules, except that the Collins lexicon will be used and the challenge penalty will be 5 points per word. The Collins division will be NASPA and WESPA rated. Please see full information about the division in the section above.

Entry Fees

The base entry fee for all divisions is $200.

Youths, defined as those whose 18th birthday is after August 8, 2018, may pay $100 to play in any division.

The above fees will be increased by $50 after May 31, 2018. For example, a player signing up on June 1, 2018 would pay $250.

Players accepted after the close of registration on July 26, 2018 must pay a $75 late penalty. For example, a youth signing up on July 30, 2018 would pay $225. Acceptance of registrants after July 26, 2018 is not guaranteed, and will generally only be permitted if it does not cause a division to be uneven.

Players not staying at the host hotel for the duration of the event must also pay a commuter/facility fee of $20 per day ($100 maximum). The commuter fee does not apply to those local to the Buffalo area. Verification of status as a hotel guest will be performed at registration/check-in and throughout the event. Players staying at the host hotel for only part of the event must pay the full commuter fee, and may then apply for a refund of $20 per day stayed at the host hotel (to a maximum of $100) after the conclusion of the event, by providing the Championship Committee with hotel confirmation number and dates of stay.

Fees payable are computed based on when (Eastern Time) funds are received in full. If you are not paying right away online at the moment when you register, please be sure to allow enough time for your mailed payment to reach us.

Division Changes

To change divisions after you have registered, please email the organizing committee at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org. Division changes are subject to the following conditions:

  • After registration closes on July 26, 2018, if your division change would increase the number of players who may potentially have to have byes (if you would make two divisions odd, or would make a larger division odd), you will be waitlisted until this is not the case.
  • A $25 fee will be charged to accommodate the division change.


If your rating rises above the limit for the division in which you registered, you will automatically be moved to the lowest division for which you qualify at no charge.

Refunds

If you paid your tournament fees by credit card, any credit owing to you will be issued to your card; otherwise, we will mail a check to your membership address as shown in your member profile. No refunds will be issued after the refund deadlines described below.

All refunds are subject to a cancellation fee of $25.

If you decide you need to cancel your registration, we will refund your entry fee (and commuter fee, if applicable), if you so request by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 26, 2018.

Conditions

Rules, Code and Terms/Conditions

By registering for the NASC, you agree to abide by the NASPA Tournament Rules and Code of Conduct, and agree to comply with the 2018 North American SCRABBLE Championship Terms and Conditions. In particular, some games at this tournament, probably the highest Division 1 board without a Gibsonized player, will be annotated live. If you refuse to play a designated game with annotation, you will forfeit it, and may at the director’s discretion be assigned a spread penalty of −200 points.

Minor Release

A Minor Release and Consent Form will be required for all players under age 18 as of August 3, 2018, and may be downloaded and submitted in advance, or executed by a parent or guardian at registration.

Player Bulletin

Please read our Player Bulletin, and check it again for last-minute updates before you travel to the event.

Equipment Required

Participants in the 2018 North American Scrabble Championship are responsible for bringing all equipment necessary to play in the tournament. If neither player in a game has equipment available for their game, a double forfeit may be imposed.

Changes

The Championship Committee reserves the right to modify the above to account for unforeseen special circumstances.

Hotel/Travel Information

See also our Google Map.

For information about airline discounts, please consult the player bulletin.

Hotel Registration

The official event hotel is the Hyatt Regency Buffalo at 2 Fountain Plaza, Buffalo, NY 14202 (phone: 716-856-1234). Players registering through our group link are eligible for our special rate of $139/night (up to quad occupancy; plus tax) at the event hotel; those who live outside of the Buffalo area and do not either book a room at the host hotel or book a room within our group block at one of the other hotels listed below, will pay a $100 facility fee to contribute the cost of the venue space.

Complimentary in-room wireless internet is included in our group rate. Hotel bookings at our group rate are subject to availability within our group rate block of rooms, and must be booked before July 21, 2018.

The Hyatt is immediately adjacent to the Convention Center, and is connected to it by an indoor walkway, with elevators available for players with mobility issues.

Due to demand we have opened a second block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express located at 601 Main Street, Buffalo, New York 14203, four blocks from the Convention Center. King suites are available at $152/nt quad occupancy (king & sofa bed). Book using this link or by calling (716) 854-5500 and mentioning group code NSP.

Hotel and Event Parking

The Hyatt Regency offers valet parking at standard hotel rates (currently $25/day). Hotel guests may also make use of the self parking lots in the vicinity of the hotel.

There are a number of self parking lots available to both hotel guests and commuters to the tournament. For a map of available lots, click here.

Daily parking rates at self parking lots vary. Based on the best available information, rates begin at $4 per day. To search for parking rates, visit BestParking.com and perform an address search using "153 Franklin Street" for the address.

Dining

Buffalo offers hundreds of restaurant options, with something to suit every taste. Explore the area's eateries at the Eat & Drink in Buffalo page provided by www.visitbuffaloniagara.com.

Sightseeing

The Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team has home games vs. Gwinnett on August 7, 8 and 9.

Matt Graham will be doing a 1-man show at the 9th Ward on August 6th.

Visit Buffalo Niagara shows the many things to do around town.

Martin House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright is open for tours.

Seneca Niagara Casino

Shakespeare in Delaware Park

The Erie County Fair runs August 9-20.

The Spirit of Buffalo

Templeton Landing offers Buffalo Brew Wednesdays, from 6-10 p.m. Sample local brewers, and enjoy local specials.

Anchor Bar is the home of the Buffalo wing.

The Lucille Ball Comedy Festival runs August 1-5.

The VIP Brewery Tour is offered on Thursdays at the Hotel Lafayette.

Helium Comedy Club

Old Falls Street features classic rock and dance bands on Friday nights from 7-10 p.m.

Buffalo Zoo

The New York Times offers suggestions on how to spend 36 hours in Buffalo.

Roommate Wanted

If you need a roommate and would like a listing here, please complete the NASC Roommate Request Form and your request will be updated here.

IMPORTANT: When you get your roommate, please contact the committee so we can remove your listing.

Ezekiel "Zee" Markwei is attending with a female friend and is seeking two others to share a quad occupancy room. You can reach Zee by email at ezekiel.markwei@gmail.com.

Judy Romann seeks 1 or 2 female, non-smoking roommates at the Embassy Suites from 8/3-8/8. She has a room booked. The hotel is located 3 blocks from the Hyatt and includes a full breakfast with the room. She can be reached by email (jkrpcm@yahoo.com) or phone (510-719-1175).

Ryan Fischer seeks a male, non-smoking roommate at the Holiday Inn Express from 8/3 to 8/8. He has a room booked. He can be reached at ryan@charlottescrabble.com.

Ride Wanted

If you need a ride/rider to or from the tournament, and would like a listing here, please complete the NASC Ride Request Form.

IMPORTANT: When you get your ride/rider, please contact the committee so we can remove your listing.

Maureen Morris is looking for a ride from Toronto, preferably the airport. She arrive Aug 2 at 3:00pm.

"My flight from Calgary arrives at 1:15 pm however I could take the train or shuttle into the city to meet up."

Reach her at m-morris@shaw.ca or (403) 660-4466.


Caroline Polak Scowcroft seeks a ride both to and from YYZ. She arrives Aug 03, 2018 08:00 AM and departs Aug 09, 2018 08:00 AM.

"Time and place from Toronto doesn't matter, just need to get to the tournament on time! I have one small piece of luggage. Ditto from Buffalo to Niagara Falls. After Niagara Falls I am going to Washington DC if anyone is going that direction please."

Caroline can be reached at cpolakscowcroft@gmail.com or (204) 798-6077.

Stan Hwang is offering a ride originating in Media, PA (near Philadelphia). He intends to depart Aug 03, 2018 06:00 PM.

"No smoking, drugs. No food or drink in the car. $60 to help cover for gas plus tolls. Subject to change if more than 1 rider.

I can't take people back since I'm playing in the International afterward and visiting family in-between."

Stan says you may contact him via (716) 474-5768 or paloftoon2@yahoo.com.

Airport Transport Information

The nearest international airports to the tournament site are as follows. Note that airports with IATA codes beginning with Y are on the Canadian side of the international border, and that travel time does not include highly variable border-crossing delays.

IATA Name Time Distance
BUF Buffalo Niagara 00:15 10 mi
IAG Niagara Falls 00:25 20 mi
ROC Greater Rochester 01:10 70 mi
YHM John C. Munro Hamilton 01:15 120 km
YYZ Toronto Pearson 01:30 150 km
YKF Region of Waterloo 01:50 170 km
YTZ Billy Bishop Toronto City 02:00 160 km

Buffalo Airport Shuttle

Website

Check-In

To play in the first round on Saturday morning, you must check in between 12:00 P.M. and 7:00 P.M. on Friday, August 3, 2018, at the NASC registration desk in the Convention Center lobby outside the playing area. You may ask a friend to check in for you by proxy, if you cannot check in in person. If possible, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org to notify us in advance of proxy arrangements. If you check in by proxy, but do not show up to play, then neither you nor your proxy will be permitted to check in by proxy at future events. If you do not check in before the desk closes at 7:00 P.M., you may join the championship in progress as soon as it is convenient for the pairings staff to add you back in; this may not take place before Sunday morning. No refund will be issued to latecomers.

When you check in, you will be given an announcement sheet. This is to reduce the number of announcements that have to be made on Saturday morning, so that the event can get underway quickly. You are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the announcements and tournament schedule.

Local Club Meetings

Players arriving early may wish to play warmup games at local clubs:

Wednesday: Toronto, ON

The Toronto SCRABBLE Club meets regularly at 4169 Bathurst Street, south of Sheppard Avenue West. See the club website for more information and directions; out-of-town visitors play for free.

Thursday: Buffalo, NY

The Buffalo SCRABBLE Club (No.456) meets on Thursday evenings.

Thursday: Mississauga, ON

The Mississauga SCRABBLE Club meets on Thursday evenings at 7:30 P.M.

Schedule

This schedule for the 2018 North American SCRABBLE Championship may be modified to add new events, or possibly to change room locations. Also, until about a month before the event, it should be considered an early draft, with only the times for registration and the main event to be set in stone. Once the event begins, please check this schedule for changes at the beginning of each day.

For those arriving early in the region, see also the preceding section on local club meetings. Those looking for something to do between the NASC and the immediately following tournament in Niagara Falls, ON may wish to sign up for a half-marathon.

Unless otherwise indicated, all events take place at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center at 153 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY, 14202.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

9:00 A.M.–7:00 P.M.
Setup (North Exhibit Floor and Lobby, advance staff only)

Friday, August 3, 2018

12:00 P.M.–7:00 P.M.
Registration (Lobby)
12:00 P.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Room 106AD)
12:00 P.M.–4:00 P.M.
Early bird tournament, restricted to NASC Staff and other NASPA directors (North Exhibit Floor)
4:30 P.M.–5:30 P.M.
Committee meeting for Division Leaders, Division Assistants, Auxiliary Staff (Boardroom)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
8:55 A.M.–9:10 A.M.
Announcements; Group Photos - School SCRABBLE Players (North Exhibit Floor)
9:10 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 1–4 (North Exhibit Floor)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Social Media Committee, Tournament Committee lunch meetings (Room 109)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 5–7 (North Exhibit Floor)
6:30 P.M.–10:00 P.M.
Advisory Board Dinner Meeting (TBA)
8:00 P.M.–11:00 P.M.
Trivia Contest (Room 106BC)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Room 106AD)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
8:50 A.M.
Group Photos - Past NASC Champions/Division Winners (North Exhibit Floor)
8:55 A.M.–9:10 A.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
9:10 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 8–11 (North Exhibit Floor)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Canadian Committee and Club/Director Committee lunch meetings (Room 109)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 12–14 (North Exhibit Floor)
8:30 P.M.–11:30 P.M.
Evening Musicale (Room 106BC)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Room 106AD)

Monday, August 6, 2018

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
8:45 A.M.
Group Photo - NASC Staff (North Exhibit Floor)
8:50 A.M.
Group Photo - New Yorkers (North Exhibit Floor)
8:55 A.M.–9:05 A.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
9:05 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 15–18 (North Exhibit Floor)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Forward Energy Committee lunch meeting (Room 109)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 19–21 (North Exhibit Floor)
8:30 P.M.–10:00 P.M.
Town Hall meeting (Room 106BC)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Room 106AD)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
8:50 A.M.
Group Photo - International Players (North Exhibit Floor)
9:05 A.M.–1:15 P.M.
Rounds 22–25 (North Exhibit Floor)
1:15 P.M.–2:30 P.M.
Rules Committee lunch meeting (Room 109)
2:45 P.M.–2:55 P.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
2:55 P.M.–3:05 P.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
3:05 P.M.–6:15 P.M.
Rounds 26–28 (North Exhibit Floor)
8:00 P.M.–9:30 P.M.
Director meeting (Room 106BC)
9:00 A.M.–11:30 P.M.
After hours room open (Room 106AD)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

8:30 A.M.–8:55 A.M.
Set up for play (North Exhibit Floor)
8:55 A.M.–9:05 A.M.
Announcements (North Exhibit Floor)
9:05 A.M.–12:30 P.M.
Rounds 29–31 (North Exhibit Floor)
1:30 P.M.–2:30 P.M. (next year
2:00 P.M.–3:00 P.M.)
Prize Ceremony (Ballroom)
3:30 P.M.–7:00 P.M.
Tear Down (North Exhibit Floor)

The Rose Award

Bob and Andi Schoenman, creators of Protiles, honor Rose Kreiswirth's memory. Rose was an expert Scrabble® player for over 30 years and cherished the game for its educational values. An accomplished player, Rose was as well known for her sense of fairness and her congeniality as she was for her competitiveness. The Rose Award will be awarded each year at the National SCRABBLE Championship to a female player who, in the opinion of the judges, best exemplifies the fierce competitiveness and compassion that we remember Rose for. Thank you, Bob and Andi Schoenman!

Other Donors

If you are interested in donating prizes to events at the championship, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org.

Sponsors

For information about sponsorship opportunities at the championship, please contact Chris Cree.

Prizes

Full details about cash prizes, and anticipated merchandise prizes, will be posted on the prize table once they are available.

Format

The NASC will be paired using tsh along the lines of past events, including Gibsonization on spread. After an initial phase of fixed pairings based on pre-event ratings, the top contenders are paired with each other, and everyone else is paired Swiss. These two groups, contenders and noncontenders, are paired with minimal repeats. For example, if there is no way to pair the contenders without at least one repeat, then they will be paired with one repeat.

The maximum number of contenders is 12 in Rounds 1-28, 8 in Round 29, 4 in Round 30 and 2 in Round 31. The contenders are further divided into a subgroup of leaders and non-leaders, if this can be done without increasing the number of required repeats while maintaining at least four players among the leaders. Leaders are paired by repeatedly having the top unpaired player play the lowest-ranked player that can catch up to them. Non-leaders are paired Swiss.

For further information about this pairing system, please refer to the section on Chew pairings in the tsh documentation.

Staff

Organizer
Chris Cree
Director
Arthur Moore
Assistant to the Director
Diane Moore
Master of Ceremonies
Rich Baker
Division Leaders
Division 1: John Robertson
Division 2: Bryan Pepper
Division 3: Dan Stock
Division 4: Kieran O'Connor
Collins: Jason Idalski
Division Assistants
Joyce Stock
Sue Tremblay
Jim Pate
Webmaster
John Chew
Data Entry
Vince Castellano
Kate Bernardina
Kristen Chew
Annotators
Lisa Kessler
Kate Watson
Pete Zeigler
Jeffrey Nelson
Sarah Rosenbaum
Social Media Coordinator
Josh Greenway
Internet Photographer
Patty Hocker
Live Stream Commentary
Robin Pollock Daniel
Conrad Bassett-Bouchard
Live Stream Coordinator
Rashad Miller

Volunteers

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the playing area, man the registration desk and to help pack and clean after the event. Volunteers receive a free NASC T-shirt. Lunch is provided for those who assist with clean up on Wednesday. To sign up, please complete the 2018 NASC Volunteer Form

Thursday, August 2

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the playing room for the tournament.

  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft
  • John Lodinsky
  • Mark Przybyszewski

Friday, August 3

Volunteers are needed to help prepare the playing room for the tournament.

  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft
  • John Lodinsky
  • Mark Przybyszewski

Registration Desk Friday, August 3

Volunteers are needed to help with registration and check-in.


11:30 P.M.-1:30 P.M.

  • Mike Gincel
  • Susan Lichtblau
  • Mark Przybyszewski

1:30 P.M - 3:30 P.M.

  • Susan Lichtblau
  • Michael Johnson
  • Scott Appel
  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft

3:30 P.M.-5:30 P.M.

  • Susan Lichtblau
  • Margo Kuno
  • Judy Cole
  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft

5:30 P.M.-7:30 P.M.

  • Ricky Sirois
  • Verna Berg
  • Mark Przybyszewski
  • Claudia Scheda

Clean and Pack

We need about 15 Clean and Pack volunteers to help collect and box NASPA tournament supplies to be shipped back to the storage facility after the awards ceremony on Wed., August 8, 2018.

  • Caroline Polak Scowcroft
  • Dallas Johnson
  • Doug Szymkowiak
  • Kristy Zurbrick
  • John Lodinsky
  • Michael Donegan

Further Information

This page will be updated as the event draws nearer. If you have urgent questions about the event, please email us at nsc@scrabbleplayers.org.