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Frequently asked questions

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Revision as of 14:34, 3 June 2015 by Poslfit (talk | contribs) (Word List Purchasing, Publishing, Licensing: do I have to be a member?)

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Here is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the North American SCRABBLE Players Association (NASPA). Please check to see if your question is answered here before you contact us.

General questions about the Association

  1. What is NASPA?
    NASPA is a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation incorporated in Texas. It has an exclusive license from Hasbro to administer competitive SCRABBLE play in the United States and Canada.
  2. Who is in charge of NASPA?
    NASPA is formally governed by its board of trustees. Day-to-day management is in the hands of its Executive Committee (EC), which delegates most tasks to its Committees. Decisions of working committees may be appealed to the Advisory Board (AB); AB decisions may be appealed to the EC; EC decisions may be appealed to the board of trustees.
  3. Do players have a voice in how NASPA works?
    Yes. Players who have the time and energy to devote to volunteering for one of NASPA's Committees can have the most direct impact on our future by helping to develop our policy. Others are encouraged to either contact the committee in charge of their concern, or their Advisory Board representative for general concerns.

The rest of our topics are listed alphabetically.


  1. What is cross-tables.com?
    Cross-tables.com is a partner website developed and maintained by Seth Lipkin, providing a wealth of statistical information about the history of official SCRABBLE play in North America.
  2. What does it mean when it says "Check with NASPA" next to an unrated player's name in a tournament roster?
    It means that cross-tables.com does not track information about unrated players, and you should use the regular membership tools to verify an unrated player's membership status.


  1. Is financial information available for NASPA?
    You may view NASPA's Form 990 on our Financial Reports page.
  2. Are there executive stipends, will the members decide them, and will they be published?
    NASPA reports its budget in accordance with statutory requirements governing nonprofit corporations. Executive stipends, if any, are determined by the board of trustees. As of 2014, there are no stipends as such, but NASPA is reimbursing some expenses necessary for its operation, and disbursing approximately $2,000 per month in consulting fees.
  3. When will NASPA start spending its capital reserves?
    While it is important for the organization to maintain reserves for unanticipated liability or expenses, we have already been allocating resources for various publicity activities. We are proceeding cautiously and will announce additional plans as soon as they are available.
  4. Will NASPA spend its capital reserves to subsidize prize pools at major events?
    In general, no, because we believe that this would lead to the very top players being paid better without an increase in overall membership. We would rather spend money on reaching out to a broader group of potential players to encourage them to join the association.
  5. Can my tournament sponsors make a charitable donation through NASPA?
    No, we are a 501(c)(4) corporation, not a charity.



  1. What do I get with my membership?
    You get access to member-only sections of the website, access to a licensed electronic copy of OTCWL2014 for use in NASPA Zyzzyva, access to the NASPA Store where you can buy a printed copy of OTCWL2014 and tournament equipment, the right to participate in official tournaments, the right to volunteer for or stand for election to our committees, and the right to have your club and tournament accomplishments officially recognized.
  2. Do I get a printed membership card?
    We will not mail them out to you, but you can either print your own using our online tool or ask us at special events like the National SCRABBLE Championship.
  3. Can I buy member-only publications such as the OTCWL from WordGear as a NASPA member?
    No, because Word Gear went out of business on July 1, 2013. You can now buy it from the NASPA Store.
  4. Are newcomers allowed to attend one open-rated tournament before joining as members?
    No, but they will have an option to purchase a 6-month trial membership for US$15.

Joining and renewing

  1. How do I buy a NASPA membership?
    The membership page says how to pay online using a credit card to activate your membership right away, or submit your data and follow up with a check to have your membership activated when we receive payment.
  2. My credit card is being rejected, but I'm sure it is valid: what should I do?
    As explained on the Payment page, we do not have control over the format in which our bank expects you to enter your address; please be especially careful about using the standard abbreviation for your state or province, and entering it in the correct box. These are the two most common “errors”.
  3. I'm a tournament director and I need memberships for some players so that my upcoming tournament can be rated. What do I do?
    Click on the Member Services link in the navigation sidebar, then click on Add New Members in the Director section. Fill out the membership information for your players, then choose “Payment with your next tournament’s participation fee” as your payment option.
  4. I want to renew my NASPA membership but don't remember my membership ID, what should I do?
    You can enter your name instead of your membership ID in the renewal form.

Life membership

  1. Do life members in the former NSA get life membership in NASPA?
    No. The NSA and NASPA are two separate organizations. Life membership in NASPA costs $20/year of age up to age 80.
  2. What proof of age do I need to show to obtain life membership?
    You can send us a copy of government-issued identification showing your date of birth, or show it to any NASPA-certified Director and ask him/her to attest to us on your behalf.

Member profile

  1. How do I change my NASPA contact information?
    Click on the Member Services link in the navigation sidebar, then Edit Profile.
  2. Why did I not receive my National SCRABBLE Championship prize winnings?
    NSC prizes are paid by check mailed to the address given in your member profile; check to make sure that it’s up-to-date.

Membership numbers and passwords

  1. What is my membership number (NASPA ID)?
    You can look it up in the member database.
  2. I don't have Internet access; will you mail me my membership number?
    If you cannot ask a friend to look up your number, you can call us and we will look it up for you.
  3. Can you send me a password to log onto the membership services section of NASPA?
    You can access your own password by going to the membership services page, entering your member number and clicking on “Email me my password”.
  4. My current email address is not in the member database, how can I receive my password?
    Contact the Membership Committee to have your email address updated in the database.
  5. How do I change my password?
    Go to the Member Services page, then click on the “Change Password” button at the bottom of the page.
  6. Can you set my password to XXXXXX?
    You can change your password by clicking the “Change Password” button at the bottom of the Member Services page. If you don’t remember your password, enter your member number and click on “Email me my password”.
  7. I tried entering my NASPA ID and password but keep being told “'re trying to connect to an unknown session. Please log on again.”
    We use “browser cookies” to keep track of sessions at our website. If you see this message and use AOL as your ISP, make sure that you are using Firefox as your browser and not the default AOL browser. Otherwise, make sure that you have cookies enabled in your browser preferences.

National SCRABBLE Association

  1. What happened to the NSA?
    It transferred many of its duties to NASPA in 2009, and went out of business in July 2013.
  2. What happened to Word Gear?
    Word Gear is out of business as of July 2013. If you are interested in ordering the official word list, you can do so from the NASPA Store. Other Word Gear products are no longer available, but NASPA is developing its own merchandise, which will be added to the NASPA Store.


  1. Does NASPA have its own newsletter?
    No, but NASPA has a bulletin which appears periodically and hopes to appear more regularly as time goes on.
  2. Where can I find the NASPA Bulletin?
    Click on the Bulletin link in the sidebar of any page.
  3. My friend doesn’t have Internet access, but is a NASPA member. How can my friend read the NASPA Bulletin?
    Although the NASPA Bulletin is protected by copyright, you may print it for your own personal use and for the personal use of other members. Registered directors are encouraged to do so for their players.
  4. I know someone who does not have Internet access and does not go to clubs or tournaments. How can they read the NASPA Bulletin?
    NASPA is an association for club and tournament players. If a person does not want to attend clubs or tournaments, they will not be interested in the NASPA Bulletin.
  5. When will the next issue of the Bulletin be published?
    We are working toward a more publication schedule and thank you for your patience.

National SCRABBLE Championship

  1. When/where is the 2015 National SCRABBLE Championship?
    August 1–5, with mandatory registration on July 31, at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, NV.
  2. Will there be two Collins divisions at the 2015 NASC?
    Maybe, if attendance continues to increase. We'll make a decision about this in early 2015.
  3. Why was the Pairings Committee not consulted about the adoption of a playoff format in 2015?
    The mandate of the Pairings Committee is “to evaluate and certify pairing algorithms for tournament use”. The bracket pairing format has long been certified for tournament use, and has been used previously in a number of other tournaments. So there was nothing for the Pairings Committee to do in this case.
  4. Who decides the format of the NASC?
    The NASPA Championship Committee is charged with organizing and running our annual championship tournament. The Championship Committee makes hundreds of decisions with respect to the organization of the NASC. The Championship Committee functions much like the organizers/directors of other NASPA tournaments, choosing a venue, negotiating terms, setting entry fees, establishing division cutoffs, determining pairing format, etc.
  5. Why is the membership not consulted on changes to the NASC?
    The Championship Committee has always sought feedback from players at the conclusion of every championship. We consider the opinions of our membership very carefully when making plans for future tournaments, and believe that we have improved on the tournament year by year. Some of the changes to the NASC that have arisen from member feedback include: offering the option to play in the Collins lexicon; offering multiple Collins divisions; modifying the cutoff for the Collins division; modifying the cutoff for TWL Division 1; shortening the Qualifying Rating period; adding a staff/directors Early Bird; adding ancillary events like a Lunch Bird, Trivia Contest, and Tag Team Tourney; and offering a Youth Division.
  6. Why will there be playoffs at the 2015 NASC?
    While many players have been happy with the traditional pairing format used in the recent championships, there have been some criticisms of that format. Some have argued that it requires the division leaders to play very strong competitors over and over, while those who have a worse record early in the tournament have the opportunity to employ a “Swiss gambit” to make a late surge and secure a higher place in the tournament having faced less stringent competition. The new pairing format came about in part because of its success at last year’s SCRABBLE Champions Tournament. But a secondary factor in choosing this format was the ability to address the concerns expressed by some of our membership. So, while we didn’t conduct a poll of the membership on the pairing format, the choice of this format was responsive to concerns raised by NASPA members. In the same way that we have committed to allowing our members to play in their preferred lexicon, we want to provide our players who favor this format an opportunity to experience a championship paired in this way.
  7. Are playoffs unfair?
    Every pairing format has advantages and disadvantages. And every tournament must foreclose the opportunity for some players to win or place highly at some point during the event. For those reasons, any number of pairing formats can be fair to the participants. What is of critical importance is establishing the pairing format in advance, so that the competitors have the ability to know what is required to win or place in the event.
    Initiating the playoff bracket after round 21 means that the competitors will already have played the equivalent length of 1½ typical weekend tournaments. Some players may be shut out of the championship bracket based on the luck of the draw during one or more games. But, that is simply the nature of SCRABBLE play. Luck is a factor in our game.
    Those who are excluded from the championship bracket still have the ability to compete for 9th place and lower, and also have the ability to compete on a game by game basis to test their skills against each of their competitors in the final 10 games. At every championship, there are players who are mathematically eliminated from 8th place and above at the end of round 21. Those players have always continued to play and give their best, regardless of their place in the standings. Similarly, with the bracket format, each player will give his or her best in each game, seeking to improve rating or standing in the tournament, and most of all, drawing enjoyment from playing SCRABBLE games at the biggest, most significant NASPA tournament of the year.
  8. Will there always be playoffs?
    We will solicit particular feedback from our attendees after the 2015 NASC. We will consider carefully what our members have to say about the advantages and disadvantages of this format, and will use that information to determine the pairing format for the 2016 NASC.

Other SCRABBLE Entities

  1. Can you help me with a question about a SCRABBLE Brand game?
    Please contact Hasbro Customer Service directly for assistance.
  2. Can you help me with a question about playing official SCRABBLE online?
    Please contact Electronic Arts Customer Service directly for assistance.
  3. Can you help me with a question about the Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary?
    Please contact Merriam-Webster Customer Service directly for assistance.

Playing the Game

  1. Where can I play SCRABBLE games?
    You can play the original game in person with your friends and family, play online with Electronic Arts, practise for serious competition at our official Clubs and earn a rating at our official Tournaments.


  1. Where can I find a list of NASPA members and ratings?
    Please consult the NASPAWiki article about ratings.
  2. How are state / province rankings computed?
    These ranking lists are updated automatically whenever new ratings are computed after a tournament.
  3. A player is listed in the wrong state. How can that be corrected?
    Each player should be able to log in to the member services as described above and update the address in his or her own profile. The new state will be used the next time the state rankings are computed.
  4. I haven't played in a tournament in many years, do I have to use my old rating or can I start over?
    Once you have received a rating, you must use it in your next tournament, no matter how long the time has been. Players are responsible for notifying the director if they have ever played in a sanctioned tournament and received a rating (and to ensure that the director has their correct rating/name on record).
  5. I have a WESPA rating but no NASPA rating; what happens at my first NASPA Collins tournament?
    Your Director may at his/her discretion place you in a division based on your WESPA rating, but your initial NASPA rating will be computed as an unrated player.


  1. I think I have set a new record, who do I tell?
    Read the instructions at the top of our Records page.


  1. What do I need to do to play in a sanctioned tournament?
    Be a member in good standing, satisfy any qualification criteria for the tournament (most have at divisions to accommodate all players), complete an entry form and submit payment to the event organizer.
  2. I want to organize a tournament, what do I need to do?
    If you are already a Director, you may contact the Tournament Committee to submit details for the tournament you wish sanctioned.
  3. Is my sanctioned tournament covered by NASPA’s liability insurance policy?
    Yes. See the Directors section of Member Services, here.


  1. How can I help?
    If you would like to volunteer with any of NASPA's activities, thank you! Please contact a member of whichever NASPA committee interests you to see how your skills can best be put to use, or check our Help Wanted page. If you have suggestions that you do not want to help work on, you can still send them to any committee member, but they will get implemented sooner if you can help us.
  2. How do I edit pages on this website?
    If you are a NASPA committee member, then you may request from Web Committee a username and password to log onto the website. Do so and follow the instructions for editing NASPAWiki. If you are not a committee member, please ask one to make your changes.


  1. What are all these official word lists?
    Any group of players can agree to use a particular word list or dictionary in their games. In officially sanctioned competitive play though, we all use one of a few official word lists designed for use with our game. Unlike regular dictionaries, for example, official word lists list all valid inflections for all listed words. Within NASPA's territory of the United States and Canada, the following word lists are officially recognized: SSWL2015 for school play, OTCWL for regular competitive play, and CSW for international play.

Word List Contents

  1. Why is (my favorite word) not acceptable?
    See how lexicons are compiled.
  2. Why is (a common nine-letter word) not in OSPD?
    OSPD lists only words of up to eight letters, and their inflections. For longer words, please consult OTCWL, beginning with its 2014 edition.
  3. Why is ZEN not acceptable?
    Because none of our source lexica list it spelled without a capital Z.
  4. What's up with DA?
    DA was deleted from the playing lexicon as of OSPD3 as a result of a major review of the original research that led to OSPD1; it is reentering the lexicon as of OTCWL2014, because it is listed in one of our new source lexica.
  5. Why is a particular word in OTCWL but not in OSPD?
    Although both OTCWL and OSPD are edited by both NASPA and Merriam-Webster, the publications are edited at different times by different individuals according to different criteria. The commonest causes for a word appearing in OTCWL but not in OSPD are: being longer than 8 letters, being potentially offensive, being a possible trademark in some jurisdictions, having entered a source lexicon between the editorial deadlines for the two works, or differing editorial opinions concerning ambiguities in source lexica.
  6. Can you send me a list of words that are in one lexicon but not in another?
    For licensing and copyright reasons no, but you can probably make the list yourself using NASPA Zyzzyva.

Word List Purchasing, Publishing, Licensing

  1. Do I have to be a NASPA member to by a copy of the Official Tournament and Club Word List?
    Yes, licensing conditions have always required vendors to confirm association membership status for word list sales.
  2. Where can I buy a copy of the Official Tournament and Club Word List (OTCWL)?
    You can buy it at the NASPA Store online.
  3. When will the next printing of OTCWL be published?
    We will likely have an answer to this question at the 2015 NSC.
  4. Will the next printing of OTCWL incorporate the published errata from the current edition?
    It will, but it should also include new words yet to be determined.
  5. Will the next printing of OSPD incorporate be any different from the current edition?
    That's a question for Merriam-Webster, but in past editions, most new printings within an edition have included minor updates.
  6. When can I use the latest word lists with Quackle, Zarf, Elise, ...?
    We are not aware of any plans by the developers of other software to license the current word list.

World SCRABBLE Championship

  1. What is the SCRABBLE Champions Tournament?
    Mattel determined in 2013 that it would be inappropriate to continue to sponsor the World SCRABBLE Championship under its traditional name, and renamed it the SCRABBLE Champions Tournament. Many players continue to call it the World SCRABBLE Championship.
  2. When/where is the 2015 World SCRABBLE Championship?
    There will be none due to ongoing trademark issues; WESPA, however, will be organizing an Invitational Masters with a diluted version of the former WSC qualification criteria.
  3. How do I qualify for Team U.S.A.?
    Please contact the International Committee.
  4. How do I qualify for Team Canada?
    See 2015_WESPA_Championship_Canadian_Qualification_System