The world’s best Scrabble players are in London for the world championship competition this week. The reigning national Scrabble champion is Conrad Bassett-Bouchard of Portland, Oregon.
Bassett-Bouchard’s approach to Scrabble might surprise you. He says you don’t really need a “word brain” to win.
“I really think you need a math brain because when you’re playing Scrabble you don’t necessarily need to know the definition of the words, you just need to know that they’re valid,” he says.
Once the words are placed on the board, they’re numbers, he says.
Bassett-Bouchard won the national tournament in Buffalo, New York, in August, after accruing enough points over several games across 4 and a half days.
“It was incredibly exhausting,” he says.
Bassett-Bouchard said he likes the game well enough, but what keeps him going to Scrabble competitions is the fellowship with other players and what he calls “an amazing subculture.”
“Once I started meeting all the people in the game, I just fell in love with everybody,” he says. “I’m addicted to the people and I can’t give them up.”