Take this vocabulary test to see how many grains of rice you can have donated through the United Nations World Food Program with your correct answers.
1 word = 10 grains
What's an evening like at the Lauderhill Scrabble® Club #276?
Read John Thomason's June 2007 article which appeared in the Sun-Sentinel.
The following is an interesting article which appeared on the ScientificAmerican.com web site last April 2015.
Studying a game yields insights into what it takes to be great at something
By David Z. Hambrick on April 21, 2015
Clearly, expert SCRABBLE players are to some degree “made.” But there is evidence that basic cognitive abilities play a role, too.
In case you didn’t hear the news, there was a major shake-up in the competitive SCRABBLE world last summer in Buffalo. Conrad Bassett-Bouchard, a 24-year old graduate student from Portland, Oregon, won the $10,000 first prize at the National SCRABBLE Championship, making him the youngest American to ever win the tournament. But the big news was that the win ended Nigel Richards’ run of four titles. Richards, a reclusive New Zealander, is widely regarded as the best SCRABBLE player of all-time—the “Michael Jordan of the game,” as one co-competitor put it. Along with five U.S. National titles, Richards has won the World SCRABBLE Championship three times, and the Thailand International—the largest SCRABBLE tournament in the world—eleven times.
SCRABBLE has been one of the most popular board games in the world for decades. And, now, as an increasingly popular domain for scientific research on expertise, it is giving psychologists a better understanding of the underpinnings of complex skill and a clearer picture of the origins of greatness. The overarching goal of this research is to better understand the interplay between “software” and “hardware” aspects of the cognitive system. Software factors include knowledge and skills that are acquired through experience, whereas hardware factors include genetically-influenced abilities and capacities. SCRABBLE is ideal for research on how these factors interact not only because it is relatively easy to find research participants from a wide range of skill, but because it can be imported into the lab.
The basic goal of SCRABBLE is to create intersecting words by placing lettered tiles on a board containing a 15 x 15 grid. Knowledge is, of course, critical for success in this task. If you want to become a great SCRABBLE player, first and foremost, you have to know a lot of words. A top player will know most of the two hundred thousand or so words in the SCRABBLE dictionary (not their definitions, just the words themselves). Among the plays in the final game at the National SCRABBLE Championship in Buffalo: WAB, TROOZE, HOURI, AA, KIBI, and QUA (all real words, apparently). You also need to be adept at identifying potential plays. Expert players can rattle off dozens of possible plays for any given rack—for, say, GINOPRS, words like SPORING, GIPONS, PIROG, PINGO, OS, and SORN. Many serious SCRABBLE players “cross-train” by playing anagramming games like Boggle, or by just solving anagrams, which Conrad Bassett-Bouchard compares to a basketball player practicing free throws. Finally, you have to know SCRABBLE strategy—or what aficionados call “rack management”—such as how to keep a good mix of consonant and vowels (the key, according to reigning World SCRABBLE Champion Craig Beevers, is to “score and leave”—go for points but be mindful of what any play will leave you on your rack).
People aren’t born with this type of specialized knowledge. Research indicates that we may come into the world equipped with the building blocks for complex skills such as math, but certainly nothing as specific as knowledge of words in a particular language. Thus, experience is necessary to become an expert in SCRABBLE. And, in fact, SCRABBLE skill has been found to correlate positively with the amount of time people spend engaging in SCRABBLE-related activities. In one study, using official SCRABBLE rating as an objective measure of skill, researchers found that groups of “elite” and “average” SCRABBLE players differed in the amount of time they had devoted to things like studying word lists, analyzing previous SCRABBLE games, and anagramming—and not by a little. Overall, the elite group had spent an average of over 5,000 hours on SCRABBLE study, compared to only about 1,300 hours for the average group. Another study found that competitive SCRABBLE players devoted an average of nearly 5 hours a week to memorizing words from the SCRABBLE dictionary.
Clearly, expert SCRABBLE players are to some degree “made.” But there is evidence that basic cognitive abilities play a role, too. In a study recently published in Applied Cognitive Psychology, Michael Toma and his colleagues found that elite SCRABBLE players outperformed college students from a highly selective university on tests of two cognitive abilities: working memory and visuospatial reasoning. Working memory is the ability to hold in mind information while using it to solve a problem, as when iterating through possible moves in a SCRABBLE game. Visuospatial reasoning is the ability to visualize things and to detect patterns, as when imagining how tiles on a SCRABBLE board would intersect after a certain play. Both abilities are influenced by genetic factors.
Further evidence pointing to a role of these abilities in SCRABBLE expertise comes from a recent brain imaging study by Andrea Protzner and her colleagues at the University of Calgary. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), these researchers recorded the brain activity of SCRABBLE players and control subjects as they performed a task in which they were shown groups of letters and judged whether they formed words. (fMRI measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow within different regions of the brain.) The major finding of this study was that competitive SCRABBLE players recruited brain regions associated with working memory and visual perception to perform this task to a greater degree than the control subjects did.
What might explain SCRABBLE experts’ superiority in working memory and visuospatial reasoning? One possibility is that playing SCRABBLE improves these cognitive abilities, like a work-out at the gym makes you stronger. However, this seems unlikely based on over a century of research on the issue of “transfer” of training. When people train on a task, they sometimes get better on similar tasks, but they usually do not get better on other tasks. They show “near” transfer, but not “far” transfer. (Practice SCRABBLE and you’ll get better at SCRABBLE, and maybe Boggle, but don’t count on it making you smarter.) For the same basic reason that basketball players tend to be tall, a more likely explanation is that people high in working memory and visuospatial reasoning abilities are people who tend to get into, and persist at, playing SCRABBLE: because it gives them an advantage in the game. This explanation fits with what behavioral geneticists call gene-environment correlation, which is the idea that our genetic makeup influences our experiences.
These findings challenge the dogma that anyone can become anything they want to become—like the best SCRABBLE player in the world—with enough hard work. At the same time, they add to an emerging understanding of complex skill that may ultimately bring expertise within reach of a larger number of people than is currently the case. For example, it may one day be possible to give people precise information about their abilities, and of the likelihood of achieving success in particular domains given those abilities. It may also be possible to design approaches to training complex skills that accelerate the acquisition of expertise.=====================
Click on this link Club News Page
to see what has been happening at Scrabble Club 276 during the months
of April 2016 through June, 2016!
On January 13, twenty-six of our Scrabble Club members congregated at their meeting place in Veteran s Park, Lauderhill, Florida to attend our 27th Annual Awards Night and to cheer on their fellow players as numerous awards were presented!
This year, DENA WEINSTEIN baked easy-to-handle and delicious cupcakes for our festive evening with a "Scrabble tile" on the top of each cupcake which was arranged to spell out the words "27th Annual Scrabble Awards, Club #276!"
Thanks again Dena for all the time, effort and thought you always put into your amazing, beautiful and yummy creations!
If anyone ever needs a wonderful and delicious cake or cupcakes for a special occasion, you can order the best of the best from Dena Weinstein!Thanks also to CHERYL LEVIN for opening her office for me on Sunday to make copies of the completed stats as soon as they were hot off the presses! Cheryl, with the myriad of things that still had to be done for our Awards Night, your generosity helped me to complete everything in time for the big night! In appreciation of her generosity, I presented Cheryl with a needlepoint which is absolutely "perfect" for her! And the lawyer in the needlepoint even looks like Cheryl!
Then Of course, as usual much thanks always goes to LARRY
GRADUS for being the best Assistant Director!
Larry, you look so handsome in your new sweater!
After all of my thanks were expressed, SHEREEN WEINSTEIN took the floor and on behalf of the entire Scrabble Club #276 said some lovely words and presented me with a gift of their appreciation. I can't even begin to tell you how good it made me feel to know that everyone enjoys our club and appreciates all the work that goes into making it fun all year long!
Many thanks to everyone for your wonderful gift!
As I was about to start the presentation of awards, one of our new members, LESLEY SALAS, asked if she could say a few words first. Much to my surprise and absolute delight, Lesley then proceeded to recite a wonderful poem which she wrote for this special occasion!
AND NOW FOR THE AWARDS!!!!
2015 MOST IMPROVED PLAYER
2nd Place - LARRY "P." GRADUS - 9.79%
2015 PERSEVERANCE AWARD
And while I'm on the subject of improving, during the past 27 years I have presented the following award only three times. It's called the PERSEVERANCE AWARD and this year CAROL DOSS became the fourth recipient! Carol has only been a member of our club for a little more than one year. Carol also has the distinction of playing the most games at our club during 2015 (145 games!). But what makes her so deserving of this award is the fact that Carol keeps plugging away with her cheerful attitude whether she wins or loses! One night she even won two of her games! Congratulations, Carol!
2015 TIE FOR HIGHEST SCORING WORD
ROBERT KAHN "FASCINES" - 167 Pts!
LAURA WOLFSON "SKIRTING" - 167 Pts!
(Laura Wolfson not present)
2nd Place Tie for 158 Points:
GERRY SMITH - "INVERTOR"
MARSHALL RESNICK - "CIGARETS"
JOANNE COHEN - "VASTAGED" (PHONEY)
During 2015 there
Bamdingers* scored (with 6 being phonies)! *A "Bamdinger" is one word that scores 100
points or more!
To view these 72 Bamdingers which were scored during 2015 and also all the other 100+ words in the "Bamdinger Hall of Fame" since our records began, please click on the link below.
IAN WEINSTEIN - 14 BAMDINGERS!!!
By now, we are all in agreement that
"Weinstein" must be an "Einstein" in disguise!
2015 HIGHEST SCORING GAMES
IAN WEINSTEIN - 724 Pts
L-R: Robert Kahn, Conor Munro, Ian Weinstein
2015 PLATEAU Certificates
for Total Winning Games
at Scrabble Club 276
(The levels are 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000)
This year we had TEN who have either reached the first plateau of winning games or have upped
their levels to the next plateau.
CONGRATULATIONS TO IAN WEINSTEIN FOR BEING OUR FIRST CLUB MEMBER TO REACH THE 2000 WINNING GAMES PLATEAU!!!!
OTHER 2015 PLATEAU WINNERS
500 PLATEAU AWARD
Angel Dupree (Not Present)
100 PLATEAU AWARD
Noel Livermore (Not Present)
50 PLATEAU AWARD
Vicki Holmes (Not Present)
Mervet Heartberg (Not Present)
2015 BEST BINGO AVERAGE
1st Place - ROBERT KAHN - 2.274
L-R: Robert Kahn, Joanne Cohen, Ian Weinstein
2015 MOST BINGOS
1st Place - ROBERT KAHN - 282
2015 MOST 400+ GAMES
Place - IAN
WEINSTEIN - 96
L-R: Howard Pistol, Ian Weinstein, Robert Kahn
1st Place - IAN WEINSTEIN - 29
2nd Place - ROBERT KAHN - 16
Ian Weinstein, Carl Stocker, Robert Kahn,
Place - IAN WEINSTEIN
2nd Place: - 13 consecutive games
3rd Place: 9 consecutive games
2015 HIGHEST AVERAGE
1st Place - IAN WEINSTEIN - 460
2015 MOST WINS
Place - IAN
WEINSTEIN - 98
L-R: Ian Weinstein, Sandee Bloom, Robert Kahn
1st Place - IAN WEINSTEIN - .831!!!
- ROBERT KAHN - .753
L-R: Howard Pistol, Ian Weinstein, Robert Kahn
Congratulations to all our members who received awards and thank you to our entire membership who help to make our Scrabble club such a fun, interesting and competitively challenging place to be every Wednesday night!
As is my custom, along with the packet of club stats and individual stats, I give a gift to all of our Scrabble Club players who have attended our club a number of times during the year. I hope our club players will enjoy their gift packets consisting of a Scrabble bag and a Scrabble notebook.
To add more excitement to our Awards Night, a lottery ticket for $1.5 billion was awarded for the highest scoring word played in the first game which started with the natural letter "P" for "Powerball." Our winner of the lottery ticket was CONOR MUNRO when he played "PERSONS" for 78 points! Unfortunately, Conor was not one of the winners of the $1.5 billion.
Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my brother, STEVE BLOOM and our club member, CHERYL LEVIN, for taking all of the photos during our 27th Annual Scrabble Awards Night!I
Here's looking forward to another fun year at our Scrabble Club and wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2016!
As of April 1, 2015 we have been officially using the new words at Scrabble Club 276!
If you would like to print out the newest 2-3 letter "Cheat Sheet" which has all the new additions in red font, please click the following link.
2015 Cheat Sheet
And for those of you who would actually like to know the meanings of some of these new words, much thanks to Rebecca Slivka for her "work in progress."
Please take time to read the article showcasing ScrabbleClub #276 which appeared in the February 2010 issue of "The Last Word."
MORE LETTER MAN EPISODES!
Look up in the sky!
It's a bird. It's a plane! No, it's Letter Man!
To hone your skills as a Scrabbler, Letter Man (aka Gary Moss) will fight for justice and the American way of life by giving you some pointers in each of his Letter Man episodes.
Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3 , Lesson 4 ,
Lesson 5 , Lesson 6 , Lesson 7, Lesson 8,
Lesson 9, Lesson 10,Lesson 11,