World Tournaments

1. Introduction

Many tournaments around the world pride themselves on being able to attract competitors from other nations.

There are really only five tournament structures, however, that have been designed to be global in nature. These are the World Scrabble Championship, Scrabble Champions Tournament, the MSI World Championships, the World Youth Scrabble Championship and the WESPA Championship.

Humble beginnings
The first Scrabble World Championship was held in London in 1991, hosted by Spears, who were taken over by Mattel in 1994. It featured 48 players from 19 countries. The total prize pool was $US19,000, with $10,000 of that going to the winner.

The tournament event was played to combined-dictionary rules (Chambers and OSPD), which may have proved problematical for the 'single-dictionary' countries. Or maybe not, given that two Americans contested the best-of-five final. The inaugural winner was Peter Morris, who hasn't returned to play in this tournament since 1993. His finals opponent, a young, fresh-faced Brian Cappelletto, came back to win the event exactly 10 years later.

Global reach
Since then the event has been held three more times in London, and once each in New York, Washington DC, Melbourne, Las Vegas, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Johor Bahru (Malaysia) and Warsaw (Poland). For the first six events, Hasbro (the brand owner in North America) and Mattel (brand owner in the rest of the world) alternated sponsorship, before Hasbro withdrew to focus more on TWL-only events.

Warsaw, in 2011, had 106 players from 39 countries, including a great many for whom English is not a first language. The prize pool was up to with $50,000, $US20,000 for the winner.

On the podium
There have been plenty of repeat finalists, showing that the genuine superstars of Scrabble always rise to the challenge on the big stage. Nigel Richards has been in four finals, whilst Joel Wapnick (Can) and Pakorn Nemitrmansuk (Thai) have played in three finals each; Brian Cappelletto (US), Mark Nyman (UK) and Joel Sherman (US) have played in two; and Morris, David Boys (Can), Panupol Sujjayakorn (Thai), Adam Logan (Can) and Craig Beevers (Eng) have each nailed the title on their only finals appearance. Only Nigel Richards has won the title more than once.

2. After Warsaw

A. The Scrabble Champions Tournament (SCT) and the MSI World Championships

The final WSC was held in 2011; Mind Sports International (MSI) were then provided the opportunity to run a truly global Scrabble tournament and, in 2013, the first of two SCTs was held in Prague in the Czech Republic.

The event gave the world one of its first applications of a now famous RFID Scrabble board and, with ambassador Rachel Riley, and a streamed coverage gave the Scrabble community a global tournament in the digital age.

Nigel Richards took out the tournament that year.

The SCT was run the following year in London with a non-invitational format. Competitors did not have to go through a qualifying process as was the case with preceding global tournaments.

Craig Beevers took out the title that year, becoming the first Englishman to become World Champion since Mark Nyman in 1993.

This was the final SCT, with the advent of the MSI World Championships. The 2016 Championships were held in Lille, France with Brett Smitheram victorious in the final over Mark Nyman. The 2017 MSI World Scrabble Championships will be in Doha, Qatar.

B. The WESPA Championship

In November 2015, the inaugural WESPA Championships was held in Perth, Western Australia.

The format resembled previous WSCs and qualification was set by member nations.

Over 30 nations were represented, with side events held to ensure a very strong attendance to follow the 2015 World Youth Scrabble Championship that was held in Perth shortly before.

Nigeria's Wellington Jighere brought Africa its first victory on the global stage, a result that has seen many accolades and recognition at the highest of levels in his home country and continent.

The next WESPA Championship in 2017 is being held in Nairobi, Kenya.

C. The World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC)

WYSC is open to anyone under the age of 18 on January 1 of the year of each tournament.

The tournament used to be held at the start of December, but was brought forward to August for 2014 and then October in 2015. The winners of these tournaments usually go on to play into adulthood and continue their strong play from the skills developed at a young age.

In 2017, there has been a rebranding and the WESPA Youth Cup will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The World Junior Scrabble Championship will form part of the MSI World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

More information is available at


YearWorld ChampionRunner-upLocationEntrantsWinner's prizeTotal prize poolSponsorCountries
1991Peter Morris
( USA)
Brian Cappelletto
( USA)
London, UK48$10,000$19,000Spears19
1993Mark Nyman
( England)
Joel Wapnick
( Canada)
New York, USA64$10,000$24,950Hasbro24
1995David Boys
( Canada)
Joel Sherman
( USA)
London, UK64$11,000$29,550Mattel32
1997Joel Sherman
( USA)
Matt Graham
( USA)
Washington DC, USA80$25,000$50,100Hasbro35
1999Joel Wapnick
( Canada)
Mark Nyman
( England)
Melbourne, Australia98$15,000$34,200Mattel31
2001Brian Cappelletto
( USA)
Joel Wapnick
( Canada)
Las Vegas, USA88$25,000$50,100Hasbro36
2003Panupol Sujjayakorn
( Thailand)
Pakorn Nemitrmansuk
( Thailand)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia90$17,500$40,000Mattel34
2005Adam Logan
( Canada)
Pakorn Nemitrmansuk
( Thailand)
London, UK102$15,000$30,500Mattel40
2007Nigel Richards
( New Zealand)
Ganesh Asirvatham
( Malaysia)
Mumbai, India104$15,000$30,500Mattel40
2009Pakorn Nemitrmansuk
( Thailand)
Nigel Richards
( New Zealand)
Johor Bahru, Malaysia108$15,000$30,500Mattel41
2011Nigel Richards
( New Zealand)
Andrew Fisher
( Australia)
Warsaw, Poland106$20,000$50,000Mattel39


YearWorld ChampionRunner-upLocationEntrantsWinner's prizeTotal prize poolSponsorCountries
2013Nigel Richards
( New Zealand)
Komol Panyasophonlert
( Thailand)
Prague, Czech Republic110$10,000$25,000Mattel, MSI39
2014Craig Beevers
( England)
Chris Lipe
( USA)
London, England108£3,000£7,000Mattel, MSI32


YearWESPAC ChampionRunner-upLocationEntrantsWinner's prizeTotal prize poolSponsorCountries
2015Wellington Jighere
( Nigeria)
Lewis Mackay
( England)
Perth, Australia130$10,000AUSWESPA
2017Nairobi, KenyaWESPA


YearWorld ChampionRunner-upLocationEntrantsWinner's prizeTotal prize poolSponsorCountries
2016Brett Smitheram
( England)
Mark Nyman
( England)
Lille, France72€18,000+Mattel, MSI
2017Doha, QatarMattel, MSI


YearWorld Youth ChampionRunner-up
2006David EldarAustin Shin
2007Toh WeibinSean Chung Chin Shu
2008Charnhit KhongthanaratDarren Khoo Beng Way
2009Suanne OngAlastair Richards
2010Ker Jen HoPreedee Khongthanara
2011Anand BharadwajVictor Gwee
2012Michael McKennaCheong Yi Wei
2013Moizullah BaigJaveria Mirza
2014Jack DurandYong Jian Rong
2015Nicholas HongAbdullah Abbasi
2016Sanchit KapoorThavalakshman Yogan