• Scrabble FAQ - General Information (1/2)

    From m.shahroz155@gmail.com@21:1/5 to Steven Alexander on Wed Apr 3 12:28:27 2019
    On Monday, January 31, 2000 at 12:00:00 AM UTC-8, Steven Alexander wrote:
    Archive-name: games/scrabble-faq/general
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    Last-modified: 15 Jan 2000
    URL: http://www.teleport.com/~stevena/scrabble/faq.html
    Copyright: 1993-2000 Steven Alexander
    i just found a coll tool for scrabble check it out https://www.wordswithfriend.com

    Scrabble Frequently Asked Questions

    This article is posted monthly to the Usenet newsgroups
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    1. What this FAQ covers

    2. The trademark Scrabble

    3. Organized Scrabble activity
    3.1. National Scrabble Association and Association of British
    Scrabble Players
    3.2. Clubs
    3.3. Tournaments
    3.3.1. North American, Canadian and World championships Winners of the North American championships Winners of the Canadian (English language) championships Winners of the World (English language) championships
    3.3.2. How club and tournament Scrabble differs from the rules in
    the box
    3.3.3. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and Official
    Scrabble Words Why are all those stupid/non-English/indecent words
    allowed? Words removed from OSPD 1st ed. in 2nd ed. Current corrections to the OSPD 2nd ed. 9-letter root words in OSPD Current corrections to the Franklin Electronic OSPD Expurgation of OSPD and OSPD 3rd ed. Successor to OSPD - TWL98
    3.3.4. Tournament pairings
    3.3.5. Tournament ratings
    3.3.6. Upcoming North American tournaments
    3.4. Organizations conducting Scrabble activity outside North
    America and the UK
    3.5. Who plays with which dictionary and which rules?
    3.6. Crossword games on the Internet
    3.6.1. Crossword games servers Telnet-based WWW-based
    3.6.2. Crossword games mailing list
    3.6.3. Crossword games related homepages
    3.6.4. Crossword games related newsgroup
    3.6.5. Chat

    4. Differences between Scrabble in North America and in the UK

    5. Publications on Scrabble
    5.1. Periodicals
    5.1.1. Scrabble News
    5.1.2. Non-North American periodicals Onwords ABSP Newsletter Forwords Scrabble Club News
    5.1.3. Defunct periodicals Letters for Expert Players Matchups Medleys Rack Your Brain JG Newsletter Tourney News
    5.2. Books and CD-ROMs
    5.3. Word lists
    5.3.1. Lexicons
    5.3.2. Internet anagram finders and word listers
    5.3.3. Printed lists
    5.4. Word study/lookup software

    6. Basic tactics and methods

    7. Typical games
    7.1. Typical scores
    7.2. Frequency of bingos

    8. Scrabble records
    8.1. Actual
    8.2. Theoretical
    8.3. Blocked games

    9. Scrabble variants

    10. Play-by-mail games

    11. Scrabble paraphernalia
    11.1. Tiles
    11.2. Clocks
    11.3. Playing equipment
    11.4. Miscellaneous

    12. Computer versions of Scrabble
    12.1. CrossWise (IBM PC, Windows)
    12.2. Gameboy Super Scrabble (hand-held)
    12.3. Maven (Macintosh, Windows)
    12.4. Monty Plays Scrabble (hand-held)
    12.5. Scramble/Literati (IBM PC/Windows)
    12.6. Tyler (IBM PC, Macintosh)
    12.7. The Scrabble Player (IBM PC, Amiga, Atari ST, Psion)
    12.8. Vic Rice's Game (IBM PC)
    12.9. Virgin Mastertronic (IBM PC, Macintosh)
    12.10. WordsWorth (IBM PC, Windows)
    12.11. STrabbler (Atari)
    12.12. Unix Scrabble (Unix)
    12.13. CRAB (Unix, Sun, Vax and Macintosh)
    12.14. Scrabble Door (IBM PC BBS)
    12.15. ScrabOut and Networdz (Windows 3.1 and 95)
    12.16. X-Words (Macintosh)
    12.17. Amiga Scrabble (Amiga)
    12.18. Hasbro Scrabble/E-mail Scrabble (Windows, Win CE, Macintosh)
    12.19. XScrabble (X Windows)
    12.20. Gary's Computer Scrabble (Unix)
    12.21. Ortograf (Macintosh)
    12.22. dupliKta (Windows)
    12.23. Vocabble (IBM PC)
    12.24. PC Scrabble (Windows 95, DOS)
    12.25. Psion/Sinclair Scrabble (Spectrum, Sinclair Z80)
    12.26. Sanaset (Windows)
    12.27. WinScra (Windows)
    12.28. Niggle (Palm Pilot)
    12.29. Scrabble by Strobe (Windows)
    12.30. Cardwords (Linux with X Windows)
    12.31. Crosswords (Palm Pilot)

    13. Glossary

    14. Litigation


    A0. Copyright

    A1. FAQ policy

    A2. Credits

    [In the supplement:]
    A3. Roster of clubs in the US and Canada

    A4. Upcoming North American tournaments

    A5. Contacts for major Scrabble organizations worldwide

    1. What this FAQ covers

    This article is about competitive English language Scrabble, or more properly, Scrabble Brand Crossword Game. It is North
    American-centric (and to a lesser extent covers the UK), but
    information regarding English language Scrabble played anywhere is
    welcome. It is not concerned with old Scrabble sets as collectors'
    items or anything else outside the competitive aspects of the game.
    Even the inclusion of Scrabble-related foofaraw stretches its
    intended coverage.

    Although this is about Scrabble, it is not provided or authorized by
    the owners of the various rights to that game.

    2. The trademark Scrabble

    Scrabble is a registered trademark owned in the United States and
    Canada by Milton Bradley Company, a division of Hasbro, Inc., and in
    Great Britain and everywhere else in the world, by J.W. Spear & Sons
    PLC., a subsidiary of Mattel.

    Selchow & Righter, listed as the US owner on many of your boards, was
    bought -- in good health -- in 1986 by Coleco, which shortly went
    into bankruptcy due to the collapse of the market for their Cabbage
    Patch dolls. Coleco also led itself to bankruptcy in 1987 by losing
    a fortune on the Adam home computer flop, and the unexpected (to
    them) slowdown in Trivial Pursuit sales. (Trivial Pursuit was
    marketed in the US by Selchow & Righter). Scrabble was sold off to
    Milton Bradley, which was in turn gobbled up by Hasbro.

    In North America, technically, the term Scrabble refers to any game
    or related product Milton Bradley cares to label that way, while the
    popular board game is "Scrabble Crossword Game". Most people --
    including Milton Bradley's own publication -- use the term Scrabble
    to refer to that game, and so will this FAQ.

    The magazine Financial World (July 8, 1996, p. 65) estimated the
    value of the Scrabble brand to Hasbro as $76 million, and 1995 sales
    under that brand at $39 million.

    3. Organized Scrabble activity
    3.1. National Scrabble Association and Association of British
    Scrabble Players

    The National Scrabble Association ("NSA") is the only organization
    running Scrabble activity in North America. It is a subsidiary of
    Milton Bradley. NSA licenses tournament and club directors. Club
    and tournament play, except for the national and world championships,
    is sanctioned but not run by NSA. Non-members are required to join
    before playing in their second tournament.

    As noted, NSA is an arm of the manufacturer, not a true membership organization. An advisory board and a rules committee are chosen by
    NSA and Milton Bradley. Ad hoc committees concerning changes in the dictionary and the ratings system also have been created.

    Membership is $18 per year in the US, $20 (USD) in Canada, and $25
    elsewhere, by postal money order outside the US.

    National Scrabble Association
    c/o Williams & Company
    120 Front St Garden
    Box 700
    Greenport, NY 11944
    (631) 477-0033
    (631) 477-0294 fax

    In the UK, the Association of British Scrabble Players ("ABSP"),
    while not owned by the UK copyright and trademark holder, is bound
    to it by a licensing agreement. The ABSP organizes many tournaments.
    It may be reached at

    c/o Gareth Williams
    15 Melbourne Road
    CF4 5NH
    United Kingdom
    +44 1222 758249

    Membership in ABSP costs #10 per year. Members receive a newsletter
    six times per year. Its chairman, Graeme Thomas, may be reached by
    e-mail at <mailto:graeme@graemet.demon.co.uk>.

    3.2. Clubs

    Clubs normally play Scrabble according to tournament rules, although sometimes accommodation for newcomers includes allowing them to refer
    to lists of two- and three-letter words for their first couple of

    The current roster of active North American clubs is an Appendix to
    this FAQ. Some of the listings are more up to date than the most
    recent listing from the National Scrabble Association, but some are
    out of date, so call the person listed before trying to attend.

    A list of clubs in the UK is available at <http://www.math.utoronto.ca/~jjchew/scrabble/clubs-uk.html>. For
    further information on them, contact

    Philip Nelkon
    Mattel (UK) Ltd
    Mattel House
    Vanwall Business Park
    Vanwall Road
    SL6 4UB
    +44 1628 500283
    +44 1628 500288 fax

    Steve Oliger has written an IBM PC program, Focus (currently in
    version 2.10), to maintain club statistics. It comes highly
    recommended by others who have used it. $20 plus shipping ($3 in

    Steve Oliger
    P.O. Box 7003
    Lancaster, PA 17604-7003
    (717) 284-2274

    3.3. Tournaments
    3.3.1. North American, UK and world championships

    "National Scrabble Championship", really for North America, is held
    by the National Scrabble Association in even years. In 2000 it will
    be held in Providence, RI. North American players are eligible for
    entry if they had played in at least one rated tournament. Players
    from elsewhere may enter without condition.

    In odd years, an invitational "World [English language] Championship"
    is held. The 1999 World Championship was held in November in
    Melbourne, Australia. Words allowable in North American or British
    play are allowed.

    In the UK, Spear runs the National Scrabble Championship. Several
    regional events (apparently open only to UK residents) are used as
    qualifiers for the national final.

    Also in the UK, the ABSP organizes a 17-game British Matchplay
    Scrabble Championship held each August. It is open to all. Winners of the North American championships

    1978, May 19-21, New York City: invitational, 64 contestants
    David Prinz

    1980, November 14-16, Santa Monica: invitational, 32 contestants
    Joe Edley

    1983, August 10-12, Chicago: qualifiers, 32 contestants
    Joel Wapnick

    1985, July 28-31, Boston: open, 302 contestants
    Ron Tiekert

    1987, July 5-7, Las Vegas: open, 300+ contestants
    Rita Norr

    1988, July 31-August 5, Reno: open, 323 contestants
    Robert Watson

    1989, July 29-August 3, New York City: open, 221 contestants
    Peter Morris

    1990, August 5-9: Washington, 300+ contestants
    Robert Felt

    1992, August 9-13, Atlanta: open, 320 contestants
    Joe Edley

    1994, August 14-18, Los Angeles: open, 294 contestants
    David Gibson

    1996, July, Dallas: open, 400 contestants (OSPD2+)
    Adam Logan

    1998, August 8-13, Chicago: open, 535 contestants (TWL98)
    Brian Cappelletto Winners of the Canadian (English language) championships

    1996, Oct 18-21, Toronto: invitational, 40 contestants (OSPD2+)
    Adam Logan

    1998, Oct 16-19, Toronto: invitational, 50 contestants (TWL98)
    Joel Wapnick Winners of the World (English language) championships

    1991, September 27-30, London: invitational, 48 contestants
    Peter Morris (USA)

    1993, August 27-30, New York City: invitational, 64 contestants
    Mark Nyman (UK)

    1995, November 2-5, London: invitational, 64 contestants
    David Boys (Canada)

    1997, November 20-24, Washington: invitational, 80 contestants
    Joel Sherman (USA)

    3.3.2. How club and tournament Scrabble differs from the rules in
    the box

    NSA, ABSP and ASPA rules for competitive play are available at <http://www.math.utoronto.ca/~jjchew/scrabble/rules/nsa.html>, <http://www.math.utoronto.ca/~jjchew/scrabble/rules/apsp.html> and <http://www.ozemail.aust.com/~aspa/rules.htm>, respectively, and the
    rules that come in the box at

    Club and tournament Scrabble games are always two-player games.

    Both players must keep score. A bag is used for tiles (not the box
    lid). Chess clocks are used to time the game and each player is
    allowed a total of 25 minutes to make all of his or her moves in the
    game. If a player's time limit is exceeded, the game continues but
    the player is penalized 10 points for each minute over the time

    The validity of words is determined, in North America (and Israel,
    which uses NSA rules) by the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary,
    and in the UK by Official Scrabble Words. Most other places use
    both. (These references are described in section 3.3.3.)

    When a player challenges one or more words in his or her opponent's
    move, the clock is stopped while a third party (usually a club or
    tournament director) looks up the challenged words (which the
    challenger must specify) to determine whether the move is valid. If
    a challenged word is unacceptable, the play is removed and the player
    loses that turn. In North American play, the maker of an erroneous
    challenge loses a turn; in the UK, and most of Australia, they do

    There are no "house rules" that many social players use, such as free exchange of four of a kind, or claiming blanks off the board by
    substituting for them.

    Once there are fewer than seven tiles left in the bag, no exchanging
    of tiles is allowed. Passing is allowed at any time.

    At the end of a North American game, when one player uses all his or
    her tiles with none remaining in the bag, he or she receives double
    the value of the opponent's remaining tiles. In the UK, as specified
    in the box, that value is added to and subtracted from the players' respective scores. Both methods result in the same spread.

    Ties are not broken. (The North American box rules give the win to
    the player with the higher score before leftover tiles are
    considered; UK box rules don't mention this possibility.)

    If the two players take six consecutive turns without successfully
    placing any tiles on the board -- due to any combination of
    challenges, passes and exchanges -- the game ends, and both players
    lose the value of the tiles on their racks. A game in which neither
    player can make a play ends this way, although the players may simply
    agree that the game is over without going through all six turns. In
    the UK, exchanges do not count toward the six turns.

    The box rules do not mention whether one may make written notes
    during the game. In tournaments and clubs, players are allowed to
    write anything they wish on their score sheet. One use of written
    notes is to keep track of which tiles have been played, allowing one
    to know which tiles remain to be played. This is known as tile-
    tracking, and players may use preprinted score sheets that show the
    tile distribution as an aid to tile-tracking.

    3.3.3. The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary and Official
    Scrabble Words

    The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary ("OSPD"), published by Merriam-Webster, has been the basis of the official lexicon (word
    list) used for all North American tournament and club play since its
    first edition was published in 1978. It includes all words of eight
    or fewer letters, and simplifies the settling of Scrabble word
    arguments by specifically showing those words' inflections (plurals
    of nouns, conjugations of verbs, comparatives and superlatives of adjectives). For root words longer than eight letters,
    Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth edition, is used.
    (The Tenth came out in May 1993 and replaced the Ninth on May 1,
    1994.) The OSPD does include inflected forms of up to eight letters
    whose root words are longer.

    In 1990, a second edition of the OSPD came out in hardcover. A
    paperback of the OSPD2 came out in June 1993. Matchups ($1 + $1
    shipping, see section 12.6) and Cygnus Cybernetics (see section 12.1)
    each publish a complete list of the words added (and the handful
    removed) in OSPD2.

    A third edition of the OSPD came out in October 1995. See section below for a discussion of its contents. The new words in it
    are allowable in competitive play as of February 1, 1996. Only
    SPAZES and HERPESES were removed. A list of the additions is
    available by ftp at <ftp://ftp.cygcyb.com/Cygnus/ospd3.add>. OSPD2
    plus the new words in OSPD3 commonly is called OSPD2+. (OSPD3 is
    available in a large print edition.)

    Effective March 1998, TWL98 (see section, published by Merriam-Webster, although largely based upon OSPD, supplanted it.

    The OSPD was created because in the 1950s Selchow & Righter sold the
    right to put out Scrabble word lists to Jacob Orleans and Edmund
    Jacobson, authors of Scrabble Word Guide, a 1953 book based on the
    Funk and Wagnalls Dictionary. The official publication, Scrabble
    News, is still circumspect about publishing word lists, tending to
    print them in small chunks to conform to some idea of their remaining

    Parallel to the OSPD for North America, the UK has Official Scrabble
    Words ("OSW"), which lists all rules-acceptable words in the Chambers Dictionary ("Chambers") whose uninflected roots have nine or fewer
    letters, and words of nine or fewer letters which are inflections of
    longer words. The third edition of OSW, including words from the
    1993 edition of Chambers, came out in 1994. Chambers' 1998 edition
    was followed by OSW4 in September 1999. Challenges of longer words
    are looked up in Chambers.

    OSW is available outside the UK from

    James Thin Ltd
    53-59 South Bridge
    Edinburgh, EH1 1YS
    +44 131 556 6743
    +44 131 557 8149 fax


    Margaret & Sarah Browne
    Premier Books and Prints
    65 High Town Road
    Luton, LU2 0BW
    +44 1582 611991
    +44 1582 611911 fax

    who is authorized to sell Chambers titles to Scrabble players at some discount.

    For trademark reasons, the OSPD is not legally sold outside North
    America, and OSW is not sold in North America.

    Here are the relative sizes of the lexicons of TWL and OSW, showing
    that OSW is a richer lexicon at all lengths. "SOWPODS" is a common abbreviation for the union of the two, combining the letters of OSPD
    and OSW.

    length TWL OSW TWL+OSW
    2 96 109 121
    3 972 1126 1227
    4 3903 4769 5140
    5 8636 10697 11776
    6 15232 18435 20901
    7 23109 26539 31144
    8 28419 30732 37916
    9 24556 30456 36669

    total 2-8: 80367 92407 108225 Why are all those stupid/non-English/indecent words

    The OSPD was formed according to the rules of Scrabble, allowing all non-capitalized words without apostrophes or hyphens which are not
    designated as foreign. In a compromise between the number of words
    in a standard college dictionary (such as Funk & Wagnalls, in use
    before the OSPD) and an unabridged dictionary, the OSPD includes all
    words found in at least one of five major US college dictionaries,
    including a total of ten editions, which in the judgment of Merriam- Webster's lexicographers (contracted by the trademark holder to do
    this) meet the rules.

    The dictionaries used for OSPD2 are: Funk & Wagnalls Standard College Dictionary (1973 printing), American Heritage Dictionary of the
    English Language (First and Second College Editions), Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (Merriam-Webster; Eighth thru Tenth Editions), Webster's New World Dictionary (Second and Third College Editions),
    Random House College Dictionary (Original Edition and Revised

    To some extent, this succeeds at capturing the language, not as some
    set of Scrabble players would have it, but as it is -- according to professional lexicographers. Words removed from OSPD 1st ed. in 2nd ed.

    XANTHATE XANTHATES Current corrections to the OSPD 2nd ed.

    The cumulative corrections to the OSPD2, all (except for DIDDLEYS)
    corrected in the final printing, are:

    p16 ALIYAH: -YAHS (not -YAS)
    108 CLAUGHT: -ING (not -INT)
    213 FLANKEN: pl. FLANKEN
    272 HONDLE: -DLED, -DLING, -DLES (not -DLIED or -DLIES)
    273 insert HOOTY adj HOOTIER, HOOTIEST
    321 LEAP: add LEPT as third past
    359 insert MISENROLL v -ED, -ING, -S
    364 MOJO: add MOJOES
    424 PECORINO: -NOS, -NI
    436 PINYIN: delete PINYINS
    451 delete PREFROZE; insert PREFREEZE v -FROZE,
    -FROZEN, -FREEZING, -FREEZES to freeze beforehand
    481 delete REARMICE; insert REARMOUSE n pl. -MICE
    477 REFALL: add REFALLS
    488 delete REREMICE; insert REREMOUSE n pl. -MICE a bat
    (a flying mammal)
    537 SJAMBOK: definition should be "to flog"
    635 UNMESH: -ES (not -S)
    638 UPFRONT adj
    639 URB: pl. URBS
    643 delete VANIR
    675 insert XANTHATE n pl. -S a chemical salt

    Some of these "corrections" muddy the rule that all uninflected words
    in the OSPD have eight or fewer letters. 9-letter root words in OSPD

    Despite the plan for OSPD, that the only uninflected words it
    contains should be those of eight or fewer letters, a few 9-letter
    words have been inserted. These are:

    REREMOUSE Current corrections to the Franklin Electronic OSPD

    additions deletions
    --------- ---------
    UNDEREATE Expurgation of OSPD and OSPD 3rd ed.

    In October 1995, NSA issued an Expurgated Scrabble Players Dictionary ("ESPD"), calling it OSPD3, omitting approximately 167 words labeled
    as offensive to specific ethnic, racial, sexual and other groups,
    such as the words "dago", "jew" and "fatso". Hasbro, the NSA's
    parent, gave as major reasons for the change its desire to promote
    Scrabble in elementary schools using the OSPD and complaints by
    offended ethnic groups.

    Facing much opposition by competitive players who did not want their
    playing vocabulary restricted to those words considered safe for
    children, NSA has made the ESPD *not* the official reference for club
    and tournament play. (It says on the dust jacket, "for recreational
    and school play.") Instead, starting February 1, 1996, competitions
    used OSPD2 plus the words added in ESPD. (A few words which reappear
    in ESPD because of its sloppy basing on early printings of OSPD2 --
    before some corrections -- will not be added back, though.)

    It's anomalous to have the "Official Scrabble Players Dictionary" not
    be official. Successor to OSPD - TWL98

    As of March 1998, club and tournament play in North America use an unexpurgated lexicon, including all two- to nine-letter words and inflections, titled "Official Tournament and Club Word List" (but
    generally known as "TWL" or "TWL98"), sold only to members of NSA.
    Send $9.95 plus sales tax for AR, CA, MA, OH or WA, specifying
    membership number, to

    Merriam-Webster Inc.
    P.O. Box 281
    Springfield, MA 01102
    (800) 201-5029 x100
    (413) 734-3134 x100

    or $13.95 CAD in Canada, to

    Thomas Allen & Son, Ltd
    390 Steelcase Rd E
    Markham, ON L3R 1G2
    (905) 475-9126

    There were 12 deletions in the two- to eight-letter range, DA DEI DES

    See the Dictionary Committee page for explanations. <http:// www.math.utoronto.ca/~jjchew/scrabble/nsadc/twl98-changes.html>

    3.3.4. Tournament pairings

    Most North American tournaments are ranked according to win-loss
    record first, followed by the total of point margin in each game. A
    few tournaments score according to a predetermined number of credits
    for winning and for each ten points of margin. UK tournaments
    sometimes use sum-of-scores (the sum of the number of wins by one's opponents), and Australian tournaments use total game score, as the
    secondary factor.

    In small tournaments or ones in where the field is sufficiently
    divided, each player plays every other once. This is called a round

    In all the other tournament designs, whom one plays depends on where
    one stands in the tournament so far. In the first round, generally
    the players' pre-tournament ratings temporarily stand in for the
    tournament rank.

    The modified form of Swiss pairing used at North American Scrabble tournaments is best described by example. Suppose 64 players are at
    the tournament. In round one, the first player plays the 33rd, the
    second plays the 34th, etc., and the 32nd plays the 64th. In round
    two, the same top plays middle is used for the top and bottom halves
    of the tournament separately: 1 plays 17, 2 plays 18, down to 16
    plays 32, and 33 plays 49, down to 48 plays 64. This continues with
    groups shrinking by a factor of two at each round.

    Because determining the pairings between rounds can take so long in
    this method (computers are fast, but data entry can be slow), often
    the field is divided into four groups, instead of two. So with 64
    players, 1 17 33 49 would be grouped together, as would 2 18 34 50,
    and 16 32 48 64. These groups of four then each play a round robin.

    Note that this "speed-pairing" method provides the better players an advantage. Denote the four quartiles in order as A, B, C, D. Then
    the A player plays a B, C and D, while the D plays an A, B and C;
    this tends to reinforce the pre-tournament estimate of the players' strengths, and thus detracts from the aim of a tournament -- to
    recognize performance, not rank. A simple improvement has rarely
    been tried, to have each A player also matched against an A from
    another group, etc. This models the round robin in small, and seems inherently fairer. (If anyone has references to scholarly treatments
    of the fairness of tournament designs, I would be grateful to be
    supplied with them.)

    In the UK, most tournaments use a version of the Swiss method in
    which at each round players are paired within groups consisting of
    those with the same win-loss record.

    3.3.5. Tournament ratings

    Using a system based on the Elo system used in chess, North American tournament players get a rating in the range 0 to ~2150 which
    indirectly represents the probability of winning against other rated
    players. This probability depends only on the difference between the
    two players' ratings as follows:

    rating probability
    difference of winning
    400 .919
    300 .853
    200 .758
    100 .637
    50 .569
    0 .500
    -50 .431
    -100 .363
    -200 .242
    -300 .147
    -400 .081

    This represents the area under the standard bell-shaped curve where 200*sqrt(2) points are taken as one standard deviation. (The table
    shows some sample points on this curve, adequate for good
    approximations of rating calculations by interpolation, although
    actual calculations use the exact curve.)

    To keep current on a player's actual quality of play, the rating is
    updated after every tournament played. First, the number of games
    one is expected to win is calculated. Let's use as an example a two
    game tournament, in which player P begins with an 1800 rating, and
    plays opponents rated 1900 and 1725. P's rating is 100 below the
    1900 player's, so P is expected to win .363 fraction of a game; P's
    rating is 75 above the other player's, so P is expected to win .603
    of a game (halfway between .637 and .569).

    So in the two games, P is expected to win a total of .966 games.
    Let's say P won one game. That's .034 more than expected. P's
    rating goes up some constant multiple of this number. Well, actually
    it's not a constant, but depends on how many tournament games P has
    ever played and how high P's rating is.

    games played
    Rating < 50 >=50
    below 1800 30 20
    1800-1999 24 16
    2000 & up 15 10

    See also the explanation by John Chew. <http://www.math.utoronto.ca/~jjchew/scrabble/ratings/how.html>

    [continued in next message]

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