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Accused Scrabble cheater kicked out of national championship

Organizers said the Scrabble cheater was caught hiding blank letter tiles at the national championship.
Scrabble 2012 08 15Enlarge
World Champion Scrabble player Panupol Sujjayakorn (L) plays John Lawrence from Texas in the Hamleys toy store in London. (JOHN D MCHUGH/AFP/Getty Images)

C-h-e-a-t-i-n-g. It's worth 12 points in Scrabble but cost one player a lot more than that at the national championship.

One of the top Scrabble players in the country was kicked out in Round 24 of the 28-round tournament in Florida on Tuesday after organizers said he was caught hiding blank letter tiles, The Associated Press reported.

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The cheating was caught by a player at another table who saw the teenager concealing two of the valuable blank tiles by dropping them on the floor.

While cheating isn't unheard of at smaller Scrabble competitions, it is the first such incident reported in the 30-year history of the national tournament, John D. Williams Jr., executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association, told CNN.

"It does happen no matter what. People will try to do this," he told the AP. "It's the first time it's happened in a venue this big though. It's unfortunate. The Scrabble world is abuzz. The Internet is abuzz."

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The player admitted to the cheating and left the tournament. A formal hearing is planned to determine punishment, ABC News reported.

More than 350 players are competing for a $10,000 prize and bragging rights as the nation's best Scrabble player.

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