July 2024

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Nigel Richards won the English language world Scrabble crown three times, he managed to become the world champion in French Scrabble. He can only say bonjour, meaning hello, with an accent and has to give the competition’s scores in French. But other than that, he cannot speak a word. He needed a translator to thank the audience.

How Did He Pull This Off?

Richards has a photographic memory, so he simply took a French dictionary and grammar book and studied it. In nine weeks, he learned all of the hundreds of conjugations of verbs. The language barrier did not hold him back. He learned very difficult and obscure words. He won with the words miauler, an intransitive verb that means to miaow, anatrope, an adjective that means anatropous (an oval vegetable turned inside out), and finally enouât, third person of the imperfect subjunctive of the verb énouer, which means to untie knots. Plus, he even contested and corrected a word used by his opponent; they used ozonides, which was meant to be a derivative of ozone, when they should have used the word ozonures.  “We were all incredibly surprised,” said the tournament spokesman Antoine Rousseau. “We call him the Chris Froome of Scrabble… at one point we did think he might have had a microphone hidden in his beard.”  He has been described as a Scrabble war machine and a word freak.  He does not see words like the rest of us do; he thinks of words as combinations of letters.

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{adinserter CNP5}

An International Champion

Richards is a trained engineer. Before he was a world champion, he worked a few odd jobs – one was fixing pumps for a water company repairing pumps and another was for monitoring a closed circuit TV for a security company in Malaysia. He first played Scrabble at a relatively late age. When he was 28 years old and living in New Zealand, he played the board game with his mother. Richards became a competitive player 18 years ago and has won more than $200,000 in prize money. He won the largest Scrabble competition in the world twelve times. Despite being an acclaimed Scrabble player, he does not give interviews nor does he make media appearances. When he does give an interview, he does not speak much. He is a rather shy man who does not like to go out to drink or smoke. He does not even have a TV nor a radio at home. He enjoys reading and going to libraries.

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SEE ALSO: A Nigerian Genius Breaks A 50-Year Old Academic Record In Japan.