November 18, 2017

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He Wrote The Book(s) On Scrabble. But Has He Been Playing By The Letter Of The Law?

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Allan Simmons, then 51, competes in the final of the U.K.’s National Scrabble Championships in London in 2008, which he would go on to win. Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

He has won the Scrabble national championship in the United Kingdom. Self-described as “the world’s only scrabble consultant,” he has penned or co-written a number of books on the game, including several authoritative reference works. And despite decades of high-level play, he showed few signs of slowing — maintaining a No. 5 ranking worldwide, according to one rating system.

Now, though, Allan Simmons has been banned for three years by the very association he helped found. What happened?

Simply put, the Association of British Scrabble Players found the Scottish Scrabble titan guilty of “actions that led to a suspicion of cheating,” as quoted by the Times of London.

Put a little less simply … well, we’ll leave that explanation to the Times:

“At the heart of the controversy are the rules on selecting tiles from cloth bags used in timed matches. Before picking them, players must show

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