Navigation Bar NSA Home NSA Word Gear catalog School SCRABBLE(R) NSA Membership

[WSC 2001 logo]

Back to 2001 WSC

2001 WSC Format

The tournament will consist of a preliminary event for the first 24 rounds. The top two players at that time will play a best-of-five-game match to determine the winner and runner-up. The player in 1st place after 24 rounds will have the first play for the 5th game of their match, if it's necessary.

The first 24 rounds will be paired as follows:

  1. The players will be put into order, based upon a ranking that includes examining how players have fared at previous World Championships, and how well they've played in their respective nations. Using this ranking, the whole group will be divided into groups of 4 players (with possibly one group of 6) for the 1st two rounds. For example, if there are 100 players, #1, 26, 51 and 76 will be in the same group. For Round 1, #1-51 and #26-76 will play. For Round #2, #1-26 and #51-76 will play, and so on for the rest of the contestants.

  2. Rounds 3-20 will be paired using Portland Swiss pairings, with the stipulation that there will be no repeat pairings until Round #19. One unique feature of Portland Swiss includes pairing on the basis of results not from the last round played, but from the 2nd-to-last-round played. In addition, Round #3 pairs 1-19, 2-20, 3-21, ...; Round #4 pairs 1-18, 2-19, 3-20, ...; ... and Round #18 pairs 1-4, 2-5, 3-6, .... For Round #19, repeats are allowed, and also 1-3, 2-4, 5-7, .... Round 20 is straight King-of-the-Hill (based upon round 18 results), with repeats allowed, but not three-peats.

  3. Rounds 21-24 will be straight K-H based upon the last round results. However, since placing in the top 2 is essentially equivalent, we've eliminated straight King-of-the-Hill for the final 4 rounds for the top 4 players only. Instead, the top 4 players will play 1-3, 2-4 for each of these last four rounds, based upon the last round's results, with the following exceptions: If pairing 1-4, 2-3 more evenly distributes repeat pairings, it shall be used instead of 1-3, 2-4. However, if pairing 1-4, 2-3 locks #1 into the top two, regardless of the outcome of the game, then the 1-3, 2-4 pairing will be used, regardless of the number of repeats that occur.

  4. The Gibson Rule shall be used should one or both of the top 2 spots be decided before the last round. This is how it works: If, after 20 rounds, one player is assured of one of the top 2 spots, then for the remainder of the 24 rounds that player shall be paired with the highest-placed contestant who is NOT a compatriot and NOT in contention for a top-15 prize, which shall be determined by games won and not spread. In that case, players #2 and #3 will play each other, and the remainder of the pairings will be the usual King-of-the-Hill. If at some point another player is also guaranteed to be in the top two, then both of the finalists will play the remainder of the 24-game tourney against each other.

  5. For the bottom 4 (or 6) players, the pairings for the final 4 rounds will be adjusted to more evenly distribute the number of repeats.

HASBRO is the owner of the registered SCRABBLE® trademark in the United States and Canada. © 2011 HASBRO. All rights reserved. "SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game" is the proper way to refer to this unique group of word games and related properties marketed by HASBRO. "SCRABBLE®" is not a generic term. To use it as such is not only misleading but also does injustice to the company responsible for the trademark's longtime popularity. All we ask is that when you mean SCRABBLE® Brand Crossword Game, you say so. 

The SCRABBLE® trademark is owned by J.W. Spear and Sons, PLC, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc. outside of the United States and Canada. 

For more information about SCRABBLE® or the NSA, or to comment on or correct the contents of this page, please e-mail: 
For information about SCRABBLE® tournaments please visit our partner organization, NASPA. To report technical difficulties in reading this page,  please contact webmaster John Chew at: