The UK Scrabble scene has been rocked by the news that three times winner Charles Drinkwater has been cheating.
"We couldn't believe it," said contest organiser and Official Scrabble Wordlist compiler, Harry Wriggleworth. "Charles has been a consistent Scrabble performer for about ten years now. He came to prominence in 2006 when he won his first UK Scrabble tournament, and went on to face the Americans in the World Series. Although he finished a disappointing fifteenth in that, hopes were raised for his future, and he won the UK title in 2009 and 2010."
It has transpired that Drinkwater has been using a wireless earpiece and a friend with an iPhone app that solves Scrabble like problems. There was no suspicion in 2009 when Drinkwater played out with 'goldfish' on two triple word scores netting him over a hundred points, however, when he spotted 'midsized' to play out in the 2010 final, when it had foxed all of the commentators including veteran Scrabble player Keith Winsome, people got suspicious.
"We analysed his plays," said Wriggleworth. "A normal championship player will produce around five seven plus letter plays. Charles came in with an average of eight. As the theoretical maximum was previously capped at seven, this looked suspicious. He also appears to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the three letter words, something no other Scrabble Grandmaster has mastered. Two letters, yes, but not the three letter words. In addition, when we compared his moves with a computer's best moves possible, he matched one hundred percent."
His play was monitored at the start of the 2011 championship in January, and it was quickly spotted that the same person was monitoring all his games whilst spending a lot of time on the phone.
"We apprehended this plant," said Wriggleworth. "Initially, they claimed that they were merely putting in the moves on the Scrabble app after Charles had made his plays, to see if he'd made the best play possible. However, after torturing them for three hours with Andrew Lloyd Webber plays, he confessed. This is a big issue. Scrabble is a big money game. The prize money for winning the UK championship alone is three thousand pound, plus Charles has been the Face of Countdown for the past two years. Such a waste of talent."
Charles Drinkwater was unavailable for comment.