The Jerusalem Scrabble Club is a talkative, friendly place for players of all skill levels. We do, however, play competitive Scrabble and this requires a number of rules. Our rules are consistent with those in Scrabble clubs worldwide, and the most important ones are described below. Jurisdiction of disputes rests with the Club director.

The basic rules for the Scrabble game are printed on the inside lid of game boxes. They may also be found on various websites such as this one.

The NASPA Official Tournament Rules: Player Edition is the complete reference for competitive play. These are the most important of these rules; we have omitted some rather obvious rules, such as those which define cheating.

Lexicon: The Club is aligned with the North American Scrabble community and uses the current version of the US Official Club and Tournament Word List (OWL3, also known as OCTWL2014) as its lexicon as its lexicon. OWL3 may be downloaded from this site (we have not checked this).

Number of players: Two players only per game. (A single player may simultaneously individual games against more than one opponent, at the director’s discretion.)

Tiles:  It is advised that you verify that all one hundred (100) are in the bag before beginning your game – especially if you are using Club tiles.

Scoring:  Both players record their and their opponent’s scores.

Timing:  Each player has 25 minutes in which to play his or her game, timed by a dual-timer Scrabble clock; 10 points are deducted for each minute (or part of a minute) overtime.

Stopping the clock:  The clock’s countdown for both players is stopped for (1) word challenges; (2) sorting out scoring discrepancies; (3) correcting a situation in which tiles are overdrawn; and (4) emergencies agreed between the players.

Completing a turn:  Your turn is completed when you announce your score for that turn and hit the button on your side of clock (in that order!).

Challenging a play:  AFTER your opponent has hit the clock (signifying the end of his/her turn) and BEFORE your opponent draws new tiles, you may either:

  1. Announce “Challenge!” and specify the word(s) you wish to challenge. This may be one, more or all of the words formed on your opponent’s just-completed turn.
  2. Announce “Hold!” to stop your opponent drawing fresh tiles, while you consider whether to challenge the play just made. This must be followed (within a reasonable time) by either:
    • An actual challenge
    • Releasing the hold, by saying “I accept the play.”

Your opponent must allow you at least five seconds to do either #1 or #2.
“Fast-bagging” (also known as “flash-drawing”) is against the rules of tournament play!

In case of an actual challenge (but not a hold): The clock is stopped and the word/s is/are checked either in an electronic dictionary by both players, or (by a third person) in a print dictionary. This procedure is subject to specific rules; refer to Fair adjudication of challenges for essential information!

We use the double challenge rule:

  • If the play is not acceptable, it is removed from the board and the player scores zero. It is still the challenger’s turn.
  • If the play is acceptable, the challenger forfeits his/her turn, scoring zero. Play passes to his/her opponent.

Overdrawing tiles:  It is discovered (by anyone) that Player A has drawn “X” too many tiles. The clock is stopped and the following procedure is followed:

  1. Player A’s opponent (Player B) randomly selects a certain number of tiles from Player A’s holdings, as determined by the circumstances of the overdraw:
    • If Player A should have drawn a single tile, and has not combined any of the new tiles with his/her old tiles, Player B selects only the (X+1) new tiles.
    • If Player A should have drawn two or more tiles, and has not combined any of the new tiles with his/her old tiles, Player B selects (X+2) of the new tiles.
    • If Player A has combined at least one new tile with his/her old tiles, Player B selects (X+2) tiles from the combined group of all tiles. Player B may combine and place all tiles face down on the table before this selection is made.
  2. Player B turns these randomly selected tiles face-up, chooses X of them, and returns them to the tile bag.
  3. No turns are forfeited; the clock is restarted as consistent with resuming play.

Adjustment to the final scores:  If either player “plays out”, i.e., plays all of his/her tiles when the bag is empty, that player receives a bonus of two times the combined value of the tiles remaining on his/her opponent’s rack. If neither player is able to play out, each player’s score is reduced by the combined value (not doubled) of his/her remaining tiles.