And finally… bagged

A national UK Scrabble champion has been banned from the game and branded a cheater after admitting that he does not always hold the tile bag at shoulder height when drawing tiles in competitive games.

Allan Simmons, who was crowned the UK’s National Scrabble Champion in 2008, now carries a black mark next to his name.

The Scrabble rulebook states that players “must hold the tile bag as near as possible to shoulder level, and so that no tiles … can be seen”.

Simmons was reported to the Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP) after a complaint was registered by Lewis Mackay, 32, following their match at the British Masters in Gloucestershire in June.

The Association subsequently found Simmons guilty of “actions that led to a suspicion of cheating” by keeping his bag lower than stipulated.

Simmons himself is a founding member of the ABSP and served as its president from 1988-99 and chairman from 2002-2006.

He denies that he has cheated, but says he will not appeal the decision as he does not want to “distract” the association he helped to found. He now plans to retire from competitive play, The Herald reports.

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