When asked if he was confident of winning the best of five finals in three rounds, Richards replied, “Yes.”
A total of 111 players took part in this year’s tournament, many of which being either former or current national champions.
Richards overcame stiff international competition over the five-day tournament period to take home the illustrious Scrabble® Champions Tournament trophy and the $10,000 first prize.
Hailing from Christchurch, Richards is the only professional Scrabble® player and is known to be an avid cyclist.
Richards, clinched the title by playing AUROREAN (relating to the dawn) for 98 points and also played such words as BEJEWEL (to adorn with jewels) for 89 points, RATOONER (a plant that sprouts from the previous year’s root) for 73 points and GREX (a group of plants with a common hybrid ancestor) for 60 points in the final game.
Komol Panyasophonlert from Thailand gallantly secured a 2nd place finish with Sammy Okosagah and Dave Wiegand, both representing the United States finishing in 3rd place. Panyasophonlert took home a $5,000 prize and Okosagah and Wiegand each received $2,500.
Tournament Director John Chew hailed the new champion as the best player ever to have played the game.
He said: “Richards has proved himself over the past few years to be one of the very best game players, therefore it’s only fitting that he should be the first person to win the Scrabble® Champions Tournament.”
Formerly known as the World Scrabble® Championships, The Scrabble® Champions Tournament is an exciting new annual tournament that brings together the best Scrabble® players. The event celebrates top ranked players and encourages up-and-coming Scrabble® game enthusiasts to take part in the game. The tournament is managed by leading event management consultancy, Mind Sports (International) Ltd. through a partnership with Mattel, Inc.