Your First Tournament

Your first tournament. It’s kind of like your first day at school. Nervousness runs through your veins. And yet, at the end of the tournament, you can’t wait to come back: to experience the joy of playing Scrabble with others and to prove your Scrabble acumen. Nothing is quite like tournament Scrabble.

Tournament locations can be found at cross-tables and can be found in nearly every urban center across the US and Canada. To join a tournament, search for a location in your area and then notify a director a few weeks in advance that you would like to play through their contact information. The cost of playing a tournament ranges on length from $20 to over $100 with the vast majority of money being returned as prize money.

There are things you can do to prepare for your first tournament to make it a more enjoyable, comfortable, and successful experience. Here are Breaking the Game’s tips for your first tournament:

1. Visit a club. Clubs are informal weekly gatherings at minimal (if any) cost that are more relaxed versions of tournament. Here you can meet other players in your area, acquire experience using a clock and scoresheet, as well as experience the level of competition you’ll be up against.

2. Learn the basics. While anyone can play in tournaments, tournaments are a lot more fun if you know the two and three letter words. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at our (LINK) Ten Tips to improve at Scrabble.

3. Remember you’re on the clock. While you want to search for better plays, you need to conserve time to find plays on future turns. Search for words and plays on your opponent’s time.

4. Talk to your fellow competitors. Most Scrabble players are friendly and remember their first tournament experience fondly, and are eager to meet and help new Scrabble players. Whether it’s just talking between games, sharing a meal, or lodging at a hotel or house, getting to know other players is possibly the most rewarding part of Scrabble.

5. Get some equipment. Although it’s not necessary for your first tournament (others will have equipment) having your own, customized equipment will make tournaments a more stress-free experience and shows others your enthusiasm for Scrabble (as well as your own personal style).

6. Most importantly, have fun and don’t be afraid. Relax! Err on the side of playing words that you are unsure of, and challenging words you don’t know. Don’t be intimidated: your opponents are just as nervous as you. If you take chances and stay true to yourself, your first tournament should be a positive experience. Who knows, you could even take home the title and the money!