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Secrets Of A Scrabble Champ

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Secrets Of A Scrabble Champ

Games & Humor

Secrets Of A Scrabble Champ

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Laurie Cohen may put herself in the record books this week by winning a Scrabble game. Ms. Cohen won the game at a Scrabble tournament in Phoenix with 725 points. Her opponent had 402 points, giving them 1,127 points combined. That could put Laurie Cohen into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Ms. Cohen joins us now from member station KJZZ in Tempe, Arizona. Thanks very much for being with us.

Ms. LAURIE COHEN: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: And was there one particular word that did the trick for you?

Ms. COHEN: There was. I scored 230 points for one word; the word was jobnames, and it was scored on two triple-letter scores, so it was nine times the value, and I got 230 points for it.

SIMON: I don't know that word. Could you spell it for us?

Ms. COHEN: J-O-B-N-A-M-E-S. It's a word that was just recently added to our lexicon about two years ago and it's a computer term for a job, a computer job.

SIMON: Is this a word you learned just to fling it at somebody in a Scrabble game?

Ms. COHEN: Yes, it's probably a word that I wouldn't have known otherwise. But a funny story: Previously, I played the word filename in another game, and we were going through the words that, computer words that end in names, and that one came up. And then in the tournament the next day, I was able to play it, so that was fortuitous.

SIMON: Well, fortuitous would also score pretty highly, wouldn't it?

Ms. COHEN: Sure it would. That's about nine or 10 letters, though, so you'd have to play it through a smaller word.

SIMON: Yeah. Well, your opponent, 402 points. That's not bad either, is it?

Ms. COHEN: No. That's actually, you know, a very good score in a Scrabble game. Usually, most experts will average from 400 to 420, 430 in a normal game. So that's a very high score.

SIMON: So you play a lot of Scrabble tournaments?

Ms. COHEN: I play probably six to seven tournaments a year. But I run a Scrabble club locally; we play every week there.

SIMON: What do you like about the game?

Ms. COHEN: It's just a great game. You know, every game is different, and every game requires you to make a decision. You know, take all the information that you have in front in you, all your word knowledge, what's on the board, what you know about what your opponent may have, and make the best decision possible.

And there's so much to learn as you learn more about the game. The words, the strategy - it's a very interesting game and it's, you know, very challenging.

SIMON: Did you win the tournament, though, Ms. Cohen?

Ms. COHEN: No, I did not. I didn't do very well in the tournament. I think out of 20 people, I came in maybe 13th. So I was having kind of a bad run, but this game kind of made it a little bit better.

SIMON: Well, Ms. Cohen, awfully nice talking to you. May all your Scrabble scores be high.

Ms. COHEN: Well, thank you. I appreciate that.

SIMON: Laurie Cohen, joining us from Tempe, Arizona.

This is NPR News; wonder how many points that would get?

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