School Scrabble Tournaments: Bigger Than You Might Think

children playing in school scrabble tournament

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Scrabble is a great game to play for fun. But, it can also be used for more than recreation. One example is its role in schools. In the world of academia, school Scrabble clubs and tournaments are important extracurricular activities. They provide competition for students while also enriching their minds. Better still, they’ve caught the attention of notable organizations too! The future of Scrabble as a valuable and popular school program looks bright.

Official Support from Game Owners

Playing Scrabble has always had the desirable side effect of being educational. That’s why it comes as no surprise that students everywhere play the game at school. Scrabble has been popular at schools for decades, actually. To help encourage and grow interest in the game, the companies that own the rights to Scrabble continue to find ways to support it. 

One of the most important things they have done is develop rules and products that any school Scrabble group can use. They have also sponsored large tournaments and events.

The Hasbro Standard for School Scrabble

Hasbro holds the trademark for Scrabble in the United States and Canada. To help student players and school groups, Hasbro created a comprehensive guide. These are the official rules for Hasbro’s School Scrabble initiative, which Hasbro started in 1992. By referencing these rules, you can learn everything you need to know about Scrabble clubs for students. 

Hasbro makes the whole process clear by organizing the guide into three main points:

  • What School Scrabble is: Hasbro offers a brief history of what the program is and what their goals are for it.

  • How to start your own School Scrabble club: These are important details about where to host events, the equipment needed and how to spread awareness.

  • How to manage your club: This is a summary of the information you need to explain to your players. It includes how to use the equipment and an explanation of Scrabble’s gameplay rules, including which Scrabble dictionary to use.

Mattel Draws Crowds With Large Competitions

Outside of Canada and the United States, Mattel controls the Scrabble trademark. For the past few years, Mattel has sponsored and organized several Scrabble tournaments in Southeast Asia. They supply game boards, promote the events and offer prizes for the top players.

Thanks to their efforts, participation in the school tournaments has steadily increased. In 2019, a Scrabble tournament they held in Malaysia had 140 participants. In 2021, the number of players for the same tournament increased to 388.

Additional Support from Tournament Organizers

Given Hasbro and Mattel’s history of supporting Scrabble groups in schools, it’s understandable that private Scrabble organizations around the world want to do the same. The interest in connecting with younger people to teach them about Scrabble is always high.

Many groups do this kind of work for students and schools. Region-specific groups, such as the Australian Scrabble Players Association (ASPA) and School SCRABBLE Canada, offer much-needed structure. There are also a few select groups that have been lucky enough to work directly with Hasbro or Mattel to reach a large number of students.

NASPA Provides Rules and Structure

NASPA, the organization that moderates all Scrabble tournaments in North America, has supported Scrabble play in schools since 2003. At the time, they were known as the National Scrabble Association. They, along with Hasbro, developed the School Scrabble Program

This program was similar to Hasbro’s other efforts. The difference is that the School Scrabble Program was inspired by NASPA’s tournament rules. From the start of the program until 2016, NASPA fully supported the events and players in multiple ways. For example, NASPA supplied rules and word lists. It also maintained a ratings system.

Scrabble Clubs in Southeast Asia Team Up

Mattel hosts Scrabble tournaments in Southeast Asia, but they do so with help from local communities. Many countries in the region have their own, independent groups that organize the tournaments. Notable examples include the Malaysian Scrabble Association, the United Scrabble Association of the Philippines and the Indonesian Scrabble Federation

These groups help in ways similar to what NASPA does for North American student Scrabble tournaments. They help moderate events, teach children how to play and provide logistical support. More experienced players can help younger players find words and learn how to make words with letters on their game racks.

The biggest school tournament these groups are partnering with Mattel to run is the Scrabble Tournament for Beginners Southeast Asia. This tournament spans several months and is divided into several stages. The 2021 tournament began in May, with the finals scheduled for October. Mattel is offering over $15,000 in prizes to the top students. 

Find Your Scrabble Home

Scrabble is at the center of many social groups and clubs beyond the ones found in schools. People of all ages love Scrabble. That’s why so many people are constantly seeking places to find fellow players. Follow this helpful guide to finding a Scrabble club in your area to make your search easier. You’ll be enjoying a fun game of Scrabble and making new friends in no time.

Zac Pricener has been a content creator for the past eight years. He’s a bit of an all-around nerd, and he has a bad habit of working movie and TV show references into conversations whenever possible.


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