North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) Scrabble Club

North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA): Quick History

The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is a community of tournament, club and avid home players of the Scrabble board game. Players with all skill levels can play and improve their abilities.  The most important part is the players share a passion for playing Scrabble.

NASPA was formed in 2009 to coordinate competitive Scrabble tournaments and clubs in North America effective July 1, 2009.  The National Scrabble Association (NSA) used to head these.

Outwardly, the nature of the adult competitive Scrabble scene in North America changed very little with NASPA's replacing the National Scrabble Association (NSA) in 2009. The biggest differnces have been disciplinary matter changes.

The current NASPA is financed differently the former NSA was. Before, Scrabble game maker Hasbro provided a substantial annual budget. NASPA, however, relies on annual player membership, club affiliation, and tournament participation fees.

Per Wikipedia, NASPA had more than 3,000 members by the end of October 2010.

National Scrabble Championship (NSC)

To play in the NSC, you must (1) be a NASPA member, and (2) have played in an officially sanctioned Scrabble tournament to earn an official tournament rating. If you live in the United States or Canada, that rating should be a NASPA rating; if you live elsewhere it must be another comparable national rating.

Competitive Scrabble Play

If you have been playing Scrabble for fun and for a while, perhaps you meet with friends or some other group of people regularly to play Scrabble. Maybe you spend a lot of time playing online. So you think you are getting to be pretty good.

It might be time to look into playing at a local club or an actual tournament. You can feel that competitive drive.

Scrabble Competitive Play: Some Tips from NASPA

  1. Go to a Scrabble Club
  2. Go to a Scrabble Tournament

Go to a Scrabble Club

The chances are good that you live near one of the NASPA Scrabble clubs. Find the club director’s contact information and call him or her, or you can send an email to find when they get-together.

Because Scrabble clubs thrive on growing their member base, almost all clubs are extremely welcoming to newcomers and help them transition toward competitive play.

There are big differences.

Go to a Scrabble Tournament

Some clubs run a monthly one-day tournament on a Saturday or a Sunday, most clubs run a larger multi-day tournaments one or two times per year. There are very large events like the annual National Scrabble Championship (NSC); hundreds of players compete for tens of thousands of dollars in prizes.

All NASPA open sanctioned tournaments are listed in their tournament calendar. If you do not see a sanctioned tournament listed that is near you, ask your club director. Some events are listed a year ahead of time, but may others might not advertise until just a few weeks before the event.

Every club has its own tournament entry fee. Also, depending upon the individual club, different divisions might have different entry fees.

According to their tournament rating, players may compete in separate divisions.

To be able to participate in a tournament, you must have a paid NASPA membership. You should sign up online, and you can pay at that same time using a credit card, or you can pay the director directly once you come to the tournament.

Scrabble Tournaments: Two Things You'll Notice

  1. One-on-one Play
  2. Timed Games

One-on-one Play

All competitive play consists of two-player games. When more players are involved in a casual game, there is an advantage to having your turn after a weaker player.

Timed Games

Some people naturally play quickly, but most people are more methodical. A few people are extremely slow. Some game positions require very little thinking, but others that experts can debate for days. To keep everyone to a schedule, club and tournament use timers, typically limiting each player’s total thinking time to 25 minutes per game. Typically a game lasts about 12–15 plays for each player. A player could safely spend a minute or two on each play. Instead, he or she might choose to take ten minutes on one move and then a minute on the remaining moves.

When you go overtime during tournaments, you lose penalty points, but, unlike chess, you do not automatically lose the game.

For more information about Scrabble Tournaments, you can visit

Official Scrabble Players Dictionary

The Official Tournament and Club Word List (OTCWL) is the word bible for Scrabble tournaments. The true, unabridged Official Scrabble Players Dictionary uses words from this list. The OTCWL was compiled from several college-level dictionaries, and is more inclusive than any one of the source works, but is also more restrictive than a large unabridged dictionary. The Official Scrabble Dictionary is meant to standardize allowable word usage between the Scrabble Clubs throughout the NASPA. This helps prepare everyone equally for larger tournaments.

The NSA still exists, but its focus shifted to developing new markets for Scrabble, like the School Scrabble program.

For more information, you can visit the official NASPA Website at