FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005 file photo, competitors take part in the World Scrabble Championships at an hotel in north west London. The Association of British Scrabble players has banned one of its star players, Allan Simmons, for three years after an independent investigation concluded that he had broken the rules of the popular game, it was reported on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

UK Scrabble group bans star player for breaking tile rule

  • Nov. 13, 2017 2:13 p.m.

LONDON — The Association of British Scrabble players banned one of its star players for three years after an independent investigation concluded that he had broken rules in the popular word game.

Allan Simmons has authored books on Scrabble and contributed game coverage to The Times newspaper, which first reported his ban from competition. The London-based newspaper says it will no longer use him as a contributor.

A committee member for the association, Elie Dangoor, said Monday that three independent witnesses saw Simmons put a hand with freshly drawn letter tiles back into a bag to draw more tiles — contrary to the rules.

“The natural conclusion had been that he had been cheating,” Dangoor told The Associated Press.

There were four instances dating back to 2016, and the committee conducted an independent probe which was concluded a few weeks ago. The matter came to larger public attention only recently, and was discussed during the World English Language Scrabble Players Association event that ended Sunday.

Simmons told the Times he denied cheating, and that he had suffered the same “untimely bad luck from the bag as anyone else.”

“You have to remember that at the top level, games can be quite intense and there’s a lot going through one’s mind let alone remembering to religiously ensure tile drawing rules are followed meticulously,” Simmons was quoted by the Times as saying. “From the outset I have said that no one is beyond suspicion and complied fully with the investigative process.”

Dangoor said that Simmons had been “a huge part of the game’s development” and that there was “great disappointment,” as he is a liked and respected part of the Scrabble community. But action had to be taken.

“There’s no one person bigger than the game,” Dangoor said.

Efforts to reach Simmons were unsuccessful. The Times quoted him as saying he planned to concentrate on “more important things in life.”

Just Posted

WATCH: Property taxes in Red Deer will go up 2.02 per cent in 2018

City council passes a “tough” budget that maintains most service levels

Red Deer councillor balks at city getting stuck with more funding responsibilities

Volunteer Central seeks municipal funding after being cut off by government

Olds chicken barn burns to the ground, no livestock harmed

More than 100,000 chickens were saved as fire crews prevent the blaze from spreading

Bear video meant to promote conservation: zoo owner

Discovery Wildlife Park says it will look at other ways to promote its conservation message

Red Deer’s Soundhouse closing its doors on Record Store Day

The owners of The Soundhouse want to shut down their store on… Continue reading

NorAm Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships begin in Red Deer

The biggest cross-country skiing competition in Red Deer’s history is underway. Nearly… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month