Art And Culture

French Scrabble Champ Knows no French

French Scrabble Champ Knows no FrenchFrench Scrabble Champ Knows no French

A Kiwi has won the French-language Scrabble world championship, reportedly without speaking a word of French.

The BBC reported that Nigel Richards, originally from Christchurch, defeated a rival from French-speaking Gabon in the final in Louvain, Belgium.

He had only started studying the French dictionary about eight weeks ago, said a close friend of Richards, Liz Fagerlund.

“He doesn’t speak French at all, he just learnt the words. He won’t know what they mean, wouldn’t be able to carry out a conversation in French I wouldn’t think.”

Richards, now in his late forties, is a previous English scrabble champion. He is based in Malaysia. He has won five US national titles and the World Scrabble Championship three times.

Fagerlund, former president of the New Zealand Scrabble Association, said Richards also won the King’s Cup - a very popular tournament in Thailand - for the 11th time just a few weeks ago.

In 2008, Richards won the World Players Scrabble Championship in a three-day tournament in Dallas.

President of the Christchurch Scrabble club Shirley Hol said the French win was “quite remarkable”.