Slate’s Stefan Fatsis has the rundown on what the article bills as “the highest Scrabble score ever,” but which really appears to be just the highest score in North America.
Earlier this month in a game between two lower-level players, Michael Cresta managed to score 830 points, besting the previous North American record of 770 points. The gist of the article is that it is the fact that both Cresta and his opponent, Wayne Yorra, were middling Scrabble players, they missed a lot of opportunities that better players would have missed.
That, in an odd twist, led to the board positions to open up so Cresta could score 830 in a mad gamble to play quixotry,
That put another letter, the R, in a triple-triple lane. Cresta, who held I, O, Q, U, and X, recognized he was three-quarters of the way toward a really huge triple-triple: QUIXOTRY. (He had studied words starting with Q.) He exchanged two letters from his rack in hopes of drawing the needed T and Y. From Cresta’s vantage, 57 tiles were unseen, including three T’s and one Y. The probability of pulling one of each was 532 to 1.
Cresta beat the odds. And when Yorra didn’t block the open Râ€”because he played his fourth bingo, UNDERDOG, for 72 pointsâ€”Cresta laid down his 365-point QUIXOTRY (a quixotic action or thought).
But Fatsis doesn’t point out that 830 is not the highest score ever. That mark belongs to the UK’s Philip Appleby who scored 1,049 points in a competition game in 1989.
And, for those who still care, apparently the highest possible word score would obliterate both records — playing benzoxycamphors on the edge of the Scrabble board will yield 1,970 points (here is a mock-up board that shows how this might be done, though this site claims it would be worth only 1,830 points).
830! Stefan Fatsis, Slate, October 26, 2006.
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