Reader's Digest

The North American Scrabble Championsh­ip

JOEL SHERMAN, age 57, New York, New York


Do you have a favorite letter?

The C. A lot of starting-out players are afraid of C’s because they don’t make any two-letter words. But I did a survey of the dictionary and found that the C starts more words than any other letter in the alphabet except S.

It also combines well with H, L, R, and S and ends a lot of adjectival words. So it’s massively powerful.

Wait, you did a “survey” of the dictionary? How many words do you know?

Probably around 120,000.

Were you always good at Scrabble?

Well, I was beating my mother regularly when I was eight.

Your older brother, Larry Sherman, also plays. Are you the Serena and Venus Williams of the Scrabble world?

He’s not as close to me as Venus is to Serena. We’re more like the Mcenroe brothers. We’re usually in the same division, but he’s on the lower end.

When did you realize you were going to win the championsh­ip?

Not until the very last draw. I had four tiles left, and I took the last three tiles out of the bag: two blanks and an S. It allowed me to bingo out—play all seven tiles and earn a 50-point bonus.

What was your winning word?

Strings! The North American Scrabble Championsh­ip will take place this July in Reno, Nevada.

 ?? illustrati­on by John Cuneo ??
illustrati­on by John Cuneo

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