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The recent UK National Scrabble Championship was clinched with the word obeisant, which means obedient or showing respect. I offer my utmost and proper respect (props, in the parlance of the young) to the winner, Mikki Nicholson.

Whilst video games are great, immediate fun, board games allow interactions impossible via consoles or computers. In Scrabble, for instance, after scoring points, you can physically wag a finger in your opponent’s face, thus scoring another kind of point and heaping psychological pressure on the fool.

Note to fools - and especially to my girlfriend: the true Scrabble player does not refer to a dictionary for suggestions. If used at all, it is to check spellings. Even then, it’s proximity to the Scrabble board is, to my mind, almost xenobiotic. The Facebook version, I see, has a built-in electronic dictionary. It will even check words for you. What a pointless way to win points.

Scrabble is designed as a test of vocabulary and brainpower. Unfortunately it is also about being numerate. Which I’m not. Which means my wins are as rare as a zebu in a Glasgow garden. And why I invariably have my paramour’s finger wagging in my face or pinching my zygoma. Her dictionary-assisted victories, though, are pyrrhic. They mean zilch.

We must have standards. Games have rules. Women who break them should be sent to the zenana to think about what they have done.
Am I dogmatic? A sore loser? Look, Scrabble has been around since the late 1930’s. It has been finessed over that time, but is still essentially a simple game of letters and numbers played on a big bit of cardboard with a wee bag of tiles. It is genius. Elegant, frustrating genius. The least you could do is give the game and it’s rules your obeisance.
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