List of important/notable Scrabble® tournaments

I’ve been trying to compile a list of “important/notable” Scrabble® tournaments for a while.  Instead of only playing in local tournaments, I want to start playing in some of the larger and/or more “important” tournaments held in North America and then try and play in them over time.  Jason Ubeika was nice enough to provide a great deal of information regarding tournaments.

The “Major” Tournaments

According to Keith Smith’s Total Scrabble, the majors are defined as (page 55):

  • National Scrabble® Championship (US)
  • World Championship
  • Superstars Showdown (inactive)
  • All*Stars (inactive)

As far as I know, only the US Championship and World Championship are still active.

The “Semi-Major” Tournaments
These tournaments are probably the closest thing we have to “major” tournaments in North America.

  • Arden Cup (Chicago)
  • Boston Area Tournament
  • Dallas Open
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Reno, NV – July

Other “Notable” Tournaments
These are notable for any number of reasons like # of entrants, # of games, prize money, concentration of expert players, tournament history/longevity, extent of out-of-town players, and, of course, important-sounding name.

  • Albany, NY – New Year’s
  • Albany, NY – 4th of July
  • Atlantic City
  • Baltimore
  • Charlotte Shodown
  • Lake George, NY
  • Michigan Madness
  • Oregon Tile
  • Phoenix
  • Reno, NV – January

I’ve heard great things about tournaments organized by Ira Freehof in New York City.

Notable Canadian Tournaments

  • Canadian National Scrabble Championship (top 50 qualifiers only)
  • Michael Wise Memorial Tournament (Toronto in September)
  • Montreal (May)
  • Toronto Open/Human-Computer showdown (if held again)
  • Vancouver (March)
  • Western Canadian Scrabble Championship (Alberta)

If you think I’ve missed any tournaments, please contact me (or post a comment) so that I can update this list.


3 Responses to List of important/notable Scrabble® tournaments

  1. Barbara Kirby says:

    I would like to know when the scrabble tournament is held in Pigeon Forge Tennessee? I live midstate in Tennessee and would be interested in any tournaments near this state. Thank you.

  2. Hans says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I have never attended this tournament, so I can’t tell you when it is “normally” held. I just did a quick search on for past tournaments for Pigeon Forge, and they all seem to be in March or April. You should check cross-tables for upcoming tournaments or visit the NSA site ( and check the tournament calendar there.

  3. Anne says:

    Barbara–Asheville, NC is having a tournament in November-weekend of the 8-9…might want to contact (Grace Schmidt) for more info. It’s a fun tournament and if you’ve never participated in one–it would be a good place to get your feet wet–or your mind challenged!

    Gatlinburg club is also having a one day tournament the weekend before Thanksgiving (22nd I believe) Don’t know who to contact on this one–but Grace would know.

    Pigeon Forge is a great tournament!

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