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This French-Language Scrabble Champ Doesn’t Speak a Word of French

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Can you spell incroyable?

The winner of the World Championship of French language-Scrabble—held Monday in Louvain, Belgium—reportedly does not speak a word of French.

Nigel Richards, 48, a New Zealander who lives in Kuala Lumpur and represents Malaysia in international Scrabble events, beat French-speaking rival and Gabon native Schelick Ilagou Rekawe twice in Monday’s French-language World Scrabble Championship final, the BBC reports, after spending just nine weeks memorizing the entire French dictionary.

“I think one of the comments was ‘Are you extra-terrestrial or something?’ Because it was so amazing,” Shirley Hol, President of the Christchurch Scrabble club, told the NZ Herald of Richards’ underdog win.

Still, the win wasn’t out of sorts with Richards’ Scrabble history—Richards is the winner of five U.S. national titles and three World Scrabble Championships, even though he reportedly didn’t even learn to play Scrabble until he was 28, when his mother taught him.


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