NZer first to hold world's top three scrabble titles

A New Zealand scrabble player created history overnight when he became the first player to hold the word game's three most coveted titles.

Christchurch man Nigel "Tiger" Richards, 41, won the North American Open scrabble championship in Orlando, Florida, to go with the world title he won last November and the British title he won earlier this year.

Richards, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, became the first player to hold all three titles at once.

"In fact no one has ever held two of them (titles) let alone three. That feat qualifies him as the greatest player in the history of the game," said Howard Warner, the New Zealand masters champion and the winner of four national titles.

He said Richards was already widely regarded as the world's best player.

"His record in international play over the past decade is truly Tiger Woods-like - hence his nickname," he said.

Richards will join Warner and three others, Jeff Grant from Hastings, Blue Thorogood of Christchurch and Sydney-based Joanne Craig, to represent New Zealand at the Causeway Challenge in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, in November.

The challenge is considered the longest, toughest and most prestigious teams event ever and would involve the top 10 scrabble-playing countries in the world, said Warner.

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