Scrabble player caught cheating at national tournament

Winner takes home $10K

ORLANDO, Fla. - The National Scrabble Championship in Orlando has already spelled disaster for one player.

A top young player has been booted from the competition, after he was caught cheating on Tuesday.

John D. Williams, Jr., the executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said Tuesday that a male player was ejected from the 350-player event in Round 24 of the 28-round event.

Williams would not identify the player by name or age because he's a minor. There are four divisions and he was competing in Division 3.

The cheating was spotted by a player at a nearby table, who noticed the ejected player conceal a pair of blank tiles. When confronted by the tournament director, he admitted to it.

"The bag is left on the table between rounds, so when the players were taking a break, he must have gone in, and found the two blanks and quickly hid them," said National Scrabble Association Director John Williams.

The National Scrabble Association will do a review and get more statements from the witness. Williams said the player who cheated won't be banned from the association for life, but will most likely be put on some type of probation.

"It was a bad decision, but kids make mistakes," said the youngest scrabble player, 12-year-old Eliza Lieberman of North Carolina of the cheating.

The winner of the contest was Nigel Richards of Malasia, who took home the $10,000 prize with "WEFTS." South Carolina math teacher David Gibson took second.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.