There is a way to hold the bag in the world of competitive Scrabble playing, we have learned. Players should hold the bag at shoulder level while selecting their new tiles, to ensure they can't take a sneaky look at its contents.
That is what one-time UK Scrabble champion and word game aficionado Allan Simmons has NOT been doing, plus, to his shame, he's also been accused of not displaying an empty palm to his opponent before putting his hand in the bag; another serious etiquette breach that's a red flag for potential cheating, because bad men might palm unwanted letters and swap them out while rummaging.
These two tiny breaches are enough to earn Simmons a massive three-year ban from the competitive international Scrabble game, with accusations coming to a head after an opponent accused him of not playing right back in June. Further investigations unearthed additional bag-handling errors in tournaments by Simmons, who was previously held in such high esteem by the Scrabble community that he was considered untouchable.
Alan admitted his physical form crimes but denies this is symptomatic of cheating, explaining: "While I believe I always showed an open hand before drawing fresh letters, if drawing one or two at a time I may not have always had an open hand for each dip in the bag. Likewise, holding the bag may not have always been strictly at shoulder height."
But he's banned from the game for three years now, although is presumably still allowed to play at home with the wife if she hasn't already long since refused to join in. [The Times]