Ashland hosts Scrabble tournament

An international Scrabble tournament kicks off today in Ashland.

Through the weekend, nearly two dozen people will face off over Scrabble boards in the Ashland Springs Hotel ballroom.

Preliminary games started at 11 a.m. today, and tournament play continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The winner will take home a $1,000 prize.

Games will use Collins Scrabble Words, a word list used to adjudicate in most of the world outside North America and in all international tournaments. Organizers said the international word list is taking off in the U.S., but the Ashland tourney, known as the West Coast World Championship Wordlist Challenge, was one of the first to use it.

Six of the top 50 players in the world and other top-notch players from the U.S. and Canada will compete. Attendees this year will include Dave Wiegand, a Portlander who has won two National Championships and finished third at the last World Scrabble Championship; Nathan Benedict of Tucson, Ariz., ranked 11th in the world and representative of the U.S. at multiple World Championships; Carl Johnson of Hillsboro, presently ranked 11th in the U.S.; Stu Goldman, who has the most wins in tournament history; and organizer Travis Chaney, a Southern Oregon University student and Ashland resident who competes in both English and Spanish Scrabble.

Spectators are welcome at the event.

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