Scrabble New South Wales

Help for Tournament Organisers

Last reviewed and updated: 3rd June 2013
You might require to organise a tournament sanctioned by Scrabble NSW, or just a Round Robin tournament within your club. Either way, you will find all the help you will need here.

If you have not previously organised a tournament, you will need to find a date that fits in with the existing tournament calendar and does not conflict with permanent dates secured by clubs which have previously conducted tournaments. A continually updated tournament calendar and list of permanent dates can be always be found on this website. You will need to confirm your date with Scrabble NSW President Bob Jackman before proceeding with arrangements.

Once you have established a date (and a venue), you should first obtain a copy of the Checklist for Tournament Organisers. This covers nearly everything you will need to think of when organising a tournament. It is designed to enable you to delegate certain tasks, and keep a record of who they were delegated to.

You might also like to use the special Registration Form that Scrabble NSW has developed for organisers to report their planned event directly to the State President

For organisers opting for trophies over cash prizes, please be aware that Scrabble NSW no longer providers trophy inserts. Scrabble NSW has produced special certificates of achievement which can be found within the equipment you will be acquiring for the tournament.

Scrabble NSW prefers that tournaments for which more than thirty players are expected should have a non-playing Tournament Director. Tournament Directors should have at least a working knowledge of the rules of play. If the Tournament Director does not have a thorough knowledge of the rules, then a Rules Advisor, with whom the Tournament Director can confer, be appointed. The Rules Advisor should be appointed prior to the start of the tournament. A list of Responsibilities of Tournament Directors has been prepared to summarize what is expected of a Tournament Director on tournament day. Click here for a short list of recommended tournament personnel, along with their areas of expertise. Scrabble NSW recommends that Tournament Directors who also run the tournament by computer are paid at least $100 per day. Dedicated computer operators who assist the Director should also be paid, up to $80 per day being recommended.

When producing the Tournament Flyer, you will need to be mindful of the types of information that prospective players require to know before deciding whether to attend. We have provided a Guide for Preparing Tournament Flyers for the person delegated to prepare the flyer to refer to.

Scrabble NSW requires that tournaments are conducted with equal size Sections. The number of Sections needs to be decided by the club organizing the tournament. Scrabble NSW also recommends that where prize money is being offered, the prize money is equal for each Section. This avoids giving favour to the higher Sections. Clubs opting to depart from this recommendation should specify weighted prize-money on their flyer.

In order to be rated in the National Rating System, New South Wales tournaments must satisfy the established Criteria for Rating Tournaments published on the Australian website.

Before the day you will need a copy of NSW Ratings in Numerical Sequence to enable you to place the entrants in the correct section. Once the list of entrants is final, divide the numerical listing of entrants by the number of advertised sections, ensuring even numbers in the top sections. Novices should always be placed at the bottom of the list in the lowest section, unless their Club President advises to the contrary.

It is important that the Sections are organised according to ratings, and no favour is given to any individual. If there is a no show in a higher Section, the highest rated player in the next Section down should be promoted to avoid having a bye in the higher Section.

We recommend that on the day you pair players in the first game so that seeding difference is always equal, as well as being the maximum. So in a Section of 20 players, No. 1 seed would play No. 11 seed, No. 2 seed would play No. 12 seed etc This avoids mismatches, as well as pairing top players against each other in the first round. In the bottom Section, you must avoid pairing novices against one another in the first game. This should not happen if you have followed the guidelines above. Typing players into the Aupair tournament software in ratings sequence, then selecting Australian Draw will achieve the required result.

All tournaments sanctioned by Scrabble (NSW) are conducted according to the National Scrabble Rules. In places, these are overridden by Scrabble (NSW) Variations to Rules, and these in turn can be overridden by any local rule your club wants to introduce. The only stipulation is that any local rule for your tournament is mentioned on your tournament flyer.

Our Association will provide the tournament equipment required to run the tournament. The standard set of equipment caters for a tournament of 80 players. Additional equipment, such as additionals sets or a second lookup station can be obtained upon request. In return, Scrabble (NSW) imposes a $1 levy per player on the club staging the tournament, or $1.50 per head in case of two day tournaments. We also ask the club to collect an additional $5 surcharge from any player who is not a full member of the Association. Our Membership Officer, Don Hadley ( will be able to tell you which players attract the surcharge.

Children under the age of 13 require to be sanctioned by the Scrabble NSW committee before being allowed to take part in their first rated tournament. If they are allowed to play, they require to be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the duration of the tournament. Parents and guardians are discouraged from watching their child's games. All children under 18 who are attending tournaments held in licensed clubs should remain in the playing area for the duration of the tournament. In addition they should be escorted into the playing area by an adult and escorted off the premises by an adult.

We request that Tournament Organisers report any anomalies in the rules of play encountered, requirements for rules amendments or rules infringements to the Scrabble (NSW) Committee. These may have to be gleaned from the Tournament Director, and/or the Rules Advisor, in cases where the Tournament Organiser is actually playing in the their own tournament.

For those of you that only want to organise a friendly club tournament, then you might find the Round Robin Tournaments pairing table useful. This can be used for any number between 5 and 14 players competing in a Round Robin. Necessarily, a Round robin for fourteen players will involve 13 games

All tournaments in New South Wales are run under the Swiss program. If you want to experiment with the software before tournament day, you can download it from the Scrabble Australia website through the Tournament Software page.