Scrabble and 5 Other Outlandish Cheating Scandals
Scrabble was rocked by a cheating controversy this week when a young competitor was caught hiding blank letter tiles during a national tournament match.
It happened during Round 24 of the 28-round event; the name of the cheat hasn’t been released. Organizers said that to their knowledge this was the first instance of cheating at a national tournament. This isn’t the first time a game or small-scale sport was upset by deception.
Here’s a look at 5 other similarly bizarre situations:
It sounds like it’s from a movie. The French chess team had to give up three of its players in 2011 after they were found using text messages, a remote chess computer and “coded signals” to get a leg up on the opposition. At the September 2010 Chess Olympiad in Russia, the trio would communicate via hundreds of messages passed back and forth that would alert players what move to perform next. Punishments? One got a lifetime ban while the others received five-year suspensions for their roles.
Gives Us a C — For Cheating
How far will some people go to win? Pretty far, it seems. Last year, Cal State Long Beach had to forfeit its national title after it was revealed that they had a non-student competing with their squad. They stormed over the competition at the National Cheerleading Association championships and they would have gotten away with it, too, had a school official not ratted them out. The associate director of programs recognized the non-student as a someone who had graduated the previous year.
Mike Hart rose through the ranks to get to the top of the sport, only to have it all taken away from him when he was found to have been stuffing lead weights into fish he caught to tack on some extra ounces at weighings. At the 2010 U.S. Open, worth $40,000 and a brand new bass boat to the winner, Hart was the one who got caught. In total, officials found nine sinkers inside the bass Hart turned in. He was immediately disqualified from competition for adding two ounces per sinker to his totals.
BRIDGE over CHeating Water
In 1965, two American players suspected that their British counterparts had devised a way to communicate across the table based on some unusual finger movements they had observed during the Bermuda Bowl. After alerting officials to their suspicions, organizers found that the Brits’ would expose the number of fingers numbers corresponding to how many hearts they held. But a subsequent investigation stated there wasn’t enough evidence to show the pair had cheated, and that they didn’t deserve to be ejected. The simplest fact of the matter was that the duo hadn’t performed well enough in the tournament to make the case that they were actually helping each other.
SUDOKU Is Japanese for “Cheating”?
How do you cheat at sudoku? At the Philadelphia Inquirer National Sudoku Championships in 2009, a man named Eugene Varshavsky finished third after savaging the opposition in the preliminary rounds before notably losing his soduko-solving abilities in the final round. He earned $3,000 for his time. What alarmed people was that Varshavsky wore a hood for the first few rounds, but took it off for the last one and then couldn’t seem to do the puzzle anymore. Head quizmaster Will Shortz opted to retest Varshavsky on similar puzzles, and subsequently disqualified him.