Rules and Mechanics of Scrabble
STARTING THE GAME
1.1 It is the responsibility of both players to determine before commencing play that there are 100 correct tiles. There can be no appeal if an incorrect number or incorrect distribution is discovered later. 1.2 The pre-tournament information should specify how the first player in each game will be decided. This may be by drawing tiles, use of a computer program, use of a "balanced start" record card, or another method as determined by the tournament organiser. 1.3 Balanced starts: either a computer program or a record card of starts is used to determine who shall start each game, with the objective being for players to have roughly the same number of starts. This system is referred to as "balanced starts". When a record card is used, the player who has had fewer starts plays first. If both players have had an equal number of starts, tiles are drawn (see 1.4) to see who plays first. 1.4 Drawing tiles: for each game, each player draws a tile from the bag placing it face up in full view. The player with the letter closest to the start of the alphabet goes first. A blank is considered to come before an "A". If both tiles are the same, the players will each draw again until there is a decision. The player who is to go second returns the tiles to the bag and shuffles the bag, ready for the game to begin. No tiles shall be returned to the bag until a decision is reached. 1.5 When the first player has taken a tile out of the bag, the time clock may be started. TIME
2.1 If at least one player wants to use a time clock, it must be used, subject to availability and the agreement of the TD. 2.2 The time allotted is to be equally divided between the two players. You may ask for a time clock before play commences or during the game. In the latter case, the time remaining will be equally divided. The time allotted for games played in the Australian National Championships has been set by CASPA at 25 minutes per player. 2.3 If a player is not there on time, the Tournament Director may start that person's clock. If two players are absent from a board, the TD will start one clock. When the first player arrives, each player has half the elapsed time deducted, and the second player’s clock is set running. 2.4 A player who is not present before the time on that player's clock has expired forfeits that game. SCORING
3.1 Each player must keep score by writing down both players' scores for their moves and both players' cumulative scores, before making his/her next move.
If your opponent is not doing this, ask them to do so. If they continue to not record scores and totals, call for the TD. If this omission occurs in a game where a clock is in use, the TD should direct the player to complete the required record of scores with his/her clock running. This may occur during or at the end of the game, depending on when the omission is brought to the TD's attention . 3.2 An error in the score for a move or cumulative score may be corrected at any time until the result sheet/s have been signed by both players. 3.3 Players must neutralise the clock while resolving a discrepancy. TILE TRACKING
4. Written tile tracking is permitted only when time clocks are in use. SELECTING TILES
5.1 You must hold the tile bag as near as possible to shoulder level, and so that no tiles in the bag can be seen. Remove tiles in full view of your opponent. 5.2 You may not put your hand back into the bag while you still have tiles in that hand. All drawn tiles must be placed on the rack or table before drawing any more. 5.3 (Drawing too many tiles) If, before any newly drawn tile has been placed on the rack, you discover that you have too many tiles, you must place all the newly drawn tiles face down on the table and invite your opponent to remove the excess tile(s). If any newly drawn tile has touched the rack, you must place all your tiles on the rack or the table and invite your opponent to remove the excess...
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