In just about any game, there’s a way to cheat — and consequences if you get caught.

That’s something a young Scrabble player learned this week when he was kicked out of the game’s national tournament after a competitor noticed him doing something untoward.

Seems the booted player, who isn’t being named because he’s a minor, was hiding blank tiles. And since they can be used as any letter when creating a word in Scrabble, that gave him quite the advantage.

Another player saw him drop the tiles to the floor in an attempt to conceal them, and called it to the attention of the tournament director. The young competitor admitted to breaking the rules and was summarily dismissed from the 350-player event.

John D. Williams, Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association, said that while people may try to cheat, it’s the first known incidence of it at a national tournament. “It’s unfortunate,” he said. “The Scrabble world is abuzz. The internet is abuzz.”

The top prize in the tournament is $10,000. The leader entering Wednesday’s final day of competition was National and Scrabble All-Star champ David Gibson, a 61-year-old math teacher, with 30-year-old Jason Keller, a nine-time Jeopardy winner, in fourth place.

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