Winners of British & UK Scrabble Tournaments

In this guide to UK and British Scrabble champions, we’ll cover the winners of the following UK Scrabble competitions:

  • UK National Championship
  • British Matchplay Scrabble Championship (BMSC)
  • Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP Masters)
  • British (Isles) Elimination Scrabble Tournament (BEST)
  • UK Open Scrabble Tournament

But before we take a look at UK Scrabble titlists, let’s first take a brief look at the ABSP and the relationship between the region’s national Scrabble tournaments.

ABSP and UK Scrabble: Quick Overview

All official UK Scrabble events are organized by the Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP) and adhere to the Collins Scrabble Words (CSW or Collins lexicon).

The ABSP was founded in 1987 as a non-profit for the promotion of Scrabble in Britain and throughout the United Kingdom.

The ABSP coordinates tournaments, provisions the rating system for UK players, and assists members, organizers and tournament directors.

The region’s premier Scrabble event, which is organized by the ABSP, is the UK National Championship. The tournament includes:

  1. Two-day championship for players who have qualified based on their performance in at least one NSC Qualifier event throughout the year.
  2. Plate event that welcomes both newcomers and experienced players who did not qualify for the main championship event.

Here are the four qualifying ABSP major events that can ensure your spot in the main UK National Scrabble Championship tournament:

BMSC: The British Matchplay Scrabble Championship (BMSC) is ABSP’s leading open event. The BMSC consists of 25 games played over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

ABSP Masters: Association of British Scrabble Players (ABSP Masters) is an invitation-only event for the top 16 Scrabble players in the UK. It’s typically a round-robin event held in July. The qualifying period is the 12 months leading up to each annual event.

BEST: The British (Isles) Elimination Scrabble Tournament (BEST) is a yearly knockout competition that lasts 9+ months. The British Scrabble tournament is designed as a series of in-person single-elimination (aka sudden death) matches at regional and then the national level. The BMSC winner ends up playing 70+ games.

UK Open The UK Open Scrabble Tournament originated in 2008. It’s one of five major tournaments run by the ABSP and is Europe's largest Scrabble tournament. The UK Open is unique in that it also draws international Scrabble players from around the world.

Breakdown of UK Scrabble Winners by Year

Year National Champion BMSC ABSP Masters BEST UK Open
2020 -- -- -- -- Ed Martin
2019 Phil Robertshaw David Eldar Paul Gallen Brett Smitheram Nigel Richards
2018 Ed Martin Lewis Mackay Gary Oliver Paul Gallen Nigel Richards
2017 Austin Shin Dave Koenig Paul Allan Paul Gallen Nigel Richards
2016 Phil Robertshaw Allan Simmons Allan Simmons Allan Simmons Nigel Richards
2015 Craig Beevers Mark Nyman Lewis Mackay -- Paul Allan
2014 Chris May Paul Gallen Paul Gallen Chris May Nigel Richards
2013 Paul Allan Paul Gallen Paul Gallen Paul Gallen Nigel Richards
2012 Paul Gallen Kevin McMahon Femi Awowade Lewis Mackay Nigel Richards
2011 Wayne Kelly Lewis Mackay Craig Beevers Mikki Nicholson Nigel Richards
2010 Mikki Nicholson Brett Smitheram Lewis Mackay Mark Nyman Nigel Richards
2009 Craig Beevers Mark Nyman Jared Robinson David Webb Helen Gipson
2008 Allan Simmons Allan Simmons Harshan Lamabadusuriya Harshan Lamabadusuriya Nigel Richards
2007 Paul Allan Paul Allan Allan Simmons -- --
2006 Jake Jacobs Brett Smitheram David Webb Phil Appleby --
2005 Wale Fashina Harshan Lamabadusuriya Brett Smitheram -- --
2004 Mark Nyman Brett Smitheram Mark Nyman Adam Logan --
2003 Harshan Lamabadusuriya Brett Smitheram Mark Nyman Phil Appleby --
2002 Mark Nyman Mark Nyman Andrew Davis Paul Allan --
2001 Mark Nyman Andrew Cook Andrew Davis Andrew Fisher --
2000 Brett Smitheram David Acton Mark Nyman -- --
1999 Evan Simpson Andrew Perry Andrew Davis -- --
1998 Mark Nyman Helen Gipson Andrew Fisher -- --
1997 Andrew Cook Andrew Davis Mark Nyman -- --
1996 Andrew Fisher Mark Nyman Gareth Williams -- --
1995 -- Allan Saldanha Mark Nyman -- --
1994 Mike Willis Russell Byers Allan Simmons -- --
1993 Allan Saldanha Andrew Fisher Phil Appleby -- --
1992 Philip Nelkon Mark Nyman Di Dennis -- --
1991 Phil Appleby Allan Simmons -- -- --
1990 Philip Nelkon Phil Appleby -- -- --
1989 Russell Byers Gareth Williams -- -- --
1988 -- Allan Simmons -- -- --
1987 -- Allan Simmons -- -- --

Annual Highest Rated UK Scrabble Players

The annual Highest Rated Player trophy is awarded to ABSP UK Scrabble players with the highest rating at the end of each calendar year.

Year Player Rating
2019 Brett Smitheram 201
2018 David Eldar 199
2017 Brett Smitheram 199
2016 Lewis Mackay 197
2015 Paul Gallen 197
2014 Chris May 203
2013 Chris May 201
2012 Lewis Mackay 199
2011 Nigel Richards 207
2010 Mark Nyman 206
2009 David Webb 201
2008 Harshan Lamabadusuriya 199
2007 Lewis Mackay 199
2006 Brett Smitheram 202
2005 Harshan Lamabadusuriya 201
2004 Adam Logan 203
2003 Phil Appleby 200
2002 Mark Nyman 205
2001 David Webb 206
2000 Brett Smitheram and David Webb 200
1999 Mark Nyman and Brett Smitheram 198
1998 Andrew Fisher 202
1997 Phil Appleby 201
1996 Allan Saldanha 205
1995 Clive Spate 199
1994 Clive Spate 199
1993 Andrew Fisher 201
1992 Russell Byers 202
1991 Clive Spate 196
1990 Pete Finley 200
1989 Allan Simmons 198
1988 Phil Appleby and Mark Nyman 198
1987 Allan Simmons 202


The Expert title is a lifetime award that is given to UK Scrabble gurus who earn:

  • Three 180+ ratings in a five-year period
  • Five 170+ ratings in a five-year period
  • A five-year average of 175+
Nick Ball Darryl Francis Karl Khoshnaw (RIP 2006) Andrew Roughton
Joyce Cansfield (RIP 2019) Simon Gillam Jackie McLeod Sandie Simonis
Jason Carney Andrew Goodwin Hartley Moorhouse David Sutton
Evan Cohen Helen Grayson (RIP 2013) Ruth Morgan-Thomas (RIP 2016) Noel Turner (RIP 2015)
Elie Dangoor Dick Green Azu Ogbogu Bob Violett
Rafal Dominiczak Neil Green Philips Lukeman Feargal Weatherhead
Penny Downer Barry Grossman Gary Polhill Alec Webb
Calum Edwards George Gruner (RIP 2019) Diane Pratesi Toh Weibin
Richard Evans Ash Haji Robert Richland Howard Wilde
Wale Fashina Chris Hawkins Jared Robinson Mike Willis
Martin Fowkes Rik Kennedy Ed Rossiter

NEW: Manx Scrabble Championship

2020 Inaugural Manx Scrabble Championship is officially on the 2020 ABSP calendar of UK Scrabble tournaments.

The event will (tentatively) take place in May 2020. International Scrabble players of all levels are invited to attend.