Scrabble Social Media: Promoting Your Tournament on Facebook

First, we had the National Scrabble Association newsletter – a paper newsletter FBScrabbleTourneywith upcoming tournaments listed. Local events would create flyers, sometimes mailing them to club members and bringing copies to other events, hoping to drum up attendance. Then, we had the online NASPA calendar. Cross-tables has become a go-to when I’m looking for an at-a-glance idea of what’s coming up, but I’ll admit that if I see a tourney pop up on Facebook, I can’t help but click on the event link and take a look.

A few tourney coordinators and directors (myself included) have started using Facebook events to promote their tourneys. It’s a pretty quick process to set up the event page, and then you have a new place to share news, to allow players to talk with one another, and to spread the word about your event. Here are the basics:

  1. You must have a Facebook account, an event, and an image that you can use for the event to get started. The image dimensions for a Facebook event are 784 pixels long by 295 pixels tall. This is approximately 8″ x 3″. If your image is a different size, Facebook will adjust it and may cut some of the image off.
  2. In your account, go to the sidebar and scroll down to Events. Click on the “Create an Event” option.
  3. This will pull up a menu that gives you a few choices. I recommend choosing a Public event (rather than Private) since this allows anyone to view the event. Add your event name, location, date(s) and time(s).
  4. Write a short description (1-2 sentences to keep your audience’s attention). URLs will automatically become clickable so if you’d like to include a link to your flyer, cross-tables, or your club website, for example, you can do that here.
  5. Select tags that may help people search for your event (definitely “Scrabble”! and anything else you think may identify your event).

That’s it! You’ve created the event! Now you can invite potential attendees (you have to be Facebook friends to invite them directly, but you can share the link to the event more widely).

We are happy to share your NASPA tournaments on the NASPA Facebook page to generate more publicity. Just send the URL to the NASPA Social Media Committee  – as long as it’s a Public event, we can share it.

Now, how do you use the page? Here are some posts you may make before the event to keep building interest and engage your audience:

  • pictures from past tournaments if it’s an annual event
  • any news articles that are meant to generate tourism interest
  • restaurant lists
  • events that will happen around the weekend of the tourney that family members may want to take advantage of if they aren’t playing
  • cheap plane fare if you come across any
  • favorite hotels people have stayed at before
  • upcoming dates/deadlines (early bird rates deadlines, hotel deadlines)

Hopefully other players will jump in and share their ideas too. The power of the event page is really in other people engaging with one another!

Here are a few NASPA tournaments that have used Facebook – hopefully they’ll get you inspired:

Scrabble Player Profile: César Del Solar

cesarCésar Del Solar, best known in the Scrabble community for his study program, started playing the game on Yahoo! Literati (a now-defunct Scrabble clone) in 2000. He became good friends with Gabriel Wong, Jesse Matthews and James Leong (2007 National Champion). James convinced César to attend an LA tournament in 2005, and after that, he was hooked!

César’s other big hobby is programming, which often takes away from his Scrabble study time. He’s also good at Mario Kart and enjoys Zelda, Pokemon, running, soccer, and playing the guitar and ukulele.

Scrabble Player Profile: Diana Bowen

bowenDiana Bowen, who is playing in her fourth Nationals this year, started playing Scrabble when she was growing up. She and her mom would record their high scores on the inside of the box. Her highest was 503 and she still has the box lid!

Diana’s other skills include doing math, growing watermelons, playing Dr. Mario, and swiping right. She also appreciates good puns, especially with countries: “I’m mad a gas car still exists,” quips Diana. She enjoys outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. Her nickname is “The Joker,” and if you’d like to know why, just ask to see her driver’s license picture.

Scrabble Player Profile: Jason Vaysberg

vaysbergJason Vaysberg of Plymouth, MN is the top seed in Division 3 at Nationals. He has been playing tournament Scrabble since the age of 12, but he’s playing in his first Nationals this year, ten years after his tournament debut. His favorite play was CRAZIEST for 275 points, scoring a 692 in the game — against his poor mom! Besides Scrabble, he is also skilled at poker, Settlers of Catan, Super Smash Brothers and music trivia. He enjoys sushi, Legend of Zelda, classic rock, tea and other caffeinated goodies.

Scrabble Player Profile: Lila Kay Crotty

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 4.25.03 PMLila Kay Crotty started playing Scrabble as a child with her sister, May Kay, but didn’t find time to play seriously until after her children were in college. She also played Literati on Yahoo! — meeting a number of other Scrabble players — she was encouraged by former National Scrabble Champion James Leong to attend her first official club session in Metairie, Louisiana, and the rest is history!

Fukawa-Connelly and Crotty Crescent City Cup team

Lila now directs the Metairie club and co-directs the annual Crescent City Cup tournament in New Orleans in January, along with Kate Fukawa-Connelly, and their husbands, the two Tims — Tim Crotty and Tim Fukawa-Connelly. Both Kate and Lila are glad that their non-Scrabbler husbands are so supportive of their passions for the game.

In addition to Scrabble, Lila enjoys event planning, crafts, calligraphy, cooking, and spending time with her family. Lila’s daughter, Lindsay Crotty Bahra, is also a competitive Scrabble player and Lila hopes to encourage her granddaughters, Lea and Penny, to follow in their footsteps as NASPA members and tournament players.

She looks forward to welcoming players to Louisiana in January 2017 for the Crescent City Cup, and in July 2017 for the North American Scrabble Championship!

Scrabble Player Profile: Clay & Knox Daniel

Knox Daniel (right) and Yanni Raymond
Knox Daniel (right) and Yanni Raymond

Knox Daniel (often incorrectly identified as Daniel Knox), a sixth grader from Charlottesville, VA, has been learning the Scrabble ropes from his father, Division 1 player Clay Daniel, and this is his first Nationals.

Knox and his partner, Yanni Raymond, came in third at the North American School Scrabble Championship in both 2015 and 2016. In addition to Scrabble, he enjoys math and sports, and he can do a headstand for over a minute! You can hear more about the 2015 School Scrabble Championships on an episode of the NPR program, On Point.

Clay DanielClay was excited to play CLAYIEST on the way to winning game 7 of this year’s Nationals. He enjoys trivia, most word and board games, teaching, writing, and composing and performing raps! Clay considers it “a huge privilege” to be playing in the Nationals alongside his son and he’s having a great time.

Scrabble Player Profiles: Marlena Cannon & Tom Tremont


tremontcannonMarlena and Tom are a happy Scrabble couple who recently moved to Santa Rosa, CA from the Chicago area.  Tom started playing tournament Scrabble in 2006, and Marlena started playing in 2009. They have Zyzzyva to thank for their first official date two years ago. Marlena was looking for some help in using the app on her phone, and Tom suggested that they discuss it over dinner.

Tom was the director of the La Grange Park, IL Scrabble Club for over 7 years until their move out west, and now he and Marlena are working to get a new club going in Santa Rosa. This is Marlena’s first Nationals and Tom’s third.

Scrabble Player Profile: Zach Ansell

Zach AnsellZach Ansell is twelve years old and hails from Los Angeles, CA. He started playing tournament Scrabble after reading Stefan Fatsis’ Word Freak. He and his partner, Noah Kalus, won the 2015 North American School Scrabble Championship in Pawtucket, RI, taking home $10,000. Zach enjoys baking, fencing, piano, tennis, and playing with his dog, Coco.

photo courtesy of Stew Milne/AP Images for Hasbro

Scrabble Player Profile: Sue Tremblay

Sue TremblaySue Tremblay is a tournament director and she is assisting as a NASC staff member this year. She started playing Scrabble about 14 years ago when her sister-in-law heard about the Ottawa Scrabble Club. She got hooked and played in her first tournament in 2002. She and Jason Broersma now partner up to run tournaments in the Mississauga area, and started an annual Niagara Falls tournament that has grown in popularity over the past few years.

Sue and Jason are avid travelers and Scrabble sparring partners. They just returned from a trip through the South Pacific, during which they stood on the edge of an active volcano, snorkeled on Tuvalu, and played over 70 games of Scrabble against each other. When she’s home, she also does a lot of yoga, cooks, and spends time with her daughters.

Sue was just elected to a two-year term on the NASPA Advisory Board to represent Canada, and in this role, she hopes to promote unification and growth in the competitive Scrabble scene in North America.

NASC 2016: It’s Your Move #2

Perennial NASC contenders Will Anderson and Jesse Day had a close battle this morning in round 15. Jesse was willing to provide his racks in this game, and unsurprisingly there are a couple of informative plays in this game.

Let’s start with this position. Jesse is down 31 points after will has just played CREATORs on not the most open of boards. He can keep the blank and go for a bingo next turn, or use the blank now for a bingo score. The key word here is MANKY+ (+ means that the word was just added to the dictionary last year).

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 4.49.57 PM

So Jesse’s options here are:

15A MAnKY (RV) making JIGSAWN (props if you spotted the hook!)

M1 MA(N)KY 33 (?RV)

Some points to consider:

How valuable is the blank here?

How does scoring 33 vs 71 now affect the board, and the way Will might play in the future? Specifically, Jesse has a lead after the 71 point MAnKY, but still trails (perhaps just in the short run) after the 33 point option.

How does RV and ?RV work with the remaining tiles? (look at all those vowels!)

What about that glaring S hook in the top right?

As we continue on in this game, we see that Jesse opts for the 33 point MA(N)KY. He isn’t able to bingo the next turn, but two turns later has a friendly rack of ?ADIIRT and finds himself in a similar situation! Will has just played LU(S)HER to go up 290-248.


Now, Jesse can bingo, or save the blank again. His choices:

3A TRIA(C)IDs 74

3A RATI(C)IDe 74

(Q)AID 42 (?IRT)

(Q)ADI 42 (?IRT)

With fewer tiles remaining in the pool, it’s plain to see that the tile pool is very vowel heavy. How would that affect your decision?

And as with the last position, how important is it to take the lead now, versus attempting to maximize your score a different way over the next couple of turns?

Interestingly, Jesse opts for the bingo now in contrast to the short term sacrifice he makes earlier in the game!

Oh, and if you were wondering, Will holds on to win, as Jesse ends up with too many vowels after playing TRIA(C)IDs.

Analysis to come later.