Scrabble Word games

French World Scrabble Championships

The French World Scrabble Championships (French: Championnats du monde de Scrabble francophone) is an annual Scrabble tournament that takes place in a different French-speaking country every year. Created in 1972 by Hippolyte Wouters, it was the first of the three World Scrabble Championships to be created, with the English version being created in 1991 and the Spanish version being created in 1997.

Unlike the English and Spanish versions, the French World Championships are made up of various tournaments, somewhat like the World Series of Poker. The "Main Event" is the Elite tournament which has existed since 1972, and was first won by the tournament's creator Hippolyte Wouters.

List of tournaments

World Championships

Other tournaments

Some other tournaments are organised during the week which do not crown a World Champion but do have a winner:

History of the Championships

The French World Scrabble Championships started off as a small tournament in Cannes with just 7 players, and at the time, was not considered to be a World Championship. The tournament moved each year and more and more players which led to other tournaments being created at the same venue. The Elite tournament was at first dominated by Belgian players, with 5 of the first 7 championships being won by Belgian players. After three French winners in 1979, 80 and 81 the tournament was taken over by Michel Duguet of France who won the tournament 5 times in 7 years, while finishing second twice in that period. Duguet also set various championship records by dropping just 12 points in 5 games, which is 99.71%. After winning the Elite World Championship for a 5th time he retired from Scrabble and took up contract bridge and became one of the best players in the world, competing in both the French national championships and the European team championships.

After Duguet's retirement the French domination of the championships continued, with in total 12 championships in a row being won by France. Indeed France also took second place every year during that ran, apart from in 1990 when Christian Pierre of Belgium finished second. In 1991 it was Christian Pierre who won Belgium's first title since 1978 and continued to win the title a total of 5 times in 8 years, matching what Duguet did in the 1980s. In 2002 and 2003 Jean Pierre Hellebaut became the first Swiss winner of the tournament. In fact he was born in Belgium and had previously finished second in the Belgian national championship in 1991 but after moving to Switzerland, won the World Championship 2 years in a row, a feat only accomplished before that by Duguet and Pierre. Antonin Michel has since dominated the Elite World Championships, having won the tournament twice in 2005 and 2007 and having finished second in 2001 and 2006.

The pairs event has been mainly dominated by France; Michel Duguet holds the record with five titles while Antonin Michel and Franck Maniquant (also of France) are just behind with 4 titles. Two African players have won the title - Ndongo Samba Sylla and Mactar Sylla of Senegal - these two are in fact brothers.

The blitz is a relatively recent event, added in 2001 and 5 of the 8 championships have been won by Antonin Michel. The four other winners and Florian Lévy and Franck Maniquant of France, and Ndongo Samba Sylla and Mactar Sylla of Senegal.

The match play tournament known as le Championnat du monde de Scrabble classique was brought in in 2006 and has been systematically dominated by African players, showing that the traditional form of Scrabble is more popular in Africa than the duplicate one. In 2008 in Dakar, 7 of the top 10 players were African, the three exceptions being Pascal Astresses, Antonin Michel and Hervé Bohbot all from France.

List of winners of the Elite (duplicate individual) tournament

Antonin Michel, winner of the Elite tournament in 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013.

Year Host City Winner Nationality Runner-up Nationality
1972 Cannes Hippolyte Wouters Belgium Sarah Wolfowitz Belgium
1973 Liège Agnès Lempereur Belgium Dominique Darmstaedter Belgium
1974 Monaco Marc Selis Belgium Dominique Darmstaedter Belgium
1975 Estepona Michel Charlemagne France Marc Selis Belgium
1976 Djerba Marc Selis Belgium Michel Charlemagne France
1977 Aix-les-Bains Jean-Marc Bellot France Michel Pialat France
1978 Brussels Yvon Duval Belgium Claude Del France
1979 Vichy Benjamin Hannuna France Vincent Labbé France
1980 Liège Vincent Labbé France Robert Laïk France
1981 Montreux Jacques-Henri Muracciole France Marc Esquerré France
1982 Hammamet Michel Duguet France Benjamin Hannuna France
1983 Grenoble Michel Duguet France Frank Pluven France
1984 Montreal Benjamin Hannuna France Michel Duguet France
1985 Brussels Michel Duguet France Claude Del France
1986 Lausanne Philippe Bellosta France Michel Duguet France
1987 Metz Michel Duguet France Philippe Lorenzo France
1988 Quebec Michel Duguet France Jean-Louis Pallavicini France
1989 Namur Paul Levart France Marc Treiber France
1990 Dakar Marc Treiber France Christian Pierre Belgium
1991 Fleurier Christian Pierre Belgium Paul Levart France
1992 Hull Christian Pierre Belgium Emmanuel Rivalan France
1993 Saint-Malo Emmanuel Rivalan France Franck Maniquant France
1994 Libramont Christian Pierre Belgium Eddy Clauwaert Belgium
1995 Ovronnaz Jean-François Lachaud France Franck Maniquant France
1996 Aix-les-Bains Christian Pierre Belgium Nicolas Grellet France
1997 Saint-Hyacinthe Aurélien Kermarrec France Emmanuel Rivalan France
1998 Brussels Christian Pierre Belgium Franck Maniquant France
1999 Bulle Emmanuel Rivalan France Jean-François Lachaud France
2000 Paris Florian Lévy France Gérard Boccon France
2001 La Rochelle Franck Maniquant France Antonin Michel and Emmanuel Rivalan France
2002 Montreal Jean Pierre Hellebaut Switzerland Thierry Chincholle France
2003 Liège Jean Pierre Hellebaut Switzerland Christian Pierre Belgium
2004 Marrakech Germain Boulianne Canada Franck Maniquant France
2005 Neuchâtel Antonin Michel France Jean Pierre Hellebaut Switzerland
2006 Tours Pascal Fritsch France Antonin Michel France
2007 Quebec Antonin Michel France Christian Pierre Belgium
2008 Dakar Éric Vennin Belgium Aurélien Delaruelle France
2009 Mons Hugo Delafontaine Switzerland Christian Pierre Belgium
2010 Montpellier Antonin Michel France Didier Roques France
2011 Montreux Francis Desjardins Canada Antonin Michel France
2012 Montauban David Bovet Switzerland Étienne Budry France
2013 Rimouski Antonin Michel France David Bovet Switzerland
2014 Aix-les-Bains Hugo Delafontaine Switzerland Francis Desjardins Canada
2015 Louvain-la-Neuve David Bovet Switzerland Nigel Richards New Zealand

List of winners of the Classique (matchplay) tournament

Year Host City Winner Nationality Runner-up Nationality
2006 Tours Parfait Mouanda Republic of the Congo Henry-Marcel Engonge Democratic Republic of the Congo
2007 Quebec Amar Diokh Senegal Edouard Lebeau France
2008 Dakar Élisée Poka Ivory Coast Pascal Astresses France
2009 Mons Benjamin Valour France Pierre-Olivier Georget France
2010 Montpellier Christian Coustillas France Gille Sauze France
2011 Montreux Jean-François Ramel France Julien Affaton Benin
2012 Montauban Pierre-Olivier Georget France Julien Affaton Benin
2013 Rimouski Christian Coustillas France Julien Affaton Benin
2014 Aix-les-Bains Julien Affaton Benin Schélick Ilagou Rekawe Gabon
2015 Louvain-la-Neuve Nigel Richards New Zealand Schélick Ilagou Rekawe Gabon