There are no words for it: a Scrabble champ passes out

By Jessica Elgot, April 19, 2012
A mind fully concentrated by matzah: Raymond Tate

A mind fully concentrated by matzah: Raymond Tate

A Jewish Scrabble champion keeled over in the middle of an attempt to break a world record, and was hospitalised for dehydration.

Wearing his red velvet kippah and with a lunch box packed with matzah, Raymond Tate, 55, was well on his way to beat the world record for the highest score in one day last weekend, raising money for his Rotary Club's charity campaign.

"We were actually ahead of schedule, we had played 130 games over 15 hours. It's a version of the game where you and your opponent collaborate, to try and score high."

Paisley-based Mr Tate, who attends the Glasgow Lubavitch Shul in the Park, passed out from dehydration after standing up to get some air.

He was taken by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Hospital, but returned home on Monday.

You can use Hebrew words spelled out

The event was being streamed live on the Rotary Club's website, as players aimed to beat the world record of 162,171 points in 24 hours. "I had scored 176 for the word whatsits," Mr Tate said. "I'm very keen to try the challenge again, maybe this winter."

Media reporting his collapse initially said that Mr Tate, ranked 6th in Scottish Scrabble and 293rd in the world, had been "fasting for Passover", and that the fast had contributed to his collapse.

"That would have been a strange thing to have been doing," he said. "My wife spoke to a reporter and said she was glad Pesach had passed, and they must have misheard."

He said his Jewish knowledge often helped him win games of Scrabble. "You can use Hebrew letters, spelt out, like aleph or gimmel, and you can use some Yiddish words."

Last updated: 4:46pm, April 19 2012