During the Covid pandemic, the online gaming milieu has proven to be ideal for Scrabblers to play their favorite game.  We have in the last year isolated ourselves to protect our families and loved ones from the dangerous virus.  As vaccines increase and the number of infections and deaths has subsided, we are finally looking towards the future and returning to in-person Scrabble at the Crescent City Cup.

Wait?!  Who plays Scrabble in person?  No one, during the last year, unless it was family members in the same household.  But before March 2020, there was a vibrant club scene saw clubs all over the continent meeting weekly in restaurants, community centers, and other venues.  Players enjoyed facing off across a board with timers. Matching their wits against one another, shaking the tile bag, shuffling tiles on their racks, and laying down their best, high-scoring words.

Tournament Play

In addition to club play, some of these same Scrabblers met on weekends in multiple events across the continent to play tournament Scrabble, complete with entry fees, directors, ratings, and prizes.  Tournament play has been active for decades. There have grown acquaintances and relationships among groups of people enjoying the face-to-face competition and related travel and dining from that competitive social scene.  Meals together would often include rehashing the day’s games with stories of great plays and epic mistakes.  What IF I had only seen the seven-letter word?  The camaraderie of like-minded players striving for the best word solutions combined with good food and good company has created lifelong friendships among many in the Scrabble community.  And, yes, many of us got to MEET in person, the players we had competed against on our computers.

Among face-to-face competitions, the big daddy or big momma (if you wish) of all tournaments on the continent is the North American Scrabble Championship.  Once a year, the largest gathering of Scrabblers would assemble for five days of extreme concentration, tile slinging, exhilaration, and frustration, culminating in the crowning of a North American Champion.  The pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 AND 2021 championships. It is our great hope that 2022 will see the return of this gathering of players.

Aside from the big championship, there are many, many tournaments usually scheduled in various states/Canadian provinces throughout the year.  On any particular weekend, you could find as many as five tournaments happening in different cities.  They are small tournaments with a few players, large tourneys with 100+ players, and every variation.

The Crescent City

This brings us to the main topic of this blog: The Crescent City Cup!  What IS the Crescent City Cup?  Why it’s an in-person Scrabble tournament, of course!  But where IS the Crescent City?  A map of our area will show you.

New Orleans


The City of New Orleans, Louisiana, developed along a curve in the Mississippi River and was nicknamed “The Crescent City.”

Thus the top prize in this tournament is the Crescent City Cup!

The Crescent City Cup

Among the best tournaments in North America, we think this one stands out in the minds of those who have attended and continue to attend year after year.  The city itself should take most of the credit.  The Crescent City has a comprehensive offering of attractions, including a smorgasbord of fine restaurants, historic buildings, jazz music, and Big Ass Beers.  What more could one ask for? 

The Crescent City Cup was first held in New Orleans in 2012, the brainchild of Kate and Tim Fukawa-Connelly.  Kate reached out to Lila Crotty at the local Scrabble Club, and the idea became a reality. Our first tourney was held on Bourbon Street!  A partnership was forged with Kate and Lila organizing, Tim Fukawa-Connelly directing, and Tim Crotty running the computer. Ninety players gathered that first year and had a blast eating and drinking, oh, and playing Scrabble too!  Jesse Day was crowned our first NWL champion, and Dave Wiegand was our first CSW champion.  Yes, from the beginning, we had a division for those who chose to play in the North American dictionary and another division for those playing in the world Collins dictionary.

Over the next several years, we changed our location several times, always striving to give our players a convenient but affordable location close to tourist destinations and restaurants.  Our tournament grew to almost 140 players by 2019, but snowstorms that year resulted in a few cancellations.


By 2018, we added to our team Lindsay and Austin Shin and our streamer Christian Kay.  They organized a cadre of Scrabblers from around the world to comment on live games.  You could see into the minds of our top players, look at their racks and hear some explanation of strategy used in deciding on best plays.  This opened up our local tournament to worldwide viewership.


2021 was our 10th Annual Crescent City Cup, but alas, it was not to be.  Not to be deterred, we planned instead to hold a virtual event open to players all over the world.  Again, live streaming brought these games to your living room and allowed players to learn from the play of expert players vying for top honors.


And now we are faced with the challenge of bringing the Crescent City Cup back to an in-person competition for 2022.  We are talking to our venue to determine what is allowed as New Orleans opens up to meetings and conventions.  Will we require all players to be vaccinated? Will we need masks?  More importantly, will the hotel let us extra space so we may be socially distanced?  Will our players be comfortable traveling by airplane?  Will we somehow accommodate the virtual friends who we met in the competition this past January?  The planning is now underway.  All these questions will be answered, and we hope many of you will decide to be with us in January 2022!

Would you like to contribute to the Scrabble Blog? Click this link to send us your article.
Do you want to discuss this article with the community? Visit the forum with this link to start a conversation.



Scrabble GO
Scrabble Online
Player Profiles