Joel Sherman fights against Scrabble’s decision to add ‘OK’ to their roster
This is simply not correct!
Bronx Scrabble scholar Joel Sherman has started a war of words, campaigning against the inclusion of “OK” on the game’s official roster.
Sherman wants to prevent the North American Scrabble Players Association – the governing body of official competitions – from making what he calls an “incredibly horrible error in judgment.”
Sherman, 56, is no fan of wheelchair Scrabble. He is the reigning North American champion and a former world champion.
While casual players rejoiced in September when Merriam-Webster included OK in the sixth edition of the âOfficial Scrabble Players Dictionary,â adding a precious two-letter word to their arsenals, Sherman saw it as an affront.
According to the rules of the game, only words that appear in lowercase in a source dictionary and are not abbreviations are allowed. Sherman, who has been playing Scrabble since the age of 5, is a purist.
âI have a feeling the only way to find quotes for OK without dots between letters and lowercase is to type quickly and easily in text messages and on the Internet,â he said. “This form of printing this word would be rejected by professional publishers in published material.”
Sherman, known as GI Joel because he suffers from a gastrointestinal illness, once scored a record 803 points in a tournament game – his average score is 418 points – and was featured in the 2004 documentary “Word Wars”. He uses a computer program to keep learning new words.
His victory at the North American Championship in August was a comeback victory that earned him a prize of $ 10,000.
Sherman posted a poll on the North American Scrabble Players Association‘s Facebook page to gather ammunition in the fight against the inclusion of OK on the group’s wordlist, which will be released in February. The sentiment ran 2-1 against OK on Friday.
John Chew, the group’s co-chair, rejects the idea that OK is an abbreviation.
âIt’s just one word and it’s a short spelling of ok (and) people use it all the time, which is all the more reason it’s good at Scrabble,â Chew said. .
OK will join the two-letter ew and the most requested Zen, he said.
Two-letter words are popular because they provide gateways to higher scoring games.
Sherman says he doesn’t have a problem with himself though.
âI use it all the time,â he said. âBut it is written OKAY. It’s a word.