Jim Lamerand 9/18/46 – 6/18/20

Our Scrabble® community lost a pillar last month.  Jim’s tournament career began in 1980.  Although he played few games outside of Arizona, he left a real legacy.  I was privileged to play a number of games against him, and can agree wholeheartedly with the tributes which follow.

In the Collins division, Laurie Cohen won with a record of 7-1 +941.  Jim Lamerand came in second with a 4-4 +193 record.  In a twist, his prize was a copy of the new OSPD6! Laurie got the high game of 578 and Paul Stabin got the high loss of 449.

Tempe, September, 2018.  Left to right:  Paul Stabin, Laurie Cohen, Jim Lamerand.


From Larry Rand: Jim was one of THE nicest Scrabble® players that played the game.  At club and tournaments, Jim was always one of the first to arrive and last to leave.  He set up tables, and chairs, all without a peep.   You never knew if he had just won a game, or lost it.  The perfect gentleman!   Jim was helpful to everyone. 

To view Jim’s tournaments (pre- WGPO) visit “cross-tables.com.”  Top left “Find” “Lamerand.”  Near bottom left “ All tourneys.”  

Jim played in the third Grand Canyon tournament 11/4/83.  When you run out of space there, please visit Wordgameplayers.orgthe second line header near the top, “schedule and ratings.”  “Open all ratings.”  “click on #212 and click on Lamerand to open history.

Anytime Barbara or I would have a computer problem with, for instance, downloading a new word list, Jim would come to our house almost immediately.  Whenever we had an open house, Jim would bring a homemade dessert that his mother prepared!

One of the “good guys” has passed away.     

From Laurie Cohen:

Jim Lamerand passed away on June 18.  

Jim was a long time Scrabble® player in AZ, dating back at least to the early 1980s and one of the nicest players in the game. 

Jim was always a role model for me and others in terms of his attitude.  Win or lose, he was always the same congenial, positive, laid back person.  He never uttered a negative word about anyone. Jim was also a programmer and created one of the first electronic word judges called Word Check back in the 80s.  I recently found a copy of it on an old computer (see message from Mike Baron for more information on this).  Jim was also known to help a lot of people out with their tech problems and to create a custom word list for you. All you had to do is ask. He even made housecalls!

When I was studying Collins for the 2011 Worlds, he was learning it just for fun and became my only Collins sparring partner. It was a lot of fun learning words with him. He would always enthusiastically share a new word he played or learned in a game, sometimes giving me the alphagram to solve. He would often tell people that his last name had an anagram – ALDERMAN! He was truly a lover of words!

Jim took care of his elderly mother for many years until her death a few years ago. Jim’s mom was known for making delicious “no-bake” peanut butter cookies that were a staple at our local tournaments. Jim was also a veteran, having served in the army. He was originally from Michigan and was laid to rest there alongside his mother.  

I hope Jim knew how much the Phoenix Scrabble® community loved and respected him.

From Jeff Kastner:

Jim was one of the nicest guys in the Scrabble® world. Aside from his competence at the board and pleasant personality, Jim was a pioneer of Scrabble® list making. 

Many were the times over the past three decades of our acquaintance that I requested his invaluable help. These tasks ranged from special lists, to designing word games, to reprogramming my computer.  Jim would always cheerfully oblige, and I always had 100% confidence in the accuracy of his efforts.

I owe Jim Lamerand a huge debt of gratitude, and I regret that his premature passing will not allow me to tell him in person. Hopefully, this short tribute that I am sending to our little Scrabble® community will serve as a testament to his memory and achievements.

From Mike Baron:

Of Scrabble® historical note: Jim was the first person to digitize the OSPD1 with *all* the words. That meant it matched Word List Master General Joe Leonard’s hand count of all words. Always gracious, never heard a mean word from him. We befriended one another in the early 80’s, perhaps initially at the Grand Canyon tournament, and he was keenly accommodating in helping computer-generating various word lists. The “velobound” “The Bingo Book,” was one such early example. I’ll go so far as to say that all word study tools the past four decades owe a debt of gratitude to Jim’s seminal work. Much beyond that, he was a “nice guy,” and in this day and age, “nice” is a precious commodity. Save me a game, Jim!

From Gary Smart:

Jim was the true meaning of a gentleman and a scholar. And one heckuva Scrabble® player. Always had a smile, never said an unkind word about anyone or anything, and always loved to give you an anagram to figure out! He will be missed here most greatly in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Scrabble® communities and I will always remember him very fondly.




Solidarity Statement – Black Lives Matter

Dear WGPO Members,

Black Lives Matter! This phrase calls on our communities to acknowledge the reality of pervasive structural and individual racism and to combat it in all its forms. These turbulent times demand that we reflect on our biases, have difficult conversations, and take action to root out prejudice, bigotry, and injustice in our world.

Support Change: Although WGPO is simply an organization of gaming enthusiasts, we cannot ignore our moral responsibility to address injustice and, if necessary, make appropriate structural changes in our own organization. The WGPO Executive Committee (EC) and Board of Player Representatives (BPR) stand in solidarity with members of the Black Lives Matter movement in their efforts to eliminate racism in North America. To support these efforts, we have made individual donations to various local and national groups doing this important work. If you feel called to join us, plenty of great organizations could use your financial support or volunteer efforts. As individuals we can support this movement.

WGPO Expectations: As a member-run gaming organization, our mission is to foster an open, safe, and welcoming environment where players can expect to be treated with consideration and respect regardless of race, religion, age, disability, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression. We take this part of our Tournament Expectations seriously, and ask players to report any issues of bias, harassment, or discrimination at a WGPO event to a tournament director or a member of the BPR or EC as soon as possible. Find a list of BPR and EC members at http://wordgameplayers.org/about/contact-us/

Your Input Wanted: However, we recognize that there is still work we can do to meet our commitment to eliminate racism and other types or bigotry in our organization. To this end, we have developed a short survey to solicit feedback. It will include open-ended questions asking you to share your experiences with WGPO and the broader Scrabble community; and to recommend specific actions the WGPO community can take to meet these goals. It is especially important to hear from persons of color, and members of other traditionally underrepresented groups. Your responses are anonymous. You can fill out the WGPO Survey on Inclusion here by July 10th, 2020. An executive summary that removes any personally identifying details will be shared with the BPR, EC, and membership. Suggestions are always welcome by email at ec@wordgameplayers.org or on our Facebook page.

Finally, we want to acknowledge and support the recent statement by John Chew, CEO of the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) on the Black Lives Matter movement. Following his statement, he also included a proposal to remove certain slurs from the list of acceptable words used in NASPA tournament play. Members of NASPA’s leadership have invited feedback from those interested in Scrabble, regardless of organizational membership. Here is a link to their survey: NASPA Survey on Removing Slurs. Members of the WGPO leadership are following this discussion, and encourage our membership to add their voice to this discussion if they haven’t already.

The Executive Committee (Deborah Baggett, Mike Johnson, and Steve Pellinen)
The Board of Player Representatives (Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Maurice Ross, Susi Tiekert)

Remember Tournaments? Try one online

Feeding America LogoFrom Bennett Jacobstein:

Until the time when we can once again have in-person Scrabble(r) tournaments, we will be hosting a “Last Saturday of the Month” virtual tournament on ISC.  The tournaments will serve as a fundraiser for Feeding America.  A donation of $10, if you are able, would be greatly appreciated.  If you are not familiar with playing on-line Scrabble on ISC, click here for an introductory video.  The tournament flyer has complete information

Word Cup 10 Rescheduled – August 7-11, 2021

We are excited to announce the rescheduled dates for Word Cup 10 in Naperville, IL for August 7-11th, 2021! We will be updating our flyer in the coming days, but you can expect most of the details to remain the same except for the dates. We will be at the same announced venue, the DoubleTree by Hilton in Naperville-Lisle, for the same announced hotel rates (breakfast included). The main event will still be 31 games over 5 days and will include both TWL and CSW divisions. There will also be an early bird event on August 6th.

We appreciate everyone’s support over the past few months. Rescheduling this event has not been ideal, but we are confident it was the correct decision to protect our community during this pandemic. We recognize that the future of the pandemic is still unsettled, and WGPO will continue to monitor the situation. But we are hopeful that by next summer we will be able to gather again in person to play our favorite game.
Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson
Word Cup Ten Directors

Another Cancellation – Portland’s 31st Annual won’t happen

Well, we did it for 30 years.  Karen Merrill started the ball rolling and several of us have done our best to keep it going.  But we’re getting older and don’t seem to be attracting youngsters ready to take over.  The pandemic is something we’d rather not deal with.  We’ll miss you all come this Labor Day Weekend.  But maybe next year?

Word Cup Cancelled for July 2020

Dear Friends,

With sadness, the WGPO Executive Committee and Board of Player Representatives have voted to cancel this year’s Word Cup event in Naperville, IL due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our intention is to reschedule in Naperville, IL for Summer 2021, and we are currently in discussions with the Doubletree by Hilton Lisle-Naperville regarding alternate dates. We expect to announce new dates in May, if things go smoothly.

We recognize that canceling Word Cup will be disappointing. Many of you have already made travel/hotel arrangements and will need to cancel them. Luckily, most major airlines are offering to waive change fees for this summer’s travel, but some require you to act soon. We encourage you to check with your airlines to find out what options they have available.

The Word Cup Directors will be reaching out to those who have already sent in registrations in the coming week. All entry fees and donations will be either returned or held and applied to Word Cup 2021, your choice.

Thanks to everyone for your patience during this pandemic. We look forward to the time where we can gather again to play the game we love. Stay safe until that time.


The Executive Committee, Board of Player Representatives, and Word Cup Directors