Updated WGPO Tournament Rules

Updated WGPO Sanctioned Tournament Requirements

Effective: January 2, 2022

Requirement #3 Amended effective:  April 1, 2022

These requirements amend and supersede Updated Tournament Rules issued by the Board of Player Representatives (BPR), effective  September 1 – December 31, 2021. Rules apply to sanctioned in person tournament play only. Standards for resuming local WGPO Club play shall be determined by individual clubs and directors.

Variants of the COVID virus, Delta and Omicron, have evolved. Because viruses constantly change through mutation, new variants are also expected to occur.  WGPO requirements are based on Center for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, updated November 19, 2021, and advice from Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the latter summarized here:  Canadian Recommendations.

1.   Directors shall conduct Tournaments that comply with federal, state and local health directives including Canadian, provincial and territorial directives.

2.   All tournament participants must be both fully-vaccinated for COVID-19 and have also received COVID-19 booster(s) as recommended by the CDC and/or National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI – Canada).  A booster is not required if the participant is not yet eligible to receive a booster. Either a printed or electronic copy of COVID 19 vaccine plus booster must be presented to tournament director at time of registration.

3.   Participants are required to wear masks at all indoor tournaments with greater than forty participants during tournament time.  Masks are optional in tournaments of forty or fewer participants if the tournament is held in a county where the CDC has designated the Community COVID-19 level as low at the time of the tournament.


The tournament director retains the option to require masks regardless of tournament size.
Masks are not required at tournaments held in private residences or outdoors.

4.   Tournaments shall be held in venues away from public or congested areas, e.g., in a separate hall or room in a restaurant, community center, hotel, private home, etc.

5.   On the day of the tournament, each participant shall attest by signature to the following:

·        I do not currently have COVID-19 symptoms.

·        I am assuming all risks of attending the tournament.

·        I have fully cleaned and sanitized all equipment to be used in play.

·        I will practice safe hygiene and follow COVID-19 safety precautions.

6.   Directors shall provide hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes to participants.


WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes March 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm CST.

AttendingSteve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein.

1. Approval of Minutes

Correction – Include Steve Pellinen as a 2022 Word Cup Director/Staff member.

Action: Amend February 6, 2022 Minutes.  Agenda item #3 – Reimbursing Word Cup Directors/StaffThe Board agreed to reimburse expenses for Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson and Steve Pellinen for Word Cup 2022.

2. Website update: WGPO tournaments are now listed on Cross-Tables. Charles and Thomas Reinke have already contacted Seth Lipkin to make sure that they are coordinating efforts and sharing information about the WGPO website revisions under development.

3. Donation Funds and Other Funding: WGPO annual funds are provided by the Carter Chapman Shreve Family Foundation (CCSFF), and we have been asked to use the official name or acronym when referencing the donation.
Steve Pellinen talked with Rick Wong, former Board member who has managed the Geezer Prize funds for several years. Rick will look into transferring the Geezer funds to the WGPO treasury.

4. WGPO/CoCo Word Cup update, fundraising, logos: The gold cup logo will be used for TWL WGPO materials, and the purple cup is the CoCo logo for 2022. The Board will ask Mike Johnson for the art work he had done for the Springfield Word Cup – a cup pouring out tiles – to consider reusing it in the future.

5. Insurance: The WGPO liability insurance policy is effective beginning March 18, in time to cover the Green Eye. Cost is $2,200/year and covers WGPO sanctioned tournaments in the United States, but it does not cover Canadian tournaments.

Steve explained that the insurance does not cover WGPO Scrabble clubs. Insurance is not feasible because of the many and varied club meeting locations, meeting schedules, and members attending.

6. Finances:

Steve is working out several financial procedures for our new corporation, but Jan and Laurie will also be involved in financial management. Redundancy is especially important in this area.

WGPO was incorporated in May 2021 and must file tax form 990 for 2021.

Entry funds must be to WGPO, or transferred to WGPO. Bennett and Steve summarized the process used for Phoenix.

Steve asked the Board to authorize covering the PayPal service fees for all tournaments for several reasons: (1) It simplifies the math – for prizes it’s easier to use the nominal entry fee amounts like $160 rather than $154.68. (2) It avoids annoying players who need a refund if they have to drop out – their refund is $160 instead of $154.68. (3) PayPal service fees are not consistent. (4) The amount is not much and can be covered out of the CCSFF fund as it directly affects the prize fund. A tournament with 30 players would have another $100 – 200 in the prize pool.

Action: Board agreed to cover PayPal fees for tournaments as part of expenses.

7. School Scrabble – WGPO Board agreed to donate up to $10,000 to help with expenses for the May 13-15 Washington D.C. School Scrabble tournament to be held at Planet Word.  Will reported that the event will have a middle school age division and a high school division.  WGPO representatives met with Megan McCort, Hasbro representative.  WGPO will sign the contract with the facility so that our insurance covers the event.  Hasbro is also providing financial support for the event. NASPA has agreed to have a NASPA Director for the event.

Note: Stefan Fatsis has an article in the Wall Street Journal about the new Hasbro CEO.

8. Reimbursing Directors of Major Tournaments: Board members discussed the expenses that Directors incur for major tournaments. In the past Word Cup Directors have had lodging provided and some travel costs.
Members noted that WGPO has lost some active tournament Directors, due to age, illness or personal considerations. We need more directors involved, and WGPO should provide incentives for the important work that they do.
Action: Approve reimbursement for Directors of 4 major WGPO tournaments (Word Cup + three regional tournaments), to cover travel expenses (capped at $500) and lodging (Jan Cardia/Laurie Cohen).

9. Messages/Announcements for Membership: The Board discussed whether or not to have a vetting process for comments on the WGPO Facebook page. Deborah Baggett monitors the site well. Consensus was to take no action at this time.

10. Tournament Age and Health Considerations: Board members discussed the need to allocate additional tournament time for members with health issues. We currently allow an extra five minutes for players with certain health concerns. Some also have conditions that may require bathroom breaks mid-game. Rules will address such issues. Board members concurred that when a player urgently needs to leave the playing room, the clock may be stopped.

11. Donation to Cross-tables: Board members expressed appreciation to Seth Lipkin for including WGPO tournaments on Cross-table.

Action: Approve annual donation of $200 to Cross-tables (Bennet/Jan)

12. Rules Committee: Jan suggested that Rules Committee members be onsite at major tournaments to offer authoritative second opinions.

13. Word Cup 11 and 2022-2023 Tournaments:  In advance of the Board meeting, Bennett outlined a WGPO 2022-2023 Tournament Tour Proposal.  Detailed discussion and suggestions followed.  Topics included the possibility of additional co-hosting these events with CoCo. There may also be prize money for the overall tour winner based on a formula Will is working on. Will is also looking into the possibility of Scopely adding prize funding.

Action:  Board members approved the following:

* WGPO will run four major tournaments (including the Word Cup). Each stop will be in a  different region of the country.

* CCSFF Foundation prize money will be provided at each of the events.
* Each tournament except for the Word Cup will be 20 games. The Word Cup will remain 31 games.
* Tournament directors will be reimbursed for expenses: travel (capped at $500) and lodging. Tournament directors will also have free entry to one WGPO major tournament that they are not directing.
* The tentative 2022 – 2023 schedule is:

Indigenous Peoples’ Day Weekend (October 8-10, 2022) – Midwest Stop

Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 18-20, 2023) – West Stop

Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-29, 2023) – South Stop

Late July or early August 2023 – Word Cup – Northeast Stop

14. Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm CST (Steve Pellinen/Laurie Cohen).


Thank You, VanRands

Barbara VanAlen and Larry Rand have retired from directing after many years and many tournaments.  Bennett Jacobstein organized and directed this year’s Phoenix President’s Weekend tournament.  A highlight was a tribute to Barbara and Larry.  Laurie Cohen gathered thank yous and pictures from many players, put them in scrapbooks and presented them to the couple.  Here is a link to an electronic version:  Scrapbook

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting – February 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:38 pm CST.

Attending: Steve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein.

1. WGPO Visibility and Website update Steve said talked with Charles and Thomas Reinke and is happy with the work they have completed: membership system improvements, website visual revamp and expanded statistical features. They will continue with their updates and plan to demonstrate the site in the near future.

Steve noted that WGPO will pay the Reinkes a nominal fee for their services.

Board members then discussed WGPO logo branding. Will said Conrad would do so for a very nominal fee. Will and Conrad will pitch ideas to Scopely as well.

2. Shreve donation Funds/Word Cup: Board members discussed whether or not to increase the estimated Shreve amount to be allocated to Word Cup prizes this year. In January, the Board approved using $50,000 total of those funds, allocating $10,000 each for TWL and Collins 1st place prizes from that total. Members declined a suggestion to increase total Word Cup to $60,000, making each top prize $15,000 from the Shreve funds. Members followed by listing other needs for funds – other tournaments, youth Scrabble. Note: Winter donated $1,000 Collins top prize. Additional individual or group, as earmarked, could increase prize funds.

3. Reimbursing Word Cup Directors/Staff: Board members noted that Tournament Directors volunteer time and also incur expenses, especially for larger tourneys. WGPO could either provide a per diem payment to Word Cup Directors or reimburse expenses. The per diem option entails more complex recordkeeping and tax accounting. The Board agreed to reimburse expenses for Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson and Steve Pellinen for Word Cup 2022. Board members considered director costs incurred, especially for multi-day tournaments. As we plan regional tournaments, WGPO may need to import Directors and – at a minimum – reimburse their travel, meal and lodging expenses. Board members discussed the importance of directors to the organization. At a minimum they should be able to recoup expenses.

4. WGPO/CoCo Relationship: The Board discussed differences between WGPO and CoCo. While the CoCo organization’s mission is to grow Collins lexicon usage, WGPO as an organization supports whatever lexicon(s) its members democratically adopt. Some WGPO members, including Board members, belong to both organizations. Both organizations are working to increase support and visibility for Scrabble. Coordinated events such as Word Cup serve those purposes.

5. Phoenix tourney financial assistance Larry Rand and Barbara VanAlen retired as long-time directors of the popular Phoenix tournament. Bennett Jacobstein stepped in this year. Bennett identified high venue expenses and fewer than anticipated players attending. As a result, the budget will allow only about 60% of entry fees for prize funds. Board members noted that, when possible, WGPO tournaments have returned 100% of entry fees in prize funds. For Phoenix, $1,500 additional would mean returning 80% in prize money to player.

Action: The Board unanimously approved providing $1,500 to help fund the Phoenix tournament (Jan Cardia/Steve Pellinen).

6. Finances: Steve reported that discrepancies in the 2021 General Ledger were found and corrected. Everything is balanced and accurate and can be used with confidence for yearend reports and returns.

Current year through January is balanced, and Steve provided the Board with an example consolidated report. Going forward, he plans to publish standard financial reports (Balance Sheet, Income Statement) on a quarterly basis for anyone to review. He will also provide specific reports as needed.

Steve summarized efforts with PayPal. They have not yet granted his request for WGPO status as a nonprofit company in order to slightly reduce service fees. He will continue to try to resolve issues.

7. Insurance Steve received quotes for General Liability Insurance and Directors and Officers Insurance in the amounts of $1,512.00 and $602.00 per year, respectively. However, this does not cover our chapter locations around the country, and nothing in Canada. Steve needs to clarify our operations to the underwriters. He will continue to pursue this.

8. Gene’s Tyszka Supplies: Gene Tyszka (GeneTimer) is donating timers Scrabble clocks – and boards to WGPO. He is also selling surplus materials to make boards. Action: Members unanimously approved Steve’s recommendation to provide $400 to purchase 100 plastic Board grids and other Board supplies. Gene will send them with the donated materials.

9. School Scrabble: Steve and Will reported on the state of affairs for School Scrabble. Steve was invited to meet with Stefan Fatsis, Will Anderson and Caroline Henley. That group (and Cornelia Guest and Ben Greenwood) are planning to hold a School Scrabble championship with 100 -120 players at Planet Word Museum in Washington D.C. the weekend of April 22, 2022.

Scopely would like to support the Planet Word activity but is a licensee of Hasbro, therefore must await Hasbro’s plans. Will provided School Scrabble background, NASPA past involvement, Hasbro relationship, and resources needed for success.

The WGPO Board discussed possible WGPO involvement this year, including funding assistance, tournament staff and/or directing. Will and Steve emphasized that Planet Word D.C. organizers need financial support to help with event expenses.

Steve will contact Planet Word organizers to discuss their initiatives and needs.

Action: The Board unanimously approved allocating up to $10,000 WGPO funds to help with expenses for the Planet Word event.

NOTE: Board members discussed appointing a WGPO committee focused on school Scrabble, perhaps modeled on the Philly program that Caroline runs through an organization called ASAP (After School Activities Programs). It includes hundreds of kids in all grades playing Scrabble. WGPO would hope to benefit from and coordinate with those who have experience and teaching materials, rather than try to start a Youth Scrabble initiative from scratch.

10. Tournament schedule strategy Bennett surveyed WGPO directors and found very few planning to hold larger tournaments. Laurie noted that additional WGPO support for directors is a factor for her to reconsider plans. Recent WGPO actions should encourage more tournament planning. The Board’s recent announcement offering up to $2,000 to offset unexpected loss of revenue from last minute cancellations is another sign of dedicated support. Offering to reimburse expenses and/or import in director help is another effective step. Bennett was encouraged to continue plans to identify regional tournament locations and venues.

11. Word Cup 11 location: In previous years, the Board announced the next year’s site at the Word Cup. When Chicago was selected for Word Cup 2019 (postponed until 2022), planners suggested Albuquerque a subsequent location. However, no action to determine Word Cup 2023 has been taken. Board members agreed that determining the next Word Cup event is a high priority.

12. Additional Agenda Items: The meeting adjourned before the following topics were discussed:

* Messages or announcements for the membership. Should we have a vetting process?

* WGPO lexicon – time to get moving on it? – Bennett

* Rules Committee: RC members on site for authoritative second opinions?

13. Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:35 pm CST (Motion: Helen Flores/Laurie Cohen).

Helen Flores, Secretary

Word Cup 10 Registration Now Open

Exciting news announcements about Word Cup 10 in Chicagoland this July 9-13, 2022. The 10th installment of our 31-game championship Main Event is one you won’t want to miss.

1) Thanks in large part to a generous donation from the Jon Shreve Family Foundation, we are announcing a prize of at least $10,000 for both the TWL and Collins top division champions!

2) WGPO will be co-hosting the Collins division of the Word Cup with the Collins Coalition. This will be a great way to reach out to a wider audience of Collins players and should significantly increase the size of our CSW division!

3) The Collins division will be WESPA-rated. This will be WGPO’s first ever WESPA-rated event!

Electronic registration for Word Cup 10 is now open and you can find more information and links to the flyers at

WGPO Upcoming Tournaments

Because of increased interest, there will be a player cap of 250 players across all divisions. We expect this tournament to fill quickly, so sign up early to reserve your spot!

We hope to see you in Chicagoland this July!

The Word Cup 10 Directors