Full rules for this type of play can be found on the NSA website
Games at tournaments and at some other clubs are played by NSA rules.
The major differences are:
- Chess clocks are used to time the games. The chess clock, if
you are not familiar with it is a double-faced clock, which, during the game, is always running for the player placing the
word(s). It can be neutralized during challenges or to settle disputes. Each player gets 25 minutes to make all
his or her plays. You can "go over", but you will lose ten points from your score for every minute or fraction of a
minute that exceeds 25 minutes. IMPORTANT: announcing the score for your play and then hitting the clock starts
your opponent's time running -- this marks the definitive end of your turn. Before that, you may change your play.
Once you've hit the clock, you may not.
- Dictionaries and word lists may not be consulted during play.
- If you challenge your opponent's play, you must wait until after
he/she has hit the clock starting your time. Then, you must say "hold" BEFORE your opponent begins to draw new tiles.
While holding you can consider whether you will accept the play or challenge. You have time to think about it, but the
clock is running while you are considering. After considering, you may accept the word(s) or challenge the word(s).
If you are challenging, it is better to challenge all words, even those you believe are good. Remember only one of the
words needs to be unacceptable for the challenge to be good.
- When you decide to challenge put the clock to neutral. See
Challenges for procedure.
- Both players keep score for both players. You can check with
your opponent occassionally throughout the game, but only when it is your turn. Make sure that you both agree on each
other's scores. You do this verification with the clock running, however, you can stop the clock to resolve a disagreement.
- These games are always two-player games. If there is an uneven
number of players, there is an equitable system for taking turns sitting out for one game, so that each player has to sit
out only a couple of games per year.
- Players are paired randomly for the first round, and by performance
for subsequent games. Newcomers are not usually paired with the highest rated expert players until they have gotten
their feet wet.