As touched upon in the past, knowing all of the possible words you can play is key to being a better Scrabble player. If you don't have the vocabulary, then you can't compete against the best of the best, and you'll never even get the chance to spar against professionals such as Nigel Richards, Joe Edley, Andrew Fisher, and Wayne Kelly.
Kelly recently won the UK's National Scrabble Championship, and afterwards spoke about the importance of knowing lots and lots of words, and the insignificance of actually knowing what those words meant. "It's hard enough to remember the words, let alone the definitions."
But for some players, it's actually the opposite, and they have a hard time remembering words unless they know their definitions. I'm one of those people. I need something more than just a word, I need a meaning to help me remember it, something for me to connect the dots. That's why I've been dishing out those Scrabble Bingo of the Days here on Scrabble World occasionally (everyday on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter).
The best place to start learning is the two-letter words; you can find all 101 (or 124) of them here with definitions, and you can test your skills here in this puzzle. Then you should work your way up to three-letter words.
After that, it's your choice which route you take, but it's probably best to go with words including high-point letters like J, Q, X, and Z. Then maybe four-letter words or skip to seven-letter or longer ones (bingos). Maybe you'd rather like to know all of the kinds of cheeses out there or words that end in -IZE or all of the word variations available. You could go in any direction.
You can find many different word list resources here.
Another way to learn? Playing. You can learn a lot of new words from your opponents and from computer players, but it's not a fast process. But there are types of Scrabble games out there that do speed up the process, as well as challenge the pace at which you form words.
This week's challenge is not a puzzle, but a game called Scrabble Rack Attack to help you learn new words and work on the speed at which you can find them. You get one rack of Scrabble tiles, and your goal is to come up with as many three- to seven-letter words as you can before time runs out. Then move onto other levels and see if you end up being a Master or a Neophyte. It's a great game for learning all that you can do with a single rack.
In this free online version, you can only play three rounds and can't actually see the words you missed. But you can figure it out by jotting down the letters before you start, then using a program like Zyzzyva to see what you missed afterwards, along with their definitions. This is actually better if you want to learn new words, because the more work you go through to find out the words you didn't get, the more likely you are to remember them in the future.
Of course, you don't have to—you can just play and have fun! After your three rounds are up, post your scores in the comments below!
Another game you can try out is Scrabble Sprint, which you can play here.
And here are the answers for last week's Scrabble Challenge #17:
Q: How many two- to five-letter words can you find using the letters TURKEY?
A: There are 31 acceptable words that can be found using OWL. They are: ER, ET, KEY, KUE, KYE, KYTE, RE, RET, RUE, RUT, RYE, RYKE, TREK, TREY, TRUE, TRY, TURK, TUYER, TYE, TYER, TYKE, TYRE, UKE, UT, UTE, YE, YERK, YET, YEUK, YUK, and YURT. In the CSW lexicon, there's 13 more possibilities: ERK, EUK, KET, KY, KYU, TE, TRYE, TRYKE, UEY, UR, URE, YU and YUKE.
And bonus points for anyone who found all of the food-related words in TURKEY, which were ET (past tense of eat), KET (carrion), KY (cows), RYE (a cereal grass), and URE (wild ox).