Covering the pink star

We just played a game in which the first player's word was successfully challenged and so had to be removed.

I realize that the spirit of the rules imply that the second player's word should then cover the pink star, but what the rules ACTUALLY say is that the first player has to cover it (which of course they had before having to remove their word).

Would this mean that the second player could play anywhere?

A good question. Actually, there are loads of specific situations like this that aren't covered explicitly in the box rules. They can't be because the rules would then stretch to a 20+ page document that few 'lounge room' players would ever bother reading.

In fact, for official Scrabble tournaments the rules HAVE been fleshed out in this way to cover all sorts of eventualities like the one you describe. In those official rules, the second player must cover the pink square or else their word can also be challenged off.

As you say, this ruling is in the 'spirit' of the rule specified in the box.

If you're interested in seeing how long and tedious the rules get when you start being explicit about all these sorts of things, you might find it amusing to take a look at the official Scrabble rules created by the World English Scrabble Players Association (WESPA) for use in international Scrabble tournaments.

Now there's a fun holiday read ;-)

Here's the rule from that document that relates to your question...

3.10.16 Challenging Word Placement
(a) A player may challenge a turn on the grounds that a word has been placed illegally.
Illegal word placements include, but are not limited to:
(i) failure to cover the centre square on the opening play;

Here the term 'opening play' does not refer to the 'first' play - it could refer to a subsequent play, if earlier moves were challenged off.

Phew! I think we're done here ;-)

Hope that's helpful,

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