January 30, 2011

North American Scrabble players' last names ranked by Scrabble score

For a time, I played competitive Scrabble. I even won a couple of tournaments. I don't play very much these days, what with a new baby and being busy changing the world and all.

But as a lark, I decided to try something: ranking Scrabble players' last names by using Scrabble's own scoring system. I figured my last name, with three Z's (30 points), two C's (6 points), and a K (5 points), would make me very competitive.

So I downloaded the full list of Scrabble players from the North American Scrabble Players Association. Then I ran a couple of Unix commands and wrote a quick Python script to find the answer.

Here's are the Unix commands and the full source code of the script (don't blink):

`cat current_2011-01.txt | awk '{print $1}' > current_2011-01-2.txt
time ./scrabble_last_names.py > current_2011-01-3.txt
more current_2011-01-3.txt | sort | uniq | sort -nr | head -30

letter_values = {'A':1, 'B':3, 'C':3, 'D':2, 'E':1, 'F':4, 'G':2, 'H':4, 'I':1, 'J':8, 'K':5, 'L':1, 'M':3, 'N':1,
'O':1, 'P':3, 'Q':10, 'R':1, 'S':1, 'T':1, 'U':1, 'V':4, 'W':4, 'X':8, 'Y':4, 'Z':10, '-':0, "'":0}

rows = open('current_2011-01-2.txt').readlines()
for row in rows:
sum = 0
row = row[:-1]
for letter in row:
sum = sum + letter_values[letter]
print sum, row
`

And the results of the top 30 last names, with their respective Scrabble scores, are listed below. I was right to think I was competitive. ;-)

52 SZCZEPANCZYK 48 PRZYBYSZEWSKI 43 MROCZKIEWICZ 42 MIKOLAJCZYK 41 ZXQKJ 41 KAZMIEROWICZ 38 JANOTA-BZOWSKI 37 ZMORZYNSKI 37 VAZQUEZ 36 KRAWCZYNSKI 35 SZYMKOWIAK 34 MARTINEZ-WOMBOLD 34 KLEMASZEWSKI 34 IMPELLIZZERI 34 GAJDEROWICZ 34 EZEKOWITZ 34 CZERNIKOWSKI 34 CRAWFORD-MACKAY 33 SCHECKWITZ 32 SUJJAYAKORN 32 SCHWARTZBERG 32 NAHACZEWSKI 32 MATLOCK-WASHINGTON 32 JANKOWITZ 32 GRZYBOWSKI 32 GIOVINAZZO 31 ZEBOVITZ 31 ROHATYNSKYJ 31 QUACKENBUSH 31 MACQUEEN-SMITH

Some thoughts:

  • Polish names dominate. By my assessment, the top four, eight of the top ten, and 15 of the top 30 scores are Polish -- what with a preponderance of Z's, that's little surpriZe. ;-)

  • Having a hyphenated last name also helps; of the top 30, four have hyphenated last names; the leading hyphenated last name (JANOTA-BZOWSKI) has both hyphenated parts being Polish.

  • I won; good thing I studied hard. Cue Queen.

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