WESPA rules version 3 applies to all tournaments and divisions. The full version of WESPA Rules can be downloaded on WESPA website.

Please click here to download basic game rules.

Highlight of some important rules

Note: This summary is not itself a set of rules. The complete rules can be found at

Before starting: Records of previous games must not be visible. The non-starting player may choose the position of the timer. Both players must check there are 100 tiles.

Absent from the table: If you are absent, the Tournament Director (TD) may start your timer. If you arrive with less than 15 minutes remaining, you may choose to play, or forfeit - meaning your opponent wins, with 100 points spread. If you arrive after your time expires, you MUST forfeit the game.

Starting timer: Start your opponent’s timer when they draw the first tile from the bag.

The bag: When drawing tiles, the bag must be at eye level. Your opponent must always be able to see the bag. Look away. Show an open hand before entering the bag.

Counting tiles: You may put your hand into the bag to count tiles, unless your opponent is having their move and needs the bag. Announce your intention first. Keep the bag at eye level, and look away. Show an open hand both before and after placing your hand in the bag. If you want to count tiles, and your opponent is taking too long selecting new tiles, you may stop the timer.

Order of play: To complete a turn, a player must, in this order

  1. Place the tiles on the board and declare blanks on results slip
  2. Announce the score for the turn
  3. Press the timer
  4. Record the score for the turn and the cumulative score in the normal space on their score sheet
  5. Draw replacement tiles
  6. Tile tracking (if desired)
When the bag is empty, it is not necessary to record move scores or cumulative scores, once the bag is empty (until game finishes).
If your opponent tile-tracks before drawing replacement tiles, you may ask the TD to allocate you additional time.

End of turn: You may change a move, as long as the timer has not been pressed. After you press the timer, you cannot change the move – including the number of tiles to be exchanged, or the designation of blanks. Your turn finishes when you press the timer. If you forget to press the timer, and place your hand in the bag to get new tiles, your move is also over.

Accepting a turn: The opponent accepts the turn if they neither call “Hold”, nor issue a challenge, before the player removes a replacement tiles from the bag. Writing by the opponent does not affect acceptance of a turn.

Drawing replacement tiles: If the opponent has neither called “Hold” nor issued a challenge, the player may draw replacement tiles. The opponent’s right to call “Hold”, or issue a challenge, survives only until the player has removed the first replacement tile from the bag. Tiles may not be drawn until the players recorded the scores.

Flashdrawing: It is UNETHICAL! (This means the player fails to record score plus cumulative total, before drawing a replacement tiles, and the opponent has thus not had the chance to say “Hold” or “Challenge”.) The opponent should call the TD if they consider the player has drawn replacement tiles too quickly for the opponent reasonably to assess whether to call “Hold” or issue a challenge. The TD may then still allow a challenge even after a replacement tile is drawn.

Hold: Once a player has pressed the timer, the opponent must either accept or challenge the turn, or say “Hold” (leaving the timer running). If you think you may want to challenge your opponent’s play, say “Hold”, to stop them from drawing tiles. If you then decide to challenge, you now stop the timer. If your opponent call “hold” for over 30 seconds, you may draw and view replacement tiles – but these remain face down on the table until you have accepted the move, or a challenge has been resolved. If you decide not to challenge, say “Accept” or “Okay”.
You should not challenge words that are obviously valid to gain thinking time, nor call “Hold” solely to prevent your opponent from drawing. Such behaviour are unethical and the Tournament Director may impose penalties accordingly.

Challenge: Wait until opponent presses the timer before challenging. Once you stop your opponent’s timer, you cannot withdraw a challenge. If your opponent starts to take new tiles, you cannot withdraw a challenge. If your opponent starts to take new tiles without pressing the timer, you may then “Challenge”, if you want.

Exchanging: Before exchanging tiles, check there are at least seven tiles in the bag. Announce “Exchange”, plus the number of tiles to be changed. Place these tiles face down on the table, and then start your opponent’s timer. Draw replacement tiles, and place on your rack. Then return discarded tiles to bag.
Note: Changing is only allowed when there are 7 or more tiles in the bag.

Blanks: State which letter the blank represents, and record it on the result slip. Do not pronounce the whole word. If your opponent fails to record the blank, switch the timer back to them, until they do so.

Overdrawn tiles (x + 2 rule): Declare the overdraw, and neutralize the timer. If no new tiles have touched your rack, place the new tiles face down on the table, and your opponent selects excess tiles plus two (up to the maximum number drawn), turns them face up and chooses the excess tile(s) to return to the bag. If any new tile has touched your rack, all tiles on the rack plus all new tiles are placed face down on the table. Your opponent selects excess tiles plus two, turns them face up and chooses excess tiles to return to the bag.

Timers: The timer may only be stopped during the game, when:

In your turn only: These actions may only be done during YOUR turn:

  1. Rotating the board (if turning board is used in your game)
  2. Placing tiles on the board
  3. Verifying the score

Ending the game: When you play your final move, pause the timer, and if:

Six zeros: The game ends when there are six successive scores of zero resulting from passes, exchanges, or challenges.

Tiles Remaining: When one player has played out, his or her score is increased by twice the value of the opponent’s unplayed tiles, and the opponent’s score is unchanged. If neither player is able to play out, each player’s final score is reduced by the total value of the tiles on his or her rack.

Overtime: You have gone overtime if you use up your 25-minute game time. Subtract 10 points for each minute, or part thereof, by which the limit was exceeded. If you run 10 minutes overtime, your game is forfeited. Call the Tournament Director.

Scores: Both players must record the score for each turn and the cumulative (total) score (except when the bag is empty). Check the cumulative scores every three or four moves (not every move as this disrupts opponent’s play).

Leaving the playing area: Players must obtain the Tournament Director’s permission to leave the playing area during a game.
In case of emergencies, players may leave the playing area without permission. The opponent must alert the Tournament Director immediately if this occurs.

Complaints or Report on cheating: You should draw the attention of the Tournament Director as soon as possible when you suspect anyone (not limited to your opponent) is cheating, conducting an unethical behaviour or attempting to do so. The Tournament Director will investigate the case on its own merits.

Players Pairing Mechanism

The Tournament will adopt Random Draw, Australian Swiss Draw, King-of-the-Hill (KOTH) and Round Robin in different rounds. You may refer to the Tournament Details for more information.

Random Draw

When Random Draw is used, the players in the same division will be paired up random by the computer program. They will not face the opponent they have faced before unless otherwise specified.

Australian Swiss Draw and King-of-the-Hill

The players in the same division will be paired up according to the cumulative win and spread before that round (i.e. 1st vs 2nd, 3rd vs 4th, and so on…).

If Australian Swiss Draw is being used, players will not play against players played in the previous rounds unless otherwise specified. If King-of-the-Hill is being used, no adjustment will be made.


Rank Player Wins Spread
1 Chan Hok Hei 3 +430
2 Wong Siu Ki 2 +298
3 Wong Wai Ho 2 +113
4 Cheung Siu Kwan 2 +52
5 Lee Kwan Yee 2 +120
6 Ho Ka Wai 1 +15
If Chan Hok Hei (#1) and Wong Siu Ki (#2) has competed in a few rounds before:

Round Robin

Players will play against all the players in the same division group.