I kid you not:
Halpern, D.F., & Wai, J. (2007). The world of competitive Scrabble: Novice and expert differences in visuospatial and verbal vbilities. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 13(2), 79-94.
Competitive Scrabble players spend a mean of 4.5 hr a week memorizing words from the official Scrabble dictionary. When asked if they learn word meanings when studying word lists, only 6.4% replied “always,” with the rest split between “sometimes” and “rarely or never.” Number of years of play correlated positively with expertise ratings, suggesting that expertise develops with practice. To determine the effect of hours of practice (M = 1,904), the authors compared experts with high-achieving college students on a battery of cognitive tests. Despite reporting that they usually memorize word lists without learning meanings, experts defined more words correctly. Reaction times on a lexical decision task (controlling for age) correlated with expertise ratings, suggesting that experts develop faster access to word identification. Experts’ superiority on visuospatial processing was found for reaction time on 1 of 3 visuospatial tests. In a study of memory for altered Scrabble boards, experts outperformed novices, with differences between high and low expertise on memory for boards with structure-deforming transformations. Expert Scrabble players showed superior performance on selected verbal and visuospatial tasks that correspond to abilities that are implicated in competitive play.
There’s actually something to this. They hypothesize that expert Scrabble players will remember the words that the spend 4 hours a week memorizing through a representation of the word form only, and not the representation of word meaning. As the results described in the abstract suggest, however, even the Scrabble experts who say they don’t look at meanings when memorizing words do better than “high-achieving college students” on a task requiring them to define words. I guess that’s kinda cool. And in the discussion, they write:
At the same time, experts learn to attend to and utilize visuospatial arrays on the board. Working memory is often conceptualized as relatively independent pools of resources (e.g., Logie, 1995; Shah & Miyake, 1996), one for verbal or phonological tasks and one for visuospatial tasks, which makes competitive Scrabble, with its reliance on both skills, an excellent paradigm for understanding how these two types of resources are developed and utilized. (p. 92-93)
I guess so.