As of Sunday night, Mr. Richards’s competitive Scrabble record stood at 2,758 wins, 833 losses and 11 draws, making him the world’s second-best Scrabble player in the global rankings, behind Ganesh Asirvatham of Malaysia.
An attempt to reach Mr. Richards on Monday was unsuccessful.
In 2015, his mother, Adrienne Fischer, told The Guardian that he did not pick up Scrabble until he was 28, and only at her request.
Ms. Fischer said he did not expect him to be very good at it because he could never spell well and had not been a particularly good student in English class.
“When he was learning to talk, he was not interested in words, just numbers,” she told the newspaper. “He related everything to numbers. We just thought it was normal. We’ve always just treated Nigel as Nigel.”
But Howard Warner, a fellow competitive Scrabble player from New Zealand, told The Guardian he attributed Mr. Richards’s abilities to a photographic memory and rare mathematical skills.
Incidentally, Merriam-Webster defines the word “zonular” as “of, relating to, or affecting an anatomical zone.”