Richards is the most successful World Scrabble Champion, having emerged at the World Scrabble Championship in 2007 and 2011 and the then-renamed Scrabble Champions Tournament in 2013. He is also the only player to have been World Champion more than once. He is a five-time U.S. national champion, an eight-time UK Open champion, an 11-time champion of the Singapore Open Scrabble Championship and a 13-time winner of the King's Cup in Bangkok, the world's biggest Scrabble competition. Upon winning the French World Scrabble Championship in 2015, he made headlines by becoming the first player to be World Champion in both English and French, despite not speaking French fluently.
As a player, Richards is renowned for his superior photographic memory of words and mathematical skills. An avid cyclist, he is rarely interviewed, often saying very little when answering questions.
Richards started playing competitive Scrabble at New Zealand's Christchurch Scrabble Club. Since beginning his competitive career in 1997, he has won about 75% of his tournament games, collecting an estimated USD200,000 in prize money. In 2000 Richards moved to Malaysia.
Richards won the World Scrabble Championship and earned USD 15,000 by winning a playoff, 3 games to 0, against Ganesh Asirvatham of Malaysia. The two qualified for the playoff by leading a field of 104 international experts after 24 rounds of a tournament held 9–12 November in Mumbai, India.
Richards won the USA National Scrabble Championship and earned USD25,000 by winning his last three games against the runner-up, 1998 champion Brian Cappelletto, for a record of 22 wins and 6 losses, with a cumulative spread of 1340 points.
Richards was the runner-up in the USA National Scrabble Championship in Dayton, Ohio, losing to Dave Wiegand but still winning 25 of the 31 matches.
Richards won the USA National Scrabble Championship in Dallas, Texas, again winning 25 games. His performance in this tournament was so dominant that he clinched the title before the last day of competition began.
He repeated his success in the World Scrabble Championship in Warsaw, Poland, winning a closely fought final against Australia's top player, Andrew Fisher.
Richards won the USA National Scrabble Championship in Dallas, Texas, winning 22 games, including his final two, to hold off a number of challengers.
Richards won the WGPO Word Cup in Bloomington, Minnesota, winning 24 of 31 games, four more than the second-place player.
Richards won the USA National Scrabble Championship, in Orlando, Florida, winning 22 of 31 games. To win the title, Richards had to defeat past champion David Gibson by at least 170 points in the final game; he won it by 177 points. At the time of the victory, Richards became the only person to have won the event four times, as well as the only player to have won it in three consecutive years.
Richards won 24 of 31 games to finish first at the National Scrabble Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, in July. The championship was not decided until the last game. Though he lost the game to Komol Panyasophonlert, Richards kept the score close enough to retain the title for a record fourth consecutive time (and record fifth overall).
He became World Champion for a third time, beating Panyasophonlert in the final; as of 2013, the World Championship has been renamed the Scrabble Champions Tournament and will be held annually.
On July 20, Richards won the nonduplicate portion of the 2015 French World Scrabble Championship in Belgium after two months of studying the French lexicon. He does not speak French. He won 14 of the preliminary 17 games before defeating the 2014 runner-up Schélick Ilagou Rekawe in the final, two games to one. In the duplicate (rarely played in English, but played in French since 1972) he finished second, just one point behind the winner, Switzerland's David Bovet.Three-time World Scrabble Championship winner (2007, 2011, 2013)
One-time Classique French World Scrabble Championship winner (2015)
One-time Blitz Duplicate French World Scrabble Championship winner (2017)
One-time Elite Duplicate French World Scrabble Championship winner (2017)
One-time Paires French World Scrabble Championship winner with Hervé Bohbot (FR) (2017)
Five-time USA National Scrabble Championship winner (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013)
Eleven-time Thailand International (King's Cup) winner (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015)
Three-time Thailand International (King's Cup) second (1999, 2005, 2008)
Eleven-time Singapore Open Scrabble Championship winner (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014)
Eight-time UK Open winner (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017)