The Scripps National Spelling Bee has announced a new rule change to avoid ties between champions.
Last year's championship marked three consecutive years with co-champions. 11-year-old Nihar Janga and 13-year-old Jairam Hathwar were declared co-champions after 39 rounds of competition.
The following rule change was announced:
“Bee officials will administer a Tiebreaker Test to all spellers remaining in the competition at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 1. The test will consist of 12 spelling words, which spellers will handwrite, and 12 multiple choice vocabulary questions.
If it becomes mathematically impossible for a single champion to emerge victorious through the administration of a maximum 25 consecutive rounds involving three or fewer spellers, Bee officials will disclose the Tiebreaker Test scores of the remaining spellers. The judges will declare the speller with the highest score the Champion. In the event of a tie for the highest Tiebreaker Test score, the judges will declare the spellers with the tying highest scores co-champions.”