Mind Sports Olympiad 2019 – Here Is What To Expect

The Mind Sports Olympiad, an international event for mental skills and mind sports, is celebrating its 23rd version at JW3 in London. From August 18th till the 26th, a dozen world championships and over 70 tournaments will take place. Keep reading to learn about what this year’s event has to offer game enthusiasts.

News Highlights

  • The Pentamind is getting its documentary just in time for the 2019 Olympiad.
  • Five new chess variants will be introduced at this year’s event.
  • New tiebreaks will help settle troublesome scores and produce the rightful champion.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: This news post has been updated with the latest information regarding the Mind Sports Olympiad 2019.

Read more about the Mind Sports Olympiad 2019 Winners below.

What is the Mind Sports Olympiad?

The event started as “the brainchild” of Tony Buzan, David Levy, and Raymond Keene, as the event manager Etan Ilfeld stated in his interview with OUSC. Ilfeld has been running the Mind Sports Olympiad since 2010 and this year marks his 10th anniversary.

The Mind Sports Olympiad features more than 60 different board game championships. Participants compete for the gold, silver, and bronze as they do in the far more famous Olympic Games. The games range from chess, poker, scrabble and backgammon to Catan, Liar’s Dice, Azul, and Dominoes.

Pentamind World Championship Documentary

Pentamind Championship Documentary Poster

Pentamind 2019 Poster

This year’s event is showcasing a documentary called Pentamind. Directed by Hassan Amini, the documentary premiered on August 6th and had an additional screening at JW3 on August 20th.

The story follows the lives of 5 past winners as they try to regain the Pentamind World Champion title. The documentary aims to present the event in all its glory, including the malicious world of competitive board gaming and its consequences.

Moreover, it draws a parallel with the contrasting party, the players that are doing it for love of the game and those who are seeking the glory of victory. After this month’s screening, it will go to several festivals and hopefully land global distribution next year.

What is the Pentamind?

The Pentamind World Championship is a unique event that celebrates the best all-round games player in the world. Any event at Mind Sports Olympiad can count towards that year’s Pentamind. Furthermore, the player with the highest top five scores is named the Pentamind World Champion.

The Game of Kings Gets a Remake

Chess, often referred to as the game of kings, is getting even more additions this year. According to the official announcement of 2019’s Chess Bonanza at the Mind Sports Olympiad, Color Chess is expected to be introduced on August 25th.

New Chess Variants

A new addition to this year’s event is the Chess Variants. Players expect to have their chess skills challenged in new and exciting ways. With the range of options at their disposal, there is hardly room for letdowns. Blitz, Chess Problem Solving (Puzzle), Exchange Chess, and Rapid are part of the championships.

While the gameplay mostly stays the same more or less, these clever additions are sure to turn more heads as their popularity spreads beyond the Mind Sports Olympiad.

Atomic Chess

This variant is said to be quite a bang, especially since its rules eliminate the moves check and checkmate. Each capture of an opponent’s piece causes an explosion in the square in question, removing both pieces and all other on orthogonal squares, with the exception of pawns.

Losing Chess

Losing Chess moves the boundaries of traditional gameplay even further away. The goal of the game is to lose all pieces, since you are supposed to capture a piece whenever possible.

Monster Chess

This is played with black starting with all their pieces, while white starts with a king and four pawns only. And still, simply because white gets the right to make two moves at a time, the game strikes just the right balance.

Exchange Chess

Bughouse, also known as Exchange Chess, is played in teams over two boards. Teammates can give each other captured pieces to place on their own board, with the first pair to checkmate winning the game.

Knight Relay

N-Relay Chess, also called Knight-Relay Chess, is played in modern chess variant circles. In this variant, a pawn guarded by a Knight of the same color is relayed the power to move as a Knight. This power adds to the usual power of the piece and lasts as long as the pawn is guarded by a Knight.

New Tiebreak System

The Swiss Perfect principle is being introduced this year as the best method in cases of pairing two-player games. Scrabble will not be subject to these rules as of yet, although the same cannot be said about Entropy and Backgammon.

This system is expected to enhance focus to keep the action as smooth as possible. Considering the novelty of the practice, monitoring and analyses will be conducted throughout the process. There is a possibility of future alterations.

Nevertheless, with all the mind power coming together at a single spot in London, resolving ties is bound to be more of a challenge than a hassle.

Celebrating the Diversity of Games

With so many new additions to this beloved tournament, the 2019 Mind Sports Olympiad is bound to be a success for all gaming enthusiasts. Check out the official Mind Sports Olympiad schedule and don’t miss any of the important events!

Last Winners Standing

Mind Sports Olympiad 2019 WinnersThe Pentamind is arguably the hottest topic of discussion at the Mind Sports Olympiads in the last couple of years. It has posed a challenge to the greatest minds from all over the world, helping the judges determine the best of the best.

This year, that title went to last year’s champion, Ankush Khandelwal. Winning the Gold medal on behalf of his homeland Britain, Ankush Khandelwal was officially declared the winner for the third time.

He was always in the top three, but last year and this year’s events proved most successful for the British competitor. He first won Gold back in the Junior League and seems to be ready for more to come.

Silver and Bronze Titles

The contestants from Estonia, Andres Kuusk and Martin Hobemagi came second and third, respectively. They too are no strangers to the top tier of the winning pedestal, with Kuusk having won the Pentamind Gold back in 2016, while Hobemagi in 2015.

The Memory Wiz Champion

This year’s Mind Sports Olympiad has proven rather exciting, with many other contestants achieving great feats with their mental skills. The Memory Champion, Andrea Muzii, for one, has drawn the attention of the global public with his short videos demonstrating his memory skills at work. Considering the records he managed to break, viewers are reasonably at a loss for words.


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Shelly Schiff

Shelly Schiff - Collaborator

Especially enjoys writing about casino and bingo, but she also has experience creating content about crypto and partnerships.

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