What is the Mind Sports Olympiad?

The Mind Sports Olympiad was held in Central London last month, its 17th year; the event was founded in 1997 by chess author and artificial intelligence developer David Levy. It has been run ever since by chess organiser Tony Corfe and his small but dedicated team. MSO moved away from the capital for a few years: one at the campus of Loughborough University, three in Manchester, and one in the church hall at Potters Bar, which was an all time nadir. The reasons for MSO’s decline are sordid and need not be discussed here, suffice it to say they involved an act of betrayal by someone close to Levy.

Alas, all that is now in the past, and although the event is a lot smaller than initially envisaged, not only does it survive, it continues to grow. This year featured several new games in addition to the regulars like abalone, backgammon, chess, continuo, entropy, scrabble and Settlers of Catan. Next year’s event has already been confirmed for the same Central London venue, and more new games. Full details can be found on the official MSO website along with the results from the eight hundred or so entries this year, and all previous years.

Tony Corfe photographed at a previous event; he has run the MSO since its inception in 1997.

The oldest competitor at this year’s MSO was 89 year old Bernard Morgan,
who picked up a bronze medal for dominoes.

The 2013 Pentamind winners: Ankush Khandelwal and Andres Kuusk.

[The above article was first published September 10, 2013. The three photographs displayed here were used in Digital Journal articles about MSO.]

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