Mind Sports Olympiad 2012 and 2013


Now that the Mind Sports Olympiad is over for another year, we can look back on the event and forward to next year. Etan Ilfeld is one of the people behind it.

Tony Corfe

Not only did he help run the event, but Etan found time to defend his Chess Diving title – now known as Diving Chess. Yeah, right.

On the plus side, the regular events went very well with two minor disappointments: chess wasn’t as popular as it once was, although Fischer Random Chess (invented by Robert Fischer) was. Also, the Ladies’ Pentamind failed to materialise.

AB: So how did it go this year?

Etan Ilfeld: This year’s MSO was very successful. Dario De Toffoli won the Pentamind and Paco Garcia De La Banda was runner up. It was very impressive to see that two competitors in their mid 50s could dominate the event.

[Impressive but not surprising; Dario has played all but three of the previous events from the first one in 1997. He is not only a game player but a game inventor like Peter Burley. Paco is also a big name in gaming].

AB: How many entries did you have?

EI: We had 170 unique players which is almost identical to last year, but we had a lot more spectators and people visiting who just tried playing games for fun or attended teaching sessions (which are not included in that 170). And we had approximately 800 event entries.

AB: So who won the Ladies’ Pentamind?

EI: Unfortunately, no women competed in 5 different sessions which included 2 long sessions, and as such there could be no women qualifying for the Women’s Pentamind this year. I hope that someone wins next year. However, we did pay prize monies to the Pentamind medalists of £500, £150, and £50.

AB: And chess?

EI: Chess wasn’t as popular as previous years, but Blokus was very popular.

AB: What about next year?

EI: Next year’s MSO will also take place at the same venue, University of London Union, between August 17 and August 26. It will also feature a surprise game and a quiz. The full results for this year have now been published. People can also sign up for our newsletter; the next one will be sent out next week.

Etan Ilfeld presents a medal to Andrew Havery. Andrew is not only a long time
competitor but a member of team Corfe.

Mathematics undergraduate Ankush Khandelwal is one of the strongest chess players
in the country and a regular at MSO. This year he was also the best all round poker
player at the event.

Dario De Toffoli picked up the Pentamind title for the second time; he had previously won
it in 2002. Paco Garcia De La Banda was runner up, adding a silver medal to his gold
in 2010.

[The above article was first published September 5, 2012.]

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