The Mind Sports Olympiad is an international event with over 60 different board game competitions ranging from classics like Chess, Scrabble and Go to newer games, including Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, Dominion, Magic the Gathering and Carcassonne. Card games figure too, with an amateur poker world championship and bridge, along with a general knowledge quiz, stratego, shogi, and dominoes. Unique events include Tetris (video game) and a Computer Programming Championship, in addition to over a dozen world championships such as Memory, Mental Calculations and Creative Thinking. The most prestigious title is the Pentamind World Championship, which is awarded to the competitor who has the best results from five different competitions. There are also opportunities to learn games and play uncompetitively for free.
The inaugural event was held in 1997 in London with £100,000 prize fund and was described as possibly the biggest games festival ever held. It was the first event of its kind aiming to create an Olympics of the mind, awarding gold, silver and bronze medals for each event. The Mind Sports Olympiad continues to take place every year in England.
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The Mind Sports Olympiad also founded two competitions that were designed to find the best games all-rounders in the world and possibly the top games player alive. These are the Pentamind and the Decamentathlon both inspired by the athletic pentathlon and decathlon.
The Mind Sports Olympiad advocates games playing across the globe and to that end there have been many minor satellite competitions with the MSO brand. Many of which continue to flourish.
Venues of the Mind Sports Olympiad:
- 1997 Royal Festival Hall, London
- 1998 Novotel Hotel, Hammersmith
- 1999 Kennsington Olympia, London
- 2000 Alexandra Palace, London
- 2001 South Bank University, London
- 2002 Loughborough University, Loughborough
- 2003 UMIST, Manchester
- 2004 UMIST, Manchester
- 2005 Manchester University, Manchester
- 2006 Westminster University,London
- 2007 United Reform Church, Potters Bar
- 2008 Royal Horticultural Halls, London
- 2009 Royal Horticultural Halls, London
- 2010 Soho Theatre, London
- 2011 University of London Union, London.
- 2012 University of London Union, London.
- 2013 University of London Union, London.