Settlers of Catan Highlights

The 2014 Mind Sports Olympiad began on Sunday August 17th with an attendance of over 120 competitors in a morning session that included Chess 960, Scrabble, Backgammon, Stratego and Settlers of Catan. 

38 players competed in the Settlers of Catan tournament, which was won by former Pentamind World Champion Demis Hassabis.

On the closest gameboard on bottom left starting from left to right: Demis Hassabis (gold), Martin Hobemagi (junior gold), James Heppell (silver)

On the closest gameboard on bottom left starting from left to right: Demis Hassabis (gold), Martin Hobemagi (junior gold), James Heppell (silver)

Demis’ 5 year old son, Arthur, won the silver junior medal followed by his 7 year old brother, Alex, winning the bronze Junior medal.

Arthur Hassabis (age 5) wins the Silver Junior Medal in Settlers of Catan

The Heppell family was also well represented with James Heppell winning Silver followed by his mom Madeline winning Bronze.
Madeline Heppel won the Bronze Medal in Settlers of Catan

Madeline Heppel won the Bronze Medal in Settlers of Catan

The evening session featured Blitz Chess, 7 Card Stud, Kaluki and Diplomacy. There’s lots more planned for this week. Come along (it’s free for spectators) and join the fun!

2014 Mind Sports Olympiad Schedule

We’ve finalized the schedule for this year’s Mind Sports Olympiad, which will take place at JW3 in Hampstead, London, from August 17 to the 25. Tournament entries start at £10 per single session. Note that August 25 is a public holiday, and that the we will have events during the day and a final award ceremony at 6pm that day.

Also, please note that there will be no events on Saturday, August 23. You can view the latest updates at http://www.msoworld.com/schedule/

JW3 is the 2014 MSO Venue

This year’s Mind Sports Olympiad will be hosted at JW3, a brand new premises in London situated on Finchley Road close to Swiss Cottage and Hampstead Village. Designed by award-winning architects Lifschuts, Davidson and Sandilands, it offers outstanding facilities, a vibrant restaurant and cafe and a spacious outdoor piazza. We’re delighted to be a part of their programming.

Prizes for MSO 2014

MSO would like to thank Winton Capital Management, Mitsubishi UK, and DeepMind for sponsoring the 2014 prize fund:

Pentamind World Championship: £1200, £800, £400

Junior Pentamind: £200, £100, £50

Women’s Pentamind: £100, £50, £25

 

Sunday August 17

Scrabble: Gold medal £200, Silver £125, and Bronze £75.

Chess 960 Rapid:  Gold medal £150, Silver £100, and Bronze £75.

Chess 5min:  Gold medal £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £20. Junior Prizes: Gold £50, Silver £30, Bronze £20

Settlers of Catan: Gold medal £200, Silver, £100, and Bronze £50. Junior Prizes: Gold £50, Silver £30, Bronze £20

Diplomacy: Gold medal £50, Silver medal £30, and Bronze £20.

 

Monday, August 18

Chess Rapid:  Gold medal £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £25. Junior Prizes: Gold £50, Silver £30, Bronze £20

Memory World Cup:  Gold medal £200, Silver £125, and Bronze £75.

Chess Exchange: Gold medal £40 (£20 each), Silver £30, and Bronze £20.

 

Tuesday, August 19

Magic the Gathering: In addition to gold, silver and bronze medals, there will also be a prize pool of 3 booster cards per participant.

Entropy: Gold medal £200, Silver, £100, and Bronze £50. Junior Prizes: Gold £50, Silver £30, Bronze £20

 

Wednesday, August 20

Mental Calculations World Championship: Gold medal £120, Silver £80, and Bronze £50.

Tetris: Gold medal £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £25.

Shogi: Gold medal £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £25.

Lines of Action World Championship: Gold £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £25

 

Thursday, August 21

Decamentathlon: Gold medal £120, Silver £80, and Bronze £40.

Gomoku: Gold medal £50, Silver £30, and Bronze £20.

Renju: Gold medal £40, Silver £20, and Bronze £10.

Computer Programming: Gold medal £100, Silver £50, and Bronze £25.

 

Friday, August 22

Ken Ken and Sudoku: Gold medal £100, Silver £75, and Bronze £50.

Chinese Chess: Gold medal £50, Silver £30, and Bronze £20.

Bridge Pairs: Gold medalists £120 (£60 each), Silver £80 (£40 each), and Bronze £50 (£25 each).

 

Sunday, August 24

Go 9×9: Gold medal £40, Silver £30, and Bronze £20.

Go 13×13: Gold medal £80 Silver £40, and Bronze £20. 

Creative Thinking: Gold medal £100, Silver £75, and Bronze £50.

 

Monday, August 25

Go 19×19: Gold medal £125, Silver £75, and Bronze £50.

Summary of the 2013 Mind Sports Olympiad

The 17th Mind Sports Olympiad took place at the University of London Union from August 16th to the 25th, 2013, and featured competitors from over 40 countries. The oldest competitor, Bernard Morgan age 89, won a Bronze medal in Dominoes while the youngest competitor, Alexander Hassabis age 7, took home a junior gold medal in the Settlers of Catan tournament.

The Pentamind World Championship was shared by UK’s Ankush Khandelwahl and Estonia’s Andres Kuusk both of whom had a total of 492 points out of a maximum 500 points. The Pentamind is awarded to the player who scores the best results in five distinct games. Khandelwahl won gold medals at Chess, Poker, Carcassonne, Lines of Action and Acquire, while Andres’ won the Hare and Tortoise World Championship, the Entropy World Championship, the Kamisado World Championship and the Boku World Championship. The Women’s Pentamind World Championship was won by Emily Watson who excelled at Tetris, Acquire, and Diplomacy. Fifteen year old Martin Hobemagi from Estonia won the Junior Pentamind World Championship, and also won gold medals in poker, monopoly, bridge and renju.

Martin Hobemagi (left), Ankush Khandelwahl (middle), and Andres Kuusk (right)

Martin Hobemagi (left), Ankush Khandelwahl (middle), and Andres Kuusk (right)

The Diving Chess World Championship was won by David Jameson of the UK. Diving Chess features an underwater chessboard, and competitors are able to think for as long as they can hold their breath as they must complete a move before resurfacing–at which point, their opponents must submerge themselves, only to resurface once they have made their underwater move.

The Computer Programming Competition was won by Julia Hayward and the Starcraft competition was won by Anatol Gasiorowski. The Mind Sports Tetris competition was won by the UK Tetris Champion Paul Erdunast, while George Lane defeated nine-time World Champion Gert Mittring in the Mental Calculations World Championship.

The Mind Sports Olympiad features over 60 tournaments and over a dozen world championships. The Amateur Poker World Championship was won by Michael Dixon. The Creative Thinking World Championship was won by Dan Hoch and Gaby Kappus. Martyn Hamer won the gruelling Decamentathlon, which tests competitors on 10 different skills which include chess, intelligence, go, memory, mastermind, sudoku, and mental calculations.

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Emily Watson won the Women’s Pentamind World Championship

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The Diving Chess World Championship: players can think for as long as they can hold their breath

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UK Tetris champ Paul Erdunast (player on right) takes on Henry Lam (player on left)

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The Mental Calculation World Championship was won by George Lane (middle) followed by Gert Mittring (left), and Andrew Robertshaw (right)

Click here for a full list of results.

Click here for more photos at the Mind Sports Olympiad’s Facebook page.

 

 

Creative Thinking World Championship

Since 1997, the Creative Thinking World Championship has been run by the Mind Sports Olympiad. The competition consists of 4 rounds. Each round has a duration of 30 minutes during which contestants must use their imagination and creativity to answer one question by writing and/or drawing responses on paper. After each round, the responses are scored on a scale of 1 to 25 based on originality and depth (there’s no such thing as the ‘right’ answer–just the most creative). The fourth round often features diagrams from patent entries with a prompt asking contestants to create a story/explanation as to what device the patent describes (the highest marks are not necessarily given to the person who guesses what the device is really for–but rather for the most imaginative response).

William Hartston writes the questions and scores each round. Hartston draws upon an immense and eclectic range of interests. He won the British Chess Championship in 1973 and 1975. He writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express and has authored books on chess, mathematics, humour and trivia. He has also been a regular guest on the BBC Radio 4 and occasional TV programme, Puzzle Panel. Aside from his chess and media-related activities, Hartston is a Cambridge-educated mathematician and industrial psychologist. During the 1980s, he was recruited by Meredith Belbin, at the Industrial Training Research Unit in Cambridge, to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team researching the dynamics of team roles. While continuing to write the Beachcomber column and other features for the Daily Express, he has also been behind the launching of the wakkipedia.com Internet site of useless information. His latest publication is The Things That Nobody Knows (Atlantic Books), a discussion of 501 unanswered questions ranging from science to history, including a good supply of typically quirky items.

Examples of past questions:

One 2012 question alluded to prince Harry’s photos from Vegas:
You are an unmarried, high-profile 27-year-old visiting the USA and pictures have appeared on the Internet and in various publications around the world of you in a state of nakedness. In one of the pictures, you are being clasped from behind by a naked young lady; in another, you are being clasped similarly but face to face. Your charming 86-year-old granny is reported to be highly disturbed by the pictures. Your task is to explain what is happening in the pictures, what led up to it and what happened next in a way that will put your poor granny’s mind to rest.

MSO 2010 Round 2:
Many thousands of years hence, when almost all traces of present civilization have been lost, anthropologists discover an ancient artefact consisting of a set of button-like objects on which the following symbols may be discerned: !ӣ$%^&*()_+
Some smudges below these symbols suggest that each of these may have had a further symbol inscribed beneath it–though that theory is disputed. What does the anthropologist of the future make of this discovery, and what conclusions does he draw about our society?

MSO 2010 Round 3:
Over the past few millennia, the alphabet has evolved from ancient Phoenician, Sumerian and Babylonian glyphs via the Greeks and Romans to the mess we have today, with nobody even having a convincing theory to explain the conventional A, B, C, D, etc order we have inherited. The government has therefore decided at last to put some order into the alphabetical order and you have been commissioned to produce as report on considerations, systems and recommendations that will lead to the desired result of a logical and sensible ordering of the letters in the alphabet.

MSO 2012 Round 2:
What can you do with an Olympic silver medal that you cannot do with an Olympic gold medal, and vice versa: what can you do with an Olympic gold medal that you cannot do with an Olympic silver medal?

Hare and Tortoise

Hare and Tortoise game inventor David Parlett designed his celebrated game in 1974, and runs the World Championship for it each year at the Mind Sports Olympiad. Hare and Tortoise is a wonderful multiplayer game that is based on Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare” where the tortoise wins the race by cunning while the hare fails because he overestimates himself and takes a nap during the race. The moral of the story is “slow and steady wins the race” which is incorporated in the game mechanic.
The 2013 World Championship will take place on the evening of August 17.

Gameplay
The game used a then new (as of 1974) game mechanic. Until then movement of pieces in race games was largely determined by the roll of dice. In Hare and Tortoise players pay carrots (the currency in the game) to move forward. The more squares the player wants to advance, the more carrots the player is to pay. The cost to advance increases in an arithmetic series:

1 square = 1 carrot
2 squares = price of 1 square + 2 = 3 carrots
3 squares = price of 2 squares + 3 = 6 carrots
4 squares = price of 3 squares + 4 = 10 carrots
And so on.

Players can earn carrots in various ways – most notably by moving backwards to designated squares (10 carrots per square). This game mechanic creates an interesting and dynamic race usually with no clear winner until the very end. The players start the game with 65 carrots. The gameboard features 65 squares. There are no generic squares; instead, the board is divided in several types of squares such as hare (draw a luck card), carrots (get extra carrots for each turn skipped), etc.

The factor of luck can be eliminated completely from the game by agreement between the players not to land on ‘hare’ squares.

Champions
The official world championships have been held as part of the Mind Sports Olympiad with David Parlett’s endoresement 7 times.

1997: British Chris Dickson (United Kingdom)
2007: British David M. Pearce (United Kingdom)
2008: British Tige Nnando (United Kingdom)
2009: British David M. Pearce (United Kingdom)
2010: Italian Dario De Toffoli (Italy)
2011: British Tige Nnando (United Kingdom)
2012: British Mike Dixon (United Kingdom)

Diving Chess

Come and try playing Diving Chess at this year’s Mind Sports Olympiad–its just chess in a pool but instead of chess clocks, you can think for as long as you hold your breath:

Alternatively, for those who want more traditional chess, there’s also blitz, rapid, exchange and the British Championship for Chess 960 (aka Fischer Random).

Chessboard480.png

a8 black bishop
b8 black knight
c8 black rook
d8 black bishop
e8 black knight
f8 black king
g8 black rook
h8 black queen
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white bishop
b1 white knight
c1 white rook
d1 white bishop
e1 white knight
f1 white king
g1 white rook
h1 white queen

Chess 960 is just like regular chess with the exception that the pieces are randomized behind the pawns on the home ranks. Note that bishops must still be on opposite colors and each player still has the right to castle on both sides.

Computer Programming Competition

The Mind Sports Olympiad Computer Programming Competition strives to nurture new generations of global talent in the science and art of information technology. The Computer Programming Competition is be run by MSO founder David Levy. In 1997, Levy led the team that won the prestigious artificial intelligence Loebner Prize for the program called “CONVERSE”. The prize competition rewards the program that is best able to simulate human communication. Levy entered the contest again in 2009, and won. Since 1999, he has been the president of the International Computer Games Association. He was Chairman of the Rules and Arbitration Committee for the Kasparov vs Deep Junior chess match in New York in 2003. Levy has written more than 40 books on chess and computers.

This event is open to all, and in addition to the regular gold, silver and bronze medals, a junior gold medal will be given to the top contestant under 18.

The rules for the Computer Programming Competition are as follows:

Each contestant will be responsible for bringing their own computer, and is free to use whatever programming language and environment that they wish (e.g. C++, Python, Pascal, etc…) Participants will not be allowed to access the Internet during the competition.

There will be four tasks and a maximum total time allowable of 4 hours. When a contestant completes all of the tasks (or decides to stop) they raise their number (on an A4 sheet). The order of finishing determines the winner if two or more contestants have successfully completed the same number of tasks.

The fastest and most-correct contestant is the winner. Contestants score 100 points for every task successfully completed, by lose 1 point for every place in the finishing order they come below the winner.

The tasks will be described in Simple English and no specialist knowledge will be required of the contestants.

For tasks which involve test data, each participant will be given a set of test data via a USB stick. The data will be in a regular text file.

The tasks are aimed at developing algorithms to solve data-drive questions (rather than creating a graphical interface). Also, while there will be no access to the internet during the competition, contestants can use any code and help files that they have stored locally on their computer.

Auditions For Countdown at MSO on August 17 and 18, 2013

Channel 4′s Countdown is always on the look out for the best and brightest people to take part in the show. This year, their casting director will be attending the Mind Sports Olympiad on August 17 and 18 and will hold open to auditions to any MSO competitor who resides within the United Kingdom.

For more info on Countdown, checkout the following link:
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/countdown

Channel 4's Countdown

Channel 4′s Countdown

Countdown is the daytime words and numbers quiz show. It was the first show to appear on Channel 4 in 1982 and has been a popular, cult show ever since. Each day two contestants compete in 15 rounds of words and numbers to become the Countdown Champion.

Channel 4 has signed Nick Hewer to present the new series of Countdown. Nick, who is best known as Lord Alan Sugar’s advisor on the BBC’s Apprentice, will take over from Jeff Stelling at the end of the year to join numbers whizz Rachel Riley and words expert Susie Dent when the Countdown team starts recording the new series at the end of the year. Viewers can see him in the presenting chair from Monday 9th January 2012 onwards.

Countdown is Channel 4′s longest running series airs weekdays at 3.10pm.