SportAccord World Mind Games – Wang Hao and Kosteniuk and more

by ChessBase
12/11/2011 – The SportAccord World Mind Games is underway in Beijing, and is an agglomerate of popular intellectual games such as chess, go, bridge, draughts (10x10 checkers), and xiang-qi, that aims to popularize these activities, and of course teach them to all-comers, notably children. In the Rapid event, Wang Hao and Kosteniuk took the top honors. Illustrated report with video highlights.

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SportAccord World Mind Games Tournament

The online tournament was hosted by PlayChess, the most popular chess server in the world with over 5000 players online every night and 200,000 games per day. The winner got an invitation to the first SportAccord World Mind Games (return transportation ticket to the venue in Beijing, China, entry ticket to the Games, accommodation, a commemorative medal and certificate).

The first edition of the World Mind Games, consisting of events in Bridge, Chess, Draughts, Go and Xiangqi, takes place from 8-16 December 2011 in Beijing. The 32 participants of the chess competition include Karjakin, Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Grischuk, Gashimov and Kamsky; in the women's section Hou Yifan, Lahno, Muzychuk, Ju Wenjun, Stefanova.

SportAccord is the umbrella organisation for 105 international sports federations and organisations. Its mission is to support and to protect the common interests of the sports movement. Activities include the online video portal The Sports Hub, the organisation of multi-sports games, doping-free sport, as well as sports’ social responsibility and sports’ integrity. Sport Accord can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

SportAccord Marketing and Communication Department – Iwona Lapinska
Tel + 41 (0)21 612 30 78 Fax + 41 (0)21 612 30 71 or

The entrance to the playing venue

The SportAccord World Mind Games is underway in Beijing, and is an agglomerate of popular intellectual games such as chess, go, bridge, draughts (10x10 checkers), and xiang-qi (also known as Chinese Chess). The event aims to popularize these activities, bringing in strong players, organizing side activities, and of course teach them to all-comers, notably children.

A simul in Go

In order to teach Go to young children, a smaller board is used

Bridge is taught to all-comers...

... as well as children.

Naturally there were official competitions between world class players

In chess, our readers may recall that online qualifiers, with an all-expenses paid trip and inscription, took place on the PlayChess server, that was duly won by Souris Blanche ("White Mouse") AKA French GM Marie Sebag. Sadly she was unable to make the event due to her studies.

The Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony was typical of Chinese events ...

... with a spectacular array of shows.

When it comes to shows, few are as grandiose...

... or as colorful.

From acrobatics, dance, music, including traditional instruments

As well as theatrical dance displays

The Open Rapid

After a long and wild game between Wang Hao (China) and Gata Kamsky (USA), the identity of the winner of the rapid competition emerged. The Chinese player, who had led since the beginning of the tourney, was only in danger of missing out on first place were he to lose the that crucial encounter, and he came very close to doing just that.

It was a seesaw battle between Gata Kamsky and Wang Hao

Nevertheless Wang Hao was the strongest and luckiest player of this rapid. He defended a very tough position and finished the tournament in sole first with 5.5/7. Half a point behind in second place was Vugar Gashimov (AZE). Gata Kamsky was third with 4.5/7.

Wang Hao accepts his award for first place. On the left is Vugar Gashimov, 2nd, and
on his right is Gata Kamsky
, 3rd.

Open Section final standings

Women's section

The former World champion and Ambassador of the SportAccord World Mind Games, GM Alexandra Kostenuik from Russia crowned a successful performance and even won the last game of the rapid tourney against Yelena Dembo.

She became the first female winner of this very interesting competition, scoring a brilliant 6.0/7 despite being the next to last seed of the field! Her overall performance was just under 2600, and after having a difficult year in terms of chess, hopefully this will mark the start of her comeback.

Despite starting as one of the bottom seeds, Alexandra Kosteniuk ran away with the
tournament in brilliant fashion.

Katerina Lahno from Ukraine scored 4.5/7 can came in second by virtue of a better tiebreak. Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) and Ju Wenjun from China also scored 4.5/7 , though the Georgian player edged out the Chinese GM also by virtue of tiebreak.

Ju Wenjun missed out on the podium on tiebreak, but in compensation just learned
that her result at the Olympiads last year will be counted as a GM norm, thus completing
her third and granting her the title at the next FIDE Congress.

Women World Champion, Hou Yifan, got bogged down in draws and as a result of the unpredictable nature of sport, China, which was tipped to take the Gold medal in the Women section ended up with a Gold medal in the Men and no medal in the women.

Hou's on second

It is rather ironic that the top men's seed ended at the bottom of the crosstable, whereas in the women's competition it was the opposite.

Women Section final standings

Video reports

Please note that live full round coverage as well as archives and summaries can be found at the The Sports Hub YouTube channel

Video summary of the first day, including an interview o Alexandra Kosteniuk, the
ambassador of the event.

Highlights of day two including an interview with GM Ju Wenjun  

Day three of the World Mind Games with an interview of winner Wang Hao  

Pictures by Elizabeth Paehtz and the official sites


Thurday, December 8 Opening ceremony
Friday, December 9 15:00 to 19:00 Rapid event: 3 rounds
Saturday, December 10 15:00 to 19:00 Rapid event: 2 rounds
Sunday, December 11 15:00 to 19:00 Rapid Event 2 rounds
Monday, December 12 15:00 to 19:00 Lightning event: 8 rounds
Tuesday, December 13 15:00 to 19:00 Lightning event: 7 rounds
Wednesday, May. 14 15:00 to 19:00 Blindfold, Rapid Pair: 3 rounds
Thursday, December 15 15:00 to 19:00 Pair Rapid, Blindfold: 2 rounds
Friday, December 16 12:00 to 16:00 Pair Rapid, Blindfold: 2 rounds, closing
Saturday, December 17 Departure


The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client and get immediate access. Or you can get our latest Fritz 13 program, which includes six months free premium membership to Playchess.

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