December 14, 2012 12:52

World Mind Games take off in Beijing

World Mind Games take off in Beijing

The fifth edition of the World Mind Games, the second organized by SportAccord, is currently under way in Beijing, China. This multi-sport event includes five mind sports: bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi (Chinese chess). The chess players play rapid, blitz and blindfold.

A scene from the opening ceremony in Beijing | All photos by Anastasia Karlovich © FIDE for the official website

Event World Mind Games chess website by FIDE, official website
Dates December 12th-19th, 2012
Location Beijing, China
System 16-player, 7-round Swiss
Players Men: Aronian, Radjabov, Karjakin, Nakamura, Morozevich, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Fressinet, Kamsky, Leko, Bologan, Jobava, Mamedyarov, Wang Hao, Giri, Ding Liren
Women: Hou Yifan, A.Muzychuk, Koneru, Zhao Xue, Lahno, Cmilyte, Zatonskih, Stefanova, Khotenashvili, Harika, Paehtz, Zhu Chen, Cramling, Socko, Danielian, Kosteniuk
Rate of play

Rapid: 20 minutes plus 10 seconds per move. Blitz: 3 minutes plus 2 seconds per move. Blindfold: 20 minutes plus 20 seconds per move.

The World Mind Games are a multi-sport event centered on the "gymnasium of the mind". The first edition in 2008 included five mind sports of great popularity and influence worldwide: bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi (Chinese chess). Last year the World Mind Games moved to a new level, being organized SportAccord, the umbrella organization for both Olympic and non-Olympic sports as well as a major organizers of conferences and sporting events.

Like last year (and also in 2013 and 2014) the event is held in Beijing, China. The chess events are under the auspices of FIDE. 32 players (16 men and 16 women) will compete for the medals:

Men: Levon Aronian, Teimour Radjabov, Sergey Karjakin, Hikaru Nakamura, Alexander Morozevich, Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexander Grischuk, Laurent Fressinet, Gata Kamsky, Peter Leko, Viktor Bologan, Baadur Jobava, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, Wang Hao, Anish Giri and Ding Liren.

Women: Hou Yifan, Anna Muzychuk, Humpy Koneru, Zhao Xue, Kateryna Lahno, Viktorija Cmilyte, Anna Zatonskih, Antoaneta Stefanova, Bela Khotenashvili, Harika Dronavalli, Elisabetj Paehtz, Zhu Chen, Pia Cramling, Monika Socko, Elina Danielian and Alexandra Kosteniuk.

As always the players will perform in three different disciplines: rapid chess, blitz and blindfold chess. You can follow the action live here.


Date Event
Wednesday 12th December 2012 Opening Ceremony
Thursday 13th December 2012 Rest Day
Friday 14th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 1-3 Rapid Chess
Saturday 15th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 4-7 Rapid Chess
Sunday 16th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 1-15 Blitz Chess
Monday 17th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 16-30 Blitz Chess
Tuesday 18th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 1-4 Blindfold Chess
Wednesday 19th December 2012 14:00 - Rounds 5-7 Blindfold Chess
Thursday 20th December 2012 Departure

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held on Wednesday at the Beijing International Convention Center. SportAccord President Hein Verbruggen expressed his gratitude for the warm reception of SportAccord in China’s capital. He acknowledged the sponsors, the local organising committee and all the people involved in the preparations.

Acting Major of Beijing Wang Anshun, Vice-Mayor of Beijing Lu Wei and Deputy Director of the General Administration of Sport of China Feng Jianzhong welcomed SportAccord, players, coaches, referees, and all participants. They underlined the values and importance of SportAccord World Mind Games and wished the event a great success.

The addresses were followed by artistic performances of sand painting, martial arts dance performance, sculpture dance and Peking Opera.

The following photos were all taken by Anastasia Karlovich for the official FIDE tournament website.

World Champions Antoaneta Stefanova and Alexandra Kosteniuk before the start of the opening ceremony

Sophie Leko, Elina Danielian, Anna Zatonskih and Hou Yifan

The different sports are presented on stage, represented by a small number of participants

For chess the players were Kamsky, Leko, Grischuk, Paehtz, Cmilyte and Lahno

The flags of the People's Republic of China and that of SportAccord arrive

Making space for the – always spectacular – Chinese performers:

School visit & simul

Thursday was a rest day for the participants of the Mind Games. On this day a special school visit was organized by SportAccord. The representation of chess went to Dinbgfuzhuang middle school No. 4. where GMs Peter Heine Nielsen and Bartek Heberla, together with officials took a tour around the school, met the pupils and learned about the system of  teaching of chess there. Chess has been in the curriculum since 1993 (!) and is taught once a week.

The two GMs gave a simul on 26 boards. One pupil, a 10-year-old girl, defeated Nielsen, who was two pawns up but then blundered a rook. His opponent then changed all the pawns and pieces and confidently mated her GM opponent with rook and king.

A musical welcome for the delegation

Gold and silver pieces for this special simul

The next generation of Bu Xiangzhi's, Wang Yue's, Ding Liren's and Wang Hao's is coming

"Will she checkmate the grandmaster?"

Peter Heine Nielsen congratulating his opponent with her victory

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


KVB's picture

Nice photoes..

Septimus's picture

Ding Lieren is the guy to watch. All his games are violently explosive.

Ruralrob's picture

So you're saying Ding is a chess terrorist?


Michel83's picture

Well yes, it's the modern times: Shirov's fire on board has simply become too tame for 2012. ;)

Joking aside, Ding is an exciting, super-agressive player; compared to all the "boy-wonders" (in China for instance Yu Yangyi, who's playing in Gibraltar) of the last years he's almost a late-starter...but what a late-starter!

Pity Hou Yifan is playing in the women's section.

Eric's picture

Must be a wonderful event. Also great to see go and xiangqi there, these games deserve more exposure.

Appa's picture

Chinese people eat tiger's bone to maintain their youth ! which is a main reason for wild tiger's poaching and extinction..all chinese chess players are tame against russia & ukraine's top notch chess players .

Jambow's picture

Nice WIN today by Peter Leko in a opposite colored bishop ending he sacked his for pawns instead of taking the draw las is typically expected. Bravo Peter Bravo.

bondegnasker's picture

For the Mind Games concept to make more sense, they should introduce a combined competition involving all 5 games. Just like athlethics has its decathlon competition. As it is, people only pay attention to the game they already know. This article, for example, is only about the chess part of the event.

Dimitri's picture

"SportAccord President Hein Verbruggen"

This is unbelievable. How can they have this man, who should be in prison, as a president? Don't they read papers?

Evgeny's picture

amazing pictures, looks like a top professionally organized tourney.
However, I miss games reports, and it seems, there is no video coverage available, if so, it sucks!!!

Jambow's picture

Fressinet over Nakamura on tie breaks likely because Fressinet won their individual encounter. Nice job by the Frenchmen as he probably was chosen by few to win against this field, and Nakamura looks sharp again playing as a top seed should.

Rapid chess always suited me as I'm impatient and impulsive but blitz is too fast to be good chess to me at least. Now we have blindfold games I believe. I wish they included 960 as that game has grown on me ;o]

Thomas's picture

Vive la France! Vachier-Lagrave became European blitz champion (OK, he was the favorite - his win is less impressive than two years ago when he finished ahead of Ivanchuk, Ponomariov, Movsesian and Gashimov) and Tkachiev got bronze. In the rapid event, only Vachier-Lagrave and Naiditsch have 7/7 after the first day.

Back to Beijing: It was a pretty unpredictable event - not shared first for Nakamura, but if we look at the bottom of the table: Bologan 1.5/7 (so far predictable), Mamedyarov and Ivanchuk 2/7, Aronian 2.5/7 ...

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