A mind sport, is a game of skill based on intellectual ability.


The first major use of the term was as a result of the Mind Sports Olympiad in 1997.[1] The phrase had been used prior to this event such as backgammon being described as a mind sport by Tony Buzan in 1996; Tony Buzan was also a co-founder of the Mind Sports Olympiad.[2] Bodies such as the World Memory Sports Council[3] use the term retrospectively.

It is a term that became fixed from games trying to obtain equal status to sports. For example, from 2002 British Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn said:

...I believe we should have the same obligation to mental agility as we do to physical agility. Mind sports have to form UK national bodies and get together with the government to devise an acceptable amendment to the 1937 Act that clearly differentiates mind sports from parlour board games.[4][5]

Many of the games' official bodies which had come together for the Mind Sports Olympiad, formed larger organisations such as the Mind Sports Council and International Mind Sports Association (IMSA). With IMSA organising the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing 2008[6] for contract bridge, chess, go, draughts and xiangqi many other bodies have lobbied for inclusion such as the International Federation of Poker,[7] which won provisional membership at the annual congress of SportAccord in Dubai in 2009.[8]

The term also includes mental calculation or memory disciplines as presented in International competitions such as the Mental Calculation World Cup (held bi-annually since 2004) and the World Memory Championships (held annually since 1991)

Games called mind sports

As well as board and card games,[9] other disciplines that have been described as mind sports are speed reading, competitive programming[10][11] and cybersecurity wargames.[12][13][14][15][16] Other events that have been included where the physical element is comparable to the mental component such as when the official Mind Sports South Africa accepted speed-texting as a mind sport.[17]

See also


  1. ^ "The Mind Sports Olympiad Supplements". The Times. July–August 1997.
  2. ^ Lantin, Barbara (19 October 1996). "All power to elderly brain cells". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  3. ^ "The Mind Sport of Memory 1991–2011".
  4. ^ Buckley, Will (3 February 2002). "Sit back - and win gold for Britain". The Observer. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  5. ^ Bartley, Stephen (29 April 2010). "Official - Poker now a Mind Sport". Archived from the original on 10 March 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  6. ^ Shirong Chen (3 October 2008). "Beijing hosts first 'Mind Games'". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
  7. ^ "If you're going to gamble, make sure you're right in the right game". The Observer. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
  8. ^ "IFP Becomes Member of IMSA". Sportcal: Sports Market Intelligence. 30 April 2010.
  9. ^ "I think I can". New York Times Magazine. 23 August 1998.
  10. ^ William Hartston (21 June 1997). "The South Bank Brain Show". The Independent.
  11. ^ "E-Sports and Other Games". World Mind Sports Federation. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Теория и практика перевода: Учебное пособие. Читать бесплатно онлайн в электронном виде - Страница 9 - Единое окно".
  13. ^ "Press Release from Senator Bob Duff". Archived from the original on 5 February 2016. Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  14. ^ University, ITMO. "Lee Felsenstein, who has spearheaded of personal computers, conducted a lecture in the NRU ITMO".
  15. ^ "Cybersecurity Students successfully learn hacking in collegiate pentesting competition". Market Wired.
  16. ^ Greenberg, Andy. "Hurricane-Bound Hacker? Here's A Rainy Day Web-Hacking War Game".
  17. ^ "Texting Champs jet off to New York". 24 January 2011. Archived from the original on 3 February 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.