MSO Winter Games

We wish everyone good health and resilience during the challenges of the pandemic. We’re organizing a weekend of friendly tournaments all of which are free and open to everyone on Feb 19, 20 and 21. Although there are no medals or prizes we are still expecting a strong and fun series of events including Catan, Stone Age, Battle Sheep, 7 Wonders, Crazy House Chess, Lines of Action, Quoridor, and Hyper Backgammon.

All times are in GMT, and events are scheduled for Friday Feb 19 to Sunday, Feb 21.

Visit for the latest information. Please make sure to register/check-in before the start time of the published start time.

Chess Crazyhouse Arena

Friday 7.00pm – 8.30pm; 2min+1sec over 90 minutes. Register at:

Hyper Backgammon

Friday 9.00 – 11.00pm; Each player begins with three pieces, rather than fifteen! 5pt knockout tournament. Platform: Backgammon Studio Heroes.

CATAN Variants

Saturday – 330pm to 830pm; Platform: Catan Universe

3 swiss rounds (each with a different and unique rule) + 1 final table. Round 1:You win with 9 Victory Points. Round 2:The first four settlements can’t be placed on Ore. Round 3:One of the two settlements needs to be played on the coast.- Final table: all rules combined.

Lines of Action

Saturday 5.00pm – 7.00pm Swiss – 6rd x 20min. Platform: boardgamearena


Saturday 8.00pm – 10.00pm; Swiss – 6rd x 20min

Platform: boardgamearena

Stone Age

Sunday 3.00pm – 7.00pm; 3 rounds + final

Platform: boardgamearena

7 Wonders

Sunday 7.30pm – 10.30pm:3 double rounds + final

Platform: boardgamearena

Battle Sheep

Sunday 4.00pm – 6.00pm 5rd Swiss (each round players play two games alternating who starts)

Platform: boardgamearena

Circle of Life

Sunday 8.00pm – 10.00pm; Swiss – 5rd x 15min

Platform: boardgamearena


Stay tuned for more info on this webpage and on our Discord channel where you can also ask us any questions.

2009 Pentamind World Champions

I’ve been looking into the 2009 MSO where Tim Hebbes and Martyn Hamer tied for the PM WC both with a perfect score of 500 PM points. At the time, it was decided by the organizers that Martyn Hamer should win on tiebreak. This was a last-minute decision prior to the award ceremony. The logic was that a head to head tiebreak should be applied as it was in individual tournaments to the Pentamind WC itself. The organizers had looked at how Tim and Martyn faired in tournaments where they both competed and decided that Martyn won the tiebreak. Arbiter Josef Kollar’s recommendation at the time was that gold should be shared between Tim and Martyn (just as gold was later shared between Ankush and Andres in 2012) and he disagreed with the last minute decision to implement such a tiebreak. The idea of using a head-to-head tiebreak in such a manner had not been previously announced nor did it have a precedent. It also seems arbitrary to look at overlapping events and gauge who performed better via this metric. After conducting a thorough investigation into the matter, I have come to the conclusion that the Pentamind World Championship for 2009 should be shared between Tim Hebbes and Martyn Hamer–a decision that is supported by the MSO committee, Martyn Hamer and Josef Kollar.

We’ve updated our database accordingly and will be re-engraving the Pentamind trophy. It’s good to be able to rectify a decision that was incorrect. The MSO committee and I would like to congratulate Tim Hebbes on his second Pentamind World Championship.

Best wishes,

Ankush Khandelwal Wins the 2020 Pentamind World Championship

Defending World Champion Ankhush Khandelwal has again proven that he is the best board gamer in the world. Ankush scored 488.77 points to win the 2020 Pentamind World Championship. He had a phenomenal tournament, which included the following medals:

Acquire: Gold
Agricola: Silver
Backgammon 5 Points: Silver
Bridge: Gold
Marco Polo: Gold
Perudo aka Liar’s Dice: Gold
7 Wonders: Bronze
Pentamind World Championship: Gold
Eurogames World Championship: Gold

Click here to watch Ankush’s winner’s interview with MSO CEO Etan Ilfeld

Click here to listen to Ankush’s interview on BBC Radio.
Ankush was pushed all the way by Jordi Alexander (aka Legendario6) from Cyprus with 486 Pentamind points and Joe Mela (aka ChinaCad) from the UK with 483 Pentamind points. Checkout Jordi’s impressive win with commentary at the final table of CATAN:Cities and Knights, and also Joe’s gold medal final round victory in Battle Sheep

MSO 2020 Report

The 24th Annual Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) ended on Sunday 30 August after a month of hotly contested online competition ranging from Scrabble and Speed Reading to Chess and Catan. We had 100 events and 8 meta-events–where the scores of individual events were combined. 106 countries took part, and 56 countries won medals. We are delighted to welcome several countries that participated for the first time including Kyrgyzstan, Bolivia, Guatemala, Malawi, Moldova, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.

I’d like to personally thank everyone that participated in this historic MSO. From the players and organizers to the hosting platforms and live-stream commentators–we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you so much for your support! Also, thank you to everyone who made a financial contribution to the Mind Sports Olympiad.

Although we were in uncharted territory, the MSO Organizing Committee was able to quickly adapt and produce a large-scale online event at short notice. A huge thank you to Mike Dixon who built our Discord server and ran all of our Eurogames and was the primary spokesman for the MSO on Discord. Also, a huge thank you to Julia Hayward who processed all of the results and maintained the integrity of our database so that everyone could see their live results. Due to the incredible volume of participants, Julia had a mountain of data to manage and did a phenomenal job.

There were a record number of 11,212 entries. However, as there were no entry fees, not everyone showed up to compete in each event. The more significant participation figure is the number of active entries which was 9,001–an all-time record. The total number of unique competitors was 5,884 which was also a new record for the MSO. Although most people competed in one or two events, it’s worth noting that 228 people played five events or more, and 102 played ten or more. In terms of eligible Pentamind scores where five different games needed to be used and a max of three Eurogames, there were 130 people who qualified.

The switch to a virtual event was not without challenges, with a small number of investigations into online cheating and four expulsions from the tournament. All in all, most competitors showed great sportsmanship, and the success of the 2020 Mind Sports Olympiad shows that meeting new people in friendly competition in person or online can help us stay connected to the wider world.

We’ll be sending a survey later this month to all the participants, and look forward to learning how to build upon this historic year for an even better MSO in 2021.

Best wishes,

Etan Ilfeld

Mind Sports Olympiad CEO