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

2020 Medals and T-Shirts

T-Shirts are available for everyone. This year’s limited edition T-Shirts can only be ordered until Sept 20th. They cost £15 each, which includes shipping to anywhere in the world. Get them while you can!

MSO 2020 T-Shirt


Congrats on winning your medal and being a part of history! As there were no entry fees for this year’s MSO, we’re offering medalists to either receive their medal in person next year for free or pay for shipping and handling now. If you’d like us to ship over 10 medals and want to save costs, please email us at

2020 Medal



Thank You Letters

Despite having to cancel our physical event due to COVID and moving this year’s Mind Sports Olympiad online, we’ve received lots of great feedback and thank you letters. One of our favourites is by an NHS worker who mentioned that our “events have been a welcome getaway from work and a chance to relax.” A big thank you to all the healthcare workers out there. Here’s to the power of games bringing people together from all over the world.



I just wanted to send an email to thank you for organizing MSO 2020. I believe you have done a very good job given the circumstances of this year.

This was my first time taking part in the MSO, so I did not expect to see any stellar results for myself, but I had fun taking part.


My last point was this: please will you continue to offer online events for the MSO, even when the main events in London go ahead, especially for those of us unable to get to London because of work/family. Perhaps you could run an “MSO Online Series” event, lasting a whole month as you have done here, with similar event start times. This could be run alongside the main MSO in the same month, or held on a different month, maybe in the Spring (as a warm-up to August). I think the online events have been a real success and it would be a shame to just abandon it after this year.

Once again, thank you for this year’s event. For someone like me who is working in the NHS, your events have been a welcome getaway from work and a chance to relax.

Thank you,

Alec Reuben

Please Support MSO

We have a small favour to ask. We believe everyone deserves access to the Mind Sports Olympiad. That’s why, unlike many others, we made a choice this year: not to charge entry fees for participants, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay.

As an independent organization, we’re passionate about promoting mind sports. We believe that games connect people, exercise the mind, and have the potential to help us better understand the world. We are also streaming videos with excellent commentary on a variety of this year’s tournaments on our Twitch, Facebook and YouTube channels.

Your support can keep us independent, open to all, and will mean we can maintain our high-quality tournaments and live-streams.

Every contribution is valuable. Please support the Mind Sports Olympiad for any amount you are comfortable with – it only takes a minute. Thank you.