The Pentamind World Championship was one of the Mind Sports Olympiad’s original events. It is a unique meta-event, which celebrates the best all round games player in the world. Any event at Mind Sports Olympiad can count towards that year’s Pentamind, and the player with the highest top five scores is crowned the Pentamind World Champion.
The Pentamind scores must use games from different categories (e.g. one chess variant, scrabble, go, poker and backgammon; however, a player cannot use two backgammon scores or two chess scores toward the Pentamind; they must also incorporate at least two long session events). The Pentamind champion is the player with the highest numerical score in “pentamind points” from 5 valid events.
Please note that only 3 Eurogames can be applied. In addition, two games of the same type cannot be used. For example, only one Backgammon or Chess event can be used. The following events are the same type for this rule:
- Go 19×19, Go 13×13, Go 9×9
- Marathon Memory, Natural Memory, Speed Memory
- Stratego Duel, Stratego Classic
- Settlers of Catan, Cities and Knights
- Dominion, Dominion (Expansions)
- Cribbage Singles, Cribbage Doubles
- Sudoku, Puzzles (Various)
- All Chess events, including Chess 960, Chess Puzzles and Exchange Chess [Note: Coloured Chess, Xiangqi and Shogi are considered different to Chess for this rule]
- All Backgammon events
- All Poker events
The Pentamind Formula
In 2018, the formula was slightly adjusted. Previously this was a factor of n/(n+1) however this has been changed to (n+5)/(n+6). The full formula for 2018 is therefore as follows:
Event Score = 100 x ((n+5)/(n+6)) x ((n – p)/(n – 1)) x 1.08*
where n is the number of players and p is the player’s finishing position before tiebreaks in the event.
*The 1.08 bonus factor is applied in Premier Events only, which in 2018 include Go 19×19, Catan, Scrabble, Marathon Memory, Ablone, Hold’em, Acquire, Mental Calculations, Decamenthathlon, Quoridor, Backgammon 6x7pt, Mensa Connections, Entropy, Terra Mystica, Lines of Action, Chess 960, Agricola, and Twixt.
In the event of a tie for the Pentamind World Championship, the next Pentamind score (i.e. the 6th best result) will be used as a tiebreak; the secondary tiebreak will be the 7th best Pentamind score; the third tiebreak will be use the 8th best scores. Two long session pentamind scores must be applied towards a contestants’ final Pentamind score (Carcassone, King’s Cribbage, Ticket to Ride and 7 Wonders Duel will count as long sessions in 2018). Meta event scores such as the Amateur Poker World Championship or Eurogames World Championship will not count towards a Pentamind World Championship score.
The following restrictions apply to the events used in a player’s Pentamind score:
All events used in a player’s score must be in different disciplines (using different ‘game codes’). At least two events lasting more than 1 session on the published schedule must be used towards a contestant’s final Pentamind score (i.e. if Ticket to Ride is 1.5 sessions then it counts as a long session).
Meta event scores such as the Amateur Poker World Championship or Eurogames World Championship will not count towards a Pentamind World Championship score.
Two events that occur simultaneously in the schedule cannot both be used in a player’s score.
If a player withdraws from an event without completing at least 50% of the rounds then their Pentamind score in that tournament is automatically included as one of the 5 in their final score. (This may be overturned at the discretion of the Tournament Arbiter of Head Arbiter)
List of Pentamind World Champions
- 1997: Kenneth J. Wilshire
- 1998: Demis Hassabis
- 1999: Demis Hassabis
- 2000: Demis Hassabis
- 2001: Demis Hassabis
- 2002: Dario De Toffoli
- 2003: Demis Hassabis
- 2004: Alain S. Dekker
- 2005: Tim Hebbes
- 2006: Jan Stastna
- 2007: David M. Pearce
- 2008: David M. Pearce
- 2009: Martyn Hamer
- 2010: Paco Garcia de la Banda
- 2011: Andres Kuusk
- 2012: Dario De Toffoli
- 2013: Ankush Khandelwal & Andres Kuusk
- 2014: Andres Kuusk
- 2015: James Heppell
- 2016: Andres Kuusk
- 2017: James Heppell
The Pentamind has been won five times by Demis Hassabis.
Demis Hassabis (born 27 July 1976) is a computer game designer, AI programmer, neuroscientist and world-class games player. A child prodigy in chess, he reached master standard at the age of 13 with an Elo rating of 2300 (at the time the second highest rated player in the world Under-14 after Judit Polgar who had a rating of 2335).Following his graduation Hassabis worked briefly as a Lead AI programmer on the Lionhead Studios title Black & White before founding Elixir Studios in 1998, a London-based independent games developer. He grew the company to 60 people, signing publishing deals with Vivendi Universal and Microsoft, and was the executive designer of the BAFTA-nominated Republic: The Revolution and Evil Genius games. Hassabis then left the games industry, switching to cognitive neuroscience, in order to get back to his lifelong passion of developing artificial intelligence technology. Working in the field of autobiographical memory and amnesia he has authored several highly-cited and influential papers, including his most prominent work to date, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in early 2007. Hassabis received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCL in 2009 and is continuing his computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence research as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow at the Gatsby Unit, UCL and in collaboration with groups at MIT and Harvard. Demis co-founded DeepMind, which was acquired in 2014 by Google where he is now Vice President of Engineering leading their general AI projects. DeepMind’s AI Go playing program, AlphaGo, defeated the Lee Sedol, one of the strongest Go players in the world, in March 2016 with a score of 4 out of 5.
Andres Kuusk won the Pentamind World Championship in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2016. He is an Estonian data scientist, economist and board games player. Other notable mind sports achievements include national championship in bridge, draughts, five-in-a-row games, mind sports pentathlon (chess, draughts, bridge, gomoku and sudoku) and table games quadrathlon (chess, draughts, table tennis, and ovuss). Born in 1981 on the small island of Saaremaa, he moved to the mainland of Estonia for university and started a career as an economics scientist and mind sports player. He taught econometrics and game theory at the University of Tartu, and received his PhD in economics there in 2012. In 2015 he quit the academia and became a data scientist in Bondora AS, the P2P lending company. He is currently working mainly on the field of credit modeling. During his years in Tartu, he was actively involved in a wide variety of mind sports, studying games and competing semi-professionally.
James Heppell is a software engineer from the UK who has won the Pentamind world championship twice (2015 and 2017), obtaining his 100th overall medal in 2017. Born in 1988 he started playing chess at 4 years old and quickly advanced to become the UK U12 Chess Captain, taking him around the world competing internationally. Deciding to focus on his education he went onto obtaining a first-class Mathematics degree and a PhD in Complex Systems Simulation at the University of Southampton. Moving on from his academic life in 2016, he has now begun a career as a software engineer for a pharmaceutical company. James is also a competitive badminton player and has set up a bi-weekly games club, attracting a variety of players to try out new board games.
Dario De Toffoli won the Pentamind World Championship in both 2002 and 2012.
Dario De Toffoli is an Italian board game designer, gamebook author and elite games player who founded the games company Studiogiochi and established many games events. Born in 1953 Venice, after an early career as a Chemist he entered the world of games. Winner of over 60 medals at the Mind Sports Olympiad. He won the 2002 and 2012 Pentamind Competition. In 2006, he won a special award for his contribution to games which includes contribution to all aspects of games.Dario was one of the top players in scrabble in Italian. The world championship in Italian scrabble was not founded until 2008 before that there were Majors. Dario had multiple top 3 finishes in these competitions and won the Masters in 1997.Dario De Toffoli is the foremost expert in backgammon in Italy. He wrote two of the key books on backgammon in Italian: “the rules of the game” and “the big book of backgammon” In the latter, he is credited with bringing to light that the origins of backgammon went back 500 years further than had previously been reported. As well as owning the company Studiogiochi, Dario has personally designed and co-designed several board games. The most notable of which are Lex Arcana and Vampiri in salsa rossa role-playing based games. More recent games have had a more mainstream focus such as Sudoku and Kakuro board games and themed board games such as for the Totally Spies! cartoon series.
David Pearce won the Pentamind World Championship in both 2007 and 2008.