Mind Sports

Mind Sports consists of a family of sports in which the objective is to test mental strength rather than physical strength. The term "Mind Sports Olympiad" was first used in 1997 to describe a set of games that constituted Olympics for the mind.

Chess is a challenging board game that falls under the family of mind sports. It requires intense thinking in which the players stay glued to the board, hardly ever taking their eyes off, for several hours. Another board game that fits the mind sports bill is backgammon. The game of Go (also called Weiqi) is a popular mind sport in Asian countries. There are some who consider these board games sports, or at least worthy of being on a sports program.

All activities that require mental calculation or high levels of memory are all part of the mind sports family. Memory sports are contested, biannually in the Mental Calculation World Cup and annually in the World Memory Championships.

Card games too fit the bill as a mind sport, for example Bridge and Poker.

Some of the other games are the Rubik's cube and Sudoku, which have major competitions like the World Rubik's Cube Championships and the World Sudoku Championship.

Speed reading, computer programming, e-Sports (which is a new term used for all video games based competitions), spelling bee, and geographic bee, all fall under the mind sports category.

Recently speed-texting, which involves sending text messages using a phone has also be accepted as a part of mind sports.

Official Recognition

The International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) is an association of the world governing bodies for the following 'mind sports': bridge, chess, draughts (checkers), go, Mahjong and xianqi (Chinese chess).

Bridge and Chess are members of the Association of IOC Recognised International Sports Federations.

The Global Association of International Sports Federations includes the federations for Chess, Bridge, Go, Draughts, giving these activities some credibility with calling themselves a sport. In 2017, the international federation for Poker was given 'observer status' paving the way for it to also be considered officially a sport.

At the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, three board game tournaments (chess, xiangqi and go) were on the official program. In 2018, Contract Bridge was on the Asian Games program. Next up - the Olympic Games?

Some Mind Sports

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Sport Extra

Check out our Encyclopedia of Every Sport. Well not every sport, as there is a list of unusual sports, extinct sports and newly created sports. How to get on these lists? See What is a sport?

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