Game-lovers match wits at Mind Sports Olympiad


For five years now the Tyrsuv Dum - a magnificent Renaissance Palace in Prague's Lesser Quarter - has been the site for the annual Mind Sports Olympiad allowing game-lovers to match their wits at card and board games of all different kinds. This year school children have had the chance to join the general public to have a go at dozens of titles including the popular Citadels, Backgammon, Valley of the Mammoths, and Go. Play lasts from 9 in the morning until 10 at night.

Tyrsuv Dum
Jan Velinger attended and spoke with several players at the site.

"It's a game where you need to be smart and to have luck, I think. Quite an interesting game."

Your friends - are they difficult to beat?

"Yeah, very. Very!"

"The point of the game is to bribe pirates to bring treasure to your islands and to accumulate the most money!"

Do you like to win?

"Yes, definitely! I look for new games because I love competition!"

"It's really an amazing game."

"I can't say I'm winning!"

Jan also talked to one of the main organisers of the Olympiad, Jakub Tesinsky, asking him how it had changed:

"It has changed a lot. At the beginning it was a four-day event and now it is a nine-day event. There are many more people and we also have much more experience. So, there are new things like that we promote games for schools, as well we have included more tournaments and we are more open to the public. Something like 60 percent of our space is open for anybody to come in and we can show him any of our three hundred games."

Three hundred, really, that many!

"Yeah, now we have 300 and basically there is no point in collecting more until we learn them all!"

What for you is the 'one' game, if you had to choose?

"I will not say! It's like with books: I have several genres. It depends if I want to play with my small sister or to go to a party or to be with a friend and think a lot!"

Now, Jan has himself come back from the "games", looking a bit glum and I daresay defeated! Jan, did things not go your way?

"It's true, I didn't win. A few of us got together and played a bluffing game - where you take the role of different medieval characters and I was backstabbed so often by the priest that I'm still cringing."

But you had a lot of fun?

"Yes I did, really there are some very cool games on offer and of course they're addictive! Now, I know beforehand also, if I'd like to buy a game, what it's like. So, there's that too. It was fun."

If you'd like to attend the 5th annual Mind Sports Olympiad time is running out: it only lasts until October 9th - this Sunday. Information on the venue is available on the website