2013 World Mind Games (Beijing, China)

Mind Sport Games 2013

All roads led to the 2013 World Minds Sports Games in Beijing, China on December 12th-18th. This unique tournament featured five sports including bridge, go, draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess) and international chess. Top players in each of these mind sports competed in various formats. Chess unfurled a unique chess variant called “Basque Chess” which entails two players playing an opponent two games with opposite colors simultaneously. Rapid and Blitz were the other two formats.

GMs Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Hou Yifan (China)

Top seeds Levon Aronian (Armenia) and Hou Yifan (China)

The field for the Mind Games events was competitive and attracted elite players from around the world. There are several World Champion (time category) playing including World Blitz Champion Le Quang Liem of Vietnam, World Rapid Champion Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Women’s Blitz champion Valentina Guinana of Russia and Women’s World Rapid champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria. Also included were China’s top boards for both men and women. Although this is an individual event, the Chinese wanted to make sure they made a good impression. The original roster was as follows:

SportAccord World Mind Games
December 12th-18th, 2013 (Beijing, China)
1 Aronian, Levon ARM
Hou, Yifan CHN
2 Grischuk, Alexander RUS
Koneru, Humpy IND
3 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar AZE
Zhao, Xue CHN
4 Karjakin, Sergey RUS
Muzychuk, Anna SLO
5 Dominguez Perez, Leinier CUB
Dzagnidze, Nana GEO
6 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime FRA
Lagno, Kateryna UKR
7 Wang, Hao CHN
Kosteniuk, Alexandra RUS
8 Giri, Anish NED
Cramling, Pia SWE
9 Ivanchuk, Vassily UKR
Cmilyte, Viktorija LTU
10 Ponomariov, Ruslan UKR
Ju, Wenjun CHN
11 Leko, Peter HUN
Gunina, Valentina RUS
12 Wang Yue CHN
Sebag, Marie FRA
13 Kamsky, Gata USA
Ushenina, Anna UKR
14 Nepomniachtchi, Ian RUS
Kosintseva, Tatiana RUS
15 Radjabov, Teimour AZE
Stefanova, Antoaneta BUL
16 Le, Quang Liem VIE
Paehtz, Elisabeth GER


Hou Yifan (China) and Zhao Xue (China) set to face off after ceremonial moves.

Hou Yifan (China) and Zhao Xue (China) set to face off after ceremonial moves.
Photo courtesy of https://sportaccord2013.fide.com/.

Peter Leko took an early lead on the first day of play (3.5/4). He played enterprising chess winning a key game over Wang Hao, but squandered his lead after losing to Wang Yue in the last round. China’s Wang Yue took home the gold. (report)

The colors of winning nations being raised.

The colors of winning nations being raised.

In the women’s competition, Valentina Guinina won her first four games and coasted to a gold staving off a charge by the Chinese Hou Yifan and Zhao Xue. Ju Wenjun won her last three games to earn the bronze.(report)

RAPID (Medals)


GOLD- Wang Yue (China)

SILVER- Peter Leko (Hungary)

BRONZE – Alexander Grishuk (Russia)


GOLD – Valentina Gunina (Russia)

SILVER – Hou Yifan (China)

BRONZE – Ju Wenjun (China)

PGN Games (Men & Women)


Sergey Karjakin took the blitz.
Photo by SportAccord.

The most exciting event of the tournament is the five-minute blitz. Each players have three minutes to complete the game with two seconds added per move. On hand were some of the best blitz players in the world with several others competing in the London Classic. In Beijing, it would be defending World Blitz Champion Alexander Grischuk and a cadres of 2800-rated blitz players to vie for the crown. Levon Aronian charged forth to lead after day one; Le Quang Liem (2841 blitz ELO) after day two. Le lost three consecutive games and ceded his lead. Karjakin stormed ahead to match the Armenian with 19.5/30 winning their head-to-head bout.

In the women’s competition, Hou Yifan dominated play, but was challenged by rapid gold medallist Valentina Guinana. The gold medal would be decided in the last game as a tactical slugfest erupted. The Russian missed her chanced to win a second gold medal and when the smoke cleared it would be the World Champion taking the gold with 21.5/30. An exciting finale!

BLITZ (Medals)


GOLD- Sergey Karjakin (Russia)

SILVER- Levon Aronian (Armenia)

BRONZE – Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France)


GOLD – Hou Yifan (China)

SILVER – Valentina Gunina (Russia)

BRONZE – Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine)

PGN Games (Men & Women)

The colors of winning nations being raised.

Winners of the Blitz: Valentina Guinina, Hou Yifan, Anna Muzychuk


Ju Wenjun preparing for Basque Battle!

Ju Wenjun preparing for Basque Battle!

The last competition was called the “Basque” where each player plays an opponent two games on two board with different colors. In this format you have to gauge strategy such that if one game goes bad, you focus on the other. It is like a one person simul! Whose nerves would hold out in this high-pressured battle?

Zhao Xue wins the inaugural Basque format.

Despite having one’s attention divided between two games, it is relatively easy for players at this level to keep track. The problem comes into play is timing. How much do you allocate on each board? Losing both games is disastrous and the Chinese women seemed to have thrived in this format. Hou Yifan started winning both games against former World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova including a nice sacrificial attack.

Hou also scored 2-0 against another former World Champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk. Hou split with Zhao Xue and these two split with Ju Wenjun. On the last day, the gold medal was decided in a frantic time scramble when Zhao wrested victory from the jaws of defeat and beat Ju in the last game. Hou Yifan was on the ropes after losing her first game against Valentina Guinina, but capitalized on a blunder and took the bronze. The Chinese women made it a clean sweep and helped the nation win

Ju Wenjun preparing for Basque Battle!

Vassily Ivanchuk plays a tough balancing act.
Photos by SportAccord.

In the men’s Basque, Sergey Karjakin showed he was in good tournament form with a 8.5/10 demolition of the field. He won by two full points and carried home two gold medals. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov got silver with a 2-0 trouncing of Levon Aronian. It appears as if Mind Games found a new winner in term of format. The blindfold appears to be more fan-friendly in that one can still see what is going on. It appears to offer a unique challenge to the players and draws on some of the attraction of “bughouse”.

BASQUE (Medals)


GOLD- Sergey Karjakin (Russia)

SILVER- Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan)

BRONZE – Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine)


GOLD – Zhao Xue (Russia)

SILVER – Hou Yifan (China)

BRONZE – Ju Wenjun (China)

PGN Games (Men & Women)


Men (Rapid, Blitz, Basque)
Women (Rapid, Blitz, Basque)


(Rapid, Blitz, Basque)


Official: https://www.worldmindgames.net/en/
FIDE: https://sportaccord2013.fide.com/en/main-page
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/mindgameschannel


  1. SportAccord World Mind Games (Highlights)
    * * *
    Chess Rapids – Day #1 – 12 December 2013

    Chess Rapids – Day #2 – 13 December 2013

    Chess Blitz – Day #3 – 14 December 2013

    Chess Blitz – Day #4 – 15 December 2013

    Chess Blitz – Day #5 – 16 December 2013

    Chess Basque – Day #6 – 17 December 2013

    Chess Basque – Day #7 – 18 December 2013

    Videos from SportAccord World Mind Games (YouTube Channel)

  2. N'Cho Joel Atse of Ivory Coast

    GM N’Cho Joel Atse of Ivory Coast won the 100 draughts blitz championship, the first player from the country to ever such a high-level tournament. GM Jean-Marc Djofang of Cameroon won a bronze medal in the overall competition. Africa has many Grandmasters and of course Baba Sy of Senegal was once World Champion.

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