Approximately 150 bridge, chess, draughts, go and xianqi players flew into Beijing from December 9-11 for the third SportAccord World Mind games. They were greeted by clear skies and sunshine, and by a team of volunteers who drove them from the airport to the Beijing Continental Grand Hotel, where they will stay.
The bridge contingent is the largest: 24 men from China, Monaco, Poland, and the USA and 24 women representing China, England, Israel, and the USA. They will compete as teams for three days, then as pairs for two days, and finally as individuals for two days.
Chess players make up the next largest group: 16 men and 16 women will compete as individuals in a two-day rapid tournament, followed by a three-day blitz and a two-day Basque system. The field is truly international, coming from Armenia, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, India, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, the Ukraine, the USA, and Vietnam.
Go has the third largest contingent: 18 men and 12 women from China, Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, Japan, and Korea. The men will compete as teams, the women as individuals, and the Games will also include pair events.
The draughts players consist of 16 men and 12 women, who will vie in two days of rapid competition, followed by a two-day blitz, and then a super-blitz. Like the chess contingent they are highly international, and they represent both hemispheres, coming from Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, China, Germany, the Ivory Coast, Latvia, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the Ukraine.
The xianqi competition has the simplest schedule. The eight men, representing China, Germany, Hong Kong, Macau, the Philippines, and Vietnam, will will play a rapid round robin (one hour per player with 30-second overtime) at the leisurely pace of one round per day. The four women, representing Australia, China, Vietnam, and the USA, will play a two-round knockout.
The first event of the Games was a press conference held on the afternoon of December 11 at the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Press and Publication. Speeches were made by a variety of guests including the President of SportAccord (Marius Vizer) and executives of the Beijing Olympic City. Also present were the two ambassadors for Go, Natalia Kovaleva and Yu Zhiying.