The XXIII edition of the Mind Sports Olympiad takes place from the 18th to the 26th of August 2019 at JW3 of Finchley Road, London.
Here is the schedule of the Mind Sports Olympiad 2019.
There are games for everyone, more every years!
I hope it will be the time for more fierce italian gamers to come, because tournaments of the so called “European Games” is bigger every years.
By now, the “oldies” have confirmed (me, Piero Nabendu Zama, Riccardo Gueci and Daniele Ferri).
Notice that competitions highlighted in grey give a bonus score of 8% for the Pentamind ranking.
As for myself, choice will be hard and painful: for example playing Acquire would mean to give up Mensa Connection (Geniale) and Rummikub, that in the past give me many satisfactions; not to mention that playing Backgammon would mean not participate in Mastermind. We will see.
THE ITALIAN TEAM
Here the current composition of the fierce Italian team, and its indicative programme.
1 Georg-Romet Topkin
2 Dario De Toffoli
3 David Jameson
1 Victor Hernandez Luis
2 Daniele Ferri
3 Sophie Tastet
Backgammon Rapid (6×5 points)
1 Simon Morecroft
2 Dario De Toffoli
3 Jonathan Seyghal
1 Martin Thompson
2 Victor Espinosa Ocio
3 Piero Zama
1 Federico Cittadini
2 Marco Del Pra
3 Mike Dixon
1 Andres Kuusk
2 David Pearce
3 Riccardo Gueci
3 Kuno Kolk
1 Piero Zama
2 James Heppell
3 Saravanan Sathyanandha
Memory Skills Marathon
1 Andrea Muzii
2 Hippauf Susanne
3 Lars Christiansen
Memory Skills Natural
1 Andrea Muzii
2 Hippauf Susanne
3 Preeda Hongpimolmas
Memory Skills Speed
1 Andrea Muzii
2 Preeda Hongpimolmas
3 Hippauf Susanne
Perudo (Liar’s Dice)
1 Daniele Ferri
2 Martin Hobemagi
3 Kuno Kolk
Poker Amateur World Championship
1 Archit Yadav
2 Dario De Toffoli
3 Martin Hobemagi
Poker Omaha Pot Limit
1 David Pearce
2 Dario De Toffoli
3 Igor Selivanov
Poker Pineapple Pot Limit
1 Dario de Toffoli
2 Josef Kollar
3 Steve Raine
Poker Texas Hold’em (Heads up) No Limit
1 Saravanan Sathyanandha
2 Piero Zama
3 Martin Hobemagi
1 James Heppell
2 Daniele Ferri
3 Jun U-Choi
1 Marco Del Pra
2 Mike Dixon
3 Kasper Kisjes
1 Cosimo Cardellicchio
2 Bharat Thakrar
3 Marc Tastet
3 Natasha Regan
1 Daniele Ferri
2 Victor Espinosa Ocio
3 Matthew Hathrell
1 Dario De Toffoli
2 Paco Garcia de la Banda
3 Riccardo Gueci
CHRONICLES FROM THE BOARDS
LONDON – 18th-26th August 2019
Mind Sports Olympiad XXIII
Here we go again, like every year I’m about to dive into the Mind Sports Olympiad (https://msoworld.com).
It’s an irresistible enticement, I couldn’t possibly miss it. Leaving its shortcomings aside, de facto MSO is the worldwide best chance to play competitively (but in a friendly environment) myriad games in some sort of a ludic-competitive orgy.
And I also get to meet all my old opponents again, those through the years have become good friends, starting from the legendary Demis Hassabis.
No, I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
The “oldies” from Italy are all still playing: ever since the Senior Pentamind has been established, the podium has been ours, including last year when Piero Nabendu Zama, Riccardo Gueci and I have monopolized it.
We will be there this year too… but we will have to face an incredibly thorny opponent, tough Paco de la Banda, back to the competitions fiercer than ever, and set on getting the top of the podium.
But we will do our best to keep it to ourselves!
Leaving the Seniors aside, Rummikub’s Super-Champion Daniele Ferri will be there too, obviously with his beloved VegeTable; this time he will play for the whole duration of the event and who knows, maybe he will also rise at Pentamind.
Cosimo Cardellicchio will also be in the game and will compete at the Twix tournament, challenging the French Florian Jamain for the gold; he will need to give up on the Oware tournament though, since it will play simultaneously.
Also, great news for this year: new blood incoming! Umberto Rosin, great expert in the so-called “Eurogames”, and fierce Piero Modolo, who has no intention at all to come back empty-handed.
We’ll see, we’ll see… Let’s hope to crash the metal detector on our way back with all the ironware in our suitcases! We got to train, too, this time around, at least a little bit!
And what about my Pentamind target?
Last year, with my 457 points, I ranked 9th in the general standings (1st of the Seniors), so this year’s goal is to better that rank: any score higher than 457 will be well received… and let’s see what the others will tally.
We came to America (1997)
In London, waiting the Mind Sports Olympiad, the Faith Ringgold’s powerful exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery.
23^ Mind Sports Olympiad – day 1
First Bronze for our Piero Zama.
Better than nothing. First day in a silent fashion for our team, but fortunately it ends with a Bronze in Dominoes 5s&3s by Piero Zama who ended in first position together with other 3 players, but has to accept a 3rd place.
Nothing unfortunately for Dario De Toffoli both in Dominoes and in Catan (and Piero as well in the last one), but also for Cosimo Cardellicchio and Giulia Gallotta (in Dominoes).
What about myself? Just not a great day.
In Stratego Duel after 3 years I have to finaly gave up the crown to a young greek boy, very talented, but I have to admit I played badly (I didn’t manage to get to the podium too), as in Stratego Classic, where as always won an english, and finally in Dominoes, but where I can say I haven’t been that lucky.
Tomorrow I will play Mensa Connection, Rummikub and I have a last minute choiche between Gomoku, Blokus and 5 Card Draw.
Hope for the better
Come on, now things are becoming interesting.
After a frustrating day one to say the least, I wore the “Don’t Panic” t-shirt and music has changed: the Hitchhiker’s Guide comes always in handy!
But first things first.
Big and nice tournament, but after the first two games (a 2nd and a 3rd place) I cannot reach the finals and I forfeit. What can I say? I thought I built a winning strategic position, but dice are dice… even if, dice or not, Ankush Khandelwahl and Demis Hassabis went straight to the final from victory to victory. Maybe there’s something I’m missing?
Day1: Dominoes 5s&3s
Here MSO did their worse, concerning a bad organization: a series of unpleasant mix-ups. But Etan apologized for that and promised that it will never happen again, so let’s overlook details. Here Piero Nabendu Zama finished in first position as some other players with 4 wins in 5 matches and took the bronze for tiebreaker. Just to mention, he beat me 121 to 120, leaving me with 3 wins. Dubut in competitions with some victories also for Giulia Gallotta.
And here I have to compliment myself: always careful and focused, I think I played at my best and gold has almost slipped from my hand. In a specific situation against Kuusk and Harlock; I was in a good place, controlling many companies, but not Fusion, which was destined to become the biggest, Kuusk had 8 stocks, Harlock other 8 and me only 3. I could merge Zeta (that I controlled) with Fusion, but I didn’t have the right tile and I started increasing the value of Zeta, simulating the fear somebody else could stole it. Then they merge Phoenix and I swap my 6 to take me to 12 Zeta, because seemengly new companies would have born in the near future. They fall into the trap and do not acquire their Fusion. It’s my turn, I merge Zeta into Fusion and swap 12 for the last 6 Fusion, reaching 9: game won and final table in the pocket.
Day2: Poker 5-card Draw. Yes, the one with 5 cards in hand and one change. But with the entire deck, obviously, and without the strange italian openings. However, 5 left and I go all in to call my double with Ace crashing into a Queen’s full by the chip leader.
Today Cribbage and Omaha.
In the meanwhile, Daniele Ferri missed the gold in Rummikub to James Heppel and this year he finished with a silver and Riccardo Gueci visited the high ranking of many games (with a final table too in Blokus)… but no medals still, for now.
The revenge is completed, this year VEGEtables speaks italian.
After five years in which Matthew Hatthrell won every single time, finally he won the Bronze and the Gold came back where it should have always been: in Italy.
This year I followed a specific training to win and my referee work has been softened by a program that manage pairings, scorings and rankings, things that the other years I have to follow manually.
Now I’m happy, I could even turn back home.
Pay attention to the guy on my right: Victor Espinosa. He took this Silver but also a Gold in Juniores, and if he will go on like this, he will become a dangerous opponent.
One last mention to the enthusiast korean friends that ask me photos non-stop. Here there’s one, but I have thousand.
23^ Mind Sports Olympiad – Day 4
A Golden rain for Italy!
Things are going pretty well here in London:
First off, Daniele Ferri, superb example, won the tournamento of ‘his’ game VegeTables, then it’s time for Piero Zama to conquer the most precious medal in MasterMind, his specialty, then Marco Del Pra won Terra Mistica, but the true hero is the phenomenal Andrea Muzii in the three memory competitions (Marathon, Speed and Natural) with 3 Golds! If you wish, see the video, which is incredible.
But don’t ask me the differences between the three types of competitions because I don’t remember them… 🤣
As for Daniele Ferri you would think that it’s unfair as he invented the game… However in the last 5 years the Gold has always been won by Matthew Hathrell, an english who liked Daniele’s invention, so winning against him is not a joke
Our guy told us that he couldn’t stand not to win again, so I will not tell what he dared to do to train this year… and everything went smoothly.
Piero Zama in MasterMind is not a new entry, in the past he has won several tournaments, so he is just back in good shape.
He never stood a chance instead in the morning Quoridor (as for me) where estonians, koreans, spanish and english improved a lot and became unbeatable.
Even Backgammon (6x7p.) has not be good for Dario De Toffoli who has almost got a medal in the evening session of Hare and Tortoise, finishing fourth.
As for myself, in addition to Quoridor I played Seven Card Stud and here I only got the wood medal of 4° place… An unfortunate double loss in the final stole my icecream the moment I thought I could eat it (I was chipleader for a while…). Almost there, though.
I had to left Hare and tortoise for an annoying issue happened to my wife who decided from Palermo to lose her wallet here in London… 🤬 Things that happen!
In the meanwhile, in the Pentamind Andres Kuusk is first with 464.38 points while Dario De Toffoli is sixth with 385.68 and surprisingly (I have no medals yet) I am tenth with 356.42.
Tomorrow I will playing my first tournament of the diffcult Twixt, then Continuo and finally Kamisado.
That’s it for now…
For me a silver in Poker Omaha, which take me to 386 Pentamind points, but then so many Golds for Italy.
Curious? So keep reading on!
English game: now that I teached it to Nabendu, two people actually play it in Italy. I played well. After the third of the four rounds (with 2 manche for every round) I’m leading with 5 victories out of 6; but at the end I crash to the unreachable points of Joseph Kollar: I finish with 5 victories, with 3 players in first place with 6 points. Fourth shared, not too bad. In the afternoon I try also the double teaming up with Nabendu (Zama): we never tried it before and we found it really funny, maybe even better than playing alone… but we have not so much luck and experience. It has been a good experience, though.
Maybe this is my favourite poker style and I win a Silver! Good, but with a little of regret, because at the final table I have been ultra-chip leader for long. But in the final heads up wind has changed direction favouring the always dangerous David Pearce. Fine like this! Just to mention in the photo my shirt with the “Russel’s teapot” orbiting between Earth and mars… maybe it helped?
Backgammon (7 points)
Why do we play Backgammon? To suffer! There can’t be any other reason, because some games with sudden and continuous changes in pace have no similarity with any other game, including Poker: the emotions are strong and make you feel alive! This said, I finished in the middle of the ranking (3 wins in 6 matches): somewhat of a shame. There were many strong players, but what piss me off is that I lost against the one who played worst than anyone: one move one blunder (or even many), not knowing what was going on… and then everything going well at the end. Fine, I think today I have to give up the Oware tournament (Modolo, free rein for you!) and the Continuo one, to play Backgammon once again (to 11 points), because I absolutely need the result fot the Pentamind as a long tournament.
What can I say? I finished 3rd with other players… but no medals as usual for the tiebreaker: two first places, a 2nd and a 3rd place. It’s a pity that in the last game I lost the focus during the last move, just for a dispute of the table next to us… I could win that one too but I finished third instead.
Pentamind. First place for Kuusk as usual, already 464 points (but I managed to beat him both in Acquire than in Hare and Tortoise!), while I am 6th with 386. In the senior category I’m followed by Gueci (356) and Zama (329): for now the podium is still full italian, with Peter Horlock, Paco de la Banda and many other still far away.
Riccardo Gueci with many good results (without medals unfortunately) is the nearest in the Pentamind Senior, it’s a shame that somebody stole the pocket to his wife in a supermarket, literally ruining the evening; fortunately the security found it soon after with the documents inside.
Piero Nabendu Zama gave his best in his game: Gold in Mastermind, where he has always been the best. Good job Nabe! He is coming back too in the Pentamind.
Daniele Ferri is doing great too: already two Golds, the first in the funny Perudo (don’t think it’s only luck!) and finally in his beloved VegeTable: he invented it, he proposed it, he directed it and finally – proudly – he won it, beating Mattew Hattrell, who won that tournament 5 years in a row.
Yesterday came here in London also Umberto Rosin and Piero Modolo: morning wake up at 03:30, bus, plane, train, taxi and immediately going to play the literally big Gaia Project, two minutes before the start; I don’t know if they even managed to go to the bathroom and then immediately Hare and Tortoise. No medals for them, but the good news is that they are still alive: I’m sure about it, because at 23:00 I went to dinner with them… they were really hungry!
But the true hero has been the young Andrea Muzii, who won all the Memory competiitons (Marathon, Natural and Speed), winning 9 out of 10 challenges. Just to know he memorized the order of a deck of cards randomly shuffled in 24 seconds, then a number of 504 digits in 5 minutes and finally 394 pictures in 5 minutes (new european record). Incredible! Here a video that shows Andrea in action: https://www.facebook.com/
For sure we will talk again about him!
It’s not finished yet, Marco Del Pra won the Gold in Terra Mystica and there has been an italian double also in Gaia Project: details in the next Chronicle, I don’t have the official results.
Finally I decided: tomorrow no Oware and Continuo for me, I will try another Backgammon, with Poker Pineapple in the evening.
But I have no medal to show. Not even one.
But one thing I have to clarify: here in London we are having a good time, and even if “competitive” satisfactions are yet to come, it would be false to say that nothing happened.
First thing first.
Me and Umberto traveled on the 21st morning from Venice, and manage to arrive right for the Gaia Project tournament.
For me it has been a bloodbath (there were so many players that can be considered as “specialists” with much more games played – and Gaia Project I have to admit is not my ideal type of game).
I came out badly (Umberto somewhat better, but not enough to take a medal).
We prepare fro Hare and Tortoise, but nothing even here. And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.
Today, finally, we start with what is probably my favourite game here at MSO: oware (while Umberto decides to play Puerto Rico).
The tournament starts well, I won 2, then lose badly (but really badly!) against Seth (who will finish first and has a gigantic experience), I manage to win a third one and then the game that is like a final to me, against Glenda (if I win I’m on the podium, maybe even second!).
End of the story, a truly memorable game, tense, but she wins by taking slightly more control and a misplay makes me lose the game…
But I really had fun – and I’m not saying that only because I did’t win!
Finally, we exchange some contacts so who knows that maybe in the future we will manage to do something even elsewhere!
Next game is Continuo.
And here I have to say that they have been tense games until the last tile.
I win the first two games controlling the situation, and finally two korean kids in a row… terribles! In both the games we play with couple of points of difference and a couple of points make me lose both the games.
A bit of bitterness for sure, but that’s fine. The important thing is to keep up learning.
In the evening it’s time for 7 wonders. I came late (I was finishing Continuo) and my first game is lost by default. I’m not worried: to be honest it is the third time that I play the game, so I take it easy and I play to have fun. I make so many mistakes and at the end I play in the last tables, but in the last game (and the last table nda…) I have the satisfaction to finally been able to play decently and to win the game.
To summarize, a little bit a nothing done.
Tomorrow Stone Age. And that’s it, because tomorrow is short session. But there will be still to fight!
23^ Mind Sports Olympiad – Day 5
3 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze the italian loot of today.
An unstoppable rythm and we add 5 medals to the pool:
Cosimo Cardellicchio Gold in the difficult Twixt, Dario De Toffoli Gold in Pineapple (a style of Poker) and Federico Cittadini Gold in the complex Gaia Project.
Another Silver in this tournament also for Marco del Pra, and finally Bronze in Kamisado for myself (finally!).
Nothing for our captain in Backgammon (4x11p.) as for Daniele Ferri and Piero Zama, the last one even out early in Pineapple.
As for myself a really stressful day of competition. I started with my first Twixt competition, a really good and complex game, where I managed to win 2 games and a third slipped away for a misplay (yes I even risked to win a Bronze, maybe…), then I reply by thinking really thoughly in another new game for me “Continuo” (an endless computation where the colours at the end shut me down). Here I made 2 victories and 2 losses, but I have to say that korean kids has been as surprising as unbeatable, so to place a triple on the podium. Finally, dulcis in fundo, without even the smalles break I played Kamisado, for a total of 14 games of focus and continuous analysis. A really tough thing, finally ending with my first medal, even if only a Bronze (better than nothing). I played really well drawing 1-1 against both the first and the second players. Only an underperformance against a weaker player made me lose the most precious metal but Bronze in Kamisado is like a habit to me.
Tomorrow we play only in the morning and afternoon with a double Backgammon session (6x5p.).
Hoping on dice 🤣🤣
23^ Mind Sports Olympiad – Day 6
An italian Silver never displease.
With his third try in Backgammon (this time 6x5pt.), Dario De Toffoli conquers an important Silver, compensating a day that has been dry of medals for Italy.
Fourth ex aequo for both me and Daniele Ferri, especially for diabolic dice.
No other Medals to the other italians, Piero Zama, Piero Modolo and Umberto Rosin in the several games they competed in, Stone Age and Monopoly, but all of us are confident in the last two days to close properly.
Tomorrow ther’s the rest day, while on Sunday we begin all over again with Triolet and Texas Holdem, painfully giving up Chess 960 which has always been a tournament I aim at. Pentamind needings, in pure detoffolian style 😜 this is what they reccommend to me.
But let’s have a look to the current situation of the Pentamind.
The fight seems between 4 names: two estonians and two english. As always. First Andres Kuusk with 489,42, second the last edition champion Ankush Khandelwal with 462,77, third Martin Hobemagi 461,62, fourth James Heppell with 454,14.
The winner can be decided by the last game.
Our capitain De Toffoli is doing well with his sixth place and 425,47 points, obviously first in Senior.
In second place in this last category of Pentamind there’s who is writing with 356,42 (15th overall), while the actual podium is closed by Piero Zama with 328,93 (20th overall).
Threatening is one of the favourite that is coming up strongly, the spanish Paco Garcia de la Banda with 302,48.
Even this time everything will be decided by the last game, even if the first place of Senior seems already consolidated.
Finally I have to mention that in the special ranking of the amateur poker Dario is in first place, while in modern abstract games I am in 13th place.
This year the partecipation is similar to the one of the last edition and we are talking about hundreds of players.
See you on Sunday
Sorry if I am writing in English, but I believe that it is more appropriate, because we are speaking about a World Championship. First of all, I thank all the friends that sent me the compliments for the Gold Medal in Twixt at the Mind Sport Olympiad 2019 (and the World Champion title for this year).
Is it only a Gold Medal among the others in a game among the others? Not for me. Twixt is a difficult Connection Game that requires years to be a master, as it occur for Go. And as it occurs for Go, a player starts with a large empty board to be filled with pegs and barriers.
Twixt was authored by Alex Randolph, the first professional author of games. It was the game that changed his life, the game that he wanted that it should be represented also on the inscription on his grave, the beloved one for its elegance (very simple rules, very complex game).
I was informed about Twixt in 1984, in the Sunday columns of the great Giampaolo Dossena in the Italian La Stampa newspaper. His friend Alex Randolph had provided him the Twixt puzzles. I remained intrigued by this unusual game. Later, thank to Dossena, I knew Alex Randolph and we became friends.
I played many games with Alex; I discussed with him about his prototypes, but I have never played Twixt with him, with a single exception. In Cagli, a small town in the Central Italy, in 1999, 20 years ago, we played and I was smashed. In that circumstance, I was informed that I knew nothing about the deepness of this game, and that I had to study. Alex won the the Gold Medal in Twixt at the first Mind Sport Olympiad in 1997 in his unique participation.
In our last phone call before his death in 2004, he asked me: “Can you write a computer program to play Twixt?”
“Alex, I am not a computer programmer. I work in Organic Chemistry”.
This request sounded very unusual for me, because Alex had been always against any computer program playing games, because in his mind “the games” are two or four friends that meet around a table to have their amusement. No computer in this vision.
Later, I understood that his request came from his fear that nobody would have played Twixt after his death. Now I know that his fear was not justified. Little Golem provides a virtual arena in which the best Twixt players play daily. Twixt has been always present in the Mind Sport Olympiad programs and the decision of showing it live on Facebook will provide a new attention.
Don’y worry, Alex. Today, Twixt is in a good health.
No, it is not only a Gold Medal among the others in a game among the others. It is your game, Alex, and I am proud of having been your friend; I am proud of having won this medal to honour you.
Day5 and Day6 dedicated to the classics, and some good resilt has come!
Gold in Poker in the Pineapple style and Silver in Backgammon.
But to come to this result I had to strategically choose wisely for the meta-game of Pentamind (the general combined of the Olympiad): I did not partecipated to the tournaments of Oware and Continuo, which in the past gave me much heavy metal and for which I trained much, and I also couldn’t play a new tournament for me, that of Stone Age. If we have to made a chess comparison, I made some “sacrifices”.
Good news for the other italians, with medals in many different games.
Let’s have a look.
Well, this time the tournament went really smoothly. I capitalize a couple of good hands and then the key moment. With QQ in hand, three bananas come on the flop, and I fold on Heppel bet, because from how he played I’m convinced he has one of the two “monsters” in his hand. I show the cards and “Good fold” he says flipping AA. This made a huge impression on the table (made by amateurs, not by poker pros) and it suddenly granted me the “respect” needed to play my game without disturbs.
This first place (together with the 2nd in Omaha) took me first in the temporary ranking of the combined of poker styles, that will end tomorrow with the Hold’em: it will be a “bonus” tournament, two sessions long, and will attract many people, and the strongest for sure… I will need to play very conservative in the first levels to gain more points (the more you go on, the more points you get) and finally controlling my direct opponents.
I say it again, emotions! Suffering! Other two tournaments (Swiss Perfect system again) and I finished second with other players in both: one time the Buchholz stole my medal, in the other I got the Silver. But I have something to regret too, because everything happened, both against and in favour of me. However, who plays backgammon knows pretty well what I mean. And even more, these ex-aequo steal Pentamind points, infact in Backgammon i have only 80, while I hoped to reach at least ten more.
As for now I am 6th in the overall ranking and 1st in Senior, with 425 points: not so bad. In senior the podium is still all italians, with Gueci and Zama right before me. But Horlock and, more important, Paco de la Banda are approaching, the last one having started badly but recovering in the last days… we need to take him in check.
Well, we are currently at Golds, even on top of the strong estonian team and second only to the english.
Gold to Cosimo Cardellicchio, World Champion in Twixt: just to mention, Cosimo is a big researcher of Alex Randolph, the author of Twixt who loved Twixt more than any other of his creations, so that he wanted to be remembered as the author of Twixt in his tomb!
Double for the italians also in Gaia Project, with Federico Cittadini Gold and Marco Del Pra Silver (Del Pra stil had won the Gold in Terra Mystica): it’s a group of board gamer from Rome that the next october will partecipate as one of the italian team at the European Master in Essen.
Finally a medal (Bronze) also for Riccardo Gueci, in Kamisado.
Nothing for Nabe in Monopoly, even if he started with a victory and a second place.
Nothing to do also for Umberto Rosin and Peter Modolo in Stone Age, let’s say they are taking measures of this highly competitive environment.
Tody is rest day, but we did not rest at all.
During the morning the Stanley Kubrick’s exhibition at the Design Museum: so interesting that I thing I will see all of his films very soon. Many cult scenes in his films… but what do you like the most? If I have to choose, I maybe go for the intoduction speech of Hartman Sergeant in Full Metal Jacket.
In the afternoon the exceptional exhibition “In real life” by Olafur Eliasson in the Tate Modern: immersive installations, sensory experiences, great attention to the climatic catastrophe every day more irreversible: it has been worth it.
Tomorrow we will start all over again and many of us will go for Triolet (Olè-Olè-Olè) and for Texas Hold’em; Monday last day closing up with Azul and Lost Cities (Rosin with Agricola), then we will see the film on the Pentamind (maybe I will become a Hollywood star? ahahahah) and the Prize Giving Ceremony, which will finally clarify rankings and winners.
We are ready and we will do our best!
23^ Mind Sports Olympiad – Final day
The Pentamind title goes by a small margin to Ankush Khandelwal.
The Senior Pentamind is italian instead, as it is the Bronze.
With an exciting ending played on the few points between the estonian Andres Kuusk and the english Ankush Khandelwal, the last one, after a last minute victory in the not so simple Agricola, manages to get the 23rd Pentamind in the MSO 2019.
Well done to the winner, but really a good performance by Kuusk who dominated until a few hours before the end.
Two extraordinary champions!
Third and fourth places for other two estonians, Hobemagi and Topkin, while fifth is James Heppell.
But the true revelation of this year is the spanish junior Noa Conception Martin who finished sixth overall, and more important shows incredible progression and potential, considering her young age.
I have to menton also the seventh overall, the french Marc Tastet, not only european champion of Othello, but also a very flexible player.
Finally in tenth place we find our capitain Dario De Toffoli, who guided the numerous italian team, which also did very well (11 Golds, 9 Silvers and 3 Bronzes) finishing after the english and almost equal to the estonians.
But for Italy, as in the last edition, the main satisfactions came from the “oldies” of the Senior (over 60) where every time Dario De Toffoli conquered the topmost podium, finishing before the spanish champion Juan Francisco García de la Banda (Paco by friends) and who is writing, just to mention for only 0,43 points I came third instead of the other italian Piero Zama, even if he won more medals than me (I think I have more placing right before the first positions in my competitions).
It’s a pity that the Poker championship has slipped from Dario’s hand, while we need to mention the important medals by Daniele Ferri (the last one a Silver in Azul), the important and meaningful one by Cosimo Cardellicchio in Twixt, but also the incredible exploit in the memory competitions by Andrea Muzii that will last in the years.
As for myself I’m not that happy just for the medals (in the nine editions I partecipated in, this one is the least brilliant), but overall I always played well and I always came in the high rankings, and that made it possible for me to get the Bronze in the Pentamind Senior, as in the last year, better than nothing 😊
I’m a little bit disappointed that I had to give up the first place in Stratego Duel, which stayed in my hand since 3 years, but sooner or later that was inevitable 😐.
Every year passing by is harder, but it will be like that also for the others in 2020, I can bet on it 😉
I won again the Senior Pentamind; I got many medals (2 Golds and 4 Silvers) and they stopped me at the check-in in the airport; I am in the first ten players overall (10°), where – as I foreseen – the incredible Ankush Khandelwhal won; Italy did very well with 11 Golds, 9 Silvers and 3 Bronzes. But my overall score (434 punti) left me not fully satisfy: the 457 points of the last year would have made me 5th overall.
Also, in the last two days so many things happened… but luckily it has ended, because I started to feel tired, as you will see.
16 players, 4 games swiss system: for the gold you need to win them all. I win easily the first two and finally I am at the table with Ankush. We play a really good game, open, and for many turns I’m ahead; then he passes me and in the last move I figure out what tiles he has exactly in hand (13-2-5) and on the board there is a horizontal 0-13 where he can close with 2-13 for 45 points: if he cannot do it I win. The problem is that all the ways that close that open up a bis spot, and the double move would grant him to close the game. At the end he wins by something like ten points on a total of 900. Then I win the last and with 3 out of 4 I am sharing second place (no medals for the Buchholz) and Ankush takes the Gold. A real pity, because I really played good. But it’s a shame mostly because the nice atmosphere has been ruined by an absurd unsportmanlike behaviour by Matthew Hathrell, that the judge did not undertand immediately so to block it. Yes, that is, the refereeing in some circumstances has not be competent. I do not give more details (it’s really bad), and after the issue has however been solved, but not without complaints by me and Paco de la Banda (like old and wise) supported by many players. Shame on you, Matthew!
I already have a good score in poker (thank to the Gold in Pineapple), but I play it just for the poker combined ranking. I need 4 results (from a 6 tournaments total) and I played only 3. I finish in a modest 12th place over thirty players and the indian Archiv Yadav, who finished 4th, surpasses me for a couple of points, just for the fact that it was a “bonus” tournament. Gold to him and Silver to me, with the third really far behind. To be honest, here they call this ranking “Live Amateur Poker World Championship”, but in reality it is only a combined of the poker tournaments you played here, tournaments that are absolutely on a low level, nothing to share with the real poker played in the national and international circuits.
This new, beautiful game came to the MSO too and I have to say that I felt well prepared, having had some good training sessions with Piero Modolo. But my age have something to say, after the first game brilliantly won, the mist suddenly came, many times I couldn’t think properly and I found myself throwing almost won games. In the last one my opponent completed all the blues except for the one row, there was only one blue on the table, it was my turn and I… simply did not take it. I didn’t see for the mist. I also was a little ashamed. It’s a shame for Modolo, who started well – and he is also good – but he stopped 3 out of 5. Well done to Daniele Ferri instead, finishing first with some other players with 4 out of 5 and a Silver.
Another Silver for Nabendu who chose hold’em heads up instead of Azul. Gueci tried instead the chess puzzle tournament finishing in fourth place… “wood medal” as usual for him this year
The funny final game that can be played by everyone changed nothing, we all ended in the middle.
The great estonian Andres Kuusk has been first for almost all the MSO, but in the last two days Ankush not only won Triolet, but got also the tournament of Agricola (where also Umberto Rosin was playing) and surpassed him almost on the finish line. Two big champions, worthy heirs of the first years Demis Hassabis.
Between women incredible performance by the young spanish Noa Conception Martin who is not even eighteen years old and she won both Women and Juniores rankings and with 452 points finished 6th overall.
The senior podium this year is not all italian: behind me there is the spanish Paco de la Banda (we forgive him because he is a close friend and we love him ), so Riccardo Gueci finished with the Bronze, while Nabendu was left out for less than half a point.
It is to mention also the 14th position of Daniele Ferri (416 points), who did many good things in the so called “short” tournaments” and if had a second good “long” tournament could have gone even farther.
Before the prize-giving ceremony, there has also been the docu-film on the Pentamind, and I am one of the protagonists… I did even that!!! I hope it can be useful in promoting our world… but in the meanwhile I cannot send you the link to see it on the internet (you are safe!) because I think they want to partecipate into some kind of festival. We will see!