20 Aug 2017 - 1:47
Sports and recreation tourism ranks among the priorities that Qatar gives strong impetus in developing a robust tourism industry.
20 Aug 2017 - 1:46
A total of 1,058 mindsports enthusiasts from 23 countries are competing in 21 tournaments across six mindsports at the 4th World Mindsports Championships which opened yesterday at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC).
The contestants will compete for over $100,000 in prize money, prizes, and the crown title of Mindsport World Champion. The Championships comprise six headline events including chess, scrabble, backgammon, bridge, Go and e-Sports.
Taking place in the Middle East for the first time, the Championships, which run alongside this year’s Qatar Summer Festival, are organised by Mindsports Academy and hosted by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
The nine-day tournament kicked off to a promising start with ambassadors, QTA officials, representatives of the event’s partners, Mindsports champions and contestants taking part in a friendly speed chess game in which they went against 12-year-old Chessmaster Ieysaa bin Suhayl and Grand Masters Keith Arkell, Tamàs Fodor and current International Master Jack Rudd.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, stressed the country’s thrust in developing sports tourism as an important sector of the industry. Al Ibrahim expressed gratitude to President of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, for supporting the expansion of the range of sports events held in Qatar.
QTA had partnered with QOC to cross promote the emerging e-sports scene in Qatar. In addition to the e-sports competitions taking place at the Mindsports Championships, QOC will be organising a FIFA e-Sports Community Event on the final day of the tournament.
“Our partnership with QOC for this championship marks the beginning of a strategic relationship which will see both entities working closely together to further develop sports tourism in Qatar,” he said.
Dave Brannan, founder and CEO of Mindsports International, said mindsports are the fastest growing and most highly watched sports internationally. There are over a billion Mindsports players around the world, including 600 million chess players and 400 million Go players.
“It is an honour to be here today and bring Mindsports to the Middle East for the first time. We all hope that this will be the first of many. The Mindsport World Championships were conceived to bring communities together, to help cognitive skill gaming and to help bring gaming within schools around the world,” said Brannan.
“We hope that this tournament in Doha show the world what can be done in mindsports and through venues like this that we can bring people together. We hope that it will help in education in schools and that we get more schools running tournaments so they can send these people to these world championships,” he said.
He added: “By being here we feel that it will inspire more people to come along and we are working already with local groups in the education area to help introduce mindsports into schools in Doha and we are going to continue to do that after this event for the coming years.”
The Mindsports World Championships are also supported by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Aspire Zone Foundation, Ooreedoo, AlFardan Automobiles, Adabisc, Strike and KiddyZone.