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China Daily Website

Beijing playing mind games with world

Updated: 2012-12-13 08:03
By Sun Xiaochen ( China Daily)

A former International Olympic Committee official lauded Beijing for continuing to promote international sporting events in the wake of the 2008 Games.

Hein Verbruggen, an ex-member of the IOC and chairman of the coordination commission for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was full of praise for the city's efforts to continue its Olympic legacy at the launch of the SportAccord World Mind Games on Tuesday.

"I don't think there is any other Olympic city in the world that has taken the mission of organizing the Olympic Games and their aftermath in such a serious and consistent way as Beijing," Verbruggen, the president of SportAccord, said.

The mind games will be held for the second consecutive year at the Beijing International Convention Center, from Dec 12-19.

More than 150 participants from 39 countries and regions will compete in bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi (Chinese chess).

The mind games, which will also be held in Beijing in 2013 and 2014, has joined the likes of the China Open (tennis tournament) and Beijing International Marathon as a regular feature on the city's sporting calendar.

Verbruggen said he was pleased to see so many major events continue to be staged in the city.

"It is clear that the Olympic Games are mainly about leaving a legacy. I think the authorities have done that extremely well in Beijing. The initiative to host big international events like the mind games is not by coincidence or something that just happened. It's part of the long-term effect of the Olympics."

The 71-year-old from the Netherlands served as International Cycling Union president from 1991 to 2005 before making his name in China as the chief coordinator between the IOC and the Beijing organizing committee.

This year's mind games will include an extensive social, cultural and educational program, which will run alongside the competitions and involve the public, particularly students.

Hou Yifan, the youngest chess player to win the world championship title (in 2010), will be among the "ambassadors" promoting the event in primary schools, middle schools and colleges.

In addition, winners of a series of online tournaments, which were held in September and October, have been invited to play the masters of the game at the event.

Television coverage of the World Mind Games will be available in 64 countries and territories.


(China Daily 12/13/2012 page22)

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