Yes we did it again, made history at the Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) 98 which took place at Hammersmith’s Novotel, between 13th - 21st of August 1998. This years Oware tournaments featured competitors who traveled from different parts of the world to compete.
This years competition was definitely going to be a more substantial one with competitors arriving from different parts of the world to take part in the Oware tournament. Confirmed participants for the tournament was a team of 4 plus their team manager from Antigua, representatives from Barbados, Kenya, Spain and Switzerland. This was going to be a competition with a truly international status.
This year three tournaments were held, the individual MSO Oware tournament, MSO Junior Oware tournament and the Nations Vs Nations team championship. The number of entrants had increased on last year’s figures but were still manageable, so the round robin format was used for the tournaments.
The junior competition started on the Monday with 10 entrants, with competitors as young as five entering and all residing in the UK. It was a sight to see young Rodney Davis age 5 taking on some of the older competitors and beating them. But in the end Gold went to Elle Davis who showed absolute composure in his campaign. Silver went to Cheenara Edgehill and Bronze to Wayne Bonti.
Media coverage of the MSO this year was low-key. Camera crews that came took quite an interest in young Mr. Rodney Davis. Well that was there loss because the Senior tournament was a delight to watch and would have provided them with some entertaining coverage, not allot of board games can provide this from a spectators point of view.
Characters were the main feature of this tournament especially the team from Antigua & Barbuda, which consisted of Trevor Simons national champion, Cambia, Pumkin Lewis and little John. As well as dominating the competition by taking the first four positions Trevor Simons Gold, Kambiue Silver, Pumkin Lewis Bronze and little John fourth place, the rivalry between them was so entertaining with banter being the order of the day. These gentlemen’s hands were so large that they used their own boards’ which they brought from Antigua for their games, and a good thing they did to, their hands did not fit in our boards.
To be honest the other competitors did not stand a chance this should really have been a handicapped tournament. Even if they had been given a handicap of 10 they would not have stood a chance. The Antiguans were in a class of their own both in flamboyance and skill. The team event actually turned out to be Antigua & Barbuda Vs the rest of the World. Our team was made up of Sackille Richards, Seth Bonti, Glenda Trew, Ian Pacquette and Viktor Batistuta. This again was another walk over with the Antiguans winning all the games and taking the Championship shield back to Antigua.
The next time a tournament is held we are already working to make sure the Antigua & Barbudans do not have such an easy time.
Apart from the tournaments we had the privilege of being taught Ajwa by Dennis Otieno Chairman of the Kenyan National Ajwa Association. It was a delight to be taught by Dennis. All present enjoyed the way he taught Ajwa in an animated way. Ajwa is a version of Bao that is played by the Luo people of Kenya.