Yes, we all know the importance of sports for the body but most people don’t know that sports are also necessary for the brain. Your brain is a muscle and needs as much working out as your pectorals and glutes do. Mind sports help you work out that brain so you can keep it supple and ready for anything life throws at you.
We know about the Gladiator games in ancient Rome, which are the precursor to our modern-day Olympics, which test participants’ physical limits (also mental limits, but that’s a subject for another day). If you want to go full flex with your mental prowess, then headlining the Mind Sports Olympiad held in England every year is where you need to be. Up next we’re going to tell you about the best mind sports. They will include the following:
- Contract Bridge
- Speed Cubing
As the name might give away, Mahjong is a Chinese game. It was invented during the era of the Chinese dynasty and it got its due by the late 20th century. Known as a game of strategy, skill, and mindfulness with a dash of luck, it has been played mostly in the Asia Pacific for centuries, especially in countries like Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong.
What makes this game more popular is the fact that the gameplay matches a lot with the internationally popular game called “Rummy”. The picture above tells us that the game is tile-based and each player receives a set of 13 tiles which are largely based on Chinese characters and symbols.
Just as in rummy, the player has to draw the 14th tile until he/she gains a legal hand. The game forces you to think in real-time and strategize on the spot which is a good way to practice prompt decision-making.
The grandfather of all board games, backgammon was first discovered almost 5000 years ago in the early Mesopotamia era. Two players battle it out to see which one has all their 15 pieces off the board by way of rolling two dice and moving their ‘players;. The game does have some luck involved but it is considered a good mind sport to test your anticipatory skills.
Since raising the stakes and predicting opponent moves is part of the game, it makes a perfect example of mental exercise to get those thoughts flowing. It teaches you to forecast numbers, competition moves, your company results, be a better manager and a thought leader in general.
Poker is almost like the celebrity of games in the mind game category. Internationally, Poker tournaments are held in which people win/lose millions of dollars. What makes this game unique is that every deal has its own set of rules and cards at play. Players bet on who has the best set of cards and on what kind of cards are circulating in a particular round.
The rules of the game make it the best for practicing your strategy and mind-reading skills. Although we can call them mind0reading, because it sounds cooler, it’s really about reading your opponent’s body language.
You need to judge by the looks of the player whether they are bluffing on their card set. This constant change in cards, rules, and the body language of players make poker very lifelike, especially if you are in a management or leadership role. Learn the game today to flex some mind muscle and make some new friends too!
Contract bridge, or simply “bridge” is a game of memory and trickery. It was first invented in the 16th century in western Europe. Different names were given to this game ages ago but eventually, with fine-tuning of the game, it is called by the current name. The World Bridge Federation governs the rules and the gameplay for international competitions.
The game consists of deals and four players partner up in two. You can either bid or call, with an eye on the contract. The declaring side names the goal they will achieve and the opponents try to stop them from doing this. This game is all about goal-setting, using tactics, strategies to achieve what you set out to, despite the challenges along the way.
Would you believe it if I told you that the below picture is that of a game called “Elephant Chess”? As a no-brainer, the “elephant” is given a lot of importance in the game. Well, this game is the long-lost cousin of the international chess game and has similar features and gameplay. It is the most popular pass-time in not only China but also neighboring countries like Vietnam.
The whole objective of the game is to pin down the opponent’s “king” and to capture as many “soldiers” as possible. With every capture, you gain points as per the rules of the game. As a pure strategy board game, you can learn to do some mental push-ups on the ways to achieve your ultimate goals. You learn to create new ways to overcome objections and grow as a thought leader.
One of the fastest-growing mind-sports is called “Speed Cubing” and has caught the fancy of the international gaming community. There are different formats within this game and the most popular one is the 3x3x3, also called the Rubik’s Cube, named after the Hungarian professor Erno Rubik who invented this game in 1974.
The World Cube Association regulates all competitions and their results are considered final without dispute. “Speedcubers” participate in games worldwide to break records and make some big money in a short time.
All you need is a Rubik’s Cube and you can too, start practicing at home or work, every day and learn to work under pressure conditions, timing yourself with each attempt. This is a good way to learn to acclimatize your mind to similar situations in real-life.
“Electronic sports” is also called e-sports and is an advanced way to engage in mind-sports with the advent of technological advances in the 21st century. These games can be single/multi-player if you are playing for entertainment purely. In tournaments, multi-player live streaming games have gained huge fandom and international acceptance, making professional gamers, millions of dollars!
There is a gamut of genres to explore in the e-sports category. From strategy to war to simulation, you name it, they have it. Did you know that a study has found these games to be intellectually important, especially for young kids? Presence of mind, agility, resourcefulness, team-work, among other things are the key take-aways once you experience these games.
Another popular mind sport played worldwide is called “Go”. Astonishingly, it was one of the first mind-sports game that was developed over 2500 years ago and continues to be played by over 20 million players worldwide! There is an International Go Federation that moderates these games between its 75-founder countries.
With similar gameplay like chess, the black and white pieces occupy the grids on the board. Each player attempts to capture the opponent’s pieces by way of an attack rule. The person with the maximum captured pieces is declared a winner. This game is good to learn how to be mindful of our present situation and teaches us to live for today.
What makes sudoku unique compared to the others in this article is that it is entirely based on logic. The game was first seen in Japan in the early 1980s. Did you know the full name of Sudoku was “Sūji wa dokushin ni kagiru”? It simply means that each number occurs only once on a particular line, both in rows and columns.
This game is an excellent source of exercising your logical reasoning, either for your competitive exams or for your aptitude tests. You learn to flex your mind to find solutions to situations or circumstantial problems which is a need of the hour in the 21st century. So, buy that sudoku magazine and get started on the 9×9 grid today! After all, there is a reason why 600,000 people each year do this.
There is hardly anyone alive on the planet who hasn’t heard of chess. You might have had to play it at school or with your introverted cousin on family holidays. The game was first seen ages ago on Indian and Persian soil. The game was later modified and fine-tuned and called Western or International Chess to steer away from the cousin “Xiangqi” game played in China.
Unlike Poker, this game is very transparent in the sense that there is no information hidden between the two players. The 64-square grid is fairly simple and the key objective is to use the “army” available to pin down the opponent kind by giving him a “Check” until he has no way to escape.
Chess can teach you to create counter competition strategies, both at work and in your everyday life.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 500-lb weight-lifter or a grandma with champion Orchids, if you can get at mind sports, you come out on top of the pile. Participating in mind sports is the best way to keep your brain agile and your body lively while you cruise the earth. The best way to start is to just dive in with a game that jiggles your knob.
Even if you don’t know of a game that jiggles your knob, you can find one. The important this is to stay mentally fit. Physical exercise is deeply important but mental exercise is the clamp that makes sure the whole of you holds altogether with an intelligent brain that can manage it all.