The 3rd World Nomad Games (3rd WNG)was the host to a truly momentous Oware Tournament. It featured two championships, a championship open to all participants of the traditional intellectual games and a closed Grandmasters Championship for grand-master and master players.
The 3rd WNG took place at the Eurasia Hotel, Cholpon-Ata, Issyk-Kul region of Kyrgyzstan, from the 2nd - 8th of September 2018. It truly was a fantastic event, held every two years, so far the first three editions being held in Kyrgyzstan. The games are akin to an Olympics of Nomad games, featuring 37 sports, 82 participating countries, 2000 athletes, 200 volunteers in 4 locations.
Flying in on the 30th of August from London Heathrow we met two Grandmaster players Gordon Akrugu and Ayeringo Azasemi at our transit stop in Turkey. After in total an eleven hour flight we arrived in Biskek the capital of Kyrgyzstan to a warm welcome of volunteers and camera crews, taking pictures and conducting interviews. Then it was another 5 hour minibus journey to Cholpon-Ata, Eurasia Hotel. by the time we arrived we had been on the road and air for close to 24 hours, we were truly shattered. After administrative modalities it was a finally being shown to our apartments was truly welcoming.
We had three days before the competitions started so we made the best of it and one of the days hired a minibus that took us on an excursion around sites of the Issyk-Kul (Hot Lake) called this because even in winter the lake does not freeze over.
The traditional & Intellectual Games featured three disciplines, Torguz Korgool, Oware and Mangala. With over 150 participants, this was going to be a marathon of competitions. The saving grace was that everything was onsite and we did not have to travel anywhere except walk to the competition hall. Each competition was managed by a Swiss system of seven rounds. With each match being just one game, not entirely adequate especially for Oware.
The Oware competition did not start until the 4th September. This was the first ever known international competition featuring four grandmaster players from two countries. It proved to be a revelation as the new comers on the international scene hailing from Ghana dominated and toppled the incumbent champion Trevor Simon from Antigua & Barbuda to take 1st and 3rd position in the Grandmasters Championship. With September Christian another Antiguan grandmaster taking fourth position.
The Asian players from Kyrgyzstan & Kazakhstan who have done so well to become senior / master players since appearing on the scene at the 2006 MSO followed close behind to take 5th - 9th position. With Hudson Kyagaba of Uganda an Omweeso grandmaster taking 10th position. This competition was a round robin managed with each player playing everyone else. Each match was judged on a best of three basis, more in tradition with Oware competition, where the best of five or first to five is the norm.