By Emily Goddard

The SportAccord World Mind Games have opened in Beijing ©SportAccord/FacebookThe SportAccord World Mind Games opened in Beijing today as 150 players from 37 countries gear up to compete in bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi for a share of the $1.4 million (£890,000/€1.1 million) prize fund.

This year's event will see American Checkers added to the programme, taking the total number of sub-disciplines to 14, with 24 medal rounds on offer at the Beijing International Convention Centre.

"The spirit of excellence, competition and friendship guides the fourth edition of the World Mind Games," SportAccord President Marius Vizer said during his opening speech.

"Excellent organisation, superior competition and friendship between the players are the aims of this unique event.

"Our intention is to provide inspiration to millions of mind sports practitioners around the world to aspire to the highest standards.

"This intention has focused our efforts towards providing to millions of sportspersons across the world with the opportunities to compete in high-quality competitions through the multi-sports games under SportAccord's umbrella.

"The World Beach Games, World Combat games, World Mind Games and World Urban Games are the results of close cooperation with the international federations and give voice to the primary individuals - the players.

"At the World Mind Games 2014, I wish the players a lot of success and all participants at the event all the best for 2015."

Some 150 players from 37 countries will compete in bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi in Beijing ©SportAccord/FacebookSome 150 players from 37 countries will compete in bridge, chess, draughts, go and xiangqi in Beijing ©SportAccord/Facebook

The World Mind Games will bring together players from four continents under one roof to showcase to the world the best from their respective disciplines, while ensuring global coverage for their sport.

Chess world number two Hou Yifan of China said the competition is perfect for honing her skills.

"Compared to our official tournaments, which usually take around 12 days for 11 rounds, this fast-paced event is more interesting for spectators and is also in favour of my style," she explained.

Meanwhile, Local Organising Committee secretary general Chen Jie said he was delighted to welcome the event back to Beijing after hosting the last three editions.

"As one of the highest level international sports events being held in Beijing this year, a successful World Mind Games will make a great contribution to the popularity and development of mind games, enhancing multi-cultural communication, pushing forward the healthy and harmonious development for the city of Beijing," he added.

Competition at the World Mind Games is due to begin tomorrow and continue until December 17, with the final medals being awarded in the evening.

The event will be broadcast by 22 television channels across the world, including 11 channels that will broadcast the event live in Asia and Europe.

For more information on the World Mind Games click here.

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