The 42th World Othello Championships: Day One Highlights


FINALS Table 1 – Day 3 Live from Prague #WOC18 #OTHELLO

To escape the Mournhub, with various grim, gammon toadies filling my timeline and now spreading painfully through my aggregators, I took to watching a selection of old tv adverts and happened to see one for the popular board game Othello. ‘Will YOU be the next world champion?’ asked an excited voice-over. I scoffed, was there even such a thing as a world Othello champion? And then promptly vanished down the rabbit hole of the World Othello Championships, coverage of which is on yer cooncil telly YouTube channel for your entertainment. Not for the first time, I came to scoff, but left humbled by the world I’d uncovered…

Each video lasts four hours plus, and initially comprises the later stages of an epic game of Othello that endures longer than most relationships. Young master Keisuke Fukuchi takes on a tough match against no less august a figure than the great Thai Aunchulee Piyanat; with the camera mercilessly staring the players for the entirety of the game, both contestants seems to be simultaneously having a breakdown and losing the will to live, as indeed was I after viewing a long section of this.

I am now an hour into this titanic clash, and can reveal without spoilers that the players swap sides when the next game starts about an hour in. The game is, as the advert promised, one that takes seconds to learn and a lifetime to master. You place your disk, and flip over other discs to your colour. A team of live commentators provide insights, graphics reveal potential future permutations, and it just never stops, steady as a river, predictable as trees.

There’s been an interesting debate about whether losing tennis players should have to do interviews; I can’t see why they should. It feels mind-bogglingly intrusive to thrust a lens into the face of a despondent player, least of all, Piyanat, who looks as if he would shrivel to nothing if he ends up defeated by an opponent who appears to be the age of playing with dinosaur toys. Can Aunchulee Piyanat flip Keisuke Fukuchi’s discs and find true happiness? Don’t spoil the ending for me in the comments, we have to take simple pleasures where we can find them in today’s world…


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  1. Pretty muich in awe of anybody who can take any board game to the first level never mind the next level. Board games used to be just fun and then someone introduced you to chess and draughts and then it was nothing to do with the turn of the card and whether you would land on Mayfair and get Vine St. Yikes, just the brain cell aggregate to take on Othello at this level could eat up the sun.

    • Agreed. Hats off to those prepared to take that chance! I did look to check the result, and it all ended on good terms…

  2. Othello is the western imperialistic dumbed down version of GO.
    I will be your second if you feel that the shame of this can only be atoned for through seppuku.

    • It’s a great game! Very easy to learn, but it’s interesting to me to see how it works out at the highest level, a level I didn’t know existed but am happy you share with you! I’ve drawn a blank in asking people to give me a match…

        • I think everyone knows the experience of your opponent overturning the board and flouncing out, leaving you to retrieve the scrabble letters from your hair…once you’ve been through that, you get cagey about who you play…

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