Toguz korgol

Last updated
Souvenir wood board for Toguz korgool game Toguzkorgool.jpg
Souvenir wood board for Toguz korgool game

Toguz korgool (Kyrgyz : тогуз коргоол - "nine sheep droppings") or togyzkumalak (Kazakh : тоғыз құмалақ), is a two-player game in the mancala family that is played in Central Asia.



The game is played on a board with two rows of nine holes. There are two "kazna" between these rows, which are used to collect captured stones of each user, separately. At the beginning there are nine stones in each hole, except the kazna, which are empty, so players need a total of 162 stones.

Game start

Starting position Toguz korgool start position.jpg
Starting position
"Black" moves. Deskohrani 08-09-28 0896.jpg
"Black" moves.

The board sides are labeled as black and white. The player sitting on the white side starts the game.

Game play

Playing toguz korgool Deskohrani 08-09-28 0888.jpg
Playing toguz korgool

Players move alternately. A move consists of taking stones from a hole and distributing them to other holes. On his/her turn, a player takes all the stones of one of his holes, which is not a tuz (see below), and distributes them anticlockwise, one by one, into the following holes. The first stone must be dropped into the hole which was just emptied. However, if the move began from a hole which contained only one stone, this stone is put into the next hole.

If the last stone falls into a hole on the opponent's side, and this hole then contains an even number of stones, these stones are captured and stored in the player's kazna. If the last stone falls into a hole of the opponent, which then has three stones, the hole is marked as a "tuz" ("salt" in Kyrgyz). There are a few restrictions on creating a tuz:

  1. A player may create only one tuz in each game.
  2. The last hole of the opponent (his ninth or rightmost hole) cannot be turned into a tuz.
  3. A tuz cannot be made if it is symmetrical to the opponent's one (for instance, if the opponent's third hole is a tuz, you cannot turn your third hole into one). It is permitted to make such a move, but it wouldn't create a tuz.

The stones that fall into a tuz are captured by its owner. He may transfer its contents at any time to his kazna. The game ends when a player can't move at his turn because all the holes on his side, which are not tuz, are empty.

When the game is over, the remaining stones which are not yet in a kazna or in a tuz are won by the player on whose side they are. The winner is the player who, at the end of the game, has captured more stones in their tuz and their kazna. When each player has 81 stones, the game is a draw.


The first contemporary togyzkumalak/togyzkorgool tournament was held in 1948 in Almaty, Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic there were disputes around the rules which were not standardized. That was led to the unification and standardization of rules in 1949. [1]

The first Togyzmkumalak World Championship was held on November 1-7, 2010 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The 25 participants of the men's championship represented 14 nations: Antigua and Barbuda, China, Germany, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Turkmenistan, USA, and Uzbekistan. The 18 players of the women's championship came from 10 countries: Azerbaijan, China, Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Four nations sent full teams (3 players) in each gender: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Russia. Uzbekistan had a full male team. [2] Similar to chess, Go and checkers, there are world championships which attract players from all over the world. The Toguz Korgool Federation was found in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, in 1993. The Togyzkumalak World Championships are held every two years, the last ones were in Pardubice, Czech Republic, in 2012. The current Togyzkumalak / Toguz Korgool World Champions are Asel Dalieva (women) and Nurbek Kabiyev (men). The best non-Asian player was Jurij Nold (Germany). There are many competitions on local, regional and national levels in Central Asia. In addition, there are annual tournaments in some European countries, including England (London), Germany (Schweinfurt), Switzerland (La Tour-de-Peilz), and the Czech Republic (Prague and Pardubice). Toguz korgool is now also included in the program of the World Nomad Games.

The game is considered a national sport in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. It is estimated that there are about 10,000 organized players and about 200 official trainers in Kazakhstan alone.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Asia</span> Subregion of the Asian continent

Central Asia, also known as Middle Asia, is a region of Asia that stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to western China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north. It includes the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, which are colloquially referred to as the "-stans" as the countries all have names ending with the Persian suffix "-stan", meaning "land of".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Foreign relations of Kyrgyzstan</span> Overview of the foreign relations of Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan has close relations with other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States, particularly Kazakhstan and Russia, given the historical legacy of the Soviet Union. It also has close relations with Turkey as well, given their shared heritage as Turkic languages.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mancala</span> Type of count-and-capture game

The mancala games are a family of two-player turn-based strategy board games played with small stones, beans, or seeds and rows of holes or pits in the earth, a board or other playing surface. The objective is usually to capture all or some set of the opponent's pieces.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyrgyzstan</span> Country in Central Asia

Kyrgyzstan or the Kyrgyz Republic is a landlocked country in Central Asia. Kyrgyzstan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Uzbekistan to the west, Tajikistan to the south, and the People's Republic of China to the east. Its capital and largest city is Bishkek.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sport in Kazakhstan</span>

Kazakhstan's President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has challenged sports organizers to engage 30 percent of the country's population in sports. The state has numerous sports clubs where people participate in various types of sports; sport facilities are available to the general public. Kazakhstan currently hosts major international tournaments; Astana and Almaty hosted the VII Asian Winter Games 2011, which drew teams from 27 countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Soviet Central Asia</span> Section of Central Asia formerly controlled by the Soviet Union

Soviet Central Asia was the part of Central Asia administered by the Soviet Union between 1918 and 1991, when the Central Asian republics declared independence. It is nearly synonymous with Russian Turkestan in the Russian Empire. Soviet Central Asia went through many territorial divisions before the current borders were created in the 1920s and 1930s.

Oralbay Abdykarimov is a Kazakh politician who was the State Secretary of Kazakhstan from 10 March 2004 to 15 May 2007. He served as the Head of the Presidential Administration of Kazakhstan from 14 October 1996 to 21 October 1997 until becoming the head of a state anti-corruption commission after the President appointed him on 29 November 1999 and as chair and of the Senate of Kazakhstan, the second highest position in the Government of Kazakhstan from 1 December 1999 to 10 January 2004. Abdykarimov was also a member of the Senate while serving as the chair and from 28 August 2007 to 26 August 2013 and member of the Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan from 1990 to 1992.

The threat of terrorism in Kazakhstan plays an increasingly important role in relations with the United States which in 2006 were at an all-time high. Kazakhstan has taken Uzbekistan's place as the favored partner in Central Asia for both Russia and the United States. Kazakhstan's counter-terrorism efforts resulted in the country's 94th ranking among 130 countries in the 2016 Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute of Economics and Peace. The higher the position on the ranking is, the bigger the impact of terrorism in the country. Kazakhstan's 94th place puts it in a group of countries with the lowest impact of terrorism.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Central Asian Union</span> Intergovernmental organisation for economic integration

The Central Asian Union (CAU), later called the Central Asian Economic Union, was an intergovernmental organisation for economic integration between the Central Asian post-Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan between 1994 and 2004. Tajikistan joined the Union in 1996 as an observer. Several proposals to restore the Union have been put forward since its dissolution.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan relations</span> Bilateral relations

Kazakhstan–Kyrgyzstan relations refers to the bilateral diplomatic relations between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Bilateral relationships between the countries, which share a border, are very strong and Kyrgyz and Kazakh are very close in terms of language, culture and religion. Kyrgyz-Kazakh relationships have always been at very high level and economic and other formal connections of two countries have been greeted with strong appreciation by both nations since the two share a lot in common.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kyrgyzstan men's national basketball team</span>

The Kyrgyzstan national basketball team is the national Basketball team of Kyrgyzstan, Asia. Their last match was in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship qualification Central Asia playoff, a rout loss to Kazakhstan in Astana. The majority of their best players play in Kazakhstan, including rebounding expert center Sergei Kazantcev and Turkish-born player Andrey Kislitsin.

The history of the Jews in Central Asia dates back centuries, where Jews have lived in countries which include Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">World Nomad Games</span>

World Nomad Games are an international sport competition dedicated to ethnic sports practiced in Central Asia. The first three World Nomad Games were held in Cholpon-Ata, Kyrgyzstan. The fourth games were held in Iznik, Turkey between September 29th and October 2nd 2022. More than 3000 athletes from 102 countries participated in the events.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan border</span> International border

The Kazakhstan–Turkmenistan border is 413 kilometres (257 mi) in length and runs from the Caspian Sea to the tripoint with Uzbekistan. It is the shortest international boundary of both states.

Central Asia’s Got Talent is a televised Central Asian talent show competition. The show involves artists from four countries: representatives of Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan will show their talents.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Togyzkumalak</span>

Togyzkumalak or toguz kumalak(Kazakh: toğızqumalaq - "nine pebbles") is a mancala family game played in Kazakhstan. Similar games are played in Turkic-speaking nations, such as toguz korgool in Kyrgyzstan, Mangala in Turkey, and Mere Köçdü in Azerbaijan, and Chaqpelek in Uyghur people. It also played among the Kazakh minority of China and Mongolia. There is a slight difference between these games regarding rules and game terms.


  1. Shotaev, Maksat (2014). Togyzkumalak Algorithms and Etudes. Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan: Astana. pp. 9, 101.
  2. "Әлем Чемпионаты". 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
Akshorayev, A.
Toguz Kumalak: Kodeks i Klassifizirovanje Igri. Mektep, Alma-Ata (Soviet Union) 1980.
Machatscheck, H.
Zug um Zug: Die Zauberwelt der Brettspiele. Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin (Germany / GDR) 1972, 146-147.
Machatscheck, H.
Stein um Stein: Exotik der Brettspiele. Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin (Germany / GDR) 1984, 69 & 76-84.
Pantusov, N. N.
Kirgiskaya Igra Toguz Kumalak. In: Izvestia Obshchestva Arkheoligij, Istorij, i Etnografij pri Kazanskom Universitete (Kazan, Russia) 1906; 22: 249-252.
Sharipov, C. A. & Seitshanov, A. M.
Laws of Toguz Kumalak Game. Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Committee of Sports Affairs, Astana (Kazakhstan) 2006.
Shotayev, M.
Rules of Intellectual Game: Toguz Kumalak. Turkistan (Kazakhstan) 2005.