Oct 15, 2021
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A bet on intelligence. How is the “smart game” developing in Uzbekistan

The intellectual game Zakovat has existed in Uzbekistan for over 20 years, the prototype of which is the famous game “What? Where? When?” and the club of the same name in Russia.

Photo: Muhiddin Ali.

For a long time it remained in the shadows, but in the recent past, the state authorities of Uzbekistan paid attention to intellectuals and began to actively support the participants, attracting world stars from other countries.

Photo: Muhiddin Ali.

The leadership of the Mass Media Foundation decided to popularize the “smart game”, which became a powerful intellectual movement, and did not remain in the category of amateur ones.

Although during its existence, Zakovat did not win the trust of commercial structures that did not show due attention to the game, it always attracted participants and spectators of all ages and professions. At some point it was shown on television, but the administration of the channel, considering the game unpromising, put on the program at an “inconvenient” time, and later refused to broadcast altogether and disappeared from the air.

Photo: Muhiddin Ali.

In February 2021, the championship of the Republic of Uzbekistan was announced, with tournaments in various areas. The state decided to motivate the participants with cash prizes for winning the competition (for the first place the prize was about 9 thousand US dollars), and received a powerful return, more than 13 thousand applications were submitted in a few days. In the capital region, the number of participants broke all records of holding various intellectual games in terms of the number of players in the CIS, and amounted to more than 600 teams.

The high interest in the game triggered a chain reaction, and a whole movement began to be created in the country, with the slogan “Being smart is cool!” Most of the participants in this association were young people, which once again emphasizes that being smart is not only interesting and useful, but also prestigious. And the mass media fund, thus, took under its wing all the intellectual games held on the territory of the state.

Photo: Muhiddin Ali.

Subsequently, thematic associations began to form in various types of intellectual games. For example, at the end of the summer, a chess tournament was organized, to which world stars were invited, such as Judith Polgar, Viswanathan Anand, Timur Gareev, Rustam Kasimzyanov and others, and more than 4 thousand participants from different countries registered for the tournament itself. Thus, intellectual games in Uzbekistan have beaten all popularity ratings and have gone beyond the borders of the republic. This was also facilitated by the personal impressions of the tournament, which the intellectuals shared on their social networks.

At the opening ceremony (from left to right): A. Kamilov, T. Narbaeva, N. German.

Yesterday ended the final of the game Zakovat, which was personally attended by the president Shavkat Mirziyoyev, appreciated the strength of the intellectual movement throughout the country. He proposed to contribute in all ways to the development of such a positive initiative, including the creation of clubs even in the most remote areas on a par with the capital region. Moreover, in order to attract more playing youth in order to popularize and increase the intellectual potential of the country, it was proposed to create a whole Intellectual School, with state funding. Where will not only play Zakovat, but also develop other types of “smart” games. And next year, to establish the Intellectual Olympiad for the President’s Prize with a solid monetary fund.

By this, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, together with his assistants, laid the foundation for enhancing interest in education and development among the youth of Uzbekistan. This confirms his idea that the republic will be in good hands if its future is young people, will be formed, which he adhered to and repeatedly voiced.

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