The first major use of the term was as a result of the Mind Sports Olympiad in 1997 described as the Olympics of the mind. The phrase had been used prior to this event such as backgammon being described as a mind sport by Tony Buzan in 1996,. Bodies such as the memory council use the term retrospectively.
"...I believe we should have the same obligation to mental agility as we do to physical agility. Mind sports have to form UK national bodies and get together with the government to devise an acceptable amendment to the 1937 Act that clearly differentiates mind sports from parlour board games."
Many of the games official bodies which had come together for the Mind Sports Olympiad, formed larger organisations such as the Mind Sports Council and International Mind Sports Association (IMSA). With IMSA organising the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing 2008  for contract bridge, chess, go, draughts and xiangqi many other bodies have lobbied for inclusion such as the International Federation of Poker, which won provisional membership at the annual congress of SportAccord in Dubai in 2009.
The term also includes mental calculation or memory disciplines as presented in International competitions such as the Mental Calculation World Cup (held bi-annually since 2004) and the World Memory Championships (held annually since 1991)
Games called Mind Sports
As well as many board games and card games, other purer mental disciplines have been described as mind sports such as speed reading and computer programming Events that have also been included where the physical element is comparable to the mental component such as when the official South African Mind Sports body accepted texting as a mind sport.
- Mental Calculation World Cup (bi-annually since 2004)
- World Memory Championships (annually since 1991)
- Mind Sports Olympiad (annually since 1997)
- World Mind Sports Games (held once in 2008)
- "The Mind Sports Olympiad Supplements". The Times. July - August 1997.
- Lantin, Barbara (19 October 1996). "All power to elderly brain cells". The Telegraph. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "The Mind Sport of Memory 1991-2011".
- Buckley, Will (3 February 2002). "Sit back - and win gold for Britain". The Observer. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Bartley, Stephen (29 April 2010). "Official - Poker now a Mind Sport". Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- Shirong Chen (3 October 2008). "Beijing hosts first 'Mind Games'". BBC. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "If you're going to gamble, make sure you're right in the right game". The Observer. 14 February 2010. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "IFP Becomes Member of IMSA". Sportcal: Sports Market Intelligence. April 30, 2010.
- "I think I can". New York Times Magazine. 23 August 1998.
- William Hartson (21 June 1997). "The South Bank Brain Show". The Independent.
- "Texting Champs jet off to New York". 24 January 2011. Retrieved 20 March 2011.