Toguz korgool

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Souvenir wood board for Toguz korgool game
Modern plastic board

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


The game is played on a special 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[edit]

"White" starts.

Board sides labeled as black and white and the player sitting on the white side starts the game.

Game play[edit]

Playing toguz korgool

Players move turn by turn, by 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 distribute 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 both players have 81 stones, the game is a draw.

The rules of "Toguz korgool" game[edit]

This game consists of the desk and 162 small balls. There are 9 sockets - "üi" (Kyrgyz: үй - "home") - on each side of the desk and two bowls - "kazna" (Kyrgyz: казына - "treasury") - by one for each player. The "kazna" of the player situated at the right side (or at the competitor's side). The kazna itself doesn't participate in game, it is only required for saving of balls.

The first position of the game is the following: there are 9 balls in each socket, the kaznas are empty. The aim of the game is that the player should win from the competitor more than 81 balls. The right to start the game is defined by mutual agreement of by sortition.

The player, who starts the game, takes all balls from any socket, situated on his side, and starting from the same socket puts by one ball to each socket anticlockwise. It is not allowed to jump over sockets or to put by two or more balls in one socket. After the ninth socket from the first player's side follows the first socket of the competitor, etc. If the last ball falls into one of the competitor's socket, and the number of balls in this socket would be even, so the move is considered resulting and the player take all balls from this socket to his kazna. But if the last ball falls into one of his own sockets, irrespectively of number of balls, they wouldn't be taken by anybody. If the move starts from the socket, where there is only one ball, so the ball is moving to the next socket, accordingly the previous socket becomes empty.

The players are coming one after one.

There is also the rule of "Tuz". If the last ball falls into the competitor's socket, where he has already two balls, so these three balls are moving to the player's kazna and he announces this pocket as "Tuz". Thus, the player wins the whole socket and all those balls that are falling to "Tuz"-socket are moving to his kazna.

Each player during the game can announce the "Tuz" socket only once. It is not allowed to change or to take another one "Tuz". According to the rules of the game the ninth sockets couldn't become "Tuz". And also if the one player has announced the "Tuz"-socket, so another player can't announce the same socket as Tuz.


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 Toguz Korgool World Championships are held every two years, the last ones were in Pardubice, Czech Republic, in 2012. The current Toguz Korgool World Champions are Asel Dalieva (women) and Nurbek Kabiyev (men). 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.


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.

External links[edit]