Toguz korgol

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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[edit]

Starting position
"Black" moves.

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

Game play[edit]

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 rules of "Toguz korgool" game[edit]

This game consists of the desk and 162 small balls. There are 9 pits - "üi" (Kyrgyz: үй - "home") - on each side of the desk and two bowls - "kazna" (Kyrgyz: казына - "treasury") - by one for each player. The "kazan" of the player situated at the right 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 pit, 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 or by sortition.

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

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


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.[1] 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.


  1. ^ "Әлем Чемпионаты". 2012-04-10. Retrieved 2022-02-05.
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Stein um Stein: Exotik der Brettspiele. Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin (Germany / GDR) 1984, 69 & 76-84.
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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]