The Kyrgyz play many other games: at-chabysh (horse racing), jamby atmai (archery), kurosh (wrestling), oodarysh (wrestling on horseback), tiyin enmey (picking up a coin from the ground I at full gallop), nardy (a simplified version of backgammon), and ordo (capture the king’s palace — a game played with animal’s bones («alchik»). Some of games are discribed below:
«Ulak tariysh» (or «Kok boru»)
This game takes place between two teams of 6 to 10 riders whose object is to throw a goat carcass into the opposing team’s goal. This gets extremely rough, and the strength required to muscle through the defense and heave the 20-kg carcass into the goal is daunting. Kyrgyzstan’s national team regularly takes home the world championship (though ulak is mainly a Central Asian game, Russia and India have teams, and Germany and Japan have petitioned to play in 2004).
This is a contest between a young man and a young woman, both on horseback. The object of the game is for the man to try to overtake the woman. The woman is given a faster horse and a head start of about 5 to 10 seconds. Only then can the young man start his pursuit. If he catches her, he is rewarded with a kiss on her face. If he does not catch up with her, then the woman gives him a lashing with a whip.
Upai Upai («score») is a children’s game played with chuko (sheep bones) on flat ground. Somewhat similar to the Western game of marbles, the object is to knock as many chuko as possible by throwing a weighted chuko or large rock from a distance. Each 3 chukos knocked make one set called an upai or basyrn. The goal is to gain as many upais as possible.
Kygyz horses are glorified with its strengths and powers of endurance as the best the most convenient and safety transport in mountains. Horses are «the wings of the Kyrgyz», according to an ancient proverb. For 2,500 years this valuable beast has been at the heart of nomadic life — a friend, worker and a source of food. It gave them supremacy over settled cultures, bestowing freedom, carrying yurts and people over the mountains, and supplying meat, leather and milk for the national drink, kymyz (made from horse milk).