Many competitions call themselves philosophical but the question what makes them philosophical has received little attention so far. The reason might be that it seems to have a simple answer according to which a philosophical competition is a rivalry about the best philosophical performance. In the paper, I argue that this answer is too simple. I suggest a richer analysis that defines philosophical competition as a striving play. I apply the richer notion to examples of contemporary competitions for high school students, the International Philosophy Olympiad and debate competitions, in particular the Ethics Bowl. The richer analysis also serves to counter an argument against philosophical competitions.