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Welcome to our website. The Irish Go Association is the official organisation for promotion of the ancient oriental game of Go in Ireland. We are members of the European Go Federation and the International Go Federation, and organise numerous club and tournament events throughout the year. The IGA promotes awareness of the game including teaching sessions and providing public infomation. Please read further here for details of member benefits and our activities.

Upcoming Events

Posted by ian on June 22nd, 2017

Weekly Meetings (last update 8 August 2019)

Cork — Tuesday 20:30, in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral Hall
Galway — Tuesday 20:00, in the Black Gate
Dublin — Wednesday, 19:00 in Toners
Online — Thursday, 20:00-22:00 on Discord

Registration opens for the 3rd Irish Womens Championship

Posted by Carol Doyle on August 31st, 2019

The Irish Womens Go Championship determines who will hold the title of Irish Womens Go Champion.

Registration is now open to all female identifying Irish passport holders and female identifying non-national persons who have been permanently resident in Ireland for at least 3 months.

To sign up email secretary@irish-go.org

The current champion is Carol Doyle-Plikk, who took the title in 2015. Complete results and sgf here.

The tournament takes the form of a league-table, with each competitor playing a single match against the others. The Champion is decided in a best-of-three game between the top two players.

All competitors are advised to read the rules thoroughly.

Registered players:
Carol Doyle-Plikk 9kyu (Oslo) OGS/KGS – Fah
Caroline Hutchinson 17kyu (Lisburn) IGS/KGS – Carrie
Michèle Renaut 9kyu (Cork) KGS – Clochette


A day at EGC 2019

Posted by Carol Doyle on August 31st, 2019

The 63rd European Go Congress was held this year in Brussels, just a stones throw from Manneken pis and the Grand Place. Myself and Ian Davis were the only ones playing for Ireland, with participants of all ages from just about every corner of the globe numbering about 800 over two weeks. This was my 4th EGC and I am by now familiar with the rhythm of a congress day.

We wake early to have breakfast with other players staying at the same hotel. Then ensure your official player badge is on straight and head  to the venue and into the crush to find your table number and opponent. This year, however, the organising committee sent out a morning newsletter outlining the days main events, ongoing results from the European Championship, and your game details. Those saved minutes were not spent dawdling over an extra cup of tea, but huddled over In-Seong Hwangs daily “Trouble Master” problems, delivered in the newsletter. In honour of our host nation, Belgian chocolates were handed out in his daily Trouble Master lecture to those who had found trouble and solved the sequences.

With our minds now sharpened we part ways to find our boards for the main tournament game. It is a special feeling to be among hundreds of other players, all bent over their boards playing the best Go they can. A heatwave seems to be the norm for EGC and players cool themselves with all kinds of fashionable fans.

Antii looking fashionable with fan

Game won or lost, it is time for analysis and review. One of my favourite things about EGC is the professional players who spend hour upon hour each day reviewing hundreds of games. My go-to-pro this year became Antii Törmänen 1p, who taught me a lot about how to play fast and light. It must have been good advice as I won all 5 games and received EUR50 voucher for Guo Juans Internet Go School in the 1st week closing ceremony.

Reviews done its time for lunch and hoping that the time has not become too late. EGC is as much a social event as it is a game tournament. The venue in Brussels had a great little cafe where you always run into someone you know. Then its time to attend a lecture or two, which run from around 2pm to 7pm, divided by topic and strength. If you have a free moment it can be fun to watch other peoples game reviews, peruse the Go shop, see some Go art, or – special treat this year – decorate your Go tote.

The review area

There is a side event almost every evening, including Rapid, Childrens, Beer (1 point per win, 1 point per beer, most points wins), Chess & Go, Pair Go, and 9×9. Unofficial poker and board game tournaments usually pop up too. AI has been a feature of recent Congresses and the inaugural Yin Yang Tournament was played from an “unpredictable starting configuration” deemed even by Leela Zero. Those who had signed up for side events would grab something quick to eat before heading back up to the playing area.

For the rest of us, it was finding a restaurant with space enough to sit a sizeable group. The players from Norway are quite few, so we had a messaging group to keep in touch. With other friends too we often split into smaller groups to eat and met later at one of the citys bars to play more Go. Twenty-six boards were distributed to thirteen bars and restaurants in the locale. There we relax and chat, play rengo, or replay and discuss the days games. Knowing that we will do it all again tomorrow we are usually in bed at a reasonable hour.

I played just a few games of the weekend tournament, taking some time off in the afternoons to sightsee. Brussels is a great city full of beautiful art and architecture. During the trip we also visited Ghent, Antwerp, and took a bike ride to Westmalle Trappist brewery. Then it was goodbyes and see you next year before heading to the train station to start the journey home.

No matter what city we are in, this rhythm stays largely the same; only the details and friendly faces vary. There is definitely something to be said for having a husband that plays Go too and is happy to give two weeks of holiday time to Europes annual pop-up Go village!

We have already signed up for next year in Ukraine… http://egc2020.org.ua/

Going for my 5th win

Click here to see the complete EGC 2019 photo album.

Noel’s WAGC Games

Posted by Eoghan on August 22nd, 2019

Here are two of Noel’s games from Matsue.

The first game, against Hungary’s Pal Balogh, is particularly interesting, demonstrating the intense pressure Pal likes to exert on his opponents.



 

 

The second game is against Michal Kralik, from Slovakia.



 

 

Castle Games at WAGC

Posted by Eoghan on July 29th, 2019

Noel Mitchell reports on his experiences at the 40th World Amateur Go Championship, in Matsue.

I was delighted to attend the 40th World Amateur Go Championship in Matsue, Japan as the Irish representative this year. It is actually the 30th time that Ireland has been eligible to participate (our first year was 1990 at the 11th WAGC which I also was lucky enough to attend).

In total there are now 77 countries that are members of the International Go Federation and are invited to participate, of which 59 countries sent representatives this year.

The players assembled in Tokyo on 30th May, and on the 31st May we travelled by plane to Matsue which is in the Northwest of Honshu, close to the coast on the Sea of Japan. Matsue is a very historic city, not very large (200,000 inhabitants), situated on a large lake with many rivers and canals. It is famous for its large castle which dominates the city (built in 1611 and restored in the 19th century) and for its many beautiful gardens and temples in the region.

We had a chance to do some sight-seeing on the 31st before arrival to our hotel.

On the 1st June we had the business meeting of the IGF followed by the International Goodwill Match with local participants, and then the Opening Ceremonies and Reception. In true Japanese style this had many speeches and traditional entertainment.

The tournament itself began on the 2nd June with two matches per day. With time limits at just one hour per player, nearly all games would run into overtime (which was 30 seconds x 3 times). Strange things can happen under pressure in byo-yomi.

My matches on the first day were against Pal Balogh of Hungary (probably the strongest European in the tournament) and Chile (who had just spent the previous three weeks in Japan at a Go school). Both were very long games, and I lost the first by resignation and the second by 4.5 points.

Day 2 I had a tough game against Azerbaijan, in which I killed a group but eventually resigned under pressure in overtime. I took a win that afternoon against Mexico in a really complicated fighting game in which we both made mistakes.

Game analysis with Tournament Referee, Takamiya Masaki. Some people may recognize our old friend Eduardo from Argentina here also.

On day 3 I had a straight-forward win against Bulgaria and a disappointing loss against Slovakia from a good position. Two wins after 6 rounds left a lot to do for the last day.

The critical match for the tournament took place in Round 6 when China faced Korea:

The result was a half-point win for China in a see-saw game, and China would win the remaining games for an 8–0 record.

On the final day I had a good win against Austria although I got a bit lucky in overtime (I won on time after letting a win on the board slip away), followed by a win by 10.5 points vs Guatemala, to finish with four wins in 36th place.

Full results for the tournament are here: https://www.nihonkiin.or.jp/event/amakisen/worldama/40/result.html

1st place: China
2nd place: Korea
3rd place: Hong Kong
4th place: USA
5th place: Hungary
6th place: Canada
7th place: Ukraine
8th place: Japan

There were good final placings for Hungary and Ukraine from Europe, but a little bit disappointing for the young Japanese player (who is still in High School).

Singapore won the Fighting Spirit prize, finishing in 9th place with the distinction of having faced all of the top 6 place finishers!

On the 6th June we had a few hours of further sightseeing in quite hot weather, and the flight back to Tokyo for return journeys. Some people  were extending their stays for holidays but I had to get back straight away, although I had a chance to see our friends Kumagai-san and Shiotsuki-san in Tokyo who send their best wishes to all of the Go payers in Ireland.

Registration Opens for Confucius Cup 2019

Posted by Eoghan on July 17th, 2019

Registration is now open for the 2019 Confucius Cup Go and Chinese Chess tournaments. Please see the tournament page for full details, and registration links.

The 2019 Confucius Cup will take place on the 28th and 29th of September in the new venue, the Confucius Institute on the Belfield Campus of University College, Dublin.

The Go tournament will be a Level C tournament in the European Grand Prix, with prizes for the top 7 finishers. Visiting Chinese pros will be available for teaching games, and games on the top board will be broadcast live online.

Summer News

Posted by ian on June 5th, 2019

Noel Mitchell represented Ireland at the World Amateur Championship. This year it took place in Japan again, and Noel put in a sprint finish to end on 4 wins out of 8, which earned him 36th place.

The Galway Tournament was won by Philippe Renaut, with Matei Garcia finishing in second place. There is a little write up on Facebook.

Finally, the Online Interprovincials rattles along. Connaught are now on 2 wins, and will face last placed Munster in the final round. Allegations that one player was using Super Mario Kart for assistance during the game were investigated, but proved mostly unfounded.

Ireland Top the Table in PGETC

Posted by Eoghan on May 8th, 2019

With a 3–1 victory over Portugal last night, Ireland guaranteed a top place finish in League D of the Pandanet Go European Team Championships. This marks the first time that the Irish team has achieved promotion, and they will compete in League C in the 10th Championship, starting later this year. Second-placed Iceland will play off against Greece to see whether they will join us in League C.

Led by captain Cian Synott, the Irish team comprised Ian Davis, Kevin Farrell, Matei Garcia, John Gibson, Tiberiu Gociu, James Hutchinson, and Karl Irwin. Over 32 games, they won 25, for an enviable record of seven matches won, one drawn, and no losses.

Russia, France, Hungary, and Ukraine took the top four places in League A and will contend for the overall Championship. With a strong team including Alexander Dinerchtein 3p and Ilya Shikshin 2p, Russia must be considered favourites to retain the title.

Korea Prime Ministers Cup 2019 Invitation

Posted by Carol Doyle on April 29th, 2019

The Korean Baduk Association are pleased to announce that ‘The 14th Korea Prime Minister Cup Int’l Baduk Championship’ (KPMC) will be held on August 31 to September 6, 2019 in Yeowol County, Gangwon-do, South Korea.

Ireland would like to send a representative. All are welcome to apply, irrespective of rank. Though, playing strength will be a factor in considerations if there are multiple candidates.

Please take time to read through the invitation attached:

The KBA will arrange flights and cover some of the cost thereof, with the player paying up to 70% of the air fare. The IGA is unfortunately not able to assist with expenses. All other expenses while at the tournament are covered by KBA. 

A representative must- hold an Irish passport  on the date of the tournament, and – be a member of the IGA. (IGA membership can be achieved by paying a fee of EUR10). 


Please let me know if you’d like to be considered with a mail to secretary@irish-go.org

The Top 8 Tournament Begins

Posted by Eoghan on April 28th, 2019

The 2019 Top 8 tournament began this weekend with four rounds played at the Burlington Hotel in Dublin. The eight contenders for the championship this year are Eoghan Barry, Kevin Farrell, Matei Garcia, Piotr Gawron, James Hutchinson, Noel Mitchell, Roman Pszonka, and Michael Thai.

When the dust settled, only two players remained undefeated: defending champion James, and Roman, returning to competitive play after a four year break. But with three others on only a single loss (Matei, Noel, and Michael) the tournament remains wide open and advancement to the championship will likely come down to the final games.

See the tournament page for the current standings.

Irish Go Congress 2019 Report

Posted by Eoghan on March 31st, 2019

In stark contrast to last year’s beasting, the 2019 Irish Go Congress took place last weekend in Dublin under clear skies. The Congress returned to its old home of the Teachers’ Club in Parnell Square, the scene of countless previous tournaments. Forty-two players competed over the course of the weekend, with visitors travelling from the UK, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Romania, and Poland to join a large local contingent.

Niall Tuohy averts his eyes from the basilisk gaze of Ruari McCloskey
Niall Tuohy averts his eyes from the basilisk gaze of Ruari McCloskey

Friday night’s Rapid tournament attracted eighteen entrants. The tension gradually built as the tournament organisers huddled around a laptop, trying to figure out which of OpenGotha’s myriad settings was messing up the draw. The first round finally got under way a little before 8pm, with twenty minutes absolute time on the clock for each player, and handicaps as high as nine stones plus forty points on some boards. But short time settings favour the strong, and there were relatively few upsets despite the handicaps. As the tournament proceeded the handicaps dropped, but so did the time limits (twelve minutes in the final round). Tunyang Xie emerged the winner with a perfect record of five wins from five games, the first indication that he was perhaps a little underrated at 4 dan. Xunrui Zhao and Juan-Manuel Losada filled out the podium

John “Brian Boru” Courtney ponders the latest Viking invasion of Dublin. Rasmus Stene licks his lips and prepares for pillage
John “Brian Boru” Courtney ponders the latest Viking invasion of Dublin. Rasmus Stene licks his lips and prepares for pillage

Saturday morning saw an event without precedent in the history of Irish go — the first round of the Open started two minutes ahead of schedule. There were nineteen boards in the first round and the bar was set at 2 dan. By the end of the day, Tunyang had already taken his place at the top of the table with a third round win over Yishen Wang 5d, while Mathis Isaksen was in third place. The top three placings remained the same for the rest of the weekend. By seven, most of the players were upstairs in the Teachers’ Club bar. We had dinner on the Parnell Street strip (six Chinese restaurants next door to each other). While we ate Matei Garcia entertained us with an apparently improvised comedy routine entitled “Why don’t we hold the European Go Congress in Dublin?” Tears rolled down our faces every time he repeated his catchphrase “No, I’m serious”. We were still joking about it some hours later over pints in the back room of Mulligan’s pub.

The decisive third round game between Yishen Wang and Tunyang Xie
The decisive third round game between Yishen Wang and Tunyang Xie

Games started no less punctually on Sunday morning. The morning sunlight streaming through the windows lent the room an almost devotional ambience that was only emphasised by the lively evangelical religious service audible through the walls of the adjoining building.

Andreas Goetzfried looks perturbed by developments in his game against Mathis Isaksen
Andreas Goetzfried looks perturbed by developments in his game against Mathis Isaksen

Tunyang finished out his tournament with wins over Mathis Isaksen 3d and Andreas Goetzfried 4d to complete his fourth consecutive tournament with a clean sheet. After the prizegiving and closing remarks, visiting players were allowed to enjoy themselves while Irish residents were herded into the Irish Go Association AGM for another ninety minutes of convoluted wrangling. Fourteen people made it to the closing dinner at the Kimchi Hophouse, where Arthur Cater entertained us with feats of legerdemain while Tunyang tried to demonstrate conclusively that the game on a 7 x 7 board should always result in seki. And with that the Irish Go Congress concluded for another year.