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Roll up, roll up…you know you want to play. Old lags may prefer to skip directly to the end for the section on rules changes, new bugs can cock an ear to my sales pitch in full.

Ladder Tournament – what’s that then?

The Ladder runs throughout the year. The players competing are ranked in a ladder. You can challenge anyone up to five rungs above you – if you win, you move up to their position on the ladder, pushing them (and anyone else in between) downwards. Because everyone else is doing the same thing, if you’re not moving up, you tend to be moving down.

Doesn’t that involve playing an awful lot of games?

It’s largely up to you – it certainly can if you issue a lot of challenges. However you won’t be swamped with challenges from other players – if you’ve received a challenge, you’re free to decline other challenges until you’ve played that game. In general you could expect to play one or two games a month. There is a small penalty if you go an entire month without playing at all.

Can I join after it starts?

Yes, you can join at any time during the year, but the later you join the further down the ladder you will start.

When does it end?

Midnight, November 30th 2009.

What can I win?

Aside from the undying respect of your fellow go players? The four highest finishers qualify for the next Top 8 tournament and a shot at the title of Irish Champion. There will also be awards for playing the most games and (subtly different) defending against the most challenges.

I don’t stand a cat’s chance in hell of making the Top 8 – should I bother entering?

Definitely – the Ladder is a tremendous opportunity to play stronger players in serious games with long time controls and no handicap. These are hotly contested games with no quarter given, and they make excellent games for review afterwards.

Okay, I’m sold – how do I sign up?

Just send an email to the Ladder Committee (ladder at irish hyphen go dot org) – be sure to include your rank, your preferred email address for other players to contact you, which city you live in, and whether you’re willing to play games online (if yes, tell us your username and which server). Did I mention you have be a member of the IGA? Well, we can sort that out later – for now, just sign up.

Any changes to the rules since last year?

Yes – you can now challenge up to five rungs above you instead of three. You can’t challenge a player that you have just played for a week after the game. You can take a two week holiday from the tourney once during the year. I’ve also cleared up the whole business about declining games – if you have received a challenge, you may decline subsequent challenges until that game is played. Challenges you issue don’t enter into the matter, end of story. The new spreadsheet will show clearly which players have challenges pending so it will be easy to tell whether a player can decline your challenge or not. Check the Rules Page for full details.

I’ll get the new spreadsheet up on the main Ladder page once I’ve moved the final standings from 2008 onto their own page

Something to say?