National & International

Posted by ian on September 6th, 2008

The Irish Championship

The main national title is that of Irish Champion, currently in the hands of Noel Mitchell. The championship is a three stage process. First, aspiring candidates play a series of qualifying matches. As of 2008, these matches are held in the form of the Ladder Tournament which runs through the year and finishes at the end of November. The strongest performers advance to an eight-player league, known as the Top 8. As the four highest finishers in each year’s Top 8 automatically qualify for the following year, only four new candidates will qualify via the Ladder. Finally the two highest finishers in the Top 8 play a three-game series to determine who will be champion. The Championship was first held in 1990, with Noel Mitchell as the debut Champion and only five players have held the title since – Noel (a colossal sixteen times in all), Ian Davis (thrice), Stephen Flinter (twice), Claas Roever (once), Roman Pszonka(once) and James Hutchinson (once).

Ladder | Top 8 | Champions

World Amateur Go Championship

The Top 8 also serves a second purpose, determining who will represent Ireland at the World Amateur Go Championship. Held annually in Japan under the aegis of the International Go Federation, the WAGC represents a rare honour for any amateur go player. Sixty-eight nations have sent players in recent years although victory has always gone to the Asian powerhouses, China, Korea and Japan. The Irish representative is determined by the Japan Points system – points are awarded year on year according to finishing position in the Top 8. The player with the highest cumulative total in any given year becomes the Irish representative. Their Japan Points total is then reduced to zero, meaning that the honour rotates. The 2014 representative was John Gibson.


Korean Prime Minister’s Cup

Befitting their status as the superpower in international go circle, Korea established its own international amateur event in 2006, the Korean Prime Minister’s Cup. Already comparable in scale to
the WAGC, it can be expected that it will rapidly come to equal it in prestige. The Irish representative is determined by the Korea Points system. Initially awarded in a similar fashion to Japan Points (with additional points for games won at the Irish Go Congress), from 2009 Korea Points will be awarded for performance in all Irish tournaments. The 2014 representative was Thomas Shanahan.


World Mind Sports Games

Intended as a mental equivalent to the Olympics, the first World Mind Sports Games was held in Beijing in 2008. It is unclear what the future of the WMSG is, and no formal system has yet been
established for selecting the Irish team to compete in the Go events. The sole Irish competitor in 2008 was John Gibson. In 2012 a team was sent, consisting of Ian Davis, James Hutchinson, and Rory Wales. The 2016 event is pencilled in for Baku.

Online Championships

Also inaugurated in 2008, the Irish Online Championship took the form of a single-elimination knockout tournament on the Kiseido Go Server. Claas Roever emerged from a field of 16 to become the debut Irish Online Champion. In 2009 we switched to an Online Interprovincial Team Championship, which we are repeating in 2010 The 2011 page is here

Ireland also competes in the Pandanet European Team Go Championships, our record so far is here


The full competition history of the IGA can be found here.