National & International
- The Irish Championship
- World Amateur Go Championship
- Korean Prime Minister’s Cup
- World Mind Sports Games
- (Interprovincial) Online Championships
The Irish Championship
The main national title is that of Irish Champion. The championship is a three stage process. The four highest finishers in each year’s Top 8 automatically qualify for the following year, while aspiring candidates play a series of qualifying matches to determine who fills the remaining four places. 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 as of 2021, only six players have held the title since – Noel (a colossal sixteen times in all), James Hutchinson (four times), Ian Davis (thrice), Matei Garcia (thrice), Stephen Flinter (twice), Philippe Renaut (twice), Claas Roever (once), and Roman Pszonka (once).
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.
Korean Prime Minister’s Cup
Befitting their status as the superpower in international go circles, 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.
World Mind Sports Games
Intended as a mental equivalent to the Olympics, the first World Mind Sports Games was held in Beijing in 2008. The sole Irish competitor in 2008 was John Gibson. In 2012, Lille a team was sent, consisting of Ian Davis, James Hutchinson, and Rory Wales. Although a third edition was promised for Baku in 2016, it never arrived. It is unclear if the event will be resumed in the future.
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.
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.