Top 8 Rules (2009)

Posted by ian on October 25th, 2009

This document is version 5 of the rules of the Irish Go Championship. These rules came into force in 2010 and supersede all previous rules. For reference, the previous set of rules is available here.
Changes to the previous set of rules are:

  1. Introduction of the compulsory Kick-off weekend event
  2. Clarification surrounding substitutions in the event of a player having to withdraw from the Top 8.
  3. Removal of 7 kyu eligibility requirement.

These rules were subsequently amended in 2013 to employ Japanese overtime rather than Canadian.


The purpose of Irish National Go Championship is twofold:

  • to award the title of Irish Go Champion
  • to award points towards go players competing in the World Amateur Go Championship held annually in Japan.

The Irish National Go Championship is regularly referred to as the “Top 8“, as it contains the top eight eligible players in any given year. The points awarded at the end of the tournament are referred to as “Japan points“.

Top 8 Tournament Rules

1. Eligibility

  1. The Irish National Championship is open to all Irish nationals, and to non-nationals who have been permanently resident in Ireland for at least five years, and are eligible for Irish citizenship.
  2. All representatives from Ireland to the WAGC must be Irish citizens. Hence, a non-national participating in the Irish Championship, as allowed by the above rule, would have to take out Irish citizenship before being allowed to travel to the WAGC.

2. Qualification

  1. The Top 8 is composed of the four top finishers from the previous year who intend participating in the current championship and four additional qualifiers.
  2. The four additional qualifiers are determined by the Irish Ladder tournament
  3. Where a player qualifies for, but is unable to take part in the Top 8, then the next player in line from the same qualification route will be chosen to take his place.
  4. The qualification tournament should finish by the end of November and the Top 8 tournament itself should finish by the time of the Irish Open to allow time for the play-offs.
  5. Games not finished by the Irish Open are void and no extra points awarded to either player.
  6. Games are played under the rules outlined in the Top 8 section below.

3. Top 8 Tournament

  1. The Top 8 play an all-play-all league.
  2. Time limits for the games are 60 minutes each per game with Japanese overtime (byo-yomi) of five periods of 30 seconds.
  3. There is no handicap.
  4. Komi is set at 6.5 points for white.
  5. Players decide colour by nigiri.
  6. All games are played according to the ruleset used by the International Go Federation’s WAGC rules.
  7. The Top 8 begins with a compulsory 4 round weekend kick-off event, taking place in early January. The exact date will be decided no later than October of the preceding year and communicated to all qualifiers.
  8. Players with the same number of wins at the end of the Top 8 play a single play-off game as a tie-breaker.
  9. The top two players play a best of three game final, with time limits of 90 minutes plus Japanese overtime (byo-yomi) of five periods of 1 minute
  10. Colour is chosen by nigiri in the first game of the final, and reversed in the second. Colour is again chosen by nigiri if there is a third game.
  11. The winner of this match is declared the Irish Champion.

4. Playing Online

  1. Players can, by mutual agreement, play their games through an online service such as IGS or KGS.
  2. All other rules stated here are still valid for such games.
  3. Both players should retain a record of such a game, in the event of a dispute arising.

5. Japan Points and the WAGC

  1. The Irish Champion receives 10 Japan points. The runner up receives seven Japan points.
  2. Players finishing from third to eighth place receive from six to one Japan points respectively.
  3. Japan points accumulate year-on-year until a player goes to the WAGC (see below).
  4. At the end of the Top 8 tournament, the player from the current year’s Top 8 tournament with the most accumulated Japan points (who may or may not be the Irish Champion) is granted the opportunity to represent Ireland at the World Amateur Go Championship.
  5. That player loses all of their Japan points after the visit, and starts the following year’s Top 8 tournament with zero points.
  6. If two or more players are tied on the same number of Japan points, the preference is for the player who has not previously gone to the WAGC.
  7. If both have been to the WAGC before, then the player with most points in the current year goes.
  8. A player may defer their trip to the WAGC, in which case the next most eligible player will be offered the trip. However, no player may travel in consecutive years.
  9. In the event of no Top 8 player being eligible or available to play in the WAGC, the Rules Committee will select a player (using whatever criteria it deems appropriate) to represent Ireland in that year.
  10. A player who has not participated in the Top 8 Championship in any of the previous 5 years loses all of their accumulated Japan points.

6. Rules Committee

  1. In all matters of interpretation of these rules or of issues not covered above the IGA Committee has the final decision.
  2. In the event of a first-time entrant to the Top 8 becoming the Irish Champion, the Rules Committee has the option (but not obligation) to offer the winner the opportunity to represent Ireland at the WAGC regardless of the accumulated points.