Entries are now open for the 2021 Top 8, the qualifying tournament for the National Championship. In light of the ongoing restrictions to combat Covid-19 in Ireland, the entire tournament will take place online for the first (and, hopefully, the last) time.
UPDATE: Pending discussion with the entrants, games may be scheduled on Wednesday evenings, rather than Sundays.
The Top 8 tournament will be played on consecutive Sundays in January. The provisional schedule is as follows:
Jan. 10th — 1st Qualifying Round
Jan. 17th — 2nd Qualifying Round
Jan. 24th — Top 8, Round 1
Jan. 31st — Top 8, Round 2
Feb. 7th — Top 8, Round 3 (Top Bracket Final)
Feb. 14th — Top 8, Round 4
Feb. 21st — Top 8, Round 5 (Backdoor Bracket Final)
Feb. 28th — Championship, Round 1
Mar. 7th — Championship, Round 2
Mar. 14th — Championship, Round 3 (if required)
The format of the tournament will the same as last year, an eight-player double elimination. The first and second place finishers advance to the National Championship series.
The top four finishers from 2020 will automatically receive an invitation to the 2021 tournament. The remaining seats will be filled by application. Should I receive more applications than places, single elimination qualifying rounds will be played as necessary to reduce the field. In 2020 there were two qualifying rounds.
Seeding both for the qualifying rounds and the main tournament will be according to EGF ranking as of 16th December, 2020.
Games will be played to Japanese rules, with time controls of 1 hour main time, 5 x 30s byo-yomi. Provisionally, games will be played in the Ireland room on the KGS server.
The Top 8 is open to all Irish nationals, and to non-nationals who have been permanently resident in Ireland for at least five years (and are thus eligible for Irish citizenship).
Please email eoghanbarry at outlook.com with your name, email address and phone number to enter.
If you have not previously played in the Top 8, I may request evidence of eligibility.
The deadline for entries is midnight, 15th December 2020. I will announce the draw for the qualifying rounds the following day.