The Irish Championship is played annually to determine the strongest player in Ireland. The tournament is open to Irish citizens and citizens of other countries who are resident in Ireland. The current Irish Champion is Philippe Renaut.
The Championship takes place in three stages: the Qualifiers, the Top 8, and the Final.
The Qualifiers are played online. Entrants are seeded according to their EGF rating, and play out a double elimination. The top four (sometimes more) finishers advance to the second stage, the Top 8.
The Top 8 is played face-to-face, usually in Dublin. The Top 8 is also follows a double elimination format, with the winners of the two elimination brackets advancing to the Final. The players finishing in the top four places receive an automatic invitation to the following year’s Top 8.
The Final may be played face-to-face or online, according to the wishes of the finalists. The Final is a best-of-three series, with increased time limits. The winner of the Final becomes the Irish Champion for the year.
See the Championship Rules for full details.
The first Irish Championship was played in 1990, as part of that year’s Irish Open, with Noel Mitchell winning the tournament to become the first Irish Champion. Mitchell dominated the early years of the Championship, winning no fewer than sixteen titles, a record unlikely ever to be beaten. The full list of Champions is on the Tournament Records page.
For many years the Top 8 played out a round-robin, with the top two finishers advancing to the final. This proved unsatisfactory, with the Top 8 often dragging on for several months and games left unplayed. The current format attempts to balance inclusivity and fairness with timely completion of the tournament.
World Amateur Go Championship
The Irish Championship also serves to select Irish representatives at the World Amateur Go Championship. Points are awarded to the top eligible finishers in the Irish Championship each year, with the opportunity to represent Ireland offered to candidates in order of their accumulated points.