British Championships’ Rules

The rules were revised by Council in 2012, in 2013 and by the AGM in 2014 and supersede all previous versions.

These rules refers to the following championships:

  • the British Championship;
  • the British Pair Go Championship;
  • the British Youth Championships.

There is no British Women’s Championship as the Association believes that men and women should play Go on an equal footing.

Contents

A General

A1 The Championships’ Organiser

The Championships’ Organiser is appointed by the BGA Council.

The Championships’ Organiser is responsible for:

  • appointing Organisers for the three stages of the British Championship (Candidates’ Tournament, Challengers’ League and Title Match);
  • appointing Organisers for the British Pair Go Championship;
  • appointing Organisers for the British Youth Championships;
  • appointing suitable Referees for each of the above events;
  • publicity and practical arrangements not otherwise delegated to Organisers;
  • arranging suitable internet broadcasting of and commentary on the Title Match games;
  • reporting progress on the above to Council.

The Championships’ Organiser may undertake any of the above roles themselves, subject to making adequate arrangements to prevent any conflict of interest in events in which they may be likely to participate.

The Championship's Organiser may delegate any or all of these duties and responsibilities to the relevant Event Organiser.

If this position is vacant Council will be responsible for undertaking these duties.

A2 Eligibility

Members of the BGA are eligible to play in the British Championships events, subject to the qualifying criteria for each competition and the discretion of the BGA Council, provided that:

  • they hold or are eligible to hold a British passport; or
  • they have been resident in the UK for the five calendar years prior to the year in which the particular championship is being held, with no continuous absence exceeding six months.

For the British Pair Go Championships, players must satisfy the same conditions as above. For the British Youth championship, see Rule G.5

A3 Invitations and Notifications

All events will be publicised in advance in the British Go Journal and on the Association web site, and will include details of time and place, entry fees, contact details for the Event Organiser and a closing date for entry.

The Event Organiser may at their discretion issue individual invitations to potential players, but is not required to do so.

It is the responsibility of the qualified players to determine their eligibility for entry to the Candidates’ Tournament and the Challengers’ League and submit their entries to these events.

Council will impose sanctions as seem appropriate in subsequent years on those withdrawing late and without good reason from either of these events.

If members believe they are qualified for an event but are unsure, they should contact the Championships’ Organiser.

A4 Referees

The Championships’ Organiser should appoint a suitable Referee for each Championship event (in the case of the British Championship Title Match the appointment may be for a single game). Referees are appointed subject to the approval by the BGA Council and the Organiser of that event. Normally approval will not be given to a Referee who is also a participant to avoid any conflict of interest.

The duties of the Referee shall be to interpret the rules of Go and the rules laid down for each competition, and to ensure that these rules are adhered to. The powers of the Referee will include the power to determine the results of games in case of dispute, and to impose any penalty including disqualification of one or both players if this is considered appropriate, for example because of unsporting behaviour. The specific duties of the Referee for each Event are covered in the relevant sections below.

An appeal may be made to Council, which reserves the right to act as it sees fit in any given case.

A5 Championship Rules - General

A5.1 Event Organiser

The Event Organiser means the recognised senior or lead organiser of an event.

A5.2   Rules

BGA championships are played under AGA-style rules as specified in the rules of play document . The main differences from the previous BGA rules are found in the AGA rules summary. Further explanatory material is found in rules of Go used in BGA tournaments.

A5.3 Komi

Komi will be 7.5 in all British Championship events (Title Match, Challengers’ League, Candidates’ Tournament, Pairs and Youth).

A5.4 Time Limits

The time limits for each event are set out in the respective section below. Players must start their game before the expiry of basic time after deduction of any time penalty.

A5.5 Overtime

Games which are not sudden death are played with Canadian (clock-resetting) overtime: a player whose flag drops has their clock reset to a specified number of minutes and counts out the specified number of stones to be played in that time; when the stones have been played, the player’s clock is reset once more and a further set of stones counted out.

Both players’ clocks should be stopped while clocks are reset and stones counted out. A player whose opponent is about to enter overtime should not stray from the board, and should point out the dropping of an opponent’s flag.

A player who passes during overtime should hand a pass stone to their opponent. When a player plays their last stone they must press the clock without their flag falling. A player whose flag falls in overtime has lost. Both players should endeavour to point out that a flag has fallen regardless of which player’s flag has fallen. If a player points out that their opponent’s flag has fallen during overtime, they have won even if both flags have fallen. Other persons should not point out to the players that a flag has fallen. The Referee may intervene if they believe the overtime rules are not being properly observed.

A5.6 Stopping the Clock

It is open to the Event Organiser to instruct players to stop their clocks in the case of an unusual event or emergency. Unless the Event Organiser specifies otherwise, players may not stop their clocks themselves during a game except to set the clock for overtime, to call for the referee or to repair the position when it has become disorganised.

A5.7 Sealed Moves and Adjournments

Games are adjourned only in games in the British Championship Title Match with a Referee present. The Referee is responsible for supervising the recording of the sealed move, for recording the number of captured stones and the times on the clocks of each player and for holding the sealed move during the adjournment.

B British Championship - Title Match

B1 The Title Match

The match for the title of British Go Champion will be the best of three games (five games if both players agree) between the players placed first and second in the Challengers’ League. Once one player has won two games any remaining games need not be played.

Games will be scheduled in advance by the Championships’ Organiser to facilitate publicity and attendance.

Should either of the eligible players be unable or unwilling to complete the match according to the schedule specified by the Championships’ Organiser, Council will take action as it sees fit.

B2 The Title

The title "British Go Champion" is given to the winner of each year’s Title Match, to be held until the end of the subsequent year’s match.

The British Go Champion holds the John Barrs Go Ban. This must be returned to the Association on loss of the title.

B3 Prizes

Council will award prizes for Champion, loser in the Title Match and other places in the Challengers’ League at their discretion, taking account of the availability of sponsorship money and other funds. Prizes will be announced in advance of the Candidates’ Tournament.

B4 Referee

All games in the Title Match will be played in the presence of a Referee. The Referee will be appointed by the Championships’ Organiser.

The duties of the Referee include:

  • checking that both players are familiar with the time limits and other match arrangements;
  • supervising nigiri (if the first game of the match) or checking that players have the appropriate colour (for second or subsequent games);
  • ensuring that the playing sessions and breaks occur as agreed;
  • supervising any adjournment of the game (for example over lunch);
  • ensuring that the complete game is recorded.

At each match game the Referee has discretion on the handling of the game. This includes powers to:

  • award a time penalty against a late player of twice the time after the agreed starting time;
  • recommend postponement or forfeit of the game, or other sanctions as they see appropriate, to Council through the Championships’ Organiser in the case of unjustified late arrival or non-arrival or other breaches of the rules.

B5 Time Limits

The time limits for the Title Match will be 180 minutes each, with overtime of 10 plays in 10 minutes.

British Championship Title Match games normally have sessions of two to three hours with adjournments for lunch and tea. It is the responsibility of the Referee to arrange these breaks if they are taken.

B6 Choice of Colours

Colours will be decided at the start of the first game by nigiri supervised by the Referee, and will then alternate.

B7 Practical Arrangements

Arrangements for the Title Match are the responsibility of the Championships’ Organiser, reporting to Council.

The Championships’ Organiser should publish potential match dates and locations at the same time as the Candidates’ Tournament and Challengers’ League dates are published. The final dates should be agreed with the players within three weeks of the Challengers’ League and published on the website as soon as possible. Games must be held by the end of the calendar year.

The Championships’ Organiser must ensure that the venue for each game is appropriate. Games should be played in a neutral venue at which spectators are welcome.

Refreshments should be available for the players and the Referee.

C British Championship - Challengers’ League

C1 The League

The League will be an eight player all-play-all to be held over four consecutive days. This will usually be the late May bank holiday weekend, Friday to Monday, unless the period from the Tuesday before until the Wednesday after the weekend coincides with the dates of the World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) including its scheduled travelling days. Otherwise a different weekend will be agreed by the Championship Organiser and Council and and announced on our web site as soon as possible after the dates of the WAGC are announced.

Two games will be played on each of the first three days. The seventh game will be played on the morning of the fourth day. Players are required to be available for the afternoon of the fourth day for any play-offs that are needed to finalise the results of the League.

Players must play in all seven rounds of the all-play-all.

C2 Qualification

The Champion from the previous year retains a place as of right in the Challengers’ League. If the Champion decides to play in the Candidates' Tournament then he/she gives up this automatic place. Clarification approved by Council 5th March 2013. The remaining seven places are filled from the best placed players from the Candidates’ Tournament (but see WAGC below).

Should any qualifiers be unable to play in the League, further players from the Candidates’ Tournament may be invited to participate as required. Qualified players must confirm their intention to play by the date specified by the Championships’ Organiser.

If a qualifier represents the Association at the WAGC and cannot take up their place at the Challengers League then their qualification is deferred for one year and the number of qualifiers from the Candidates' Tournament adjusted appropriately (i.e. normally reduced from 7 to 6 in the subsequent year).

C3 The Challengers

The players placed first and second in the League become Challengers in the British Championship Title Match.

C4 Ranking

A final ranking is determined by ordering players in decreasing number of wins. Where players are tied on the same number of wins they are first ranked according to the qualifying ranking for that year’s League as described below. If players ranked 2 and 3 in this ranking have the same number of wins they will play-off to determine their final position.

The qualification ranking is defined as the previous Champion, then the WAGC player (if they did not play the Candidates’), and then those who qualified in the Candidates’ Tournament (in order of qualification).

C5 Referee

All games in the League will be played in the presence of a Referee. The Referee will be appointed by the Championships’ Organiser.

The duties of the Referee include:

  • checking that all players are familiar with the time limits and other arrangements;
  • determining the draw as described in Rule C7;
  • ensuring that the playing sessions occur as agreed;

The Referee has discretion on the handling of the League. This includes powers:

  • to award a time penalty against a late player of twice the time after the agreed starting time;
  • to recommend to Council through the Championships’ Organiser disqualification from the League, or other sanctions as they see appropriate, in the case of unjustified late arrival or non-arrival or other breaches of the rules.

C6 Time Limits

The time limits for the League games will be 105 minutes each, with overtime of 15 plays in 5 minutes.

The time limits for the play-off games are 90 minutes per player with overtime of 20 plays in 5 minutes.

C7 Draw

The referee shall randomly assign the letters A to H to the players. The playing order is then as follows with the first mentioned player taking black.

Round

Board

1

2

3

4

1

A v H

B v G

D v E

F v C

2

E v F

C v A

H v B

G v D

3

D v B

F v G

A v E

C v H

4

G v A

H v D

B v F

E v C

5

F v D

E v H

C v G

A v B

6

B v C

D v A

H v F

G v E

7

G v H

E v B

C v D

A v F

Colours are chosen by nigiri for any play-off games.

C8 Practical Arrangements

Arrangements for the League are the responsibility of the Championships’ Organiser, reporting to Council.

The Championships’ Organiser should publish the League dates and location at least 2 months before the Candidates’ Tournament.

The Championships’ Organiser must ensure that the venue for the League is appropriate. Games should be played in a neutral venue at which spectators are welcome.

Light refreshments should be available for the players and the Referee.

The Championships’ Organiser should appoint a suitable Referee for the League and ensure that they are familiar with the League rules.

D British Championship - Candidates’ Tournament

D1 The Candidates’ Tournament

The Candidates’ Tournament will be a six round Swiss tournament held over the early May Bank Holiday weekend (if possible), with two games on each day.

The top six or seven players (see C2) qualify for the Challengers’ League.

Players must play in all six rounds of the tournament.

D2 Qualification

Qualification for the Candidates’ Tournament will be earned by playing all rounds in a Qualifying Tournament (see Section E) and achieving an EGF rating of 1900 or higher at the end of that tournament. The tournament calendar can be checked to determine the last possible qualifying tournament.

Please note that deliberately entering an event at too high a grade just to get a 1900 rating will not be tolerated.

Council has the discretion to allow participation of other players in exceptional circumstances.

In addition to the above there shall be one reserve place made available to be activated only if there would otherwise be an odd number of players participating. If the position is activated, this player shall be treated as if they had qualified in their own right. The Championships’ Organiser shall be responsible for allocating this place.

D3 Ranking

The following ordering system will be used to obtain the final ranking for the Candidates’ Tournament:

  1. decreasing number of wins
  2. decreasing sum of opponents’ scores (SOS)
  3. ranking in the previous year's championship events

The ranking in the previous year's championship events is defined as:

  1. participants in the previous Challengers' League, in order of their final ranking
  2. participants in the previous Candidates' Tournament, in order of their final ranking
  3. all other players, unordered

Any remaining tie in the ordering, that affects which players are selected for the Challengers' League, is broken by nigiri.

D4 Time Limits

The time limits for the Candidates’ Tournament games will be 90 minutes each, with overtime of 20 plays in 5 minutes.

D5 Practical Arrangements

Arrangements for the Tournament are the responsibility of the Championships’ Organiser, reporting to Council.

The Championships’ Organiser should publish the Tournament dates and location by 1 November of the year preceding the Candidates'.

The Championships’ Organiser must ensure that the venue for the Tournament is appropriate. Games should be played in a neutral venue at which spectators are welcome.

The Championships’ Organiser shall ensure that full information on the event is available at least two months before the date of the tournament. This information may include a closing date for entries, such a date to be not more than three weeks before the date of the Tournament.

Players wishing to enter the Candidates’ Tournament should determine for themselves if they qualify, but potential qualifiers may at the discretion of the Organiser be sent a letter of invitation or email to the address held on the BGA membership list. The Championships' Organiser may be consulted for advice about qualifying.

Light refreshments should be available for the players and the Referee.

The Championships’ Organiser should appoint a suitable Referee for the Tournament and ensure that they are familiar with the Tournament Rules.

The Championships’ Organiser may disqualify players from the Tournament in the case of unjustified late arrival, non-arrival or entry after the closing date. Any player so disqualified shall have the right of appeal to the BGA Council.

D6 Referee

All games in the Candidates’ Tournament will be played in the presence of a Referee. The Referee will be appointed by the Championships’ Organiser.

The duties of the Referee include:

  • checking that all players are familiar with the time limits and other arrangements;
  • ensuring that the playing sessions occur as agreed.

The Referee has discretion on the handling of the Tournament. This includes powers:

  • to award a time penalty against a late player of twice the time after the agreed starting time;
  • to recommend to Council (through the Championships’ Organiser) disqualification from the Tournament or other sanctions as they see appropriate, in the case of any breach of the rules.

If a player misses any rounds, then the referee has the discretion (in addition to any other powers) to award a win or fractional SOS points to the player's opponents as follows:

  • If a player defaults, i.e. fails to show for a round without informing the referee, then the opponent wins (scores 1), and the defaulter loses (scores 0).
  • If a player misses a round by agreement with the referee, then the player gains ½ point. For pairing purposes a player's total score is rounded down, but for the purpose of calculating SOS, no rounding is performed.
  • A player with missed rounds cannot qualify for the Challengers', except by discretion of the BGA Council.

E British Championship - Qualifying Tournaments

In order to count as a Candidates Qualifying Tournament the following criteria must be met:

  • the tournament is EGF rated
  • the tournament finishes in the year ending 31st March prior to that championship.

F British Pair Go Championship

F1 The Pair Go Championship

The Championship will be a one day, three round Swiss tournament of eight teams, played according to the IAPGC rules.

F2 Qualification

The Championship will be open to teams of one male and one female. Both members of a pair must be Association members and satisfy the qualification conditions for British Championship events set out in A2 Eligibility .

When more than eight teams meet the above criteria, the top eight will be selected to play on the basis of the mean of the team members’ recognised tournament grades, with random tie-break (nigiri). Those not selected will be able to participate in other events run alongside the Championship.

F3 Time Limits

The time limits for the Pair Go Championship will be 45 minutes, sudden death.

F4 Choice of Colour

Colour will be selected at the start of each game by nigiri.

F5 Practical Arrangements

Arrangements for the Championship are the responsibility of the Championships’ Organiser and the Event Organiser in that year.

The Championships’ Organiser should ensure that the Championship date and location are published well in advance of the event. They should ensure that the venue is appropriate.

The Championship’ Organiser should appoint a suitable Referee and ensure they are familiar with the Championship rules.

G British Youth Championships

G1 The Youth Championship

The Championship will normally be held on a single day and be run on any system determined by the Championships’ Organiser, or at their discretion by the Event Organiser, to produce an overall Youth Champion.

G2 Age Group Champions

The Championship will also produce winners in age categories under-18, under-16, under-14, under-12, under-10 and under-8. Players will be entered in the youngest possible age group according to their age on the previous 31st August.

G3 Youth Team Championship

The Team Championship shall be run once each academic year and be open to teams of three UK-based youth players from the same BGA-affiliated school or youth Go club. An appropriate tournament system shall be determined by the Event Organiser, with regard to the number of teams competing. This competition may be run as part of the Youth Championships.

G4 Other Youth Championships

Any other youth championships that are held from time to time, such as a Youth Pairs event, shall be run as open events, with entry restricted by age but not by nationality.

G5 Eligibility

The overall Youth Championship will be open to players aged under 18 on the previous 31st August and who hold, or are eligible to hold, a British passport.

The age-group championships will be open to players in the designated age bands (see Rule G.2) who:-

  • satisfy the criterion in the previous paragraph; or
  • have been resident in the UK for the five calendar years prior to the year in which the particular championship is being held, with no continuous absence exceeding six months; or
  • have been playing Go in the UK since they were weaker than 20-kyu, with no continuous absence exceeding six months since then.

Resident youths of other nationalities may play in the handicap section of the event, but not in the title sections. All players must be members of the BGA, or of a BGA-affiliated school or youth Go club.

G6 Practical Arrangements

Arrangements for the Championship are the responsibility of the Championships’ Organiser and the Event Organiser in that year.

The Championships’ Organiser should ensure that the Championship date and location are published well in advance of the event and notified to all youth clubs affiliated to the BGA. They should ensure that the venue is appropriate.

The Championships’ Organiser should appoint a suitable Referee and ensure they are familiar with the Championship rules.



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