British Go Journal No. 61. March 1984. Page 22.
by Toby Manning
In 1973 there were two Go tournaments held regularly in Britain, and all active players seemed to turn up to them: these were the British Go Congress and Wessex. Five years later, in 1978, these two tournaments were still going strong. In addition there were the London Open, Cambridge, Northern, Ipswich, Leicester, British Lightning and various tournaments at the London Go Centre.
In 1983 there were 13 tournaments. This year we add Cheshire and possibly others as well. Attendance at individual tournaments has not grown in proportion, though: The most notable case being the Wessex with 62 entrants compared with over 100 in the late 1970's - and one must enquire whether there are, in fact, too many tournaments.
An early Wessex tournament included players from Cambridge, Bolton and Plymouth. People seemed to be happy to travel such long distances, but now such sacrifices are unnecessary. Tournaments are tending to get more 'local' in terms of attendance. One advantage of this is that more weaker players are involved in tournaments, which can be seen as a distinct plus.
However, the success of a tournament requires a variety of possible opponents for each entrant, preferably ones that they have never, or at least infrequently, played before. If tournaments get too parochial, players may run out of suitable opponents. One solution to this particular problem is to reject the straitjacket of the 3 round MacMahon tournament with all games played even. The evident success of the Leigh Sinton handicap tournament indicates one possible alternative.
So what is the ideal number of tournaments? The current calendar does not appear unduly crowded, but in 1981, for example, Hammersmith started running one a month; attendances withered and finally the tournaments petered out. We must be careful of arbitrarily filling every weekend with a tournament - we don't want to suffer from a surfeit.