The rules were revised by Council in 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018 (Youth Champs only), 2019, 2020 and 2021, 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.
The Championships’ Organiser is appointed by Council.
The Championships’ Organiser is responsible for:
- appointing Organisers for the two stages of the British Championship (Candidates’ Tournament 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.
As well as any entry qualifications based on performance each participant must satisfy one of the following:
- They hold a British passport on the commencement date of the tournament
- They meet the following residency requirement
- Under-18s – be resident (as defined below) in the UK for 12 months prior to the commencement date of the tournament
- Over-18s – either be resident (as defined below) in the UK for 36 months, or be resident for a minimum of 12 months and continuously since their 18th birthday
In addition all participants must be a BGA member.
For the above:
‘British Passport’ means any passport issued by one of
- Her Majesty’s Passport Office (UK)
- Her Majesty’s Passport Office on behalf of the Crown Dependencies
- Her Majesty’s Passport Office on behalf of individual Overseas Territories
- Civil Status and Registration office (Gibraltar)
‘Resident’ means being within the UK at midnight on at least 183 days if the period under consideration is twelve months long, and pro-rata for other periods of time. ‘Age’ is calculated as at the date of the commencement of the tournament.
Amended by Council 2021-12-20
For the British Pair Go Championships, players must satisfy the same conditions as above.
For the British Youth Go Championship, see Section F5.
All events will be publicised in advance on the Association web site and in the BGA newsletter, 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 submit their entry to this event.
Council will impose sanctions as seem appropriate, in subsequent years, on those withdrawing late and without good reason from this event.
If members believe they are qualified for an event but are unsure, they should contact the Championships’ Organiser.
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 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.
The Event Organiser means the recognised senior or lead organiser of an event.
Our championships are played under AGA-style rules as specified in the rules of play document . The main differences from our previous rules are found in the AGA rules summary. Further explanatory material is found in rules of Go used in British Go Association tournaments.
Komi will be 7.5 in all British Championship events (Title Match, Candidates’ Tournament, Pairs and Youth).
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.
Games played with digital clocks are subject to Fischer time.
Games played with analogue clocks 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.
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.
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.
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 Candidates tournament. Once one player has won two (three if five games are to be played) 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.
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.
Council will award prizes for Champion and loser in the Title Match at their discretion, taking account of the availability of sponsorship money and other funds. Prizes will be announced in advance of the Candidates’ Tournament.
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.
The time limits for the Title Match will be:
- If digital clocks are used, Fischer time of 100 minutes + 45 seconds/move
- If analogue clocks are used, 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.
Colours will be decided at the start of the first game by nigiri supervised by the Referee, and will then alternate.
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 dates are published. The final dates should be agreed with the players within three weeks of the Candidates tournament 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.
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 first round of the tournament will be seeded using the "split & slide" method:
- Players ordered by GoR at start of tournament
- Players split half way down into two groups - group A, the stronger players and group B, the weaker players
- Top player in group A paired with top player in group B; second player in group A paired with second player in group B, and so on
Subsequent rounds will be paired based on number of wins
The top two players qualify to play in the Title Match
Players must play in all six rounds of the tournament.
Qualification for the Candidates’ Tournament will be earned by playing all rounds in a Qualifying Tournament (see Section D) 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.
The following ordering system will be used to obtain the final ranking for the Candidates’ Tournament:
- decreasing number of wins
- decreasing sum of opponents’ scores (SOS)
- ranking in the previous year's championship events
The ranking in the previous year's championship events is defined as:
- participants in the previous Candidates' Tournament, in order of their final ranking
- all other players, unordered
Any remaining tie in the ordering, that affects which players are selected for the title match, is broken by nigiri.
The time limits for the Candidates’ Tournament games will be:
- If digital clocks are used, Fischer time of 75 minutes + 20 seconds/move
- If analogue clocks are used, 90 minutes each, with overtime of 20 plays in 5 minutes.
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 our 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 Council.
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 title match, except by discretion of Council.
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.
The Championship will be a one day, three round Swiss tournament of eight teams, played according to the IAPGC rules.
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 , except that a maximum of two pairs may be included in the top group where only one of the pair meets the qualification conditions.
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.
The time limits for the Pair Go Championship will be 45 minutes, sudden death.
Colour will be selected at the start of each game by nigiri.
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.
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.
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.
The Team Championship shall be run once each academic year and be open to teams of three UK-based youth players from the same Association-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.
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.
The Youth Championship tournament will be open to all players aged under 18 on the previous 31st August. Tournament prizes can be won by any entrant, but the British titles can only be won by those who either:
- Hold a British Passport, or
- are normally living at an address within the UK,
where the definition of “British Passport” is as outlined in Section A2.
Other juniors who do not meet the eligibility criteria may play in the event, but will not qualify for the titles.
All players in the Youth Championships must be members of the BGA, or a BGA-affiliated school or youth Go club. Membership is obtainable on the day of the tournament by paying the appropriate fee.
Amended by Council 2021-12-20
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 Association. 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.