British Go Congress
What do the following have in common: a former stately home, a public school, an aircraft factory, an university maths facility, a sports centre, a town-centre hotel, a former railway hotel, a holiday camp and a town hall?
They have all been venues for the British Go Congress. This annual event, which moves from place to place around the country, is the main British Go Association event of the year. Starting in Oxford in 1968 it has moved around Great Britain over the next fifty years being as held in far-flung places, such as Penzance, Hastings, Norwich, Lancaster, Cardiff and Edinburgh, as well as more central locations such as London, Cambridge, Reading, Nottingham and Leicester. You can read more in our British Go Congress History.
The event is held over a long weekend, traditionally starting with a Lightning Tournament when people arrive on the Friday evening. This has been the British Open Lightning since this stopped as a separate event. Nowadays, however, the event usually starts with a Teaching Workshop session on the Friday afternoon.
It has been normal in the past to hold the event at a venue that can provide on-site accommodation, such as a university, school, college or hotel, but sometime the event is held in a town with lots of available accommodation away from the site but convenient for those attending.
The main Go tournament is the two-day British Open. Three rounds are played on each of Saturday and Sunday, with one hour each time limits and sufficient overtime to allow it to be A-Class. A variety of top UK and foreign players have won it over the years, Matthew Macfadyen being the top winner with ten victories. As is run on the McMahon system, the top players compete for the British Open title and others lower down compete with players about their own level for prizes based on achieving, say, 5 or 6 wins. There are regularly more than 60 players in this tournament and, when held in a central location, it has sometimes had more than one hundred players. The top players also compete for points towards selection for the Korea Prime Minister's Cup international tournament and it is the last chance to score points in the Stacey Grand Prix.
The main reason for holding a weekend gather, however, was until 2019 to provide a Go event that will attract sufficient players who can attend the Annual General Meeting of the British Go Association. This was always held on the Saturday evening at the tournament venue and was often as short as one hour to allow plenty of time for socialising and casual game-playing during the rest of Saturday evening. From 2020 the AGM moved online on a date not fixed to the Congress.
Check the calendar for the date and location of the next British Go Congress. It is usually held just before or after Easter so it falls outside of term time.