How do official Go tournaments work with male/female players?

Well, I read tonybe’s thread, that led me to AdamR’s thread, that lead me to an NHK cup match between a male Chinese player and the female Honinbo (that’s what they said, I’m just copying, don’t ask me for the names).

I haven’t watched that many games, but all the games I watched were male pro vs male pro or female pro vs female pro. Was it a coincidence, or are there specific cups that allow mixed pairings?

I’m just curious.

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I don’t think there are any restrictions on female pros entering any tournament they’re otherwise qualified for, though I could be wrong. I know there are female-only tournaments, but I don’t think there’s a restriction the other way? Or if so I’ve never heard of it.


There is a biography of Rui Naiwei female 9p who played in China , Japan and Korea. One of the reasons she moved was her concern how women were considered in the eastern go pro world and the differences of rules between countries (Money was another too). You will find it in the Goworld magazine, sorry I don’t remember which one.
End of the story, she ended in Korea because there the money was good and she could participate in major tournaments too… And she won one of them.


I should have made a bet that someone will say that. :stuck_out_tongue:

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It’s the same setup as in most sports.

There is an Open tournament, which anyone can play in, and the weaker subgroups also have their own exclusive tournaments: so Women’s, Youth (with various age cutoffs), Seniors (again, with various lower-bar age restrictions), blind players, players of a certain nation or region, only SDKs, DDKs, beginners or so on… the idea being that by excluding stronger members from outside the group, the in-group players have a greater chance of winning games and so feel more motivated to compete.

Even if the demographic of the in-group is not actually very weak, for instance young players from 16 to 20, they sometimes receive their own tournaments or outreach projects as they’re seen as an important group to encourage growth in. For the many of us here who are men from the ages of 21 to 50, we’re in a group which is neither particularly weak nor especially rare, so we aren’t given our own tournaments since there wouldn’t be any point in doing so, or any benefit to us either. And thus we play in the Open tournaments with anyone who’d like to join us.


It is similar in a lot of sports, actually. What are commonly perceived as “men’s” leagues and competitions are often actually open to both genders (although this is often not reflected by actual participation, for various reasons). However, the corresponding women’s competition is typically restricted to women-only, usually to promote female participation.

However, as a notable exception, FIFA does explicitly ban women from playing in top-flight, adult football with men.


It’s worth noting that the strongest players of any weaker subgroup often see no point in playing in the exclusive tournaments.

Bobby Fischer didn’t play youth tournaments. Michael Adams barely ever played in the British Championship. Judith Polgar saw no reason to compete specifically against much weaker female players, and I think the same was true for Rui Naiwei. So I tend to see these exclusive tournaments as “supportive” rather than “restrictive”.


Really? Most sports I know are clearly divided in “men’s” and “women’s”.

Not that I’m much of a sports person, the major -ball ones and Olympics are like this, at least.


Yeah, I bluffed, the only “sport” I ever followed was chess .__.


Maybe it depends on how we define “most” …

I’m not too sure about the exact prevalence (and one would have to count the sports first), but I do think many sports have open competitions that wind up being perceived and effectively practiced as men-only (even though women could technically participate).


That would make sense. Maybe it started as a given and nobody thought to add the restriction later on. :stuck_out_tongue:

In one of the videos a Ms. Fujiwara (?) was called the female Honinbo, so I guessed they are one of each. Was it a translation thing?

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The Female Honinbo has been going since 1982 (for many years called the All-Japan Women’s Championship).

The Amateur Honinbo has been going annually since 1957. Each year the Amateur Honinbo plays a handicap game against the professional Honinbo, with the level of this handicap changing depending on the winner.

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Did you read her biography? I don’t have that Goworld with me sorry but it’s a long and interesting article. It’s more a reference written by a female future title holder in Korea in a serious go magazine as speculation here. And for what I remember she quit Japan because she couldn’t play with men. Now I think about it she didn’t have the same rights as nationals maybe too.
That’s her words not mine.
And there is a money thing backside because the money you earn in these “promoting weiqi for women” is peanuts compared to the major titles

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