Real life go tournaments: how do you experience them?

In another thread someone was complaining about the rudeness in tournaments.
Personally i usually enjoy tournaments: meeting old friends and new ones, playing a games of go, drink a beer, chat and go out to have dinner somewhere.

Some questions about real life tournaments:

  • do you ever visit real life tournaments?
    (And if so what are your experiences? If you don’t, why not?)
  • what makes a go tournament a good tournament (one that you definitely want to visit again)?
  • if you are a go tournament organizer: what are the challenges you encountered when organising a tournament and how did you overcome them?

I know this is a lot of questions with maybe rather difficult answers, but feel free to participate in this thread.

One request: no naming and shaming of a specific go tournament. Of course if the tournament was great and you had a great time, you can name those tournaments :smiley:


Same for me :heart_eyes:

I have participated in some 150 real life tournaments in 35 years. I always have a great time. I cannot remember a negative experience even once, but perhaps my memory is failing me.

I like longer tournaments best (more than 2 days). I love it when there are opportunities to participate in side events and socialise during the evenings, so I really enjoy European Go Congresses (2 weeks). Unfortunately I cannot participate in the EGC as often as I’d like. I only partipated 7 times up to now.

I don’t usually organise tournaments, except for some smaller youth tournaments. That can be a challenge, because children play very quickly. One time I made 13 round pairings by hand for a 1-day youth tournament on smaller boards. That was a very busy day for me!

Edit: I’m actually participating in a real life tournament now: the 2nd weekend of the Dutch Championship.


I’ve participated in 17 IRL tournaments in 6 years. This was a good experience, people are generally friendly. Features I like in a tournament:

  • Having enough space. I don’t like playing on tables that are barely wider than gobans or which are very close to each other.
  • Electronic clocks. Mechanical clocks are not reliable, I never know how many minutes or seconds are left during byo-yomi.
  • Clocks that don’t make noise. Hearing countdowns from other tables is annoying.
  • “Normal” go boards and stones. No plastic stones, no neoprene boards.
  • The schedule should be respected.
  • Possibility to buy drinks on the premises of the tournament.
  • Possibility to go out and have dinner with other players.

I can’t participate in as many tournaments as I’d like. Weekend tournaments take a lot of time and energy.


I suppose that one’s local population density can be a big factor in how feasible travel time to real life tournaments is. I live in a rural area, but in my small country that still means many cities are not far away.
I estimate there are ~15 tournaments per year within a 1.5 hour drive from my home, which is quite doable for a 1-2 day tournament IMO.

Edit: Within 1.5 hour drive from my home


Population density

I estimate that some 15 million people live within that 1.5 hour drive region.


I read snakesss post and thought that I’ve encountered many of those issues but they weren’t so annoying to me.
Opponent is late? No big deal.
Referee being strict and starting clock before opponent arrives? No big deal.
Opponent is mumbling? Quite funny actually.
Slapping stones? Very funny, especially when they lose eventually. :smile:

Maybe that’s because I’m Italian and we are used to people being late or mumbling or noisy. But I think I was tolerant mostly because all of them were “friends in Go”: they may have flaws, but they all have this in common, that they love go and gather to enjoy this special game.
I may add many other weird or unpleasant behaviours that I’ve seen in the live tournaments I attended, but there were also many nice and welcoming and friendly behaviours too.

All players I’ve met may look a little weird to the majority of people. Geeks. Nerds. Obsessed by the hardest game ever. I’m one of them.
We must learn to tolerate each other’s weirdness. We can support each other. Otherwise we’re just a bunch of lonely geeks.


I like real life go tournaments. I’ve not been to any since covid / becoming a dad, but before that I’d been to 113 in 13 years. Like gennan I particularly like multi-day ones like EGC or London or Polish go camp with more socialising.


No surprise, i love them. Went to many too (Germany, France, Holland, Belgium and China).

I prefer cheap because it can become quite expensive to go one after the other. German organizers were quite efficient on this side. I like to arrive before and leave after to stay even more with locals.

Why is it so great? You play very serious and motivated. You play people that you don’t know their weiqi. If you know them from another tournament then you don’t play them so often at least. Tournaments are one of the best way to stop cheating your level and make progress.

Arranging a car with players is a great experience let you build stronger relation in your own club.
Organizing your own tournament then is even more worthy and the promise for more activies


I’ve only listed the ones I could think of then. I could mention more, like a close friend getting extremely salty after a tourney game when I was beating him casually all the time and he was taking those defeats well.

I almost never wake up as early as I did when I was trying to get to those tourneys and both times other people were 1h+ late and the tourney started late and ended late.

I also got told I played too slow after one game, by the mumbling stone-slapping guy. He won against me by waiting til I was low on canadian byoyomi and invading a corner we both considered to be finished, since we were both playing much smaller endgame til he started invading. During the short chat afterwards, he seemed proud of having punished me for my slow play by abusing my lack of experience with real life tourneys and the canadian clock. What a chad!

How about the guy that died with his dragon and took 20 minutes staring at the board afterwards instead of just resigning? He was so sad and decided somehow I had to accompany him through his sadness. We kept playing that game with 100 points difference for half an hour more after waiting on his sulking for 15 mins. 45 minutes wasted cuz he had no pride.

Just hard to think of any positives other than some comradery and the wins, which can be there outside of tourneys if you’re active enough.


5 serious games is sometimes very exhausting. I did lose game because of that, having spent all my energy in the one before.
Anyway if you don’t play that serious you can socialize, play more watch other games or just have a walk outside for discovery.

Why? There is pleasure at any level to register your progress.

Socializing and exchanging is important to me. And is much easier and respectful face to face with board and stones.

Socializing in tournament is great, lot of people sharing the same enthusiasm. With minimal effort you can get a real great time and i know many people who even don’t really care on playing but on meeting nice folks.


Well i hope you played a bunch of more happy games as those two you mentioned.
Bad experience may still happen (especially the second one as there could be some truth told by your opponent in the first). And losing can be great at times too, we can’t always win.

Sure although it’s often hard to play so serious as in a tournament for me. And to find players. I get you can be fully satisfied without participating in any tournaments. Happy you!


Let me add two other questions to this discussion:

  • What are the aspects of real life go tournaments that you dislike?

  • How can you and/or the tournament organisation deal with this negative aspects?
    (Constructive feedback only.)


Nothing special to go. Or maybe go players can stay very late to chat or play or drink or dance or whatever (if you compare to other mind sports) so it’s good to anticipate to offer a good sleep for everyone (and keep beer, music and go materials disponible even in the middle of the night )

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What do you mean “truth told by your opponent in the first”?

I’m having a hard time following your messages, both language-wise and content-wise.

We just ended one convo on another thread because it became just between us so I find it strange that you quote me to reply to me here, starting another out-of-place dialogue between us right afterwards. If you want to engage in another long conversation, maybe you should pm me instead of us hijacking another thread.

Don’t take it personally please. (Not my intention)
I mean that there could be truth in what he said about playing slowly and having too few experience with the clock. I find it not that chad then as a will to help you?
You can pm me anytime btw if you’d like to keep things more private.

I see, so you think it is normal or even right to tell people they were slow after a game, instead of saying “thanks for the game”. Probably even more right to do it as a player of many years and when facing a player on their first tournament. Even better if you just won against them in a lost game by abusing their lack of experience and clock management.

Thanks for sympathising with my opponent whom you knew only via my complaints about him.

Well you tell me more on him now. I just noticed before that he waited the end of the game to tell you something.
I’m simply reading cautiously your bad experience and try to understand both side behavior with some positive return to offer you.

No I did not, I repeated what I said about him before, didn’t add anything.

Again, like I said, pm me if you want a convo. This feels out of place.

instead of saying “thanks for the game”.

That’s new, sorry

It wasn’t clear from your previous post that he hadn’t said “thanks for the game”. Saying “thanks for the game” and then commenting on the game is normal, but if he didn’t thank you first, then I understand that his behavior was unpleasant. In my experience, people are generally nicer, especially if you know them.


So he mumbles, slaps stones, waits til his inexperienced opponent is low on canadian byo and makes a completely unreasonable invasion, then tells his opponent “you were slow” after the game… and it is fine if they just expressed one empty courtesy? I didn’t say that they said “thanks for the game” either; what made you assume they did? Was it the rest of their gentlemanly behaviour pointing to it? If he had said it, my complaints would be invalid?

I do not get what we are discussing. I don’t think me specifying he didn’t say “thanks” is big news. He was just rude overall, as I have clarified. Saying “maybe he was right” about someone who is brought up only because of my disturbance of them… That seems like just baiting me into an argument with no possible useful result. Seeing how Groin seems to insist to prolong the convo and not acknowledge my request for personal messages instead, I will just stop responding here unless the direction of the convo changes.

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