Pair Go is a fun and interesting way to play Go
Pair Go is a form of "Rengo" - Go with more than one player per side where no conferring is allowed between the players.
Pair Go is played by teams of two partners - a male and a female player - the "Mixed Doubles" of Go.
Ordinary Rengo can be played as doubles or triples, or with larger teams, and has a long history. It is often played in the evenings at longer congresses and tournaments, as a social activity or less serious competition. To be good at Triple Go often involves timing ko fights to be started by the correct team member. There is even a version called "ZenGo", that originated in Ireland, played with a odd number of people so that on alternate turns a particular player plays opposite colours!
Rules - Pair Go is something special
There is a special etiquette of Pair Go. This envolves avoiding unmannerly behaviour and attitude. The environment for the event should be pleasant and higher than the usual standard, as should the standard of dress (jacket and tie recommended for the men). In order to encourage good dress, a Best Dressed prize is traditionally awarded at all Pair Go events.
Pair Go was started in Japan in the 1980s to promote Go as a more social activity with the aim of attracting more female players to competitions. The etiquette is part of the means of making events more attractive.
With the aim of promoting Go among women world-wide the International Amateur Pair Go Championships (IAPGC) were started in Japan in 1990. Now representatives of 22 countries and all regions of Japan come together annually for this world championship, held each November in Tokyo. In addition there are seperate handicap groups held along side that get in excess of 300 Japanese players. The 2009 edition is the 20th, the 19th being held as part of the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008.
Pair Go is a good way of encouraging and teaching weaker players, as they get to play in games were most of the moves are played by higher level players and get to learn from their partnering leading them in the correct moves through where they play their own. It is a good way of getting three players to play with a professional, without the pro having to play three simultaneous games.
Pair Go in Europe
The first European Pair Go Championship (EPGC) was held in Amsterdam in 1995. Since 1997 it has been a regular event, hosted by a different country each year. So far it has been in France, Netherlands, Czechia, Bosnia, Poland, Romania, UK, Germany and Russia. Typically teams from about 15 countries take part. Since 2004 they have been competing for points, as well as prizes, to allow their country to qualify for the IAPGC. There is also a popular Pair Go event at the annual European Go Congress.
Pair Go Around the World
One of the biggest Pair Go championships outside Japan is played at the annual US Go Congress. Up to 100 players take part. The US is now starting other local Pair Go events, such is the popularity of Pair Go. Many other countries run Pair Go events and championships.
Of course the IAPGC is the top event of the year. You can read reports about some of the IAPGC editions and also read about the RICOH Cup for Japanese professionals.