Rules of the European Go Championship 2012-2014

Note: New European Championship System replaces the system below


Guidelines for the European Go Congress

  • The Congress lasts for 15 days from a Saturday in July to a Saturday in August. The first day is mainly the registration day.
  • For all Go tournaments, by default the EGF General Tournament Rules and the EGF Tournament System Rules apply.
  • The Congress also includes the Weekend Tournament and the Pair Go Tournament, and side events such as the following tournaments: Rengo, 13x13, 9x9, Team and Lightning with 10 minutes per player. A Congress may also include a rapid with 30 minutes per player, and Computer Go.
  • In addition the EGF may request that particular events are held during the Congress, for instance the European Team Finals.
  • The Weekend Tournament may have, and possibly should have, a supergroup. Its thinking time must be enough to count towards the EGF ratings as A-class. Only players 3 dan or weaker may miss any rounds. Handicaps, if any, may only be used below 15 kyu.
  • An appeals committee is formed and is used for all Go tournaments including side tournaments.

Particular Tournament Rules of the European Go Championship

Tournament System

  • The rounds are Sunday to Saturday except Wednesdays and the weekend in between. Relegation games on the second Wednesday are an exception. One round is played per day. Each game starts in the morning.
  • The tournament is open for all players.
  • The specified rank is the player's European rank and, by default, is used during both weeks.
  • The basic system is a 10 rounds McMahon. By default, there is a supergroup.
  • After round 7, top Europeans qualify for and play a knockout for the European Championship.
  • The Tournament Supervisors decide the rules of play, the bar settings, whether to exceptionally not use a supergroup, and the supergroup members according to the rules below.

Rules of Play

  • The EGF, or its representative, may choose the ruleset to be used, taking into account any conditions set by sponsors and by the EGF General Tournament Rules, or may leave the selection of the ruleset to the organisers. It is preferable to use only one ruleset for all boards; however if a split should be made, then it is between boards 16 and boards 17.


  • The Congress may set a fee for the participants.
  • Regardless of pre-registration, each player must register in person at the Congress site before a deadline, which is set by the organisers sufficiently in advance of the first round and normally at the end of the registration day.
  • If a player fails to comply, the organisers or Tournament Supervisors may exceptionally, but are not required to, accept that player's entry, provided they are sufficiently convinced that the player will show up for the next round.
  • Every player has to sign a Tournament Agreement and in particular: "I abide by all tournament rules of the EGF. If I play in the supergroup, then I play all rounds. If I am X dan or stronger, then I do not omit a game during the period for which I have registered. If I am weaker than X dan, then for dropping one round I use the proper form and give it to the organisers before the published deadline on the previous day." (X dan is normally 4 dan.)
  • The players X dan or stronger also declare their citizenship and number of years of residence in Europe / EGF countries. In case of doubt, the Congress organisers should verify this and the player's rank.
  • Players not reading English must be carefully informed about the Tournament Agreement and, if appropriate, should sign an oriental language version of it.


  • Normally the lowest grade that should be considered for inclusion in the supergroup is 4 dan. However a few weeks before the Congress, or else at latest during formation of the supergroup, the Tournament Supervisors may decide that, due to an apparently great number of strong participants, the lowest grade should be higher than 4 dan.
  • Players at or above the selected grade should declare their desire to play in the supergroup when signing the Tournament Agreement.
  • The organisers give latest EGF rating, rank and strength information about the players to be considered for the supergroup to the Tournament Supervisors.
  • A supergroup of 24 to around 32 players is formed as follows, in order:
    1. Around 24 Europeans according to the EGF rating list.
    2. No more than two improving young or local top players.
    3. Strong non-Europeans (with or without EGF rating).
  • The total numbers of players in (2) and (3) should normally be no higher than 8.
  • By default, players entering delayed or not playing in all rounds are not in the supergroup.

Thinking Times

  • The thinking times are the same for both players and depend on the higher ranked player as follows:
    • 4 dan or above: 2.5 hours basic time + 1 minute byoyomi
    • 3 kyu - 3 dan: 2 hours basic time + 45 seconds byoyomi
    • 4 kyu or below: 1.5 hours basic time + 30 seconds byoyomi
    However, if the clocks cannot manage 45 seconds byoyomi, then 40 seconds byoyomi is used.


  • Tiebreakers for pairing purposes may differ from the final results tiebreakers.
  • Especially in top groups, the recommended pairing strategy is Cross Pairing (scheme 1-3, 2-4) by McMahon Score - rating in rounds 1 and 2 and Fold Pairing (scheme 1-4, 2-3) by McMahon Score - SOS in all later rounds.
  • After every round, the current player ordering by McMahon Score - SOS and any relegation or knockout game results are published.
  • Result forms, sealing forms, and dropping forms are used together with deadlines. If the players agree, sealing a move may also be done by simply playing it.
  • Handicaps, if any, may be used only below 15 kyu.
  • A player not playing a round without proper notification can be expelled from the tournament. If an X dan or stronger misses a round during his registered period, then as a minimal consequence this leads to suspension from the supergroup for the next time in three years.

Results - General

  • There are the two titles European Champion and European Open Champion.
  • To get a title, a player has to have played all rounds, unless he proves exceptional circumstances according to the EGF General Tournament Rules.
  • After the last round, the Tournament Supervisors verify the order of the top players. Only then the prize giving may take place.
  • The major prizes go to the top 10 players.
  • The EGF archives the final results and the names and countries of the title holders.

Qualification for the Knockout

  • After round 7 of the McMahon tournament and for the purpose of making a tentative pairing, those top Europeans having played all 7 rounds are ordered as follows:
    1. McMahon Score,
    2. SOS,
    3. the rating during the supergroup formation stage,
    4. lottery.
  • Accordingly the top 16 Europeans are numbered. Next they are compared pairwise using the Fold Comparison strategy: 1 - 16, 2 - 15, 3 - 14, 4 - 13, 5 - 12, 6 - 11, 7 - 10, 8 - 9. If two compared players have unequal McMahon Scores, the player with the greater McMahon Score qualifies for the knockout while the other player re-enters the McMahon tournament. If two compared players have an equal McMahon Score, each of them plays a relegation game.
  • The pairing of the relegation games is made under EGF supervision according to the following strategy as well as possible: Firstly avoid repeated pairings, secondly use or else approach Fold Pairing by number.
  • Each winner of a relegation game qualifies for the knockout while each loser re-enters the McMahon tournament to play its remaining rounds.
  • Any relegation games are played on the second Wednesday and have the same starting time and top players' thinking times as the McMahon tournament.

The Knockout to Determine the European Champion

  • The 8 qualified players play the knockout.
  • The knockout pairing is made under EGF supervision according to the following strategy as well as possible: Firstly avoid repeated pairings, secondly use or else approach Fold Pairing by number.
  • The knockout is played parallel to the McMahon tournament's rounds 8 to 10 schedule with the same thinking times.
  • The knockout winner becomes the European Champion.
  • The loser of the knockout final gets place 2 of the European Championship.
  • The knockout semi-final losers play for places 3 and 4 of the European Championship.
  • The knockout quarter-final losers, play a further two rounds to determine places 5 to 8 of the European Championship.

Final Results of the European Open Championship

  • The European Open Champion is the European or non-European player with the best criteria in the order mentioned below. The European Champion can become also the European Open Champion.
  • All players are ordered by
  • 1. McMahon Score.
  • 2. SOS.
  • If there is a tie for becoming the European Open Champion, the tie will be broken by:
  • 3. SOS-1.
  • 4. SOS-2.
  • 5. SOS-3.
  • 6. SOS-4.
  • 7. SOS-5.
  • 8. SOS-6.
  • 9. SOS-7.
  • 10. SOS-8.
  • 11. SOS-9.
  • 12. Mutual Game Score.
  • SOS-x ignores the lowest McMahon Scores of a player's opponents in exactly x rounds.
  • A player's Mutual Game Score is Direct Comparison applied to and only if exactly two players are still tied after SOS-9.
  • Any relegation game results neither count for a player's own McMahon Score nor for his opponents' tiebreakers.
  • The results of all knockout games including the losers' games are copied into the pairing program for the McMahon tournament, are considered also for the European Open Champion and the opponents' tiebreakers.
  • The top 8 European players are determined by the knockout and the losers' games.
  • For the purpose of comparing the Europeans relative to each other, the Europeans' places 9 and below are determined by the McMahon tournament's results in order of the remaining Europeans' occurrences.