While this year’s U.S. Go Congress in Boston includes many longtime traditional events like the U.S. Open, Lightning Go and pro lectures, it also offers some new events. The Evening League combines the community and competition of the Midnight Madness tournament and the flexibility of the Self-Paired. “The Evening League is all about fostering competitive spirit in a straightforward and transparent format,” says TD Andrew Hall (photo). Perhaps most important, this is the first year that the Go Congress is offering evening passes to enable local players who cannot attend during the day to have a chance to play some competitive rated games while the Congress is in town.
Imagine a ladder. The first night of the tournament (Sunday night beginning at 7p), players will be placed in positions from the top of the ladder to the bottom in the order they register for the tournament. During the tournament, players on the ladder challenge other players who occupy higher spots. If the challenger wins, they take the defeated opponent’s ladder position and everyone else moves down one spot. The tournament will be handicapped at handicap-2, all games will be rated, and results will be updated and projected real time during the evening rounds. These live TD-facilitated sessions, every evening from 7pm to midnight, are designed to give sense of physical place and the competitive spirit provided by a tournament, but players are not restricted to scheduled play. They may play games using tournament time settings with opponents anytime during the day, much as they did in the Self-Paired. Players record the results and the date and time of the game, and these results are input into the ladder every evening at 5pm in time for that evening’s ladder to be updated with the day’s results. That evening, players continue challenging and moving up (or down) the current ladder. Players do not need to play every evening; those who do not show up to an evening round are dropped from the ladder, but can join the ladder again when they want to play, and even challenge to reclaim their previous spot. Prizes may be won in the form of individual prizes inspired by the self-paired prizes of years past, but also through achievements that are attainable by multiple players.
The Evening League provides a structured opportunity for the local go community and Go Congress attendees to mingle and compete. “It’s king of the hill style; you play to climb the ladder and defend your space at the top!” says Hall.
- Karoline Li, Congress Tournament Liaison for the E-Journal; photo: Hall shows off Evening League playing space in main playing area in Boston University’s George Sherman Union; photo by Chris Garlock