Our Policies

Our Policies Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 14:56


This document states the current policies of the British Go Association (BGA). Items in italics were approved by Council on 21st February 2010.

The policies stated in this document, and their application, are subject to the provisions of the Constitution, which can be modified only by a 2/3 majority of those voting at a General Meeting of the Association.

These policies are not intended to restrict our effective operation. Council reserves the right to revise them, or to depart from them in specific cases, where it judges it appropriate to do so, subject to the requirement to conform to the Constitution.

Anybody wishing to propose a change to this document should either contact any member of Council, or raise their proposal for discussion on GoTalk.

For this document and all documents it refers to, the version on the website here is the official version.

Note: some of these policy statements can only be viewed by members of the Association, so you may need to log in to our site.

1. Equalities Policies

1. Equalities Policies TobyManning Sun, 26/08/2012 - 10:47

This page describes how the Association complies with the EQUALITIES ACT 2010 and the DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 1995.

The Association does not discriminate on the grounds of gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or any other criterion except as specifically outlined below. Membership of the Association is open to all, and all members are entitled to enter its tournaments (subject to, in some cases, achieving a given qualification level).

The Association does not obtain or keep information concerning members’ colour, race, religion or sexual orientation. It does obtain and keep information about age (if under 18) and gender, but only for the purposes outlined below.

The Association does discriminate in the areas outlined below. In all cases the Association considers that such discrimination is permitted under the Equalities Act, and passes the “proportionality” test.

These guidelines refer only to events specifically organised by the Association.

Educational Status

The Association offers reduced membership rates for students – see the Membership Page for details.

Age Discrimination

The Association does discriminate on the basis of age in so far as it has reduced subscription rates for those under 18. It also runs some Junior (i.e. under 18) age-related events.

It is noted that the government Equalities Office have specifically included “intellectual games” in its list of activities where age discrimination is specifically permitted.

Religious Belief Discrimination

The Association does not discriminate on the grounds of faith or religion. However, it may organise events at a date or time (for example on a Sunday or a Friday) when members of a particular faith may feel that taking part is incompatible with their faith.

British Championship Discrimination

The Association organises the British Go Championship each year. The rules for qualification are based on ability and nationality, but there is no discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Gender Discrimination

The Association is aware that women are significantly under-represented, both in terms of membership and participation, and believes that it should take proportionate steps to encourage female membership and participation. We do this by organising two types of event:

a) Women’s training days. These are training events specifically aimed at women.

b) Pair Go Events. These are events which are open to teams of 2, who must be one male, one female (“Mixed Doubles”.)

It is noted that the Association has not arranged a “women’s training day” in recent years.

Externally Influenced Discrimination

On occasion the Association may be invited to send a representative to an event organised outside the UK where the Equalities Act does not apply, and where the qualification process involves discrimination. In such cases the Association will consider each case on its merits before deciding whether or not to accept such an invitation. In general the Association will accept such invitations where the discrimination is on the grounds of Gender, Age or Nationality, but not where the discrimination is on the grounds of Colour, Race or Religion.

Disability Discrimination Act

The Association does not discriminate on the grounds of disability.

When the Association runs events, these are generally held in public buildings and the Association relies on the building owner to ensure that the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act are met. Some events are held in private buildings, but these are normally events held by invitation only where the Association ensures that the individual needs of each participant are met.

At its events the Association provides standard equipment (tables, chairs, boards, stones, clocks, etc.). Where a participant requires specialised (non-standard) equipment the participant is expected to supply this equipment. The use of such specialised or non-standard equipment will not be permitted if it puts the individual at an unreasonable advantage over his opponent (or puts the opponent at an unreasonable disadvantage).

Where the participant requires personal assistance – for example to aid mobility - the participant is expected to arrange this and the Association will co-operate (for example the Association will not make an extra charge for such “helpers”).

Case Study: A player with motor deficiency. A participant is physically unable to place stones on the board. One solution is for the Player to provide a specialised Board marked with Cartesian coordinates so that he can specify the location of his moves (“B3”, “K12”, etc.). The player is also responsible for providing an assistant who will place the stones on the Board for him, and for pressing the clock. In many cases the player’s opponent will be willing to undertake this task, but they are not forced to: for example, it is unreasonable to expect the opponent to do this when in overtime or byoyomi.

2. Financial Policies

2. Financial Policies Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 14:57

2.1 Membership, tournament and administrative income and expenditure

Council will try to ensure that membership income covers the costs of providing member services plus the administrative costs of the association, and that tournament income covers the costs of supporting tournaments, proposing motions at the AGM when the measures necessary to do so exceed its powers.

2.2 Use of donation income and expenditure

Council will try to follow any indications given by donors as to the use of their donation. Where no indication has been given, Council may use such donations for any suitable purpose, but will prefer youth outreach, other outreach and player development in that order of priority.

Council deleted this on 14th July 2012: 2.3 Use of income from book and equipment sales
Council may use income from book and equipment sales for any appropriate purpose, but will prefer player development and then outreach in that order of priority.

2.4 Size of General Reserve

Council will usually try to maintain the general reserve at between twice and three times the number of members multiplied by the full UK subscription rate. Council may allow the amount to fall below the target range in order to underwrite or subsidise occasional one-off high-value events such as European championship events, but will not do so on a regular or unsustainable basis.

2.5 Expenditure on publicity

Publicity is highly important to the success of the Association and Council will encourage and give financial support to it. Expenditure on publicity is a sub-category of outreach expenditure.

2.6 Expenses for Association officials

Travel and administrative expenses incurred by Council members and committee chairs will be reimbursed on submission of an expense claim to the BGA Treasurer. Large expenditures such as long journeys and substantial assets should be pre-authorised by our Treasurer, but this is not necessary for small items.

Car mileage will be reimbursed at HM Revenue and Customs approved mileage allowance payment rate for miles in excess of 10,000 (in December 2009: 25p per mile). Note: any expenses incurred by the Treasurer can only be reimbursed with the approval of the President.

2.7 Expenses for volunteer Go teachers

Travel expenses for a volunteer to visit a club, society or educational facility to introduce Go should be recovered from the organisation receiving the visit or met by the volunteer doing the visit. However, Council may at its discretion allocate a small contingency budget annually to the Youth Development Officer and/or the UK Go Challenge Organiser, which it will notify directly to them.

In exceptional circumstances the Association will reimburse accommodation, meal and incidental expenses for volunteers undertaking teaching visits. These must be approved by our Treasurer in advance of the event and preferably by Council as a whole. See also 9.2 Dan Visits and 9.3 Teaching Events.

2.8 Fees and honoraria

The Association will not normally pay a fee or honorarium to any volunteer, nor will it contract out for a fee any service for which a willing and competent volunteer is available. In exceptional circumstances it may do so, provided these are approved in advance by Council. See also 9. Player Development.

2.9 Annual Accounts

The annual accounts are produced to a professional standard suitable for showing to donors, sponsors, potential sponsors, and other friendly organisations.

2.10 Annual Management Review

Council will review its financial management procedures annually on receipt of the draft annual accounts, including as a minimum all matters recommended by our Auditor for such review.

3. Safeguarding

3. Safeguarding Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 14:58

Safeguarding is now split into three:

3a. Working with Children and Young People

3b. Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

3c. Dealing with Online Abuse

3a. Working with Children and Young People

3a. Working with Children and Young People Tony Atkins Thu, 02/05/2019 - 16:20

The following is copied from our Policy on Working with Children and Young People. See this for more details, especially on Principles and Guidelines. We also have Guidelines for Volunteers Visiting Schools.

  1. It is the responsibility of all members of the Association to do their best to prevent the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children and young people and to report any abuse, alleged or suspected.
  2. We will respond without delay to any complaints made that a child or young person, for whom the Association or its members or officers are responsible, may have been harmed.
  3. Association members who provide Go teaching to children and young people in schools should comply with any request by the school to obtain a Disclosure or Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau.
  4. Council is responsible for appointing a Child Protection Adviser who:
    • advises Council on Child Protection Policy and its implementation;
    • advises members involved in youth Go activities; and
    • is available to members to discuss any situation of concern that may come to their notice.
  5. We require an Enhanced Disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service for the Youth Development Officer, Child Protection Adviser and Education Officer. The Enhanced Disclosure must be not more than 3 years old. We will obtain and/or renew such disclosures where they are needed.
  6. Council will satisfy themselves as to the suitability of any person applying to take on the roles of Youth Development Officer, Child Protection Adviser and Education Officer, through a process which as a minimum:
    • discusses any previous experience working with children and young people;
    • requests the volunteer to confirm that they have never been convicted of, or cautioned for, a sexual offence or other offence against children;
    • has the volunteer either show or complete an application for the Enhanced Disclosure required by the previous policy.
  7. The organizers of Association supported Go Tournaments and other events which are open to all adults and children are considered for the purposes of this policy not to have direct responsibility for the care and supervision of children participating in the event. They are therefore not required to seek Disclosure or Enhanced Disclosure from the Criminal Records Bureau.

Another document describes our Policy and Procedures for checking criminal records.

3b. Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults

3b. Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults Tony Atkins Thu, 02/05/2019 - 16:25


The BGA is required (under, for example, the terms of its insurance policy) to have policies concerning the “Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults” (although the term “adults at risk of harm” is now preferred). However, the Care Act 2014 makes it clear that adults cannot simply be categorised into “Vulnerable” and “non-vulnerable” categories; for example, they may be able to make small decisions about everyday matters such as what to wear or what food to eat, but they may lack the ability to make more complex decisions about financial matters.

However, in general Adults At Risk include those who:

• Have needs for care and support (whether or not the local authority is meeting any of those needs) and;

• Are experiencing, or are at risk of, abuse or neglect and;

• As a result of those care and support needs is unable to protect themselves from either the risk of, or the experience of, abuse or neglect.

Although it will be unusual for a Go player to fall under the above criteria, it is not unheard of. An individual may have the capacity to play Go, but they may also (because of illness, disability or a deterioration of mental faculties) have difficulties in other areas, for example social interaction or financial acumen. This could lead the individual to be at risk of sexual or financial exploitation.

Accordingly the BGA has adopted the following policy, applicable to all Go players irrespective of age. It includes specific requirements associated with Vulnerable Adults.

The BGA has a separate policy governing the safeguarding of children.


The BGA adheres to the following principles:

• Everyone has a right to be safe and to be treated with dignity and respect, with a right to privacy

• Everyone, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, religious belief and/or sexual identity have the right to protection from abuse

• all incidents of suspected poor practice and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately

• confidentiality should be upheld in line with the Freedom of Information Act (2004) and the General Data Protection Regulations (2016).

If the BGA becomes aware that one of its members has abused one or more people in the context of playing Go, then our response will depend on the level of abuse as follows: -

• Simple rudeness may be responded with a request for an apology; in serious circumstances the abuser will be asked to leave the event.

• As soon as any form of abuse of an adult at risk is suspected or becomes apparent it should be reported to the appropriate local authority Adult Social Care Team (advice on this can be obtained from the BGA Child Protection Adviser).

• Where there are grounds to suspect that a crime has been committed the incident should be reported to the Police.

The BGA has a separate policy governing on-line abuse.

Further advice and guidance is available from the BGA Child Protection Advisor child-protection AT britgo DOT org

More Information

See also:

BGA Equalities Policies

BGA Working with Children and Young People Policy

BGA Policy and Procedures for Checking Criminal Records

BGA Policy on On-line Abuse

3c. Dealing with Online Abuse

3c. Dealing with Online Abuse Tony Atkins Thu, 02/05/2019 - 16:26

On-Line Abuse

The BGA runs email, twitter and Facebook groups. These are regularly monitored by Council members.

Council will not tolerate the use of these platforms for promulgating abuse, irrespective of whether or not the recipient is considered to be at risk of harm.

In the event of abuse occurring then Council may:-

a) Request the abuser to cease immediately and issue an apology, or

b) Moderate the abuser’s posts (so that every post is vetted for content before being promulgated), or

c) Remove the abuser from the platform

and the appropriate response will depend a number of factors including the level and degree of abuse, any contrition displayed by the abuser and any record of previous abuse.

4. Clubs

4. Clubs Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 14:59

4.1 Affiliation

Council interprets clause 9 of our Constitution:
9. Each affiliated club shall nominate a club member as club secretary. His duties shall include acting as club contact.
to mean that a club applying for affiliation must have as secretary someone who is (a) an Association member and (b) prepared to have contact details published by the Association. For school and youth Go clubs, however, see the next paragraph.

4.2 School & Youth Go Clubs

A school or youth Go club can be affiliated to the Association either by virtue of any one club member being a Member, or by taking out a Schools Membership of the Association. In either case, the nominated club contact may be any suitable person (e.g. parent or teacher), whether an Association member or not.

4.3 Publicity for Clubs

Up to 50Kb of web space is available to each affiliated Go club that desires it. If you want your club to have its own page, send the webmaster an email containing the text (in HTML if you can manage it) and any graphics.

If you're happy to work with Drupal then you can edit your own page. Please contact the webmaster for more details.

You can also be in control of the information that we display on the Club List and the associated page via a simple editing process. Please contact the webmaster for more details.

School and Youth Go Clubs may apply for assistance with start-up costs, to a maximum of 50% of the actual costs. A package of information, literature and small board equipment is available free of charge.

4.4 Equipment to Assist with Start-up

We have some boards of various sizes and stones available for lending to clubs to help get them off the ground until they can purchase their own. If you need to borrow some of these to help start a new club, please contact the Equipment Coordinator to arrange it. Please note that collection and return will be your responsibility (it will often be possible to collect and return them at tournaments).

Current details are available as part of our Stock List.

5. Championships and International Events

5. Championships and International Events Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:01

5.1 Rules

The official version of the rules for the British Go Championship, the British Pair Go Championship and the British Youth Championships is the Championships Rules page.

5.2 Financial

The Association underwrites the costs of running the above championship events, including prizes, using sponsorship money when possible. Entry fees will be set at a realistic level.

5.3 International Events

When we are asked to select a player or players to represent the UK at an international event the player selected must meet the following criteria:
- be a member of the British Go Association or, if under 18, a member of an Association-affiliated school or youth Go club,
- be eligible to take part in the British Championship and
- in the event that the tournament is subject to an anti-doping regime, that they agree to co-operate in the event that they are asked to provide samples for testing.

In addition they must meet any additional requirements laid down by the organisation running the event. Where this organisation has not specified any requirement with respect to players representing more than one country, then the player must:
- not have represented another country in an international Go event in the 26 months immediately prior to the event and
- must agree not to represent another country in an international Go event for the succeeding 12 months.
Approved by Council - 17th October 2015.

The system of qualifying as UK/GB representative at various international championships is described in the pages for each individual event, which is referenced via the following page: Lists of past representatives at international tournaments. Each of these pages describes the entry criteria for each international tournament to which we send representatives. Please note that the organisers of each tournament may have other criteria, e.g. citizenship or country of birth, which may be more restrictive than our own criteria.

Note: The International Go Federation Statutes, as of August 2015, state in article 20: "A player may not represent a second country or territory in any IGF-sponsored international competitions for at least five years after representing a different country or territory.”

The Association will not normally pay the expenses of those representing us overseas.

6. Tournaments

6. Tournaments Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:02

6.1 Championships

British Championship events are run according to the rules defined in our Championships Rules page (see section 5 above).

6.2 British Congress

The main event at the annual British Go Congress is the British Open Championship, which is run under the rules defined in our Rules of Go.

6.3 Other Tournaments

6.3 Other Tournaments Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:28

The rules and conditions of tournaments not covered by sections 5, 6.1 and 6.2 are at the discretion of the tournament organiser.

Tournament organisers are asked to note that entrants may assume that:

  • the playing rules will be as described in our Rules of Go, and
  • no smoking will be allowed in the playing area

unless stated otherwise on the entry form.

Further information and advice for tournament organisers is available in our Organisers Handbook. There is some supplementary material in the Notes for tournament organisers.

Tournaments supported and recognised by us are encouraged to publicise and solicit membership of the Association for players who are not existing members.

Council will endeavour not to make changes to the requirements for tournaments, e.g. the Levy, without prior consultation with tournament organisers and normally with at least 3 months advance notice of such a change. Council will normally use the bga-policy mailing list for such consultation, so tournament organisers are encouraged to sign up to this list.

6.4 Levy

6.4 Levy Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:23

Our Levy is a fee paid by tournaments to us in exchange for use of our tournament equipment (sets, clocks, laptop, software), public liability and loss/damage insurance, publicity (see section 6.6) and submission of results to the rating system. The tournament levy is not charged for youth events and is intended to approximately cover the costs associated with the provision of these facilities on an annual basis, including equipment replacement and travel costs.

There is no requirement for tournament organisers to relate entry charges to the levy charge. The levy is charged in the method below partly to

  • provide temporary Association membership for non-Association members and recognise that the equipment is effectively owned by our members, hence the reduction for our members, and
  • also to provide tournament organisers with a simple way of predicting the cost when planning a tournament without having to make a specific commitment in advance of the event, irrespective of where the tournament is held within the UK and the number of players actually attending.

We levy a daily charge based on the number of players in the main event of any tournament, in the following categories:

  • Association member and is eligible for Concessionary Association membership
  • Association member or a member of a foreign national Go Association
  • non-Association member and is eligible for Concessionary Association membership
  • non-Association member
  • players entering their first tournament (free)

The current rates and submission form are here

Note: These charges are reduced by 50% for any tournament not requiring the provision by us of any equipment. For events longer than two days discounts are available - please contact our Treasurer to discuss details.

Loss-Making Tournaments

Our Treasurer has discretion to waive all or part of the levy in the event that the Tournament makes a financial loss.

Tournament organisers requesting a waiver of the levy should contact the Treasurer. They should provide brief accounts for the tournament, and a justification for the proposed waiver. This should include an explanation of how any surplus would have been used, and a statement as to how the levy will be financed in the event that a waiver is not granted.

A waiver is likely to be granted in cases where the event is new, and where any loss would fall personally on the Organiser. Where the event is of regular standing a waiver is unlikely to be granted, as it is expected that the club organising the tournament would have sufficient reserves to cover the occasional loss.

6.5 Underwriting

6.5 Underwriting Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:24

We underwrite the costs of running the British Congress. By approval of Council, we may also underwrite the costs of other tournaments considered important to us, for example events such as the London Open.

Tournament organisers seeking an underwriting arrangement should contact our Treasurer at least 3 months in advance to discuss it. A draft budget will be required.

6.6 Publicity

6.6 Publicity Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:24

We provides facilities for hosting tournament entry forms on our web site and also a complete registration system. These facilities and many other recommendations are described in Publicising Go Tournaments.

6.7 Tournament Dates

6.7 Tournament Dates Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:25

Our Tournament Coordinator maintains a calendar of tournaments and helps tournament organisers to identify free dates and to avoid clashing tournaments and reduced entries to tournaments in consecutive weeks. However, this help is advisory and the date of a tournament is ultimately at the discretion of the tournament organiser.

6.8 Book Stall

6.8 Book Stall Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:26

Books stalls are provided at tournaments at the discretion of our Book Seller. (A book stall is not usually provided at events where a local supplier is actually selling Go books and equipment, because we wish to encourage them to stock these).

6.9 Rules of Go

6.9 Rules of Go Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:27

Our Annual General Meeting approved the American Go Association (AGA) style rules with no opposition on 5th April 2008. The statement of the Go rules used in our tournaments is found in Rules of Play.

This document is inspired by the AGA's official statement of the rules and our interpretation of those rules.

Tournament organisers can get an easy to digest statement of the rules in the AGA Summary to print out for display.

Players can get a crib sheet showing guidance in playing by AGA-style rules from Short Guide.

Referees should refer to Rules of Play for the definitive statement of our tournament rules of play.

Organisers of tournaments will also need the Tournament Organisers' Handbook and the Organisers' Toolbag to establish their tournament rules.

6.10 International Representation

6.10 International Representation Jon Diamond Tue, 16/03/2010 - 20:15

We are asked to nominate official representatives for various international tournaments. In general we operate a points system to help Council decide who should be nominated. When such a system is in operation Council will normally nominate the person with the highest number of accumulated points, who has earned some points within the last 5 years and who is an Association member. Players who attend the tournaments for which they are nominated will have their points reset to 0. If two or more players are tied on the same number of points, then priority is given to players who have been to the World Amateur Go Championship less recently (Council decision 25.2.17).

The main exception to this is the World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) which for 2008 and 2012 used the existing European Go Federation (EGF) ratings list as a selection mechanism. Without committing a future Council players should assume that if the WMSG is held again that the ratings list as displayed on our website will be used again.

Please note that these are guidelines which may be not be followed by Council in exceptional circumstances (for example, someone becoming British Champion for the first time).

All nominations will be subject to the rules for attendance at the respective events, e.g. some may be restricted to UK-born or UK-nationals.

For International Go Federation (IGF) sponsored events representatives also need to abide by the IGF Code of Conduct, which can be seen on the IGF Members Documents page.

World Amateur Go Championship

Points are awarded to players in the Challengers’ League and the British Championship Title Match as follows:

the champion

9 WAQ points

1st in Challengers’ League (if not champion)

8 WAQ points

2nd in Challengers’ League (if not champion)

7 WAQ points

3rd in Challengers’ League

6 WAQ points

4th in Challengers’ League

5 WAQ points

5th in Challengers’ League

4 WAQ points

6th in Challengers’ League

3 WAQ points

7th in Challengers’ League

2 WAQ points

8th in Challengers’ League

1 WAQ points

Except that: if there are players on an equal number of wins at the end of round seven of the Challengers’ League, then the points for those league places are shared equally between the league places concerned.

A player taking part in the World Amateur Go Championship has their points reset to zero and this happens before any points for that year are awarded.

International Amateur Baduk Championship

Points are awarded to the eight highest-placed British players (by nationality or residence) in the British Open Championship. The winner receives 8 points, second 7 points, and so on down to 1 point for eighth. Points are shared between players who finish on the same McMahon score, with any fraction rounded to the nearest half integer (quarters rounded up).

If two or more players are tied on the same number of points, the tie-break is: first, priority is given to players who have been to the International Amateur Baduk Championship less recently; second, who played in the British Open more recently; third, who finished more highly placed in that British Open; fourth, nigiri.

Women’s World Amateur

Due to the long time since the last Womens World Amateur, Council decided to suspend this points system. The following has been retained for historic purposes:

This points system is used as a guide for selection of British representatives in international Women’s Amateur Go events, such as have been held in Japan and South Korea. Points will be awarded to women competing in the British Open. Points are given according to final ranking by McMahon score, with players tied by that score sharing the points assigned to the places. Up to eight players will be awarded points, with 8 points being given to the top player, 7 to the second player and so on with a decrement of one point each place.

International Amateur Pair Go

Points will be awarded to individuals in a pair. A point is gained per person for each game won in the British Pair Go Championship.

Only teams that have played together will be considered.

Current pairings will be given preference. This is interpreted to mean that normally only pairs who have played together in one or both of the two most recent qualifying Pair Go tournaments may be nominated.

European Amateur Pair Go

This is identical to the International Amateur Pair Go Qualification Points System.

Other International Events

The points systems described above may be used as guidelines when selecting representatives for other international events, as alternatives to the rankings from the most recent British Championships or the EGF ratings.

7. Grading

7. Grading Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:03

For more information about the Rating System we operate see the Rating System FAQ, which uses the European Go Federation (EGF) rating system.

Many British tournaments are run on the McMahon system, which tries to pair players of equal strength. This relies on players entering the tournament at a realistic grade so that fair games between players can be achieved. Many European tournaments are also run on the McMahon system, so again we would like to ensure that our players perform satisfactorily in European events. Consequently the aim of our ratings policy is:

  • keep British grades reasonably close to the European average
  • help players get a fair draw at British McMahon events and
  • help players perform on equal terms in European tournaments.

7.1 Rated Games

It is recognised that not all players are able to play in every tournament and some players' published ratings may lag excessively behind their actual playing strength. To address this issue, our policy regarding which games count towards rating points is as follows:

  • All Association approved events which have time limits at or better than the EGF class C limits are submitted for ratings. The main exclusions are Pairgo, and Team events.
  • Where isolated players cannot get to tournaments frequently enough, they can arrange 'rating games' of tournament standard against other Association rated players to be played outside Association events.
  • Affiliated clubs may also arrange 'club ladder events', which can be submitted for ratings.
  • We encourage travel to ensure that these 'extra games' do not lead to frequent pairings within isolated groups.
  • The rules governing rated games played outside Association tournaments are found in Rated Games.

7.2 Tournament Entry Grade and Rating Resets

The policy is:

  • If you play in a reasonable number of tournaments and are making average progress enter them at a grade equal to the strength listed on the current version of our ratings page, rounded to the nearest whole number. This includes cases where the player's rounded strength is higher than his official grade.
  • If you are 3 kyu or below and play in many tournaments, and are making very rapid progress consider promoting 1 stone more than you would normally to get at least a 2 stone rating reset.
  • If you can only get to tournaments infrequently and cannot arrange suitable rating games then contact your club secretary or our ratings officer to discuss an appropriate tournament entry grade when you do next attend.
  • Strong kyu players can gain a rating reset to 1 dan or a 2 dan in extreme circumstance if this is agreed in advance with us.
  • A dan player must agree any rating reset in advance with us.

7.3 Players with On-line Grades only

We encourage on-line players to enter over-the-board tournaments. In order to establish a relation between on-line server grades and our strengths we will be setting up a system to collect information from players who play in tournaments as well as on-line. Until a meaningful correlation between server and our grades is established, the following guide will apply for an on-line player entering one of our tournaments for the very first time or after a long absence:

  • For kyu players the grade = server grade - 2
  • For dan players the grade is also = server grade - 2, but the highest entry grade is 2 dan unless agreed ahead of time by us.

7.4 Dan Certificates and Grades

Since November 2003, British Go Association dan certificates have been awarded based on our ratings, which in turn are based on the European rating system. You will be awarded a dan certificate under the following conditions.

  • You must have played 10 or more rated games in a sequence of tournaments.
  • Your strength at the end of the last tournament in the sequence must be at least as high as your starting strength in the first tournament of the sequence. You can find your strength in the BGA ratings page.
  • If your strength reaches X.0 dan at the end of the last tournament in the sequence, you are awarded an X dan certificate.
  • You must be a member of the British Go Association during the entire qualifying tournament sequence.

The first time you play in a rated tournament, your strength is initialised to your tournament entry grade - which may not be very accurate. Only after you have played in several tournaments does it settle down to a reasonable measure of your playing ability. The conditions above ensure that certificates are not awarded during this initial settling down period.

An instability can also occur after a rating reset, when you already have a rating, but enter at a grade two stones higher than your previous highest grade. In this case your rating may drop below the reset value, but as long as it eventually rises again to reach the next dan level threshold, you gain a certificate when all the above conditions are met.

7.5 Monitoring

In the first instance tournament directors are encouraged to be proactive in ensuring that their players are entering at realistic grades. The results of all our tournament are scrutinised and submitted to the EGF by our ratings official. If anomalous entry grades are present in the results, submission of games to the EGF rating system may be delayed and the following procedure adopted:

  • The issue is first discussed with the tournament director, and if this does not resolve the problem, then:
  • The anomaly is discussed in Council.
  • Any decision taken by Council and the tournament director (TD) is communicated to both TD and player.
  • In most cases the results published on the web will remain unaffected.

7.6 Complaints Procedure

It is very much hoped that players' entry grades are essentially self managed, and much information is provided to help players determine their entry grades. However, if any player wishes to complain about the published rating of either themselves or another player on our rating list then the following procedure must be adopted:

  • The player makes the complaint in writing to the ratings officer.
  • The complaint is discussed in Council.
  • The Council decision is communicated to the player(s) involved as appropriate.

7.7 Calculation of Strength

Strengths are calculated from ratings in the European Go Database:

strength = (rating - 2100)/100 (rounded to one decimal place)

Until early 2017 we used a linear regression of player's grades vs rating to calculate the player strength as presented in our rating page. Although this process gave plausible results in the early years of the rating system, the method was degraded by the drop in the average rating of all European players. By early 2017, a nominal shodan (rating 2100) had a strength of 1.7d rather than 1.0d. The procedure was abandoned early in 2017.

8. Outreach and Publicity

8. Outreach and Publicity Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:04

8.1 Promotional Material

Our introductory booklet, describing the background and rules of Go, and poster can be given free of charge to anyone desiring them other than for selling on. However, where a society or institution requires a large number of copies of the booklet and is able to pay for them, payment should be accepted at a rate of 35p per copy. We keep a supply of all promotional material and provide them to anybody wishing to use them in these ways.

Our Roller Banner is available to borrow free of charge for outreach events.

Note: These items available on the Promotional material page. These may be freely downloaded, copied and distributed.

8.2 Starter Sets

Up to 50 European Go Cultural Centre starter sets (a cardboard 9x9 board with printed cardboard stones, obtained from the EGCC) are available each year to assist schools starting Go clubs. They are allocated at the discretion of the Youth Development Officer. They are no longer given free for other purposes, other than in very exceptional circumstances at the discretion of Council.

Other starter sets may be available at a subsidised rate, either through Council or via the Castledine-Barnes Trust.

8.3 Outreach Projects

We intended to pursue further large outreach projects, following and developing the model of the 2002 Hampshire Go project, as part of the GoZone programme. However, the reduction in support for schools external activities has meant this is no longer being actively pursued.

8.4 Presenters' Fees & Expenses

We will pay professional fees for Go presentations to beginners by a suitably qualified presenter approved by Council, provided that this is part of a planned outreach project and that the funds to do so are obtained from sponsors who agree to it and/or from revenue generated by our other outreach events. Professional fees will not be paid out of our funds for for occasional teaching. Travel expenses will be paid to Go teachers according to the policy stated in Expenses for volunteer Go teachers.

8.5 Media Relations

Our President maintains a list of media contacts, informs them of events that may be of interest to them and invites them to suitable functions. Chess journalists sometimes give coverage to other mind sports and are one group (not the only one) whom we cultivate in this way.

8.6 Article Placements

Council encourages the publication of both news stories and informative articles about Go both in the national media and in all levels of local media. While the present Council does not have manpower to carry out publicity projects of these kinds, we will be happy to allocate finances to support suitable projects initiated by members. Anyone willing to undertake such projects and requiring funds or other help is requested to discuss them first with the President.

9. Player Development

9. Player Development Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:06

9.1 General

Council intends to expand the amount of player development activity within the Association, both in general and targeted to specific groups (for example, players of a given strength, women, youth ...). Financial and other help will be given to appropriate player development projects, and the same facilities are available for them as are given to tournaments (see 6.4 - 6.8 above). Members wanting to organise player development events or projects can contact our Tournament Coordinator, our National Trainer, the Chairman of the Player Development Committee, or any Council member.

9.2 Dan Visits

We normally pay 50% of the travel expenses of dan players visiting clubs to teach, on the basis that the club is expected to pay the other 50%. These default terms may be varied when appropriate. Club secretaries wishing to organise such visits are requested to contact the Chairman of the Player Development Committee in advance to discuss the arrangements.

9.3 Teaching Events

We arrange a number of teaching events around the country. Participants are expected to make a contribution towards costs. Setting these costs will be the responsibility of the Chairman of the Player Development Committee, with benchmark fees for 2010 of £4 for a half-day, £7.50 for a full day. These rates will be doubled if the teacher is of professional strength. Any costs in excess of those contributed by the participants will be covered by us. Clubs wishing to arrange such an event should contact the Chairman of the Player Development Committee .

9.4 Teaching

We encourage our members to teach, coach and mentor other players.

We operate a formal process of obtaining feedback from students in order to ensure teaching quality.

Currently the BGA has two levels of accreditation:

General level: For Go teachers who will normally be teaching adults. This level also includes individuals who help teach young people in a supervised setting. (For example: helping to teach young people Go in a classroom where a teacher is present. This would not fall under the criteria of ‘regulated activity’ as defined by the Home Office).

Accredited to teach young people: This level is for anyone who may be regularly teaching children or young people in a situation where there is no DBS checked supervisor. (For example: running a weekly Go Club for young people alongside a parent. This is likely to fall under the definition of ‘regulated activity’).

[For a further explanation of ‘regulated activity’ and the legal implications of this please see the BGA's Policy and Procedures for checking criminal records].

All accredited teachers must meet the following requirements:-

  • Be in receipt of positive feedback from students
  • Studied our "Guide to Teaching Go to Beginners"
  • Such teachers will be accredited to teach players at least 4 stones weaker than themselves.

In addition teachers wishing to be Accredited to teach young people must also:

  1. Confirm that they’ve read the BGA policy on Working with Children and Young People.

  2. Provide clear DBS certificate dated within the past three years (the BGA can assist an individual to apply for a DBS check).

  3. Provide two references using the BGA reference form. One reference at least should be from outside the Go community.

  4. Have experience of teaching go to young people.


Accreditation will be undertaken by the Player Development Committee. Teachers who wish to apply for accreditation should contact this committee with evidence that they have met the requirements. Accreditation requires at least 2 members of the Committee to vote in favour, with no member voting against.

Useful Links:

Guide to Teaching Go to Beginners

Chapter 4 of the Club Organiser’s Handbook.

For more information on teaching Go please email: teaching at britgo.org

For information and advice on issues relating to child protection and DBS checks please email the Child Protection Advisor.

10. Cooperation with other Mind Sports Organisations

10. Cooperation with other Mind Sports Organisations Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:07

10.1 General

We regard organisations supporting other Mind Sports as colleagues. We wish to continue cooperating with them in ways such as:

  • reciprocal advertising
  • sharing of venues and other resources
  • sharing of know-how

The editors of our publications (the Journal, Newsletter, web site and all promotional publications) will try to reflect that position.

10.2 Comparison with Other Games

Articles expressing an individual's personal preference for Go in a responsible way are welcome, but Council will support the editors of the above publications whenever they decide to edit out expressions of snobbery in comparison to other mind sports, and jokes that may give offence.

10.3 MSO

Mind Sports Olympiads present significant opportunities for outreach and for developing friendship and cooperation with other mind sports organisations. Council intends to continue participating in Mind Sports Olympiads and cooperating with their organisers.

11. British Go Journal

11. British Go Journal Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:09

11.1 Re-publication of Articles

If authors of articles published in the British Go Journal republish them on the internet, or authorise such republication, they are asked to include an acknowledgement of the original publication in the Journal.

11.2 Complimentary Copies for Authors

A free copy of the British Go Journal is sent to non-members who contribute articles accepted for publication.

11.3 Style Guidelines

These are defined in the Guidelines & Style Rules for Contributions to the British Go Journal.

12. Website

12. Website Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:10

We consider that the purpose of a website is to convey information, rather than to show off the designer’s technical abilities.


The pages on this website are maintained by the Webmaster and his team.

The team endeavours to keep the information which they present up to date and as true as is possible, to the best of their knowledge.

However there is a large body of information here, and some of it may be mistaken. There are also no doubt numerous omissions of information which the webmaster has never received. If you notice any errors or omissions, please notify the webmaster, specifying the page which needs correcting. The team then will make the necessary changes.

If it ever happens that there is a dispute about the truth of a statement on these pages, the webmaster will refer this to the President and Council, and will accept their decision.

These pages, particularly the ones giving product reviews, also express opinions. If you feel that an opinion on these pages is unfair, please write a page giving your own opinion, and either put it on your own website or send it to the webmaster to be hosted on our site. The webmaster will place links to your page from the page with which you disagree.


The British Go Association is not responsible for the content of other websites, even if this site links to them.

Photographs in which individuals are identifiable should only be added to the site after the people pictured have been asked whether this is OK. We will not add identifiable photographs of of people under the age of 18 to this site.

Usage and Copyright

Our policies are:

  • We retain copyright for all items published on its site, except when copyright is retained by authors
  • Links to items within this website are permitted without any notification
  • Articles and photos may be reproduced for the purpose of promoting Go and not for profit, providing that the British Go Association website is attributed as the source, together with a link to the originating material, and the permission of the webmaster has been sought and obtained in writing in advance.

Other Aspects

More details on other aspects of our web site are defined on the About the Web Site page.

13. Advertising

13. Advertising Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:12

We accept advertising from commercial organisations as well as private individuals and non-profit organisations.

Advertising Rates

British Go Journal
Inside Black and WhiteFull Page £100
Half page£55
Quarter page£30
Inside Page (Colour)Full page£150
Inside Cover (Colour)Full page£200
Half page£120
Back Cover (Colour)Full page£300
Series discounts 2+ 10%
4+ 20%
BGA website (www.britgo.org)Please contact the treasurer to discuss requirements

Advertising General Terms and Conditions

  1. All bookings must be confirmed in writing.
  2. The British Go Association (BGA) reserves the right to refuse, amend, withdraw or otherwise deal with Adverts submitted at their absolute discretion and without explanation. All Adverts must comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice.
  3. The above rates are based on the Advertiser providing camera-ready copy.
  4. Copy must conform to the BGA's requirements and the BGA reserves the right to charge for any additional work involved in amending the copy of the Advert to conform to its requirements.
  5. The BGA will not be liable for any loss or damage consequential or otherwise occasioned by error, late publication or the failure of an advert to appear from any cause whatsoever.
  6. The Advertiser's sole remedy if the BGA, or its third party subcontractors, make an error in displaying or printing any Advert is the cost of re-running the relevant Advert. Neither the BGA nor its subcontractors shall be liable for failure to display or print the Advert caused by circumstances outside their control.
  7. The Advertiser will indemnify the BGA against any damage and/or loss and/or expense that the BGA may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of the Advertiser's advert.
  8. Payments are to be made within 30 days of receipt of invoice to the BGA's Bank Account. The BGA reserves the right to charge the Advertiser any costs it incurs resulting from the Advertisers chosen method of payment.
  9. Series discounts apply only to orders placed in advance and completed within the agreed period. The BGA reserves the right to surcharge in the event of a series of Adverts not being completed within that period. If the Advertiser cancels the balance of a contract to publish a series of Adverts it relinquishes any series discount and all Adverts will be paid for at the appropriate rate.

  11. If an Advert links to another site, the Advertiser is responsible for maintaining the link and for the content of the linked site. BGA may remove any Advert which contains content or links to a site which, in BGA's opinion, is defamatory or objectionable or will bring BGA into disrepute. The Advertiser will indemnify BGA from and against any claims or liability arising from links contained in an Advert.
  12. If BGA receives complaints about the content of an Advert it may, at its discretion, remove the Advert from display without reference or liability to the Advertiser.
  13. If payment is not received within 30 days the advert will be withdrawn from the website.

Our current Advertising Rates and Terms and Conditions are also downloadable here.

Contact the treasurer or president to discuss your requirements further.

31st December 2009

14. Data Protection

14. Data Protection TobyManning Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:13

Policy approved 12 May 2018, amended 28 June 2020.

  1. We acknowledge that we are subject to the General Data Protection Regulation.
  2. We understand that we are exempt from registering with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  3. We keep details of names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and Go strengths on a computer database. This data base is kept securely off-line by the Membership Secretary, and is not accessible remotely via the Internet. It is not divulged outside the Association (except as required by law, and with the exceptions below) and is only available to BGA officials on a need-to know basis.
  4. We keep your email address (but no other details) on a computer database which is part of the britgo domain. This is used to dispatch your electronic Newsletter. This database is password protected, and is not linked from the main britgo domain (hence is not accessible to search engines). The password is divulged to a limited number of BGA Officials on a "need-to-know" basis. Identical arrangements pertain to the Youth Newsletter.
  5. We publish the results of tournaments, which include the names and clubs of the players, on the Internet and, by entering a tournament, players agree to this. Some tournaments publish a list of entrants in advance, and entrants are asked to agree to this (though entrants can usually opt out of this list).
  6. The following data is sent to third parties:
    • Your name and address are sent to the printers of the British Go Journal so that they can send it, and possibly other publications, to you.
    • If you take part in a tournament, your name and results are sent to the European Go Federation for incorporation into the European Go Database. This database provides a publicly-viewable record of players’ tournament activity.
    • We use third parties (PayPal, regulated by the CSSF in Luxembourg, and GoCardless, regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK) to manage the collection of membership subscriptions and some other payments. The only data that is passed to these organisations is the member’s name and address. The member will be asked to provide financial data (e.g. credit card details) to the third party, but the only information that is available to the BGA is the name of the Bank and the last 2 digits of the account number for those using GoCardless.
  7. Where we hold video meetings to which members are invited our software of choice is Zoom. We will not pass any member's personal data to Zoom and not record any meetings. Creation of a Zoom account is not needed to join a meeting, but should a member create an account then that will be subject to the standard Zoom data protection arrangements. In the event that other software is used, then similar principles will apply.
  8. All Members are asked to agree that we may divulge their contact details to other Association members for the purpose of enabling members to play Go and to encourage the formation of new Go clubs.
  9. Personal data is deleted:-
    • When a member specifically requests it or
    • Within 18 months of a member failing to renew their annual subscription.
  10. We run email groups, and the list of email addresses is kept secure, is not divulged outside the Association (except as required by law) and is only available on a need-to-know basis. However, your email address will be visible to other members of the group if you make postings.

Here is a link to our Privacy Notice

15. Miscellaneous

15. Miscellaneous Jon Diamond Mon, 22/02/2010 - 15:14

15.1 Foreign Go playing Groups

We provide official invitations to foreign Go-playing groups touring the UK only when they are

  • doing so at the initiative of the Association or
  • primarily teaching or playing Go or
  • attending a specific tournament or teaching event.

15.2 British Go Association Legal Status

In 2009 Council considered whether the legal status of the Association should be altered (currently it is an unincorporated association). After considering a Paper on this topic Council decided NOT to propose any change at this time, but would keep the position under review.

16. Communications

16. Communications Jon Diamond Thu, 07/11/2013 - 15:02

16.1 Bulk Communications

We send official information to our members via

  • the British Go Journal
  • announcements on our website (our RSS feed) - this is automatically fed to our Facebook page
  • the (electronic) Newsletter
  • directly by email to our members. Note: We use the email address notified to our Membership Secretary.

16.2 Individual communications

A list of contact persons with addresses and phone numbers is published in our publications and on our website. We expect the named people to respond to you in a reasonable time-scale. It's helpful if you direct initial queries to the specific official involved, rather than Council in general.

The Gotalk mailing list is not such an official channel, since apart from anything else messages may get lost in the torrent of emails in some people’s inboxes.

Note: we hope to respond to all queries within a few days, but 'reasonable time-scale' depends on the nature of the query, whether the person contacted is on holiday etc., so you can't always expect a response within a week and perhaps longer. Please be patient with us as we're all volunteers.

If you don't get a response in what you think is a reasonable time-scale then escalate the query to the Committee Chairman involved or to our President.

16.3 Go Talk

We host an email discussion group named Gotalk . This is open to all (and one does not have to be an Association member to subscribe to the email list).

Council will appoint a moderator, who needs not be a member of Council.

Postings to Go Talk:-

• cannot contain attachments (in particular not .doc or .docx)
• must be relevant to Go
• must not contain rude, insulting or obscene language
• must not be repetitive
• should be to GoTalk alone, with no other recipients in TO, CC or BCC
• must not contain non-printing characters in the subject line, as these are often a sign of a spammer. This includes Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters.

When replying to other posts, the whole of the previous post or posts being replied to should not be included. Just quote the specific points being replied to.

Commercial postings are not specifically banned, but they must meet the above requirements.

Council regulates Go Talk with a “light touch”. Anyone who infringes one of these rules will, initially, receive a private warning. Repeated infringements may, at Council’s discretion, result in postings being moderated (i.e. they will be manually checked for appropriateness before they are posted); extreme infringements may result in users being blocked. Any such moderation or blocking will be subject to the Appeals process.

17. Appeals

17. Appeals TobyManning Tue, 27/01/2015 - 14:40

In the event that any Member is dissatisfied about a decision of any Association Official, Committee or Council itself, they may make an Appeal. This Appeal shall be sent to our Secretary, and shall put the Member’s case in writing. Council shall consider the Appeal within 6 weeks, and the results of the Appeal shall be communicated to the appellant within 2 weeks.

Any member who is dissatisfied about the result of the Appeal may ask for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) using the procedure laid down in clauses 43 to 48 of the Constitution (dated 28 March 2015).

As we are affiliated to the European Go Federation (EGF) any member who remains dissatisfied after such an EGM may appeal to the EGF Appeals Commission as described in Article 4.1 of the EGF Constitution.

18. Youth

18. Youth TobyManning Mon, 24/02/2020 - 17:18

18.1 Safeguarding policy

The Safeguarding policy (Policy #3) is intended to ensure that young players (under 18) are kept safe and are dealt with appropriately. While this policy is primarily the responsibility of the Chairman of the Youth Committee, they will be guided by the BGA’s Child Protection advisor and other Council Members. The Child Protection Advisor is a Council appointment.

18.2 Youth Committee responsibilities

The Youth Committee is responsible for organising BGA Tournaments and events specifically aimed at young players. Currently (February 2020) these consist of:-

  1. British Youth Go Championships, normally held over one day in the Autumn conveniently located for the majority of Youth members. In practice this generally means within 30 miles of Birmingham.
  2. The Youth Go Camp, normally held over 3 days at a residential outdoor activity centre.
  3. The UK Go Challenge Finals, generally held over 1 day at a location convenient for a large number of young players. As this consists of 13x13 games it can be combined with the British Small Board Championships.
  4. The Youth online international league. This generally consists of around 5 matches played on KGS over 5 Saturdays in the winter.

The Committee is also responsible for facilitating Youth entries to European and World events, especially the European Youth Go Congress.

18.3 Budgets

The Youth Committee shall agree an annual budget with the Treasurer within 60 days of the AGM.

18.4 Support for School Clubs

It is recognised that school budgets are often very stretched, and that there can be significant bureaucracy involved in Schools purchasing equipment. The Youth Committee shall therefore be reasonably liberal in providing cheap equipment, particularly for start-ups (“Durham” sets and “Take away Go sets”.

Sometimes BGA members help out at school clubs, entailing travelling expenses. The Youth Committee will consider covering these expenses, but only in the event that the school is unable (or unwilling) to.

18.5 Youth Financial Policies

It is recognised that it is not always feasible for Youth events to run on a break even basis, and sometimes they will be deliberately run on a loss-making basis. Nevertheless the following principles to running and financing events shall apply:

  1. Events shall rarely be “free” (unless there is actually a zero cost, such as the Internet team championships) – the principle being that people appreciate things more if they have some “skin in the game”
  2. Players are generally expected to pay for their own travel, subsistence and accommodation
  3. Other costs – prizes, organisers’ expenses, room hire, etc. will be treated on a case-by-case basis.

18.6 Castledine-Barnes Trust

The Youth Committee will be responsible for liaison with the Castledine Barnes Trust