Toronto Go Spectacular – North American Professional and Youth Go Championships Announced

As teased at the US Go Congress, we are now ready to formally announce and open registration to the Toronto Go Spectacular taking place in Toronto December 28-30. We are excited to welcome the whole North American Go community to visit Toronto!

How did we get here? When the North American Go Federation was instituted by the AGA & CGA, the heart of its mission was to oversee the North American professional system. Early efforts have included instituting a promotion system and certifying new professionals. But another important project is to create opportunities for certified professionals to compete, with substantial prize pools. The NAGF has therefore started to coordinate North American Professional Go Championship. In 2021, Toronto was approved to host the event. The list of players in the Professional Championship will be announced at a later date.

North American Youth Go Championship

The next step was to add a North American Youth Championship to our plans. After some discussion, we approved an 8-player U16 tournament and an 8-player U12 tournament, both to take place at the Toronto event.

North American players have long had one premium youth event: the Redmond cup, which will continue to be a key competition for North American youth players. But offering more opportunities to compete for our top players, youth or professional, is a critical mandate of the NAGF. We think North America can support another premium youth event, and to that end, we are adding the North American Youth Championship.

All participants will receive a travel and accommodation subsidy of $250 USD. The winner will receive the right to call themselves “North American U16/U12 youth champion.” In addition, there will be gifts for all participants, and trophies for those who placed well. Citizenship of Canada or the USA is not required to compete in these events; any permanent resident may participate.

Potential competitors should register now on the event web site. U16 applicants should be 1 kyu or stronger. U12 applicants can apply at 5 kyu or stronger. We have set a cutoff date of October 31 for potential competitors to apply.  It is possible there will be online qualifiers for some or all applicants, after that date, to make final decisions on who qualifies. Youth players can improve very rapidly so their “confirmed rank” can be quite out of date (and especially so these days, since many live events were paused due to Covid-19).

Open Tournament

The premium events at the Toronto Go Spectacular are the invitational events.  But for many of us “we just want to play some go”!  Don’t worry, we’ve got this taken care of!  Thursday December 29th & Friday December 30th will see a 6 round Swiss-McMahon tournament, for players Beginner-7D.  In fact even professionals ineligible for the North American Championship are welcome.  

Adult players 10K-25K can consider their preferred choice between the novice tournament and open tournament.   A potential downside to the open tournament is you may wind up with some large handicap games.  The novice tournament will give you the opportunity to compete against many players near your level, and also is less of a time commitment.  However you should anticipate playing many/most of your games against 6-12 year old children if you choose to compete in the novice event. 

We are expecting a large field of 150 players.  And the prizes will be commensurate with an important event like this.  First prize should be 1000-1500 CAD, comparable to the largest prizes at past Canadian open championships. Large, but still a big step down from what the professionals have the chance to earn!  Trophies and so on will be available to players at all levels.

Early bird registration at a 20$ discount is available until September 30th (40 CAD). Don’t miss this great bargain! On October 1st the regular price registration will kick in at 60 CAD.  Finally, for those who insist on waiting until the last moment we will take late registrations in December(until Christmas) for 80 CAD.  Refunds are available without question until December (minus the eventbrite processing fees), after December refunds are at the discretion of the organizers.

Novice Tournament

The last 10 years have seen an explosion in active Go schools across Canada.  Toronto is at the heart of that, with multiple large active schools.  As with parents the world over, parents of these Go students really want to measure the progress their children are achieving.  And “leveling up” can be very motivating for the students as well.

To satisfy this demand, the CGA instituted a youth certificate program.  We mandate a 5 round event, the use of particular handicap choices, and rules that specify what promotion is applicable.

We really wanted to find a way to include this youth scene into our Toronto event!  The exposure to all the top level play can inspire these youths to aim to qualify for the higher level events in the future.  So Friday December 30th will feature a 5 round novice tournament, issuing certificates as per the standard CGA rules (there is a 10$ fee for a certificate for those who qualify and wish to take one).  Trophies and other prizes will also be up for grabs of course.  After discussing with local Go schools, we are estimating 100 children will show up to compete!  Adults players 10K-25K are also welcome to choose this event.

The early bird discount rate of 20 CAD will apply until the end of September.  October & November registrations will pay the standard rate of 30 CAD.  And for those who wish to wait until December, they can pay 40 CAD until Christmas for the privilege of late registration.


Accommodations can be booked after submitting the application. We expect to arrange a special discount at the nearby hotel, as they typically do for events hosted at the JCCC.  Players are free to make their own choice of accommodation as they like. The event venue has free parking, and is in a transit-friendly location.

If you have questions, please reach out! You may email the event organizers at or make a post on the Facebook Event page.

We hope you will share our excitement about organizing a major Go event in the Toronto area!  Follow along and register on the event website throughout the fall season!