Covid-19 and Go


The 2019-21 COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”)[1] pandemic continues to affect the international go community due to quarantine and social distancing measures. Many go clubs temporarily suspended their in-person meetings for some portion of 2020 and 2021 and many tournaments were either cancelled or played online.

Table of contents

Notable deaths

John Conway, a mathematician, go enthusiast and one of the initiators of combinatorial game theory, died on 2020-04-11 from COVID-19 at the age of 82.

Affected events


The planned 2020 European Go Congress in Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ukraine was postponed to 2021 (and the 2021 congress to 2022). In the US, the planned US Go Congress in Colorado was cancelled and the US 2020 E-Go Congress was held in its place, on OGS & KGS with the support of the AGA.

The following events were also cancelled:


The Nihon Ki-in and Kansai Ki-in postponed some professional tournaments and Insei sessions during the declaration of national emergency. [CitationNeeded]

Substitute events

Effect on individual players

Iyama Yuta

While professional games were postponed during the emergency declaration, Iyama Yuta studied the AI-based strategies, weakness in which led him to lose his Meijin title in 2019.(A) Thanks to this refresher course, Iyama managed to defend his Honinbo title for the 9th time, obtained victory at the Agon Cup, and took back his Meijin title from Shibano Toramaru.(A) This is also the third time he has held all three major titles (Kisei, Meijin and Honinbo) in the same year (the 1st and 2nd time occurred when he achieved the annual grand-slams).

(A): This description was based on the comments from the Asahi Shimbun morning post on Oct. 15th, 2020 (Page 34).

Online activity

A surge was reported in games played and new account registrations on OGS.[2]


[1] “[ext] COVID-19” refers to the infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

[2] See [ext] OGS Statistics 2020 vs 2019 (Impact of Corona).

Comments and discussion

Weiqi1515? (2020-10-24): COVID-19 has caused much damage to the Go community all over the world, but some players like Iyama are using this occasion in a positive meaning.

Covid-19 and Go last edited by on February 23, 2024 - 14:32
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