Covid-19 Recommendations

AGA Recommendations for Running Tournaments Safely with Respect to Covid-19 Issues

Late Breaking News

Note: Last update: 02-15-2022 -- update dates for links below, and change notes are in those documents.

Although State government masking, and other mandates are being relaxed, our recommendations remain quite conservative. That is because playing face to face is a much higher risk activity than shopping, or eating at a restaurant.

Covid Policy Recommendations for the new phase

Our recommendations have been shifting frequently over the last three years, reflecting the rapidly changing knowledge, prevention and treatment resources, and circumstances we have all experienced in these times. And the advice on this page has shifted frequently in response. But we are now seeing a much more stable and predictable environment. Henceforth, our advice here will be more general, and not updated unless circumstances change significantly.

Although both local and State government recommendations and mandates have been very much relaxed, our recommendations remain quite conservative. That is because playing face to face where two people breath directly into each other’s face for long periods of time (Covid paradise) is a much higher risk activity than shopping or eating at a restaurant. Whether nationally as we do here, or locally, as a tournament organizer, we decide about how much we do, or require to others to do to protect those among us who are at high risk. In practice, by setting a strict standard, we may offend the sensibilities of some who hate masks, and by setting loose or no standards, we will keep vulnerable people who understand their risks away.

We are all eager to “get back to normal”. However, the Covid risks that led to the precautions we are all tired of taking are not equally distributed among us. The AGA position is that we should cater to the health interests of those at higher risk, and ask others to sacrifice a bit of personal comfort to meet the needs of others with less fortunate risk profiles.

Our recommended standard is that in tournaments, players should mask while competing. In casual play, people who are vulnerable, for whatever reason, should also mask. People playing with others who need to mask, should also do so: and should do so without asking why. We suggest that organizers announce this as policy and provide masks for those who don’t have one.

If CDC assessments change substantially in the future, we will respond accordingly, but we do not expect to revise these recommendations soon.

Historical note:

In early 2020, the AGA called on all to simply stop face-to-face tournament play. A lot has happened since.

In July 2021, we established this page, and advised that with proper precautions, face to face competition could resume.

In 2022 vaccines are now highly effective and readily available. Treatments have been created and are also now very effective and widely available. We now recommended that with a little inconvenience and some patience, it is possible for most folks to compete with reasonable safety.

While the CDC does not have specific guidelines for Go or other game tournaments, our recommendations seek to interpret the CDC’s more general guidelines. Noting that two people sitting across from each other for an hour in a closed room is exactly the circumstance in which COVID is most likely to spread, we are strongly recommending masks while playing. However, given the CDC’s identification of touch transmission as a very low risk, we are not suggesting cleaning of stones and boards. Nonetheless, we do recommend that sanitizer, gloves and spare masks be made readily available to all, and the AGA is willing to provide supplemental funding to offset the costs of providing that support. Please email with a copy of your announcement and your tournament rating report to get reimbursement for those costs. Follow the links below for our detailed recommendations.

We expect continued improvement, but it is important to remember that the “prudent response” to COVID remains a moving target. We will be reviewing the current status of CDC and other guidelines frequently and will adjust our recommendations to reflect new information. It is also important for local organizers to follow local news and government guidance, since the pandemic affects different areas differently. Your local Public Health District is usually an excellent resource for accurate, science based and locally focused information, and they usually do have a phone number to call with specific questions.

Please write to with any questions.