The Worldwide Iwamoto Awards, organized by the European Go Cultural Centre (EGCC), is an international contest that rewards promising Go projects. Anybody actively promoting and spreading Go can enter the competition and submit his or her project. Only having a plan, however, is not enough; you must have an existing and running project that shows (visible) results. After the closing date, an independent jury consisting of go experts representing all continents will judge the submissions using a point system, according to a set of criteria. The top 3 contenders will win one prize of €1,000 and two prizes of €500 each.
The Worldwide Iwamoto Awards is named after Iwamoto Kaoru, who lived from 1902 until 1999. He became a professional go player in Japan in 1918 and retired in 1985. He was one of the strongest players of his time. His main achievement is his victory in the Honinbo tournament in 1945-1946, famous for the 'Atomic Bomb Game'. By winning, Iwamoto earned the honorary name "Honinbo Kunwa". In 1947, he successfully defended his Honinbo title.
Iwamoto Kaoru will always be remembered for his dedication to promoting Go on an international scale. Already in the 1920’s, he was active in Brasil. From the 1960’s until 1996, he frequently travelled overseas to teach and promote Go. Iwamoto sensei was an inspired teacher. His insights into the many complex aspects of the game astonished everybody. His book Go for Beginners has been translated into several languages.
After his retirement, Iwamoto sold his Go school in Tokyo and donated the proceeds to the Nihon Ki-in, the Japanese Go Association. This organization realized his dream of establishing Go centers in each of the continents of North America (Seattle and New York), South America (São Paulo), and Europe (Amstelveen). In 2010, the New York Go Center was sold and with the revenues, the Iwamoto North America Foundation (INAF) was made possible. In addition, in April of 2017, a new Go center was established in Washington, DC.
The main reason for the Worldwide Iwamoto Awards is to continue Iwamoto Kaoru’s dream of spreading Go around the world. The contest motivates Go players to think about how they can promote Go. Consequently, by gathering and exchanging ideas, it can contribute to the popularisation of the game and a higher quality of Go education.
Until 2015, the Iwamoto Awards was limited to European projects. With the fifth edition in 2015, we expanded the competition to a global level. We believe that promoting Go knows no boundaries and that everybody should be able to learn about Go and enjoy the game. Our goal is to publish all plans to promote Go in one single searchable database to enable Go promoters to find best practices, ideas, and inspiration for new projects.