Hey, first year Gen Con attendee here! A little surprised by the lack of abstract strategy and two-player game tournaments in the schedule. Will anyone be running any events for GIPF games, Twilight Struggle, etc. or are two-player games not usually in the schedule? Would also love to play some Hex and Othello if anyone is down.
On a regular year, there would probably be games of all types represented. This year, you may still find some by people in open gaming areas if there are no specific events listed in the Event Catalog. I am not familiar with your term "abstract strategy", so I cannot be of any help there. As for two player game tournaments, there are some going on (mostly revolving around TCG/CCG), though I didn't see anything else this year (Warhammer 40k, Star Wars X-Wing, etc.) tournament wise. But I was also not looking for them.
The definition is, "A strategy game in which the theme is not important to the experience of playing." Apparently, it's a genre that includes games like checkers, chess, and Go.
Ah, damn. I'm guessing they've really cut back on events this year due to COVID?
I think abstract strategy games are typically characterized by a lack of randomness (no dice rolls, drawing cards, etc) and perfect information strategy (no closed hands) - Gen Con really seems to lack these types of games from what I've seen on the schedule.
Gen Con LLC is purposely blocking individual event hosts from running events. So, there is pretty much a lack of everything that people want to do or play. It's a disastrous policy that is making everyone frustrated, but unfortunately seems to be the way they want to proceed this year.
I'm also a first-time Gen Con attendee and was wondering the same thing, so thank you for asking. I'm not really an abstract strategy player, but if you want to meet up elsewhere for a game of Twilight Struggle (which I do not own) send me a message--I would love to play!
However, there will also be open tables for unticketed gaming and a library you can check board games out of. I think a lot of looking-for-players activity is happening on Discord.
The one abstract tournament I know of is Shobu