The Pokémon Company International has announced the dates for the Pokémon Video Game National Championships, which take place from March 3 through April 1, 2012, in five major cities throughout Europe.

UK gamers will need to head to the Birmingham NEC on March 3 and compete in one of three age divisions based on their year of birth: Junior Division-born in 2001 or later; Senior Division-born in 1997, 1998, 1999, or 2000; Masters Division-born in 1996 or earlier.

2012 Pokémon Video Game National Championships, European Dates and Locations

Saturday March 3 - UK, Birmingham, NEC, Hall 11

Saturday March 10 - Germany, Essen, Messe Essen, Halle 1A

Saturday March 17 - France, Paris, Espace Champerret, Hall C

Saturday March 24 - Spain, Madrid, IFEMA, Pabellón 5

Sunday April 1 - Italy, Milan, Centro Congressi Milanfiori, Strada 1

A total of four top finishers from each age division, up from two last year, will win travel and accommodation for the 2012 Pokémon World Championships held August 10 - 12, 2012, in Hawaii. Players under the age of 18 will also receive travel and accommodation for one accompanying adult.

Players can build their teams using Pokémon from the National Pokédex and must play using the Pokémon Black Version or Pokémon White Version video games.

You'll find further details, including full conditions of entry at