WMSG 2008: British Team Biogs

Also available are the Team Photos

Toby Manning, Team Leader, Men's Team

Toby, 55, is an electrical engineer living in Newtown Linford near Leicester. He has been playing Go for nearly 40 years, having learned to play Go at Cambridge University. He is regularly seen on the UK tournament scene, and his most siginificant result was winning the Irish Go Championship in 2002. He is married with no children. He is a member of the Council of the British Go Association.

Ron Bell, Team Official

Ron, 60, has recently retired to Scotland after a long career with IBM and latterly at a physics lab in Berkshire. He is married with grown up children. As he is currently president of the British Go Association, he is acting as Team Official.

Matthew Macfadyen, Men's Individual, Mixed Pairs

Matthew, 54, has played Go for many years. He has been British Champion more than 20 times and European Champion three times. In the World Amateur he has finished more than once in the top 5 and is Britain's strongest native-born player of all time. He is currently an electrician, lives near Leamington Spa and is married to Kirsty Healey with whom he is playing the Mixed Pairs.

Tony Goddard, Individual Open, Men's Team

Tony, 61, lives in Sheffield and first heard of Go in 1964 from a Chess magazine where Bobby Fischer mentioned Go as possibly harder than Chess. In 1965 he went to Cambridge to study Mathematics and due to Jon Diamond made the discovery that much improvement in Go can be made from theoretical study, and in particular the study of the games of great players! In 1968 he played in the first of several European Championships. He has also subsequently competed in Mind Sports Olympiads in London and and the Ing Memorial in Amsterdam. He has worked in many locations including two stints in Saudi Arabia, also working for a consultancy in Washington DC whose remit was to help develop PC systems running in Arabic for the administration. He has also worked in Thailand to produce a spread-sheet program which worked in Thai. More recently he has been involved in digital art, having programmed video wall installations in Sheffield, Manchester, Tate London, Haarlem and Amsterdam.

Jon Diamond, Men’s Team

Jon, 60, lives in Crowborough, East Sussex. He is a semi-retired IT professional and has been playing Go for 45 years, learning at school in Berkshire. As well as forming the Go club at Cambridge University and starting the magazine of the British Go Association (British Go Journal), he was also British Champion for 12 years, starting at age 18, until he retired as Champion in 1977. He returned to playing Go competitively a few years ago. He, together with Tony Goddard and Matthew Macfadyen, is a 6 dan, which is the top grade that has so far been awarded to any native-born British player. In addition Jon was one of the early pioneers in Computer Go and his programme was one of the two involved in the first inter-computer game of Go in 1970. Jon is also chairman of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Croquet Club.

Matthew Cocke, Open Individual

Matthew, 36, is an actuary and currently lives in York. He learnt Go when living as a child in Norwich and won the British Youth Championship in 1989. He has represent the UK in many different overseas events.

Piers Shepperson, Men's Individual

Piers, 45, lives in Slough and is a keen games player. As well as Go he is good at Poker and spends a lot of time playing online and television tournaments.

Alex Selby, Men's Team

Alex, 40, lives in Cambridge and is keen on games and mathematical puzzles. One puzzle he solved earned him a half share in the half-million pound prize.

Alex Rix, Men's Team

Alex, 45, is a corporate financier living in London. He learnt to play Go at Oxford University and has played regularly since. Alex served as a former President of the Brtish Go Association for nearly 8 years and on Council for more than 11 years. He represented the UK at the World Amateur Championship in 2004, has won several UK tournaments, including the Wessex tournament 3 times, and has often taken part in the penultimate stage of the British Go Championship over the years. He is married with a stepson.

Simon Shiu, Men’s Individual

Simon, 40, learnt to play go as a child in the late 1970s. He became very active again in the 1990s playing at the Newcastle, Teesside, and Bristol clubs. He was also a regular on the UK tournament scene, with his best successes coming in the late 1990s. He is married with 2 boys. He currently plays at the Bristol (HP) club, and the occasional tournament.

Jonathan Chin, Men's Individual

Jonathan, 38, manages computers for the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge. His interest in Go began at university, with the discovery, in a secondhand bookshop, of Kaoru Iwamoto's introductory guide to the game. He attended the local Go club and soon got to dan level. As well as playing Go, he enjoys Ballroom and Latin American Dancing.

John Hobson, Men's Team

John, 56, is an Environmental Consultant from Devizes in Wiltshire. John has been playing go for nearly 40 years. He learned to play the game while at school in Newcastle Upon Tyne and then at Oxford University. Currently he plays at the Bath Go Club. His most significant results have been to twice qualify for the penultimate stage of the British Go Championship. In the 1980s he reached the semi-final of the World Computer Go Championship. He is married with two children.

Paul Tabor, Men’s Individual

Paul, 48, learnt to play Go while at school. His principal mentor was Francis Roads, President of the British Go Association at the time, and he progressed to a low kyu rank before going to university. Lack of opportunity and family responsibilities meant that he didn't play very often for many years but he was attracted back into the game at around the time that his daughter Maria took an interest in the game. He became an amateur dan player at the end of 2006 and now plays regularly at clubs, tournaments and online. Paul lives in Hildenborough, Kent and works as a business analyst specialising in Investment Banking. His interests include running and winter mountaineering. He is also Chairman of Sevenoaks Athletic Club.

Vanessa Wong, Women’s Team

Vanessa, 14, is the youngest member of the team and the strongest woman player. She started to learn Go at the age of six. She is a student at Shatin College, Hong Kong. She has taken lessons from various Go academies in Hong Kong and also from a professional from Shanghai at the age of nine. She became 1 dan at the age of ten and 3 dan at twelve. She recently took part in the Amateur Go Championship in Hangzhou, China and she obtained a national 4 dan certificate. She won the Hong Kong Pair Go Championship in 2005, the British Youth Go Championship in 2006, came 2nd in the Hong Kong Primary and Secondary School Go Championship in 2008 and 13th in the European Youth Goe Championship also in 2008.

Alison Bexfield, Women’s Team

Alison, 40, lives in Letchworth Garden City. She works for the BBC and is also a non executive director for her local hospital trust. She has been playing go for 20 years since discovering it at Cambridge University. She has represented the UK in the Women's World Amateur Championships and in the International Amateur Pair Go Championships.  A former President of the British Go Association, her tournament playing has taken a back seat in recent years to her growing family.  She is married with two children, one cat and four chickens.

Kirsty Healey, Mixed Pairs

Kirsty, 54, is a teacher from near Leamington Spa. She has been playing Go for many years and has represented the UK both at the World Amateur Women's Championship and the International Amateur Pair Go Championship. Her partner in the latter is her husband Matthew Macfadyen. She has two daughters.

Natasha Regan, Women’s Team

Natasha, 37, lives in Epsom, near London. She works as an actuary in capital modelling for Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance. She has been playing go for 9 years, and highlights include representing the UK at Pair Go in Japan, Bosnia and France, and playing a friendly game with O Rissei when he visited London! Natasha enjoys other Mind Sports too, having previously represented England in the Womens Olympiad team at chess; she is very excited to be playing Go at the WMSG. She has three children: a 5-year old boy, and twin 3-year old girls.

Helen Harvey, Women’s Individual, Women's Team

Helen, 42, is a Management Information Analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland, Manchester. She has been playing Go for 19 years. She initially learnt from her husband, Martin, although she is now stronger than him. She regularly attends UK & European tournaments, and has represented the UK twice in Japan, and once in Romania. She is married with no children.

Sue Paterson, Women's Individual

Sue, 53, is now semi-retired from social work and lives in Arundel in Sussex, where she runs the local Go club. She used to be active on the London Go scene, before moving south. She has represented the UK four times at the world level in both Women's and Pair Go Championships. She hopes to spend more time in her allotment and studying Go.

Maria Tabor, Women’s Individual

Maria Tabor, 19, is a philosophy student just started at Nottingham University after recently receiving her A-level results from Tunbridge Wells Girls Grammar School. She was taught to play at the age of 7 by her father, Paul Tabor, who is himself is a keen Go player also participating in Beijing. She entered her first Go tournament at the age of 14 when she attended the Isle of Man Go Week, and is an enthusiastic player, attending many tournaments. In 2006 Maria enjoyed the privilege of helping introduce Go to the students of St Olave's Grammar School in Kent. Maria is the current British Under-18 Go Champion. She is also a keen musician, playing the piano and singing, a keen runner, a volunteer, and is planning to join St John's Ambulance.

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