Ken Dackombe is very close to winning the Youth Grand Prix for 2006, after picking up another 70 points at the West Surrey handicap tournament. Ken now has 1299 points, more than 100 points ahead of nearest rival Will Brooks. The only tournaments remaining are the Scottish Bar-Low, which is not usually attended by the top junior players, and the London Open.
Bei Ge is the new UK Go Champion. He has taken the title from Matthew Macfadyen by a score of 3 games to 2. The last game was played in Oxford. Matthew has previously won the title more than 20 times. You can listen to a free audio commentary on the final game at the excellent Guo Juan's Go School. You will find it there in the audio lectures section.
Will Brooks has added to his national junior title by winning the British Small Board Championship.
It is very unusual for a junior to win a national open title like this! Ken Dackombe was also among the prize winners, so Will did not make up much ground on him at the top of the Youth Grand Prix table.
We are planning to bring you on this page profiles of all the top UK junior players. And now you can see the first one, of Will Brooks.
Will has won the British Youth Championship for the last three years, and he gave some very interesting answers to some of our questions. More profiles will be added soon.
Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke are in Tokyo this weekend to represent the UK in the International Amateur Pair Go Championship By following the link you can see the schedule and the other competitors, and you can follow the progress of the tournament at the weekend.
Ondrej Fidrmuc, aged 16 from the Czech Republic, won the European Youth Go Masters league. You can see the results of the finals which were played in Strasbourg. In the qualifying league, Fidrmuc only finished fourth behind the winner Antti Tormanen aged 16 from Finland who had 8 wins, and Antoine Fenech aged 20 from France and Ondrej Silt aged 19 from the Czech Republic who had 7 each. However, Tormanen was not able to play in the final stages, and Fenech lost in the quarter finals to Jun Tarumi of Germany. Fidrmuc beat Silt in the semi-finals and then Tarumi in the final.
The school club at St Laurence's School in Cambridge was relaunched today after a short break. Now that Tim Lachlan-Cope has left, the strongest player in the school is Dominic Milbourn. But there were more than a dozen new players present today as the club was successfully restarted.
Former weightlifter Jake Jacobs is the winner of the National Scrabble Championships. He defeated Christian Brown by 3 games to 2. Jake, 57, lives in Ely in Cambridgeshire. In the 1980s he worked on the TV series Superstars, teaching sportsmen how to do weightlifting. The match was held at the Cavendish Conference Centre in London.
In Japan, the challenger Takao Shinji has taken the Meijin title from holder Cho U. Takao, aged 30, won the match by 4 games to 2. The Meijin title is the second highest ranking professional title in Japan. Takao also holds the Honinbo title. Takao and Cho, together with Yamashita Keigo and Hane Naoki are sometimes called the Four Emperors of Japanese Go because of their dominance of the current professional Go scene.
A shogi demonstration is to be held in Asia House in London on 29 November, it has been announced. Shogi is the Japanese form of chess. Shogi and Go are the two great traditional board games played professionally in Japan. The demonstration will feature Segawa Shoji who is very famous in Japan for becoming a professional shogi player at the advanced age of 35 years. He was a salaryman and keen amateur shogi player, but the rules on professional status had to be changed to allow him to achieve his dream of becoming a professional. Previously it was not possible to turn pro after the age of 26.
This week the Government amended the Charities Bill to change the definition of Sport for charitable purposes. The new definiton refers to sport or games which promote health by involving physical or mental skill or exertion. This means that Go, and other mindsports such as chess and bridge, should now fall within the definition. For more information see this article on the website of the English Chess Federation.
Ken Dackombe has increased his lead over Will Brooks in the Youth Grand Prix by picking up another 60 YGP points at the Wessex Tournament, held this year in Keynsham near Bristol. The overall winner of the tournament was Mike Charles 2-dan.
Ken Dackombe has retaken the Youth Grand Prix lead from Will Brooks after an excellent three straight wins in the East Midlands tournament. This event was held in the dramatic setting of the National Space Centre in Leicester. The overall winner of the tournament was Simon Shiu 4-dan from Bristol.
Will Brooks has taken the lead in the Youth Grand Prix following his results in the Isle of Man tournament. Will was 6th in the main tournament and 3rd in the afternoon tournament. The main tournament was won by Piers Shepperson and the afternoon one by Matthew Cocke. The Youth Grand Prix is still very close, with Ken and Kay Dackombe in second and third places not far behind Will.
The Russian professional player Svetlana Shikshina is the new European Go Champion. She is the only European female professional player. She won the European title at the European Go Congress in Rome. In the full results of the main tournament you can see that the overall winner was Park Chi Seon of Korea. Shikshina was the only player to beat Park, and as the top-placed European she becomes the new European Champion. At the EGF Hall of Fame you can see the list of previous European Champions. The winner for the previous 4 years was Alexandr Dinerchtein, also of Russia. He has won 6 times altogether, only one behind the record held by Jurgen Mattern. Shikshina is only the second woman to win the title; the other was Guo Juan. The only British player to win the European Championship was current UK champion Matthew Macfadyen who won three times.
The European Go Congress is getting underway today in Rome. Over 500 players are registered to take part in the event. The congress was last held in Italy in 1996 when it was held in Abano Terme. This time, there are several British players taking part including junior player Paul Blockley 12-kyu from Worcester. There are many professionals appearing as guests at the congress, including the great Takemiya Masaki. Takemiya won the Japanese Meijin title in 1995 and has been holder of the Honinbo title six times. Another famous guest who will be at the event is Yumi Hotta, creator of Hikaru no Go.
This is an update on the European Youth Go Masters league. Twelve of the top European youth players have been taking part in this and the top players will qualify for the finals in Strasbourg in November. The current leader is Antti Tormanen 4-dan aged 16 from Finland with 8 wins. Second equal are Antione Fenech 4-dan aged 20 from France and Ondrej Silt 6-dan aged 19 from the Czech Republic; they have 7 wins each.
Liao Xingwen is a young Chinese Go player who visited this country in the year 2000 to play in the MSO at Alexandra Palace. At the time he was only six years old, but he won the junior Go event at the MSO. He also did quite well in the main MSO Go event, where he defeated 4-dan players Francis Roads and Des Cann. Liao has been training in Beijing and now he has just become professional 1-dan.
In Japan, the Honinbo title match has just finished. The Honinbo title is one of the three most prestigious professional titles in Japan. In this year's match, champion Takao Shinji has beaten the challenger Yamada Kimio in a best of seven games match by the score 4-2. You can see the games from the match on the GoBase site, where you can register for free.
Ken Dackombe still leads the Youth Grand Prix, following his good performance at the Epsom tournament. Ken's sister Kay moves back into second place ahead of Will Brooks. But there are still fewer than 50 points separating these three players. See the Youth Grand Prix page to see all the latest scores.
The British Championship title match has got off to an exciting start as the challenger Bei Ge has managed to win the first game against long time champion Matthew Macfadyen. As you can see from the history of the British Championships, Matthew Macfadyen has won the title 21 times and in the last 9 years he has lost only two games while winning 27 in the best-of-5 title matches. You can replay the game with audio comments from professional player Guo Juan at her Go School site. On this excellent site there are also other free game commentaries, and some very useful Go lessons for just one Euro each, starting with a step-by-step course for novice players.
Li Shen 6-dan, who is by far the strongest junior player in the country, has won the Epsom tournament for the third year in a row. Once again he had a perfect score of three wins out of three. Other juniors doing well at the event were brother and sister Ken and Kay Dackombe who both won all their games playing at 12-kyu. And reigning youth champion Will Brooks scored two wins to finish 7th overall in the tournament. For more details, see the Epsom results page.
Will Brooks has won the UK Go Challenge finals for the second time in three years. Maria Tabor was second and last year's champion Matthew Hathrell came third. The champion school was Aston and the champion primary school was Milton. The age band winners in the boys sections were Will Brooks (U-18), Matthew Hathrell (U-16), Matthew Harris (U-14), Owen Walker (U-12), Richard Engel (U-10) and Jonathan Xue (U-8). In the girls' sections the champions were Maria Tabor (U-16), Aoife McCaul (U-10) and Bridget Johnson (U-8). And here are the full results. This event was very generously sponsored by LG Electronics UK Ltd.
According to the Chinese movie site MonkeyPeaches, director Tian Zhuangzhuang has received funding to complete his long-awaited film Wu Qingyuan. The project was in post production stage but had run out of money. Now Tian hopes that the film will appear at the Venice Film Festival. The subject of the film is the legendary Go player better known in this country as Go Seigen. Tian Zhuangzhuang is a well-known Chinese film director whose previous work includes The Blue Kite and The Horse Thief. The cast includes Taiwan's Chang Chen (previously in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) as Wu and Sylvia Chang (who featured in Eat Drink Man Woman).
The league to determine who will play in this year's British Championship title match took place this weekend in Letchworth. In first place was the reigning champion Matthew Macfadyen who has won the title more than 20 times. In second place was Bei Ge 4-dan from Milton Keynes. So these two will play a best-of-five match to see who will be the champion this year. This Challenger's League page has the full results of the league.
The strong performance by Will Brooks at Durham has lifted the 2004 YGP winner up into second place in this year's table. But it is incredibly tight at the top. Current leader Ken Dackombe is just 22 ahead of Will, who is in turn just 16 points ahead of Ken's sister Kay. This year's title race could be even more exciting than the close finish between Maria Tabor and Jonathan Englefield last time round.
Will Brooks was second in the Durham tournament this weekend. He won five games out of six to finish second behind fellow Cambridge player David Ward.
The World Amateur Go Championship, sponsored by Japan Airlines has just finished. This year there were players from 68 different countries. The winner was Hiraoka Satoshi from Japan, and second was 13-year-old Tang Wei Xing from China. The British representative, Des Cann 4-dan, finished in 30th place. This results table has the full information of all results in the tournament.
The European Cup was won by Seok-Bin Cho, the same player who won the Toyota Tour last month. Seok-Bin Cho is a Korean 7-dan player who currently lives in Hamburg.
After the Bracknell tournament, Ken Dackombe has taken over the lead of the Youth Grand Prix from his sister Kay. Ken's three wins at Bracknell gave him 100 Grand Prix points so he is now in first place with 620. Kay is second with 582. In third place is the UK youth champion Will Brooks, and fourth is Jonathan Englefield who won the Youth Grand Prix in 2002 and 2003. Maria Tabor, the reigning Youth Grand Prix champion, is fifth. But there are still plenty of tournaments to go in 2006, so there are lots of players with a chance of winning. On the Youth Grand Prix page you can see the full scores for this year so far and the winners in previous years.
Ken Dackombe of Farnborough won three straight games at the Bracknell tournament. Other junior players doing well at the event were Will Brooks and Jonathan Englefield who scored two wins each. The tournament was won by Roman Pszonka 3-dan from Warsaw. You can see more details on the results page.
The 2006 UK Go Challenge is now underway. Heats have been starting in individual schools, building up towards the finals in Loughborough in July. From early reports we hear that 22 players are in the heat at Milton School where early leaders include the school's reigning champion Tom Tyrrell and the school's highest rated player Aoife McCaul. And in the Cambridge Chess & Go Club there are 13 players with Matthew Harris and Owen Walker tied in the lead with new player Alan Kanapin after two rounds. If your school is not yet in the competition, there is still time to enter. For full information see the UK Go Challenge website.
Twelve of Europe's top young players have been taking part in the European Youth Go Masters league. The top players will qualify for the finals in Strasbourg in November. The current leaders, with five wins each, are Antione Fenech 4-dan aged 20 from France and Antti Tormanen 4-dan aged 16 from Finland.
Go again featured in the games festival MSO Cambridge. On the Sunday there was the Bar-Low tournament for kyu players. There were some very good performances from juniors. Ken Dackombe 13-kyu from Farnborough won four games out of five. Maria Tabor 5-kyu from Epsom finished in third place overall and she beat two 3-kyu players in her three wins to continue her meteoric rise up the ratings. The overall winner of the tournament was Maria's father Paul. On the main BGA site are the full Bar-Low results. On the Saturday there was a continuous 9x9 tournament for juniors. There were 20 players and the winner was Daniel Naidoo with 8 wins out of 11. Roella Smith was second, and the puzzle competition was won by Aoife McCaul.
The 2006 Toyota Tour was won by Seok-Bin Cho, the 7-dan Korean player currently living in Hamburg. In second and third places were Ondrej Silt and Radek Nechanicky, both 6-dans from the Czech Republic. Nechanicky was the winner in each of the previous three years. For more details of the final placings, see the Toyota Tour results pages. The Toyota Tour is an annual grand prix circuit of 12 events, and many top European players compete in it. The winner receives a prize of 1,500 Euros.
The Youth Championships were held this Sunday at King Edward VI School in Aston. William Brooks was the winner for the third time. The other age group winners were Maria Tabor, Hai Xia, Vanessa Wong, Dominic Boston and Thomas Meehan. You can find the full results on the Youth Championships 2006 page.
Tim Lachlan-Hope of St Laurence's School in Cambridge was the overall winner of the Trigantius Novices' event. Tim only learned to play last term and he was playing in his first ever tournament. The other top places in the event were also taken by juniors. Oliver Gerlach of the Cambridge Junior Chess and Go Club was second. And the three juniors tied in third place all gave very strong performances - Alice Lincoln from Farlingaye School in Woodbridge, Ben Haines from the Perse School in Cambridge and Sam Smith-Howell from Cedarwood School in Ipswich. Meanwhile in the main Trigantius event, top ranked UK junior Li Shen was finishing in second place while reigning youth champion Will Brooks was beating two 3-dans to finish in fifth place overall. There were also two wins each for rapidly improving juniors Zaichen Lu 5-kyu, Maria Tabor 6-kyu and Ken Dackombe 14-kyu.
There have been some informal meetings of junior players on the Kurnik Go Server on Monday evenings. This week there was a small tournament, and it was won by Matthew Hathrell from Finham Park School in Coventry. Matthew's sister Holly took second place. We hope it will be possible to have some more tournaments like this soon.
This competition is being held for the first time in 2005/6. It is organised by Mike Lynn from Aston school. The matches are being held over six boards, played on even game on 13x13 boards using the schools' Internet go server SIG. The first match, between Aston and Norwich is scheduled for Wednesday 14 December.
The Go Shield competition to determine the champion Go player at Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club was held for the 20th time today. The club has now been going for more than 11 years, and the Go Shield tournament is now held twice a year. The winner this time with four straight wins was Owen Walker 20-kyu who ended Matthew Harris' run of 6 consecutive titles. Ilya Altschuler, Philip Sansom and Matthew Harris had three wins and Aoife McCaul had two and a half.
Latest Grand Prix scores have now been posted on the site. They show that Maria Tabor is still in the lead. She is still more than 100 points ahead of Jonathan Englefield in second place, and she has surpassed Will Brooks' record haul of Grand Prix points from last year. Will Brooks is in third but Paul Blockley in fourth place has closed the gap on him to around 80 points. This year the number taking part in the Grand Prix has risen sharply, with around 90 competitors compared with 60 last time. Some players have shown a big improvement in grade as the year has gone on, for example Maria Tabor, Jake Finnis and Zaichen Lu who all started the year as double figure kyu players.
Junior winners at the West Surrey Handicap tournament were Paul Blockley 13-kyu from Worcester with four straight wins and Jonathan Englefield 8-kyu from High Wycombe with three. See the results page for more information.
It has been announced on the Mind Sports Olympiad site that there is now sufficient funding for the 10th MSO to go ahead in 2006. More details will appear on the MSO site later.
The first ever UK Go Challenge Geographic Go Gala took place at Milton School, Cambridge. Thirty two children from the East Anglia area took part in a day of teaching and 13x13 competition. There were representatives from 7 of the 10 school Go clubs in the region, plus the Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club. Best secondary school was The Norwich School and best primary school was Milton Primary. Under-18 champion was Will Brooks, under-15 was won by Luke Betts and under-13 by Matthew Harris. Oliver Robinson was under-11 champion, Aoife McCaul won the under-9s and Roella Smith the under-7s. Owen Walker was the best at the puzzle competition. Other prizes went to Alice Lincoln, Zai-Chen Lu and Hibiki Kono for 4/5 and to Christopher Russell, Christian Roberts, Hugh Simpson, Richard Engel, Sam Smith-Howell and Sam Holman for 3/5.
Maria Tabor has increased her lead in the Youth Grand Prix by scoring three straight wins in the Swindon tournament, playing at 9-kyu. Maria's nearest rival in the Youth Grand Prix, Jonathan Englefield 8-kyu, scored two out of three.
Oka Kazutoshi of Japan won the individual championship at the International Shogi Forum, held in Tokyo. Britain's Tony Hosking was 17th and the team prize was taken by the U.S.A. Hideshi Tamenori of Japan won the World Othello Championship, held in Reykjavik. British players Imre Leader and Graham Brightwell were 8th and 9th, and the UK team was third behind Japan and France. Adam Logan of Canada won the final of the World Scrabble Championships, held in London. He beat Pakorn Nemitrmansuk of Thailand in the final in front of an audience of around 300. The best placed British player was Gareth Williams of Wales in 5th.
Youth champion Will Brooks and Grand Prix leader Maria Tabor were both prize winners in the national small board championships in Cambridge. Both of them scored 5 wins, and just behind on four wins was the youngest competitor, 12-year old Matthew Harris. The overall tournament winner was local player Alex Selby 3-dan. More information is on the results page. The tournament result leaves Maria Tabor in a commanding position in the Youth Grand Prix. She is now 150 points ahead of her nearest rival Jonathan Englefield and not far short of overhauling Will Brooks' record total of 1423 grand prix points last year.
The best junior result at the Wessex tournament came from Daniel Debski 7-kyu from Maidenhead who scored four straight wins, including a win against a 5-kyu in round 4. Paul Blockley 13-kyu from Worcester also had a good tournament and finished with three wins.
The New Malden Baduk Hall, in New Malden, Surrey is now open and you can play Go there every day from 11am to 11pm. There is an entry fee of five pounds per day. I believe that this is the only Go venue in this country which is open all day every day!
There has been a big rise recently in the number of University Go Clubs. This month a new club has been started at York University and also the club at Imperial College London has been revived. Other Universities with Go clubs include Cambridge, Oxford, Durham, Warwick, the London School of Economics, the Open University, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Matthew Crosby 1-kyu from the Epsom Downs Go Club represented the UK at the European Student Go Championships in Helsinki. In a very tough field which included ten players of 3-dan and stronger Matthew finished in a creditable 22nd place. You can find out more on this results page. The overall winner was Jan Hora 5-dan from the Czech Republic who finished ahead of Csaba Mero 6-dan of Hungary due to a superior sum of opponents' scores after they had both recorded five wins out of six.
A women's training weekend was held in Oxford over the last two days, with teaching from professional 2-dan Yuki Shigeno. One of the participants was rising junior star and Youth Grand Prix leader Maria Tabor who scored 3 straight wins in the training weekend tournament. Full results of this tournament, won by Helen Harvey, are here.
Go increasingly stands alone as the traditional game where humans are still much better than the best computer players. Until recently, Shogi (the Japanese form of chess) was another game where it was thought that the top players were not in danger of losing to programs. But now the Japan Shogi Federation is so worried that a Shogi professional will lose to a computer that they have banned them from playing any official games against programs. This ruling was made after professional players Hashimoto Susai almost lost to a computer opponent called Tacos, and you can see the full story reported in the Times in this article. In the case of chess it already seems that the top human players cannot hold their own - the world's strongest player Kasparov lost a match against IBM computer Deep Blue in 1997. And earlier this year, top UK chess player Michael Adams, who is ranked number 12 in the world, was trounced by the program Hydra which scored five wins and one draw against him in a match of six games. By contrast the best Go programs are still around 7-8 kyu.
The UK Go Challenge, now organised by Tony Atkins, was a great success in 2004/5 with 3 times as many children playing in the final as in the previous year. One of the plans for the future of the Go Challenge is to also have some regional events called Geographic Go Galas. The first of these has now been announced. This is the 2005 Geographic Go Gala for the East of England and it will be held in Milton School near Cambridge. There is more information on this page. By the way, the UK Go Challenge site also has an excellent Go Tips section for novice junior players who want to improve their game.
The marvellously named Young and Powerful Cup is a new competition for teams of the best young players from Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan. These are the four strongest Go countries in the world and the only ones which at the moment have a tournament circuit for professional players. In this tournament it appeared that the young players of Korea and China are some way ahead of the others. The decisive match between China and Korea was close but Korea won in the end. You can see the results and more information on this page on the excellent GoBase site.
Today there was a first meeting of a school Go club at Cottenham Village College near Cambridge and there were many enthusiastic young players there. A club has also started this month at the Perse School in Cambridge, so there are now 6 school clubs in and around the city and at least four more in the rest of East Anglia.
I know that this isn't Go news, but some people like to hear about these things! Veselin Topalov from Bulgaria won the World Chess Championship in Argentina, there is more information on the official site. Anyone who is working to get more publicity for Go might be interested to know that there has not been a single mention of the world chess championship on the BBC website. So it is not only us who have difficulty getting press coverage, it appears that it is very hard at the moment to get publicity for any mind sport event despite the great popularity of chess, bridge, go, Scrabble, backgammon and other mind sports.
Iyama Yuta is a 16-year-old rising star of the Japanese Go scene. Today he won the final of the Agon lightning Go tournament in Japan, which is open to both amateurs and professionals. In the final he beat Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan who is one of the top Japanese professionals and the current challenger for the prestigious Meijin title. Iyama was immediately promoted from 4-dan to 7-dan as a result. A few days ago he also reached the final of the Shinjin-O or New Stars tournament for young professional players.
Ken Dackombe 15-kyu from Bromley put in an excellent performance at Wanstead where he was one of only three players scoring four wins out of four. The top placing by a junior in the event was Will Brooks in 9th place and the overall tournament winner was Des Cann from Milton Keynes.
The latest scores in the Youth Grand Prix show that Maria Tabor now has a slender lead, about 50 points ahead of Jonathan Englefield. Maria has 1072 points and Jonathan, who was the Grand Prix winner in 2002 and 2003, has 1019. These two have now established quite a big lead on the others; the 2004 winner William Brooks in third place has 745 points.
Junior players dominated the Lightning Handicap tournament in Cornwall. In first place was Jonathan Englefield 7-kyu with 4 wins from four games and Maria Tabor 10-kyu was second. Another junior was in fourth place, local player Jake Finnis 6-kyu. Maria and Jake have both improved rapidly over the past few months as Maria started the year at around 20-kyu and Jake at 10-kyu.
The 22nd Ing World Youth Go Championships have just finished in Barcelona. The winner in the under-18 section was Song Sang-Min from Korea and in the under-12 section the champion was Liao Xing Wen from China. The best European player in the under-18 section was Igor Nemly from Russia who reached the semi-final and in the under-12 section the best European was Mihai Serban of Romania. Full information on the tournament and results can be found at the tournament site. Some British Go players may remember Liao Xing Wen from the Mind Sports Olympiad in Alexandra Palace in 2000. At the time Liao was only six years old but he was already a very strong player and he beat British 4-dans Francis Roads and Des Cann in the main tournament.
Li Shen has won the Epsom tournament with three straight wins. This is the fourth tournament he has played in since the London New Year event, and he has won all of them with a hundred percent record - Maidenhead, Cambridge, Oxford and now Epsom as well. Li Shen is not only the strongest junior in the country but can not be far off being the strongest player in the country overall. Of the three players above him on the rating list, he beat Yun He 7-dan at Cambridge and Ning Li 5-dan at Epsom. Li Shen's rating of 6.3 dan is not as high as the 7.2 dan of British Champion Matthew Macfadyen, but the two have never met in a rated tournament game as far as I know. Li did win by three points against Macfadyen in a special no komi game held at the Youth Chammpionships at the start of 2004.
The places in the Youth Grand Prix at the end of July show that it is extremely close at the top. Jonathan Englefield, who won the title in 2002 and 2003, is in the lead with 819 points. But only 15 points behind is his closest challenger Maria Tabor. Currently in third place is the 2004 champion Will Brooks.
Maria Tabor, currently in one of the top places in the Youth Grand Prix, was on the winning team in the handicap section of the British Pair Go Championships. Maria and her father Paul Tabor scored three wins out of three. Full results of the event can be seen on this Pair Go Championship page on the BGA site.
Russia won the European Team Go Championship, held in St Petersburg. This event is for teams of four, and 16 countries took part. The Czech Republic were in second place, and France were third. Full information can be found on the tournament site.
The finals of the UK Go Challenge were held today in Loughborough. The event was a huge success, much larger than in 2004. The national champions were:
Loughborough Endowed Schools retained their title as the champion school, and London Meed school from Burgess Hill were the champion primary school. In the individual championships, Matthew Hathrell took the top place with Hetty Boardman-Weston second. There were some excellent prizes donated by LG Electronics UK Ltd. On the BGA website are full results.
Children from Go clubs in two primary schools in the Cambridge area met up today for some friendly games. Five children from Milton Primary School travelled to St Laurence's School in Cambridge to take on their Go players. One unusual feature was that the Milton children were all dressed as favourite book characters as it was a special book day in their school. This gave the opposing team quite a surprise when they arrived! The two teams of players were pretty well matched and we hope that there will be a return fixture after the summer break.
The online edition of the Korea Times has started a weekly Go column in English. You can find these articles by searching for baduk (the Korean name for Go) on the Korea Times site. The articles include teaching on Go from Nam Chi-Hyung, a Go professional who is also professor of Go at Myongji University. This university has a Baduk Studies department which is dedicated to Go.
The latest Youth Grand Prix scores show the position after the Bracknell tournament. Jonathan Englefield is still leading, and he now has 707 points, Maria Tabor and Will Brooks are not far behind with 640 and 615 points respectively. Ken Dackombe, Paul Blockley and Kay Dackombe are in the next three places. As players can pick up 100 points in one tournament it is still very open. Jonathan was the champion in 2002 and 2003 with Will winning in 2004.
In the 26th WAGC, the winner was Hu Yuqing of China with a perfect score of 8 wins. The tournament was held in Nagoya, Japan and this year there were 65 countries taking part. The UK representative David Ward finished in 44th place after wins against Luxembourg, Guatemala and Mongolia. The top European player was Franz-Josef Dickhut representing Germany, who finished in fifth place. Kikuchi Yasuro of Japan who is 76 years old finished in 6th place, showing that age is no barrier to winning in Go.
Matthew Harris has won for a remarkable seventh time in the club championship of Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club. The club has been holding this competition twice a year since 1996 but Matthew has dominated the event since he first won at the age of 8 in autumn 2001 when he had only been playing Go for a couple of months. This time there were 26 players in four age groups. There were a lot of close exciting games but Matthew was clearly the strongest player, winning the final against Owen Walker. The other ageband winners were Johann Walker (up to Year 2), Ilya Altschuler (up to Year 4) and Owen Walker (up to Year 6).
National junior champion Will Brooks scored three wins out of three in the Bracknell tournament, and as a result finished sixth out of 58 players, ahead of several players rated two dan and above. This result gives Will another 100 points in the Youth Grand Prix where he is chasing the current pacesetters Jonathan Englefield and Maria Tabor.
The Cambridge Bar-Low results show some excellent performances by junior players. Maria Tabor, Derek Chan and Zaichen Lu all finished with four wins from five games. Maria Tabor and Christian Roberts both achieved the giantkilling feat of winning an even game against a player rated at least five grades stronger. Once again there was a very strong performance generally by the players from Norwich School, winning over three quarters of their games against other opposition. The overall winner of the tournament was Matthew Reid from Cambridge.
The British Championship Challengers League was held in Cambridge this weekend. Des Cann won all his games and he will challenge Matthew Macfadyen for the British Championship. Des Cann was the challenger once before, in 2000. You can find out more at this British Championship page which has information about all the British Championships since they began in 1965.
The news page on the UK Go Challenge site has been updated, there are now an estimated 440 children taking part and the details of the national finals have been confirmed. The finals page has information about the finals in Loughborough, and about prizes.
The European Pair Go Championships were hosted by Hitachi in Maidenhead this weekend, and were a great success with pairs from twelve different countries competing. The British juniors taking part included Will Brooks and Maria Tabor. Maria's pair finished first in the handicap section. Will's pair were in the open part of the tournament and so had to play even games against much stronger pairs, but they still managed to win two games. At the same time a Triangle Tournament was held and our junior players did very well indeed with Paul Blockley in first place, Jonathan Englefield second and Daniel Debski also winning a prize.
The International Go Federation has joined forces with the organisations for Bridge, Chess and Draughts to form the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA). The aim of IMSA is to work together with the International Olympic Committee to organise an Olympic Games of mind sports. The plan is that these will be held in the Olympic sites following the Winter or Summer Games.
The first Internet World Rapid Championships, organised by IGS-Pandanet, have ended this weekend and the winner was Hane Naoki from Japan who beat fellow Japanese professional Kobayashi Koichi. This tournament was open to amateurs and professionals from over the world and the players included David Woodnutt from the UK. The last surviving amateur player in the competition was Victor Chow from South Africa who beat two professionals but was eliminated in the last 16 stage.
The Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club has now been running for more than ten years, and it recently finished its heat of the UK Go Challenge. There were 33 players altogether, the youngest of them just 5 years old. After four rounds there were five players tied for first place but in the end it came down to a play-off between Owen Walker and Gabriel Silva. It was a close game, Owen was slightly ahead so Gabriel had to invade his territory and when the invading group died Owen had won by four points. The next big event at the club is the club Go Championship where Matthew Harris will be trying to win for the sixth time in a row.
There were some strong junior performances in the British Open in Leicester, particularly from Ken Dackombe with 5 wins and Maria Tabor with 4 wins. For full results of the tournament, which was won by Tony Goddard, see this British Open page.
The Candidates Tournament was held this weekend to see who qualifies for the Challengers League of the British Go Championship. The only youth player was Will Brooks, and he improved on his position from last year by finishing 13th. In 2004 Will became the first junior player for many years to qualify for this event. The joint winners of the Candidates Tournament were Jon Diamond and Kiyohiko Tanaka, and the others who qualified for the Challengers League were T Mark Hall, Alistair Wall and Des Cann. For full results see the Candidates page.
Entries are coming in for the second UK Go Challenge. Heats of the competition will be taking place next term in schools, with the finals in Loughborough on Sunday 3 July. So far there are 9 confirmed school entries, representing 220 junior players.
Unofficial latest figures for the Youth Grand Prix, following the Cambridge Trigantius tournament, show Jonathan Englefield leading the field with 477 points. Reigning champion Will Brooks is in second place with 400 and Maria Tabor is in third with 348. Next comes top ranked junior Li Shen with 300 points from his three straight tournament wins this year. Not far behind are Duncan Bell, Paul Blockley, Matthew Harris, Luke Betts, Ken Dackombe and Sam Smith-Howell. Last year's event was a close finish between Will and Jonathan, but this year so far there are many players in contention.
The latest update of the European rating list shows that Will Brooks reached a rating equivalent to 1-dan following his good performance in the Oxford tournament. We expect Will's promotion to 1-dan to be officially confirmed soon. You can check out the ratings of Will and other UK players on the BGA rating page.
Will Brooks has been taking on the rest of Europe's top junior players at the European Youth Go Championships in Slovakia. Will finished in 22nd place out of 94 players in the under-18 division. Will will be able to play in this same section again in 2006 and in 2007 so he has an excellent chance to get to an even higher position. The under-18 winner this time was Timur Dugin 4-dan from Russia. You can see the full results here. The winner of the under-12 section was Mihai Serban 6-kyu from Romania.
Top junior player Li Shen continues to dominate the UK tournament scene in 2005. He won the main section of the Trigantius tournament in Cambridge. As at Furze Platt and Oxford he scored three straight wins..
Players from Norwich School dominated the Novices' section of the Trigantius tournament. Zaichen Lu was the clear winner with four straight wins and his schoolmates Christian Roberts and Hugh Simpson were among those tying for second place. All three were playing in their first tournament. Duncan Bell from Balgowan and Sam Smith-Howell from Cedarwood School in Ipswich were the other two junior players tied for second. Elsewhere on the BGA site you can see the full results.
Thirteen-year old Li Shen has added the Oxford tournament to his early victory in Furze Platt. Once again he scored three straight wins, and he is the first player to win two UK tournaments in 2005.
Top junior player Li Shen, who is based in London, has been promoted to the rank of 6-dan. He is one of only five players to have been awarded this rank by the British Go Association. As he is only 13 years old he is far and away the youngest player to reach this level while based in the UK.
The UK Youth Championships held today at Aston School were the biggest ever, with 73 individual players (including one set of quadruplets!) and 19 teams competing in the team competition. There were teams from Aston, Birmingham, Coventry, Loughborough, Cambridge, Ipswich, Bromley, Bloxham, the Isle of Man and High Wycombe; and individual players from Leicester, West Sussex, Maidenhead, Tunbridge Wells, Worcester, Leighton Park, Beckenham, Langley, Acocks Green, Solihull, Lichfield, Cornwall and even Hong Kong! You can see full results from the tournament at the results page. Will Brooks retained his title as the overall Youth Champion, with Aston the champion school. Jurby School from the Isle of Man took the primary school title, a few points ahead of Cedarwood School from Ipswich.
Today national junior champion Will Brooks won a special demonstration game against the senior British Go Champion, Matthew Macfadyen. The game was played on a six stone handicap. In the early stages it looked as if Will was having some problems, but then he launched a strong attack on one of Matthew's groups. Matthew commented that Will played very accurately and with great confidence during this stage of the game. Will successfully killed the group. Later another of Matthew's groups was reduced to a situation where it had to fight a ko in order to live. Will won by resignation. Matthew has been the dominant player in British Go for many years, and has won the British Championship 20 times since 1978. If you want to see more about his record in title matches, have a look at this British Championships page. After the game Matthew commented that he felt he had been doing the job of British Champion for long enough and hoped one of the players at the Youth Championships would take the job over soon!
Thirteen-year old Li Shen won his first tournament of 2005 with three straight wins in the Furze Platt tournament in Maidenhead. He beat Kaisshu Hirahara 5-dan and two 4-dan players.
The full results of the Youth Grand Prix for 2004 have been published on this site today. As announced earlier, the winner was William Brooks from Cambridge with Jonathan Englefield from High Wycombe close behind in second place. These two were way out in front of the rest of the field - Jonathan had more than twice as many points as third placed player Ken Dackombe from Bromley. Look at the 2004 results for more information.
William Brooks from Cambridge has won the Youth Grand Prix to complete an amazing treble of the three major youth titles in 2004. In February William won the British Youth Championships ahead of Chao Gao from Bloxham in second place. In July he took the overall title at the UK Go Challenge; this time the runner-up was Hetty Boardman-Weston from Loughborough. And now he has added the Youth Grand Prix first place, finishing 63 points ahead of 2003 champion Jonathan Englefield.
There were some excellent results for UK-based junior players at the prestigious London Open tournament which finished today. The London Open is part of the European Go Tour sponsored by Toyota and IGS-Pandanet. Ken Dackombe from Bromley scored 7 wins in the event, playing at 22-kyu. Li Shen, Jonathan Englefield and Kay Dackombe won 5 games, with William Brooks and Paul Blockley scoring 4. 13-year old Li Shen 5-dan, who is based in London, was in sixth place overall in the event. Meanwhile British Youth Champion William Brooks did well in his first tournament entered as 1-dan.
The sad news was announced today that Kato Masao, one of the top players in modern tournament play in Japan, has died. He was 57. In his youth Kato was known as the Killer because of his aggressive style and ability to kill large groups. He won many top titles during his career including the Meijin title twice and the Honinbo title four times.
Today there was a historic online meeting between Go-playing schools. For the first time, new Go Server SIG was used to allow far-apart schools to play each other at Go. The schools involved were King Edward VI School, Aston and Whitehaven School from Cumbria. The event was organised by teachers Mike Lynn from Aston and Keith Hudson from Whitehaven. Everything went smoothly and many games were played between pupils of the two schools. SIG is allowing schools to play online who could not use other Go Servers.
A new Go set to allow you to play Go on your fridge has arrived in the shops. The new product FridgeGo is made by the FridgePlay company and is available, among other places, at Borders bookshops. This magnetic 9x9 Go set is a beautifully presented good quality set and it has very good clear yet concise rules. It would make a good Christmas present for anyone interested in games. We think many seasoned Go players will want one too - even if you have nobody to play Go with at home, you can use it to set up and solve Go problems.
The Go problems from the Cambridge Go Puzzle book are available at a Cambridge Puzzles Page on the BGA site. This is a collection of around 200 Go problems which start at complete beginner level. The problems are grouped by theme and get gradually more difficult. The last ones in the collection are probably around 10-kyu level. Answer sheets are available from Paul Smith.
Three volumes of the Hikaru no Go manga can now be ordered in English. For example, at Amazon you can find the first two books ready to be despatched straight away and the third available for pre-order. Hikaru no Go has been hugely popular in Japan. See the Hikaru no Go page here on the BGA website for more information about Hikaru.
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