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06-Jun: UK Battles Italy for Promotion

Having finished second in the B-League our team would have to play a best-of-five play-off against the second bottom A-League team for promotion. At first it was thought it was going to be against Serbia, but Italy had their lost points reinstated as the allegations of using computer assistance were over turned. Unfortunately short notice at exam period meant some of our top players were unavailable, but the five players we did field definitely stood a chance of winning their way to the A-League, the opponent's grades being 5d, 4d, 4d, 3d and 3d.

The first two boards were played on 29th May, which were both lost, and so we had to win all three games a week later on 5th June.

Chris Bryant wrote: I lost my game...

05-Jun: Joanne and Bruno Win Top Prizes at Pair Go

The 38th British Pair Go Championships was held as the last few years at the Red Lion in Hatfield, who always make us welcome and sell a good lunch. 16 pairs played, split as usual into two sections, and it was again pleasing to see so many young players in the handicap group. To select the top Championship group it looked like the three pairs at 3.5 kyu would have to be split, but in the end the pair of Andrew Simons and Yansai Noeysoongnoen sadly had to withdraw because of illness.

The battle for first place was then expected to be between three former champion pairs and a pair of strong Chinese from London. However Alison and Simon Bexfield beat Kirsty Healey and Matthew Macfadyen, and then beat Xiao Yu Gong and Ho Yeung Woo...

04-Jun: Not the London Open Held Alongside Challengers' League

Over the first three days of the Challengers' League the London Go Centre also hosted the Not the London Open Tournament. 22 players took part, but not all every day. Winner was Weijin Chen (5d London) with six out of six (emulating his clean sweep at the last LOGC). Second was Finland's Jesse Savo (4d) with five wins and Zihe Zhao (4d Oxford) came third. Czech player Jan Adamek (10k) won five games, Alexandre Kirchherr (6k) won four and Sebastian Pountney (7k) won four out of five.


On the Saturday evening they showed the documentary movie "The Surrounding Game", which follows the quest for the first American Go professional. Appropriately also at the event was Pavol Lisy,...

29-May: Sam Aitken Comes Through

The Challengers' League took place over the bank holiday weekend (plus Tuesday) at the London Go Centre. Sam Aitken won all of his games to lead the field, as at Candidates', but it was much closer in the race for second position.

Going into the final round there were permutations which could have led to tie breaks and Andrew Simons, Alex Rix or Boris Mitrovic ending up with second place. In the end, Alex lost his game to Sam Bithell and Andrew beat Boris meaning that he took second place with no need for a play-off. Alex was third with four wins, Boris, Charles Hibbert and Sam Bithell won three, Alistair Wall two and Tim Hunt one.

Sam Aitken and Andrew Simons will now play in the title match games to decide this year's...

27-May: Challengers' League Underway

The eight-player Challengers' League has got underway at the London Go Centre. The players, selected at the Candidates' Tournament earlier in the month, are playing an all-play-all to find the two challengers to play the British title match later in the year. After the first day it was Sam Aitken and Charles Hibbert who were on two wins. On one win were Alex Rix, Andrew Simons (who lost to Charles), Boris Mitrovic and Sam Bithell. Alistair Wall and Tim Hunt were yet to score. The epic game of round 2 was Boris Mitrovic against Sam Bithell which lasted for an hour and a quarter of overtime and saw Sam (1k) beating Boris (2d). The League continues until Tuesday.

Alongside the League, the London Go Centre was organising its Not...

22-May: UK beat Sweden to Head for Play-Offs

In the ninth and last round of the season, the UK (second) beat Sweden three games to one. This left the British total at an impressive seven wins and two draws. Assuming Germany did not draw or lose to Turkey (they won four-nil), the team's next game will be a best-of-five play-off against Italy, the second-bottom team in the A League, to try for promotion on 29th May. This would have been Serbia, but the appeal against the claim of computer-assistance was in Italy's favour and their forfeits will be cancelled, moving Serbia down to bottom.

Andrew Simons wrote: For a change I finished in under two hours, winning by resignation against Martin Li 4d. The opening was Alpha/Leela Zero inspired (I've recently been studying...

21-May: Alistair Wins Hot Manchester Summer

North-West schoolchildren lacked a local Go event for their Summer term, and thus a new Manchester Summer tournament came into fruition. This was kindly enabled by a generous offer by managers of the use of the top floor (not for the first time) of the Bank of East Asia in Chinatown. We have a local connection with them, with local club player Peter Yim being a longstanding BEA customer. Big thanks go also to Peter, for facilitating use of the venue.

On a hot...

19-May: All Go at Welwyn Bridge Centre

On a warm Saturday, 20 players defied the clamour to watch the Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final by playing Go at the Bridge Centre in Welwyn Garden City's Gosling Stadium. Prizes were presented by Sheila Gabriel, deputy chair of the Bridge Club, as shown in the picture.

The overall winner was Min Yang (3d) from Oxford, who included Lucretiu Calota (4d) in his list of conquered. Also winning three games were Edmund Smith (5k) (Kiev-inspired?) from Cambridge, Aorja Harris (12k) from Letchworth, and Theodor Calota (16k) from St Albans.


15-May: Gong Cheng Wins Bracknell

Gong Cheng (3d London City) won the Bracknell Tournament, beating Min Yang (3d Oxford) in the final (as seen in the photo). Others of the 29 players taking part in the event, held as usual at Woosehill community Centre in Wokingham, who won all three games were Neil Cleverly (10k Bournemouth) and Lueming Yang (16k Oxford). The Team prize was won by the youngsters of "I like lunch" and Paul Barnard was the winner of the puzzle competition. Organiser Ian Marsh claimed to be the winner in the 13x13 side event as nobody played in it.


09-May: Bar Low Held at London Go Centre

Across the May Day bank holiday weekend, the London Go Centre was host to the first round of the competition to see who gets to be British Go Champion, but more importantly on the Sunday we held the 21st Bar Low tournament, reports Gerry Gavigan.

For new readers, the tournament is an opportunity for kyu players to enjoy a competition they stand a chance of winning and to start an EGF rating. For the Bar Low, successfully meeting its objectives can be judged by the number of newcomers and the number of double digit kyu (DDK) players who enter. This year we had 29...

08-May: Candidates' Stage of British Championship Complete

The Candidates' Tournament took place at the London Go Centre, with 18 players taking part in the usual six round Swiss-style tournament over the three days of the bank holiday weekend. Sam Aitken and Boris Mitrovic headed the field with five wins each. They are promoted through to Challengers' League, along with Andrew Simons, Charles Hibbert, Alex Rix, Alistair Wall and Tim Hunt, who won four, and Sam Bithell, who topped the list on three.

Note that eight players are promoted through to Challengers' League this year since Daniel Hu, who was in Japan at the time for the World...

07-May: Chinese Taipei Wins WAGC

Chan Yi-Tien of Chinese Taipei was unbeaten to win the 39th World Amateur Go Championships held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. Kim Sangcheon of Korea was second with seven wins. The next group all had six wins: Wang of China, Frejlak of Poland, Murakami of Japan, Kuronen of Finland, Dusan Mitic of Serbia and Islas of Mexico.

The UK's representative, British Champion Daniel Hu, ended on four wins and in 26th place of 61. In the last four rounds he beat Frank Hestvik from Norway, lost to Juri Kuronen, beat Willem Pomstra of the Netherlands and lost to Wichrich Karuehawanit of Thailand.

Ireland's Michael Thai ended with three wins in 48th. In the final rounds he beat Azerbaijan, lost to Portugal and Brazil, but beat Chile...

05-May: WAGC at Half Way Stage

After a few years in other countries, the World Amateur Go Championships has returned to Japan. The 39th edition has the restaurant review website Gurunami as its sponsor and is being held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. 61 players from around the world are taking part.

As expected after four rounds it is the big four that are unbeaten: Japan, China, Korea and Chinese Taipei. Several of the top European players are on three wins.

The UK's representative is British Champion Daniel Hu. After four out of eight rounds he has two wins and is in 26th place. He lost to Dmitry Surin of Russia, beat Jose Islas of Mexico and Stjepan Mestrovic of Croatia, and lost to Stanislaw Frejlak of Poland. He next plays the player from Norway....

03-May: BGJ 183 Now Available in Members Area

The Spring 2018 edition of the BGJ is now available for members to read.

18-Apr: Great UK Win Sees Promotion Possible

A great win in the eighth round - against the strong third-place team from the Netherlands - sees the UK guaranteed at least second place in the Pandanet B League. With just Sweden to go for the UK, unless there is an upset by Turkey against top team Germany in the last round, the team will be in the play-off position and will have a chance for promotion by playing a team from the bottom of the A League. This is likely to be Serbia and the team would have good chances in a best-of-five match against them. Well done to the team for playing so well.

Andrew Simons wrote: I lost against Gilles van Eeden 6d by resignation. Playing black, my opening was based on AlphaGo Master's favourite opening, but when I played the taisha...

09-Apr: British Go Congress Held in Bristol

The 51st British Go Congress was held in Bristol and the very modern Future Inns Hotel, just across from the Cabot Circus shopping centre in the middle of the city.

It started on the Friday with a teaching session and then the British Open Lightning. This was won by Alex Kent (3d); he beat the previous winner, Xunrui Zhao (3d) from London, into second place.

However in the British Open, played as usual on the Saturday and Sunday, it was Xunrui Zhao who was the winner, scoring victories in all six games. In second place was Jon Diamond (3d) and third was Sandy Taylor (2d) from the local club. Winning five games were Richard Bentley (3k Durham), Ai Guan (6k) and Chun Yin Wong (10k), both from Lancaster Club. The top...

02-Apr: European Youth Go Congress, Kiev, Part 4

Final day (day 3) of Kiev Tournament (continued from part 3).

Whilst today may have been only marginally positive, with 10.5 wins to 9.5 losses, we are delighted to finish up, by 26 wins to 23 defeats - a good improvement on last year's EYGC in Grenoble. Considering the still very young squad, we can be very happy, as the bulk of the team will be young enough to play in their current age groups for quite some years yet. All our players won at least two games out of six. This includes our joint-youngest player Edmund...

01-Apr: European Youth Go Congress, Kiev, Part 3

Day 2 (of 3) of Kiev Tournament (continued from part 2)

In the morning, we played Round 3 of six. The spoils went to our five U20 (under age 20) players, as four won, and the loser was playing against one of our own! So we have nobody now on 100%, meaning of course that virtually all our players are correctly graded.

It is important to play in tournaments frequently enough to stay 'well-calibrated', and inter-country games help countries' grades align around a common European 'norm'. We also have five players in the U20 group (but...

30-Mar: European Youth Go Congress, Kiev, Part 2

Day 1 (of 3) of Kiev Tournament (continued from part 1)

The remaining three squad members and their three mothers arrived safely on Wednesday afternoon, on the eve of the main tournament. We all went to a pizza restaurant, for some squad players to get to know newcomers.

On Thursday 29th, the tournament kicked off with an elaborate opening ceremony. This featured firstly a long and colourful Chinese dragon, then a superb circus troupe of youngsters. There were gymnasts, trapeze artists and girls climbing up silk ropes,...

27-Mar: European Youth Go Congress, Kiev

The first part of the UK Youth Go team - kindly sponsored by DeepMind - has arrived in Kiev, Ukraine for the 225-strong annual European Youth Go Congress; the remaining members joining us on Wednesday. Everyone is looking forward to the main event: two games per day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The team has been getting used to mounds of snow (it's still freezing overnight), signs mostly in cyrillic, plus Ukrainian and Russian words.

On Monday Natasha, a Kiev resident and part-organiser of the tournament, took us on a tour of the wonderful, quaint and deep metro; we climbed the bell tower at St. Sophia's monastery and ate near the Maidan square.

That afternoon we joined 40 Ukrainian children for a Go...

14-Mar: Norway Draw Sees UK Slip to Second

In the seventh round of the European B-League, UK were matched against Norway placed fourth. With a staggered start time the match lasted from 19:00 to nearly 23:00 UK time. The match ended a draw with Andrew and Chris winning on the top boards, but Des and Jon losing on the other two. This left the UK in second place with 12 points, as Germany beat Denmark to go clear top with 13 points. Netherlands drew with Austria to stay third on 11 points. With just Netherlands and Sweden to go the UK team are still hopeful of promotion.

Andrew Simons wrote: I won my game against Jostein Flood.

I was black and started off with the AlphaGo (and 19th century) idea that approaching both his 3-4 points to prevent shimaris and...

13-Mar: Trigantius

The 42nd Trigantius took place in a spring-like Cambridge, again held at the University Social Club in Mill Lane. A recent record of 56 players (including two ghosts) meant the event got off to a late start. In addition in the afternoon there were 28 players in Paul Smith's Novices Tournament making it even more popular (though more crowded). This number included four adults and a large group of pupils from Harpenden Academy.

The main tournament saw the return of Sam Aitken (3d) who won all three, including a win secured against Andrew Simons (4d Cambridge), to become this year's holder of the Trigantius Trophy.
Other players on three wins were Alison Bexfield (1k Letchworth), Matthew Reid (1k Cambridge) and Sebastian...

19-Feb: UK Youth Team narrowly lose to Hungary

Starting on Saturday 10th February 2018, the UK youth team played their fourth (& final) match, against Hungary. We lost by 2 boards to 3. This was in the European Youth Go Team Championship 2017/18 (EYGTC). Please follow that link for details of all countries' youth team squads.
So, the final Top 3 countries this year are as follows.
Winners = Russia;
Second = Germany;
Third = Romania.

Due to a clash with the Hungarian Youth Championship, we were unable to play at the defined time, and the games were spread individually over a week - something that detracts somewhat from the team nature of the event but seemed unavoidable this time.