The Youth Grand Prix started after the 2008 London Open. After the BYGC, which counts double points, 50 young players had played in a tournament. Michael Webster increased his lead at the British Go Congress. At the UK GO Challenge the top 4 players all scored 80 points. After the Northern Matthew Hathrell was in the lead and increased it with a trip to Cornwall and Swindon. In all 86 children took part in the YGP. It ended with London, but none of the top places changed:
1. Matthew Hathrell 985 2. Roella Smith 842 3. Michael Webster 797 4. Danielle Ward 602 5. Owen Walker 452 6. Peran Truscott 450 7. Kelda Smith 426 8. Langdon Truscott 388 9. Jamie Taylor 386 10. Tian-Ren Chen 380
After the Coventry and Bracknell events, Tony Atkins was leading, but then the long events started with the Scottish Open scoring 6, Durham 5 and Barmouth 5 for defending champion Yohei Negi. Matthew Macfadyen won Swindon and Shrewsbury to move into second. Matthew then won the Wessex and MK to go top, but Yohei evened the score at the Three Peaks. After London:
1. Yohei Negi 25 2. Matthew Macfadyen 24 3. Sandy Taylor 17 4. Gerry Mills 15.5 5= Alex Kent 13 5= David Lee 13 7. Toby Manning 11.5 8= Bob Bagot 11 8= Matthew Crosby 11 10. Alan Thornton 10
There was a meeting of BGA Council on 22nd November 2009.
Winton Capital are again sponsoring the BGA, as announced in the British Go Journal 149. They have provided funding of £11,000 which will be used for youth development, supporting the London Open, funding travel for a representative to the World Amateur Go Congress and continuing the programme of training events. Council thank Winton Capital for their continued support.
A current priority is the development of Youth Go, and Council spent some time discussing a strategy for youth development. In 2010 we will be beginning a new programme of introducing Go in schools and youth clubs, providing books, equipment and support for volunteers. Council have set aside a budget of £1,000 for this programme, and there will shortly be an application form on the web site to allow schools to apply for funding. Council noted that in the longer term it is more effective to attract teachers to Go, rather than children. We will be contacting schools which have previously taken part in BGA activities to let them know about this programme, and we encourage members to let their local schools, teachers and youth clubs know about it.
Council discussed the online league tournament. The league is now well underway, the number of teams being well above expectations. Council acknowledge in particular the hard work John Collins and Sandy Taylor have put into making the league happen, and thank them for their contribution.
Council has agreed to extend the qualification period for the Candidates' tournament to 31st March, and will be inviting participants to provide feedback on the current structure of the tournament. It also discussed and agreed to encourage organisers to hold Class A events where possible.
The results of the membership retention survey were discussed. The main conclusion of the survey was that the BGA should prioritise making joining and renewal as easy as possible. More details of the survey results will be given in BGJ 150. A project has begun to develop a new membership management system, based on "CiviCRM", with one goal in particular being to make it easy to join and renew online.
Council discussed progress and feedback on the three month membership trial. A small number of people have signed up under this scheme at tournaments throughout October and November, some of whom have chosen to join as full members. Following feedback, under 18s will not be asked to pay the additional £5 entry fees.
Several other items relating to the day-to-day management of the BGA were discussed.
As always, full minutes are available from the Secretary on request.
This is a team-based Go league designed to be played mainly on-line. The purpose is to encourage interaction between players in different areas of the country and to encourage on-line play amongst BGA members. Up to early December, Cambridge had won two matches 3-0 to go top of Division 1 (against St Albans GC and Durham Team Awesome). In Division 2 Cornish Rogues and Newcastle were joint top, having beaten Aston and Chester A, and Aston and Glasgow, respectively. Divisions 3 and 4 were still getting underway.
The BGA Council is pleased to announce that we have accepted an offer from the GoGoD team of T Mark Hall (Honorary Vice-President of the BGA) and John Fairbairn to sponsor the trophy for our On-Line Team League. They will be providing a trophy, to be called the GoGoD Shield, for the winner of Division 1 and in addition will be donating three copies of the GoGoD Database and Encyclopaedia to the Division 1 winning teams for the first 5 years.
Dave Strowlger (born 1944) was a stalwart member of the Wanstead Go Club for many years and a familiar figure on the London Go scene, having been both treasurer of the CLGC and Wanstead. He died from lung cancer on 2nd October and will be missed by those who knew him. Several Wanstead and London players attended the funeral.
The first game of the best of five title match between Matthew Macfadyen and Hui Wang was held in Warwickshire on 26th July. The game was broadcast live on KGS from 10:00. It was won by Matthew Macfadyen by resignation. The second game was played in Derby on 12th September. It too was won by Matthew Macfadyen. The third game was played in Cambridge on 26th September. It was a very close finish - the first game between the pair to be counted. Matthew Macfadyen, playing white, won by 3.5 points. Thus Matthew Macfadyen retains the British Championship.
There was a meeting of BGA Council on 15th August 2009. Council discussed the possibility of 3 month memberships, and agreed to go ahead from October 1st for a 6 month trial period. Non-members who enter a tournament will now automatically become BGA members for 3 months, and receive at least one journal. Tournament directors will be asked to increase the surcharge for non-members to £5 to cover this, though the tournament levy will not increase during the trial period. BGA officials will be available at tournaments to help with the additional administration.
There was some discussion of the selection policy for the next World Mind Sports Games, which may be in 2011. It was agreed that the selection would be based on players included in the BGA rating list at the time of selection - this means, for example, in the event of a WMSG in 2011, that anyone who has played in a tournament after March 2009 will be eligible.
The book stocking policy was discussed and revised. Previously, the book shop has stocked every book available in English, but the number of books available has made this impractical. In future, the decision on whether to stock new items will be made by the book seller, in consultation with the Book seller's committee, based on the likely sales, value for money, quality, and whether it duplicates the content of any other recommended titles.
The status of the online league was discussed, and it was agreed that it must be up and running by October.
Finally, some topics were discussed which had been raised in discussion on gotalk. These included:
There was a meeting of BGA Council on 9th May 2009. The main topics discussed were the decline in membership numbers, player development, and the rating system. Additionally, Joss Wright was co-opted onto Council and will continue working on the new inter-club league which is planned to begin this autumn. The accounts are still being audited, but it is planned to hold an EGM to approve them at the Swindon Tournament (20th September).
Toby Manning reported on the recent training events in Chester and Edinburgh, which were both considered a success and received positive feedback. He also reported on plans for future events, including a strong players' teaching day with Guo Juan, to be held in early July, and further training days for kyu players in Cambridge, the East Midlands, the south coast and possibly Cornwall.
Graham Philips is co-ordinating this year's Shodan Challenge and hopes to have it up and running shortly. More volunteers to be mentors, especially dan level players, will be very welcome.
Council continues to be concerned at the fall in BGA membership numbers, and there was a long discussion of what we can do to recruit new members, and retain existing members. There were a few suggestions made, including asking club secretaries to encourage members to join, sending publicity to clubs, and emphasising that part of the BGA's role is to support an infrastructure for all Go players in Britain, not just to provide benefits for individuals. One concrete suggestion was to increase the tournament levy for non-members, but include a 3 month membership as part of this. We are investigating whether this is practical.
We are undertaking some research as to whether the fall is consistent with other similar organisations in the UK and other Go organisations in Europe. More importantly, we are going to contact a large sample of recent non-renewals with a structured interview to try to determine why we are losing members. We expect this to lead to changes in what we do and how we do it.
There was also a long discussion of the EGF rating system, and how the BGA interprets it - currently BGA ratings are determined by calculating the rating of the average shodan. It is generally felt that there is some deflation in the system (average shodan was at 2100, now it is 2034, but we don't believe the average shodan is any weaker now). This is a complex problem, and one result is that some rapidly improving players are undergraded. We'd therefore like to encourage rapidly improving kyu players to consider promoting themselves by two stones or more (when justified), rather than just one. This will introduce points into the system more quickly, and we hope lead to more accurate ratings for everyone. We'll be keeping an eye on this, and you'll be hearing more about it from Geoff later.
Toby Manning's draft paper on Sponsorship was discussed and some ideas were taken forward for a subsequent meeting with Winton Capital Management. The main ones were for a Professional Trainer (for a 3 month period), Bursaries to study Go in the Far East or for young players to attend the European Go Congress and running more schools seminars by Peter Wendes around the country.
There was also a little bit of discussion of roles and committee structure - an up to date list of BGA Committees and Officials can always be found on the BGA web site. There are some vacancies in official roles, and volunteers to help with any aspect of the BGA are always welcome. Even if there isn't a specific vacancy you think you can fill, if there is anything you think you can do to help the BGA, please do get in touch.
You can follow the BGA on Facebook, with 204 members at the meeting time, and also on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/britgo), with 25 followers.
Full Council minutes are available to BGA members by writing to the Secretary (secretary at britgo.org)
At the BGA AGM in Chester on 04/04/09 reports were received from the officers and committees regarding achievements in 2008 and plans for 2009. Of special interest were the Shodan Challenge, ratings issues and the large decline in membership numbers. Ron Bell retired after three years as President and Steve Bailey retired as Treasurer. Jon Diamond and Simon Mader replaced them. Edwin Brady remained Secretary. The new council members are Toby Manning, Xinyi Lu, Brian Brunswick, Geoff Kaniuk and Graham Philips. As the annual accounts audit had not been completed there will have to be a Special General Meeting at a future tournament.
With two events gone, Matthew Macfadyen shared the lead with Jaeup Kim on 3. Then the long tournaments started, with the Scottish Open players then leading the field. Durham evened things up a bit, followed by the Welsh and later Isle of Man. After London and Maidenhead, it was a three-way tie, but Yohei got ahead at Fife. After the final event, the British, Yohei Negi from St. Andrews, was the clear winner:
1. Yohei Negi 29 2. Toby Manning 25 3. Matthew Cocke 22 4. David Ward 21 5. Alistair Wall 19.5 6. Tony Atkins 19 7= Gerry Mills 15 7= Francis Roads 15
Guo Juan was the teacher at the 2009 London Open. Nam Chihyung visited Epsom as part of her honeymoon tour of Britain.
The BGA has recognised the new dan grades of:
21st/22nd November 2009: 2 dan Paul Tabor 2 dan Andrew Simons 1 dan Alex Kent 15th August 2009: 3 dan Matt Crosby 1 dan Sandy Taylor 9th May 2009: 3 dan Andrew Kay 2 dan Yohei Negi 6th February 2009: 1 dan Yohei Negi
In part one of "Games Britannia" (BBC4) on 07/12/09 a Go mat board was used to play the Saxon game Alea Evangelii. At the start of part two on 14/12/09, a few frames of two Go games were shown.
On the quiz show "Eggheads" (BBC2) on 29/09/09, Barry Simmons and Chris Hughes discussed whether Five Field Kono was a Korean spin-off from Go and hence a board game, but finally incorrectly agreed with Kevin Ashman who thought it was a martial art.
A question on "The Weakest Link" (BBC1) on 06/05/08 (repeated 15/05/09): "What two letter word is the national board game of Japan and an instruction to proceed?" Answer: "Yahtze????"