The 20th Mind Sports Olympiad was held, like the previous two editions, at the JW3 centre in London's NW3 district. As usual hundreds of games enthusiasts came togther to compete for medals in many different games, both ancient and modern, unusual and traditional, including Go. This year the Go prize money was increased, thanks to support of the MSO by Google Deepmind and other sponsors. This meant big increases in turnout for the Go events and it was also good to see that about half the players were women and children. The two small board Go events were played on Sunday 28th August and the Open on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August.
The 9x9 had a pleasing 17 players. Michael Webster was unbeaten to take the gold and the sixty pound first prize. Losing finalist Lucas Baker took the silver and Ngoc-Trang Cao took bronze, on sodos tie-break.
Fortunately Southern trains were working properly so the Londoners arrived without mishap, and, despite a few withdrawals for illness and the like, 20 players made it to Sussex for the 2016 Arundel Tournament. Any non-playing partners who came along could enjoy some of the cultural activities of the Arundel Festival which was on, whilst their other halves sweated over the Go board.
The tournament was won by the London Open winner Sai Sun, 5d, who had flown in from Beijing a few days earlier and is pictured with the Arundel Trophy. The runner up was Romania's Lucretiu Calota, 4d, from St Albans club. Other prizewinners were Jil Segerman with 3 wins, and Peter Collins, Malcolm Hagan and Steve Bailey who all won their first two games.
The first game of the 2016 British Go Championship best-of-three title match was played on Saturday 20th August, at a private venue near Oxford. The two players were in their first finals having been the top two with six wins each in the Challengers' League back in May: Charles Hibbert and Junnan Jiang.
The game was relayed on KGS, thanks to Matt Marsh, starting about ten minutes later than its 10:30 advertised start. In a clone of the game, Matthew Macfadyen reviewed the game whilst in progress. The game continued after the usual lunch break (the time limits are three hours each), and came to a climax when Junnan was in overtime and failed to reverse his bad position, with the resignation coming after move 211 at about 17:15.
British Go Journal 176, including a short story by author Bill Brakes, is now available online to members at http://www.britgo.org/bgj/bgj176
The 60th European Go Congress ran from 23rd July to 6th August in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It was held at the Hotel Azimut, a couple of kilometres south of the historic centre of the city. 456 players took part in round one, including seven Europeans with pro status and six players from Britain.
Winner of the Main Tournament was Kim Young-Sam 7d. It was a very narrow result as four players had 8 points by the end of round 10. Ilya Shikshin 1p was second place with merely 1 SOS point fewer than Kim. Third was Chan Yitien 7d with the same SOS as Ilya, but 2 fewer SODOS points. A very close and exciting finish!
Ilya Shikshin had earlier in the fortnight become the European Champion by beating Israel's Ali Jabarin 1p in the championship final. Ali was also fourth in the Open. Kim Young-Sam also won the Weekend Tournament and the Pair Go with Manja Marz.
See all tournament results
The top four teams of the A-League of the Pandanet Go European Team Championship came together to play the over-the-board finals at the European Go Congress in St Petersburg, Russia, on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July.
The first round saw a win for Russia against France (3-1) and Ukraine beating Romania (4-0). Round two saw a win for Russia over Romania (3-1) and a draw for France and Ukraine. The final round featured the crucial match between Russia and Ukraine. This ended in Ukraine's favour (3-1) to give them the title for the first time. It looked like Romania-France would be a draw, but the clock that had caused a loss on time was found on appeal to be faulty thus France won it (3-1).
So 1st Ukraine (5 points), 2nd Russia (4 points), 3rd France (3 points) and 4th Romania (0 points).
Because of a problem with the venue, the UK Go Challenge Finals scheduled for 2nd July in Aston have been cancelled.
It is hoped to reschedule to the autumn.
The Milton Keynes Tournament moved to a new location within the Open University campus, as someone had thought the weather suitable for cricket making the pavilion not available. The split-level foyer to the Berrill Building provided a very light and pleasant location (except when the dark clouds rolled in), with the lower level suitable for coffee, analysis and game of MK Go. Admittedly there was a lot of sunshine between the heavy rain and it didn't spoil the day of Go-playing.
The 24th Welsh Open was held again at the now-traditional venue of the Min-y-Mor Hotel, in the coastal resort of Barmouth. For those who arrived early, on the sunny Friday, there were friendly games and refreshments in the hotel during the evening. On the also sunny Saturday, there was the usual evening meal held at the hotel, enjoyed by 24 players &/or partners, and the fun continued into the night on the wet Sunday, after the tournament.
There were 35 players in all in the Welsh Open, with 8 players above the bar, at shodan or stronger, competing for a new trophy. This is the Brian Timmins Plaque, kindly presented by his widow Kathleen. Brian's favourite annual tournament was the Welsh Open and he sadly died not long after playing (as he always had) in last year's event.
The Durham Go Tournament was again this year held in the middle of the World Heritage Site on Palace Green, overlooked by both Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, reports organiser Andrew Ambrose-Thurman.
The tournament had a large number of entrants, including two people who had not only never played in a tournament before but who had never played over the board before. They brought the total to 33, an unexpectedly large increase on last year, and playing was so crushed during Round 1 that we had to go out and obtain more tabletops before Round 2.
On the Saturday night, after Round 3, was an all-you-can-eat BBQ. Unfortunately, after a week of sunshine, the day of the tournament had been overcast - and it started to rain soon after people arrived from the tournament venue.