Junnan Jiang (5d Oxford) won the Candidates' Tournament in Letchworth with a perfect six wins. Second with five wins was Bruno Poltronieri (4d Cambridge). Winning four were both players from Central London Go Club: Alex Rix (3d) and Charles Hibbert (3d). Belfast's James Hutchinson (2d) and Milton Keynes' Tim Hunt (2d) topped the group on three wins. These six can join defending champion Andrew Simons and Des Cann, who missed the Challengers' League last year for the World Amateur, in this years' Challengers' League in London at the end of May.
The 2016 British Championship started in April 2015. All those who played in tournaments between April 2015 and March 2016 and ended with an EGF rating of 1900 or higher and obeyed the nationality and membership rules could play in the Candidates' Tournament in Lechworth from 30th April to 2nd May. 16 players so qualified started out on the first day. Results so far.
British Go Journal 175, including a report on the AlphaGo v Lee Sedol match is now available online to members at http://www.britgo.org/bgj/bgj175
The British team moved up to a creditable fifth postion in the B-League by scoring their fourth win of the season. The time it was against Switzerland.
In a late change Andrew Simons played John Walch (3d) on board 1. Andrew writes:
In my game against John Walch we both played slowly and carefully (I got into overtime before move 100 and him not long after), but he made a mistake right at the end which allowed me to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. I avoided a book opening by ignoring his 4-4 approach to approach his 3-4, we had some reasonable josekis. When I pressed his 3-4 he attached and I didn't hane as he had the ladder. He backed out of playing a complicated variation in that corner and stymied my lower side ambitions so I approach the top right, which was maybe bad direction (instead defend left side) as the side was open.
24 players attended the sixth Welwyn Garden City tournament on 23rd April, a bright spring day, at the Welwyn Garden City Bridge Centre in Gosling Sports Park. The winner was Song Han (2d), who won the deciding third round against Alistair Wall, the previous winner. Also winning all three games were Richard Mullens (6k) from London City Go club and Sergio Rubio (9k) from Spain. Francis Roads won the 13x13 side tournament and a prize for best young player went to Charlotte Bexfield from Letchworth. Some players adjourned afterwards to a local Chinese restaurant.
Photos available on Facebook
At the AGM on 2nd April in Sheffield, Jon Diamond retired as President after 7 years and Roger Huyshe (pictured) was elected unanimously to replace him.
Jonathan Chin and Toby Manning were re-elected as Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
Brian Brunswick also retired after 10 years as a Council member, as did Donald Campbell; John Collins, Jonathan Green, Matt Marsh and Andrew Russell were elected to Council.
It was reported at the AGM that the membership had increased in the last year to 441, the first time we'd seen an increase for a number of years. The AlphaGo match didn't seem to have a significant impact on membership yet.
Congratulations to the British Go Association team who beat Italy by three games to one in the online Pandanet Go European Teams. With just two matches to play, their new sixth position (just behind Italy on third board score tie-break) is enough to keep them in the B-League for next season.
Bruno Poltronieri wrote about his win by resignation against Alessandro Pace:
Not a great game from me, but I somehow managed to pull off a win by a couple of points (if we ignore the part where he accidentally let me live in his territory while we were fighting the last 1 point ko...). My main mistake of the game was not living under his shimari before it was too late, which left him with a pretty huge territory. I was quite certain I was behind at that point, so I reduced as deeply as I could.
The British Go Congress was held over three days the first weekend in April at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield. Andrew Kay started the event with a teaching session on Friday afternoon, followed by a well attended presentation by Lucas Baker from Google DeepMind who explained a bit about the recent successes of AlphaGo and showed us its 9 dan diploma (pictured).
In the evening, 26 players took part in the British Lightning tournament which was eventually won by Andrew Kay followed by Alison Bexfield as the runner up.
On Saturday and Sunday the British Open tournament took place with a good attendance of 84 players, including a large contingent from Cheadle Hulme School who brought 15 of their pupils.
Well, THE match is now over, and we're almost back in the right time-zone, so it's time to give an interim view as to the effects on us in the UK.
Obviously our profile has risen just a little! I turned on to the BBC News on Monday towards the end and lo and behold there was an item about Go and the implications for AI, and I wasn't even surprised... If you look at our page of media mentions for the match you'll see what I mean. I haven't counted, but there must be at least 100 in the National Papers, Radio and TV. Did we appear on all channels?
In a very close fifth game, AlphaGo threatened to get a very large middle that Lee Sedol had to reduce in order to win. After playing a defensive move that also attacked, AlphaGo looked like getting enough, and, despite Lee Sedol's best efforts, AlphaGo was a couple of points ahead with the komi. With just the smallest yose left, Lee Sedol resigned.
At the closing ceremony, thanks were said and plaudits given to both sides. The million dollar prize will go to various charities.
Some more detailed commentary and pictures will be available on the GoGameGuru website.
Detailed game records and notes about the match can be seen here.