For the first time the Irish Go Congress, that features the Confucius Cup (Irish Open) and Irish Rapid Play, also featured a Chinese Chess Tournament. As well as the players, there were Chinese guests from the Go and Chinese Chess organisations including 7p Go professionals Hua Xueming and Huang Yizhong. The venue this time was the historic Gresham Hotel in the centre of Dublin.
The Friday night Irish Rapid was won by Oh Chi-Min (7d Durham) and the runner up was Kirsty Healey (2k Leamington).
The main Go event, the Confucius Cup, was keenly contested between the four 7d players at the top. The number of players was boosted to an excellent 58 on the last day, by a party of youngsters from Galway joining in. In addition there were 17 Chinese Chess players, including the winner Huang Chunlong.
Chris Bryant completed the final game of our match against Croatia with an easy 16.5 point win on Saturday. He got all four corners and failed to follow the proverb "If you win all 4 corners resign" and lived easily in the centre. The game was uneventful without too much fighting.
On the Tuesday Des Cann lost his game on board 1 and said: "I lost my first game this year. I blame it on being a bit stressed at work recently :-)
The game was mostly OK for me but my opponent played fast keeping me under pressure.
Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) ended top of the list of 34 players who attended the largest Cheshire Tournament (not counting the 2009 British Open). He beat the previous winner, Mark Elliot (1d Manchester), in the last round.
James Brownrigg (5k Chester) was the only other player on three wins, in this now single-section event.
An enthusiastic and well-behaved party of lads from Cheadle Hulme School did well, all winning at least one game, despite this being - for most of them - their first tournament: Alex Benton (12k) was the best junior and Daniel Gascoyne (27k) was the best novice. Jack Nolan won the most games in the 13x13 side-event (with 8) and Yusuf Hussain, teacher Zaheer's son, played the most games (14).
The players thanked the co-hosts - Tony Pitchford and Tony Atkins - for successfully organising the event.
The entry forms for the 2015 UK Go Challenge are now available on the UK Go Challenge website. Packs will be ready by the middle or end of February.
The only thing that has changed this year is the prizes. Back again are the ever-popular black and white logo bugs. This year they are carrying the motto "Play Go!". The top prize is back too; instead of a trophy, it is one of the "Play Go!" tote bags.
Also different is the coloured star for three points, which is replaced by a colourful Cheer Words sticker.
We hope all UK youth or school Go clubs can take part.
UK Go Challenge Organiser
In round four of the European Youth Go Team Championship the UK’s youth team narrowly lost to Czechia 2-3. As expected, Tom and Roella lost on boards 1 and 3, although they put up a good fight against much stronger opponents. Oscar managed a good win on evenly matched board 2 and Edmund cruised to victory on board 4. This left us needing a win on board 5 where we had chances with our player on paper only one grade weaker. Anthony played well and looked to be heading for a win but the greater experience of his opponent paid off in the endgame and so we lost the match overall, but gained some valuable tie break points from our wins.
This puts us in 11th place out of the 13 teams. There is one round left to play on 31st January in which we receive a bye. We have the chance to play a friendly match against the German B team instead.
Lecture to be given in the British room on KGS by Matthew Cocke, 5 dan. Aimed primarily at single digit kyu players, but others should also benefit. Start time: 19:30. Join the game of "BGATeach".
Charles Hibbert from London entered Maidenhead-Hitachi Tournament as his first ever tournament. Having achieved 3d on both KGS and IGS, he entered at 2 dan and went on to win all three games to claim the Maidenhead title.
Also winning three games, and in second and third place, were Alistair Wall (1d Wanstead) and Jitka Bartova (1d Praha). As usual all players winning three or two games got a prize from the eclectic selection on the prize table or, this year, a mystery envelope. Those on three were: France Ellul (6k Maidenhead) and Fred Holroyd (8k Milton Keynes). 55 players took part.
Both Wanstead and Leamington teams won 9 games out of 16 to get the team prizes of sweets and chocolate. Charlotte Bexfield and Edmund Smith both won 4 games in the 13x13 side event.
The Winter 2014-15 edition of the British Go Journal, number 170, is now available in the members' area as a PDF and should be soon arriving in the post with members (except for electronic only members).
Our match against South Africa, probably our strongest opponents in League C, was a nerve tingler, coming down to the closest of all possible finishes.
We managed to put out our top three players for the occasion, Andrew Simons, Jon Diamond and Des Cann, with Paul Taylor (number 6 on our players list) playing on board 4.
Paul was struggling a bit in the opening, but captured a group slightly unexpectedly and was going happily along into yose with about a 15 point lead when he missed the implications of a throw-in and lost an 11 stone group though dame-zumari. Sigh...
Still, Des Cann (pictured right) soon made up for this, as he says: "I had quite a safe game. He made two low extensions from his hoshi, so I invaded in sente and then shoulder hit.
Congratulations to Centrol London Go Club A team, Franciso Divers, Michael Webster and Chuck Fisher, for winning the 2014 season of the online league ahead of Belfast and claiming back the GoGoD shield, which they last held in 2011, from Edinburgh.
The second division was won by Cornish Rogues (Paul Massey, John Culmer and Rob White), who will be moving up to the first division next year, narrowly beating the Three Counties team.
We are starting to take bookings for the next season of the online league, which we hope to start promptly in April, so please could everyone who wants to take part get in touch with me at jmc AT toad.me.uk to confirm that they want to play.
Whilst we like to have teams associated with clubs, people on their own are very welcome to join up with an existing team which is low on members, so please don't hold back.