Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) scored a massive 45 points to win the Stacey Grand Prix, the grand prix for most games won in the top group at a year's tournaments. He was awarded the Stacey Trophy at the British Go Congress in Shrewsbury. The British Open is the last event of the grand prix year, but Alistair's 4 points scored there left him half a point short of equalling the record. The record of 45.5 points was set in 1996 by Francis Roads, a player who has been in the top 7 every year bar one (2010).
Ironically the game that really cost Alistair the record was that against Francis at the 2014 Mind Sports Olympiad, where Alistair passed with a dame point left on the board and lost that game by half a point.
The British Open was part of the British Go Congress and it was held this year in the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury, over a weekend where the weather was described as "inclement". The whole event was sponsored by Pentangle Puzzles and Games.
The weekend started on the Friday afternoon with tuition by Oh Chi Min (7d), who continued with many game reviews over the weekend.
The British Lightning was held on the Friday evening. 28 players played seven tables of four for rounds 1, 2 and 3, then Swiss-style for rounds 4 and 5, to determine the winner as Alex Rix (3d Central London) with 5/5.
Britain dropped their first point of the season with a draw against Portugal. They stayed two points clear at the top of C League as Bulgaria drew with Croatia. South Africa beat Greece to close the gap to one point in third.
The match result:
Des Cann (B) lost to Cristovão Neto (Quetzalt, 1d) by 13.5
Sandy Taylor (W) beat Pedro Pereira (Pite, 1k) by 16.5
Toby Manning (B) beat Francisco Pereira (xikuh, 1k) by resignation
Chris Bryant (W) lost to Pedro Carmona (PCT, 2k) by resignation
Toby wrote: A win for the UK... A strange game, I kept on attacking him, nearly lost when he counterattacked but I found a game-saving tesuji... Then one of his groups died...Game Over.
Chris wrote: My play was a complete mess, really furious with myself, can't believe I lost that game, I could have beaten myself playing against an empty chair it was such a disaster.
The UK had six players representing it at the European Youth Championship, held from 12-15 March in Zandvoort am Zee in the Netherlands.
Looking very smart in their UK youth team hoodies, there was a good team spirit. After the first two rounds things were not looking good for the UK, but in the later rounds we did pick up more wins to end with a total of 14 points out of 36.
One of our players had a very exciting finish in the last round. After an epic game, in which her opponent had gone into three sets of overtime, Roella claimed a win by one point – after the additional extra 6 points komi courtesy of Ing overtime rules which give two penalty points per overtime set. With our player within one minute of going into overtime herself, which would have reversed the result, it was a most exciting end to the tournament.
Edmund, representing us in the U12 section, finished 18th in his section.
The UK had six players representing it at the European Youth Go Championships held over the weekend of 15th March in Zandvoort am Zee in the Netherlands.
Looking very smart in their UK Youth Team hoodies there was a good team spirit. After the first two rounds things were not looking good for the UK, but in the later rounds we did pick up more wins to end with a total of 14 points out of 36.
One of our players had a very exciting finish in the last round. After an epic game, in which her opponent had gone into three sets of overtime, Roella claimed a win by one point – after the additional extra 6 points komi courtesy of Ing overtime rules which give two penalty points per overtime set.
The Trigantius tournament was held in the bar of the Cambridge University Social Club in Mill Lane on the bank of the Cam on a gloriously sunny day.
Taking the Trigantius Trophy, and his second title since taking up tournament Go at the start of 2015, was London's Charles Hibbert (3d) with three straight wins.
Other prize-winners on three wins were Alison Bexfield (1d Letchworth), Yuji Tanaka (3k Japan), Martin Harvey (4k Manchester), Philip Smith (5k), Richard Mullens (6k London City), Fred Zhu (7k Cambridge) and Ben Murphy (10k Billericay).
Special prizes were awarded to those on two wins in categories of best Single Figure Kyu and best Double Figure Kyu.
The UK team went clear top of the European C League by beating the other team with six wins, Bulgaria. Congratulations to the team for winning all four games to take the top place in the league by two match points.
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.