British Go Journal No. 65.  July 1985. Page 8.
by Brian Chandler
Candidates again. Same old crowd I suppose - have you noticed that the only difference between this year's tournament and last year's is that everybody looks a year older (modulo a few beards on or off). Turn up at Francis Roads' on Friday night (THANK YOU Francis and Judith for your hospitality) to find Richard Granville sharing the music room. Who's entered then eh? Will Andrew Daly be there? Frank May? Quentin Mills? The latest up-and-coming shodan (Who he - Ed). John Who? Jon Diamond? Didn't he used to be British champion in the days of Goddard and Prescott (who they - Ed).
Fit brain In fit body - try running up the stairs of Covent Garden tube station if you want to get the right frame of mind for a tournament. At least it wasn't like last year, arriving to find they'd actually started the clocks at ten.
Got Tim Hazelden in Round 1, which was hard going until a handful of weak groups appeared (his, that is). He didn't seem to know the L-group is dead, as he made one. I know, so I played another move just to make sure!
When there was time to look around I could see a lot of stronger players who weren't there - well you know what I mean. Only two 3 dans and no-one stronger than that except for Diamond. He got Bob Thompson in the first round, which was really a battle of the ancients. Usual butty lunch - Covent Garden is good for that, if a bit pricey. Then lost to Martin Lerner, incidentally producing the most anomalous result of the tournament. In the sense of being furthest from the diagonal of the cross-table (on the wrong side).
A few of the missing players and Frank May's dog were to be seen later on, mostly with good explanations for their absence. (Someone forget to send out invitations to the 2-dans and above - Ed!). It also became clear that Richard Granville was only playing 'for practice', since he'll be in Japan at the time of the Challengers.
What with Terry Stacey threatening to become a father at an inconvenient juncture, there were good chances for of a place for 2-dans or even a keen shodan or so. There hasn't been a shodan in the Challengers league since the very first one in 1975, so rather sadly really, standards do seem to be slipping.
Round 3, and I'm drawn against Francis Roads. Do I respect my host and lose? Well, I almost did. Have not forgotten, though Francis claims he has, Round 6 of the 1984 New Year tournament, when he attacked me with the no-space high pincer in Dia 1, muttering a quote from the book about how easily White can go wrong.
Diagram 1 |
Formulated master plan which almost materialised. See Dia 2: the key move in the plan is 4, but first I have to make the ladder work (see Ishida's Dictionary of Joseki Vol. 1 p. 226). Amazingly, by 16 it does, so of course 17 presses and the plan is blown.
Diagram 2 (1-23) |
I played the knee-jerk reply at 18, and the more or less joseki sequence to 23 followed. With the benefit of hindsight, however, and a word or two from A. Strong-Player, I see what a loony move 18 is. The White stones at 4 and 16 mean the area is under my influence, and I should just push through and cut. After the 'windmill' joseki of Dia 3, or something similar, I've got a fair fight on my hands. In the actual game Francis pulled comfortably ahead, and it was only to be regretted (by him) that he neglected to ensure two eyes for one of his large groups later on. Oh, I almost forgot the master plan. If he had for example passed on move 17, the sequence to 78 in Dia 4 just might have happened (one lives in hope).
Diagram 3 |
Diagram 4 (17-78)
( The diagram [06508a] in SGF  format ) |
17 passes, 51 at 46, 53 at 24, 75 at 40.
Diagram 5 (1-78)
( The diagram [06508b] in SGF  format ) |
38 at 23.
Round 4 produced an amusing sequence which actually
happened in the game between James Bond and Bill Brakes. Fortunately the
critical moves - 1 to 78* in Diagram. 5
- have been reconstructed for posterity by A.S.MacP. Black 17# is
superfluous, there is no need to jump out as he is already alive. But
this starts a marathon crawl in which he just fails to wriggle out.
Amazingly, the end result is approximately even, since although black
has captured the white group on the right, white has massive thickness
in compensation and went on to win.
* [ BGJ had 1-79. ]
# [ BGJ had Black 18. ]
Bank Holiday Monday. Good weather again, unfortunately, since it brings out the most tuneless aspirants to street entertainment. Neil Symes in Round 5 - a historical player like myself, but who doesn't seem to play quite the moves he used to.
Once again (we met at the excellent British Congress this year) he seemed to have more points of territory uncomfortably close to the end of the game. Tried to win before the dame points were filled, and narrowly succeeded. Need a lot of luck or some improvement If I am going to keep beating Neil.
Last round, and Richard Granville for the fifth successive tournament - and my fifth successive loss. Slight upset this round as Alistair Thompson, who must be the emerging shodan mentioned earlier, beat John Smith and earned himself a place in the Challengers.
Well, a good tournament. Thanks to Andrew Grant for his organisation, and hope to see you all (and more) again next year. A final note from the BGA official analyst (that's me actually). What a pity more people don't record their games. If you don't write them down you (and me) can't learn from your mistakes.
For the benefit of DFKs, who might feel tempted to emulate this swish-buckling sequence (Dia 5), a few words of comment:
As Brian notes, 17 is unusual, but may be playable because Black
[ Why doesn't black play 21' as a cut to the right of 20? === sgb ]
White 26 is a waste of a ko threat, but provokes an immediate blunder (black should just capture this stone) since 27 allows white to push and cut.
Blacks position now collapses. White 40 is a slight mistake - he should throw in at 55 and then play 41 when the truth is plain to see.
Black keeps thrashing around losing ko threats and liberties until he realises a counter-attack is his only chance. After Black 57 White could calmly play 65 or thereabouts, making his group safe (at least safe enough to easily win any semeai) and claiming his contract. He has made such massive gains on the other side of the board he must win.
White 62 is the final error, although Blacks continuation to 77 would be overlooked by many strong players, including perhaps Black? White should block from the other side to give his group an eye. Black would then have to fill liberties from the top side - which he cannot do, since he hasnt any!
One final point. To go back to the beginning, White
2* is risky because of Blacks marked stone.
He should simply slide out to 64.
* [ BGJ had White 3. ]