It was while working for Plessey Telecommunications in the 'maths hut' at Taplow Court near Maidenhead in the early 70's, that I first came across the game of Go. A small group of us used to meet regularly at lunchtimes for 13x13 games and I rapidly became enthused by everything about Go including the elegance of the playing material. Within a year I had constructed my first wooden Go board.
On moving to London in the mid 70's, I became a regular at the London Go Centre in Belsize park run by Stuart Dowsey. A lot of people used to play there on a Saturday afternoon. On a sunny day when the club doors were open, as you approached the building, you could hear an intriguing sound, a bit like gravel being tumbled about. It gives an idea of how many players there were rattling glass stones in their bowls! After attending for about three weeks he said to me - now is the time to join the BGA!
Probably my first involvement in organising tournaments was during the time of the Hammersmith Go Club (mid 80's), where for a while we had a monthly tournament. I made a draw display system for mounting cards into wooden runners. Matthew Macfadyen later turned this into a really nice wooden display system for the London Open, where for many years at the Highbury Roundhouse, I did the draw using specially printed cards.
I then heard that there was a program for doing the pairing, got hold of it and ran the draw for the London Open on a portable computer borrowed from my workplace. It worked fine, but the next year after trying to edit the draw because the pairing was unacceptable, the program crashed and we could not recover the draw. We worked like mad to transfer the draw to cards and got the tournament underway again without being lynched! I vowed to produce a decent program - and GoDraw started life in the late 80's.
I am now developing the next generation of GoDraw. I am also intent on developing a sound model for understanding the behaviour of our rating and pairing systems.