The Swindon tournament was back after a one-year break, with different premises and alternative day (Saturday). The new venue was the Swindon Conservative Club, situated in the old town, with its own free parking. Nearby is the town's museum, which provided an interesting distraction for some.
The winner was Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead), who beat Ngoc-Trang Cao in the final. Prizes were given for three wins to George Han (18k No Club) and for 2½ wins to Paul Barnard (2k Swindon).
The Cornwall Tournaments were held, as last year, in The Lugger on Penzance's seafront. This time the weather was good enough to sit outside between games, as long as you did not mind the odd sea breeze. The Saturday started with the traditional teaching session led by Toby Manning and Tony Atkins, on subjects such as the middle game and basic life-and-death shapes.
The afternoon of the Saturday was the Cornish Lightning Handicap Tournament, with neatly 16 players taking part. The player who came out unbeaten, despite the grade-difference-plus-two handicap, was Tony Atkins (1k Reading). He beat Peter Collins (4k Bristol) in the final.
18 players took part in the Cornish Open on the Sunday.
The Northern - held annually since 1975 - stepped back to its educational roots this year, with a new venue at Cheadle Hulme School (CHS) in Cheshire. The very attractive and spacious venue attracted 37 competitors (23% up on last year). Most encouragingly, 11 competitors were youngsters.
The winner was Xinyi "Sugar" Liu; she is a 3 dan from China studying in Manchester. She won a cash prize and the Red Rose Trophy, seen receiving it from organiser Chris Kirkham (with CHS' Head of Physics - Mike Winslow behind).
Baoliang Zhang, 1 kyu from Manchester, was runner-up.
The 20th Mind Sports Olympiad was held, like the previous two editions, at the JW3 centre in London's NW3 district. As usual hundreds of games enthusiasts came together to compete for medals in many different games, both ancient and modern, unusual and traditional, including Go. This year the Go prize money was increased, thanks to support of the MSO by Google DeepMind and other sponsors. This meant big increases in turnout for the Go events, and it was also good to see that about half the players were women and children. The two small-board Go events were played on Sunday 28th August, and the Open on Bank Holiday Monday, 29th August.
The 9x9 had a pleasing 17 players. Michael Webster was unbeaten to take the gold and the sixty pound first prize.
Fortunately Southern trains were working properly so the Londoners arrived without mishap, and, despite a few withdrawals for illness and the like, 20 players made it to Sussex for the 2016 Arundel Tournament. Any non-playing partners who came along could enjoy some of the cultural activities of the Arundel Festival which was on, whilst their other halves sweated over the Go board.
The tournament was won by the London Open winner Sai Sun, 5d, who had flown in from Beijing a few days earlier and is pictured with the Arundel Trophy. The runner up was Romania's Lucretiu Calota, 4d, from St Albans club. Other prizewinners were Jil Segerman with 3 wins, and Peter Collins, Malcolm Hagan and Steve Bailey who all won their first two games.
The first game of the 2016 British Go Championship best-of-three title match was played on Saturday 20th August, at a private venue near Oxford. The two players were in their first finals having been the top two with six wins each in the Challengers' League back in May: Charles Hibbert and Junnan Jiang.
The game was relayed on KGS, thanks to Matt Marsh, starting about ten minutes later than its 10:30 advertised start. In a clone of the game, Matthew Macfadyen reviewed the game whilst in progress. The game continued after the usual lunch break (the time limits are three hours each), and came to a climax when Junnan was in overtime and failed to reverse his bad position, with the resignation coming after move 211 at about 17:15.
The Milton Keynes Tournament moved to a new location within the Open University campus, as someone had thought the weather suitable for cricket making the pavilion not available. The split-level foyer to the Berrill Building provided a very light and pleasant location (except when the dark clouds rolled in), with the lower level suitable for coffee, analysis and game of MK Go. Admittedly there was a lot of sunshine between the heavy rain and it didn't spoil the day of Go-playing.
The 24th Welsh Open was held again at the now-traditional venue of the Min-y-Mor Hotel, in the coastal resort of Barmouth. For those who arrived early, on the sunny Friday, there were friendly games and refreshments in the hotel during the evening. On the also sunny Saturday, there was the usual evening meal held at the hotel, enjoyed by 24 players &/or partners, and the fun continued into the night on the wet Sunday, after the tournament.
There were 35 players in all in the Welsh Open, with 8 players above the bar, at shodan or stronger, competing for a new trophy. This is the Brian Timmins Plaque, kindly presented by his widow Kathleen. Brian's favourite annual tournament was the Welsh Open and he sadly died not long after playing (as he always had) in last year's event.
The Durham Go Tournament was again this year held in the middle of the World Heritage Site on Palace Green, overlooked by both Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle, reports organiser Andrew Ambrose-Thurman.
The tournament had a large number of entrants, including two people who had not only never played in a tournament before but who had never played over the board before. They brought the total to 33, an unexpectedly large increase on last year, and playing was so crushed during Round 1 that we had to go out and obtain more tabletops before Round 2.
On the Saturday night, after Round 3, was an all-you-can-eat BBQ. Unfortunately, after a week of sunshine, the day of the tournament had been overcast - and it started to rain soon after people arrived from the tournament venue.
The British Pair Go Championships returned to the Red Lion in Hatfield and the organisers, Francis Roads and Jenny Radcliffe, were very pleased at the increase to 16 pairs, 8 in each section.
There were three new pairs in the top championship section. One of these was an all junior pair, believed to be the first time this has happened. Champions of the last few years, Matthew Cocke and Natasha Regan, lost to one of the new pairs in round 2, setting up an all new pair final.
In the final it was Joanne Leung and Bruno Poltronieri (pictured) that won to become the new champions, beating Elaine Yu and Chao Zhang into second place.