The eight qualifiers for this year's Challengers' League tournament met at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club (the venue used by the West London Go Club) from Saturday to Tuesday for the 7 round all-play-all tournament. Junnan Jiang and Charles Hibbert finished with six wins each, meaning that no play-off game was required and the two of them will now go on to play in the British Championship title match games. Andrew Simons, the reigning British Champion finished on 4 wins, and given that neither Junnan or Charles have competed for the title before we are guaranteed a new champion this year.
The Scottish Open remained in Glasgow for a fourth year, at the Gilchrist Postgraduate Club. It was again sponsored by the local Confucius Institute.
Hongyi (Henry) Chen (2d Glasgow) won all 6 of his games to top the list of 21 players, winning the trophy and bottle of Talisker. Closest to matching this perfect score was 13-year-old Josh Gorman (13k Glasgow), who came up short at the last to finish on 5 wins.
On 4 wins were the runner-up, Toby Manning (1d Leicester), plus Rob Payne (6k Edinburgh), David Storkey (7k Exeter) and Colin Maclennan (9k Twickenham). These players, plus the seven on 3 wins, were each able to choose two prizes, leaving everyone else with one.
Charles Hibbert took an early lead on day one of the Challengers' League. In the first game he beat the British Champion, Andrew Simons, who complained he has got into a habit of losing the first game in an event. Then in the second game Charles beat the top graded player, Junnan Jiang, when a group died in overtime.
Also winning their first two games were Alex Rix, who beat Alistair Wall and then Bruno Poltronieri by 1.5 points, and Des Cann, who beat Tim Hunt and Alistair Wall (the latter through an interesting tesuji).
The other results were Junnan beating Bruno in the first round and Andrew beating Tim in the second.
The event continues until Tuesday at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club, the home of the West London Go Club. The top two players earn places in the title match.
Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) won all his games to win the 38th Bracknell, the first time he has won the event. He beat Christian Scarff, Jim Clare and last year's winner Des Cann. Also winning all three were Eric Hall (5k Swindon) and John Cassidy (8k Belgium). Among the 26 players taking part were Bei Ge's two very young daughters, playing their first game not among the family. Bournemouth won the team prize.
As usual there was the fun selection of side events set by organiser Ian Marsh. The 13x13 was easy to judge as nobody entered and the Go puzzle competition was won by Peter Collins, the only player brave enough to enter. The caption competition was won by Neil Cleverly, Paul Barnard was best at paper folding and Tony Atkins made the best jumping frog.
Junnan Jiang (5d Oxford) won the Candidates' Tournament in Letchworth with a perfect six wins. Second with five wins was Bruno Poltronieri (4d Cambridge). Winning four were both players from Central London Go Club: Alex Rix (3d) and Charles Hibbert (3d). Belfast's James Hutchinson (2d) and Milton Keynes' Tim Hunt (2d) topped the group on three wins. These six can join defending champion Andrew Simons and Des Cann, who missed the Challengers' League last year for the World Amateur, in this year's Challengers' League in London at the end of May.
The 2016 British Championship started in April 2015. All those who played in tournaments between April 2015 and March 2016 and ended with an EGF rating of 1900 or higher and obeyed the nationality and membership rules could play in the Candidates' Tournament in Lechworth from 30th April to 2nd May. 16 players so qualified started out on the first day. Results so far.
24 players attended the sixth Welwyn Garden City tournament on 23rd April, a bright spring day, at the Welwyn Garden City Bridge Centre in Gosling Sports Park. The winner was Song Han (2d), who won the deciding third round against Alistair Wall, the previous winner. Also winning all three games were Richard Mullens (6k) from London City Go club and Sergio Rubio (9k) from Spain. Francis Roads won the 13x13 side tournament and a prize for best young player went to Charlotte Bexfield from Letchworth. Some players adjourned afterwards to a local Chinese restaurant.
Photos available on Facebook
The bar was at 3d. Only top group results available.
The British Go Congress was held over three days the first weekend in April at the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield. Andrew Kay started the event with a teaching session on Friday afternoon, followed by a well attended presentation by Lucas Baker from Google DeepMind who explained a bit about the recent successes of AlphaGo and showed us its 9 dan diploma (pictured).
In the evening, 26 players took part in the British Lightning tournament which was eventually won by Andrew Kay followed by Alison Bexfield as the runner up.
On Saturday and Sunday the British Open tournament took place with a good attendance of 84 players, including a large contingent from Cheadle Hulme School who brought 15 of their pupils.
With thirty-three players attending the fourth Isle of Skye Tournament, numbers are holding up, as did the weather.
Friday evening attracted a number of players for a 9 x 9 board league, which was won by Francis Roads (1k Wanstead).
The main tournament produced a new champion. Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) won the bottle of Talisker whisky with 5 wins out of 6. The runner up, also with 5 wins out of 6, was Ulf Olsson (3d) visiting from Gothenburg.
Also in the prizes with 5 wins were, Edward Blockley (5k) and Greg Cox (10k Dundee). 4 wins were recorded by Stanislav Traykov, Donald Macleod, Roger Daniel, Alasdair Clarke, John Collins and John Macdonald.
A number of players took the opportunity to extend their visit for a few days and explore the island.
The next tournament is planned for March 2018 - pace yourself Alistair :)