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.
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.