The UK youth team narrowly lost to Serbia yesterday 2-3. This was the first of the 3 rounds in the European Youth Go Team Championship 2016/17. Please follow that link for names of the complete UK youth team squad.
Post-match comments (see below for comments prior to the games):
As expected, Zaki and Josh - playing on the two U16 boards - cruised to easy victories, with both clearly outranking their opponents. We needed to win on one of the other three boards.
Given the strengths of the opposing team on these boards, I had picked players from our team who would have a good evenly-matched game, rather than field our U12 7 kyu against a 16 kyu, in what would be a one-sided game.
On Saturday 30 children from six schools in South Manchester attended a Go workshop at Greenbank school. Martin Harvey had used his connection with Cheadle Hulme School to contact the local Educational 'Gifted and Talented' scheme, who then sponsored the day and selected the children. Martin and Helen Harvey and Roger Huyshe were kept busy throughout.
While the children were just from years 3 and 4 (and 1 Y5), their attention was good, they learned the basics in the morning starting with Capture Go but progressing immediately to territory Go. In the afternoon they submitted to a hectic 5-round McMahon before parents came to collect them.
The UK Youth GO team have finished a respectable sixth out of the twelve teams competing in the European online Youth Go Team Tournament. This year the draw was an accelerated Swiss which meant the top teams were paired against each other from an early stage. This gave our team more chances to play more evenly matched opponents. We picked up wins against Poland (3-2) and Italy, Switzerland and Austria (4-1) and lost to Czechia (2-3) and Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia (1-3).
As last year we struggled most on the U20 board where we do not yet have any dan players. However our U12s continue to excel in this event - we picked up wins in 6 or the 7 games played in this age group with two of our U12 players also playing up an age group on occasion.
The UK Youth team had an exciting match today against the combined team of Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia. First to finish was Aidan on board 4 who played a solid game and claimed a straight forward win. We then lost on board 1 where Elom had a tough game against a 3 dan opponent. With the score 1-1 we needed a win on one of the two U16 boards. Both Charlotte and Edmund had exciting games which looked to be going their way after the opening. Charlotte had killed a large group and Edmund had mapped out a massive moyo. Unfortunately their opponents fought back strongly and we could not hold onto the advantage in either game leaving us 1-3 down with board 5 to play. Rather oddly neither board 5 managed to turn up online. Wenzhou for the UK had connection problems preventing him joining the match. The other team's player turned up 33 minutes late-technically also a default.
The UK Junior team is currently lying in 9th place of the 12 teams in the European Youth Go Online Team Championship with two rounds to go. The UK will be playing the combined team of Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia in round 3 which is scheduled for Saturday 12 December. This is likely to be a close match with our strength in depth on the U12 boards countered by their U20 strength so the two U16 boards are likely to be critical.
The UK Youth Go team played Poland in the first round of the four round European Youth Online Team Championship and won 3-2. Lawrence had a tough game on board 1 against a strong dan player on the U18 board. However our strength in the U16s paid off with both Oscar and Alex winning their U16 boards. Both U12 boards were evenly matched in paper. Aidan had a close defeat but Alexander gained an easy win to clinch the match. The team will be playing Czechia next on 28 November.
Unfortunately there was not enough support for the British Youth Go Championship on the date planned (31st May) and we have had to postpone it until the autumn.
The UK Go Challenge Finals (13x13 boards) is going ahead though on Saturday 18th July in Letchworth Garden City. All young players of any level are welcome at that.
I am pleased to announce that the UK is fielding a national youth team in the first European Youth Go Team Championship (which is being held online for logistical reasons).
We have a squad of 12 players from which we select 5 players for each match of which one must be U20, two U16 and two U12. Well done to the 12 players who have been selected for the national youth squad:
Our first match will be a tough one against Romania on 15 November. We will be updating the junior news pages with the team’s progress in this five round competition.
BGA UK Youth Squad Manager
The cartoon booklet "Go An Introduction", where the Chess pieces learn to play from the Go stones, has been reissued. The new version uses pass stones at the end of the game just like in the UK Go Challenge and other tournaments. It also corrects the spelling error "altohether"!
Following on from the success of the European Youth Go Championship 2014 held in the UK, the British Go Association is forming a youth squad which is aiming to send a UK national team to the 2015 youth championships to be held in the Netherlands.
The Leader of the Youth Squad will be Alison Bexfield, 2 dan.