Challengers League

British Go Journal No. 60. September 1983. Page 20.

bystander's remarks by Matthew Macfadyen

The Challengers league is a focus for the top British players to establish their pecking order. Many of the best players were missing from this years league, and indeed the league as a whole might have had trouble beating the team: Diamond, Prescott, Goddard, Mitchell, Pirani, May, Clark, Wells; but ignoring this issue, the players who did turn up are here briefly described:

Terry Stacey: Too good to be tested severely by this league - he simply doesnt make enough mistakes. His real speciality is in winning hopelessly lost games, but there was little opportunity to display these talents. John Rickard ran him fairly close, and some of the more faithless spectators thought John was going to win, but Terrys yose is good and his patience is better.

Jim Barty: Seemed to have got stuck at strongish 3 dan in the days when he played a mild mannered and rather woolly sort of go in keeping with his general demeanour and his vegetarianism. Suddenly he discovered the thrill of the chase, and over the past year or so has become one of the most voracious carnivores in British go. He is not often seen playing yose.

Jim Bates: Nowhere near his best in this tournament. Always an erratic player, but on his good days sharp and extremely tenacious. He has strong ideas about large scale strategy (a vast improvement on most British Go players, who dont think on a large scale at all) and can be very effective in the type of games to which they apply.

Gary Roberts: Studies the old masters with great diligence (particularly Chinese ones) and has a huge vocabulary of deep and interesting ideas about the game, but can play the most amazing rubbish, especially when he gets annoyed with himself for playing rubbish. His best bits are really high class go.

John Rickard: Only became a dan player very recently, and still displays alarming naivete on occasion, but is very sharp, and obviously has the ability to read long sequences accurately. There is no obvious reason for him to stop improving for another two or three grades - this man needs watching.

Andrew Daly: By the standards of British go players, something of an antique. Certainly it is anomalous that this was his first Challengers league. He was the third best British player (after Diamond and Goddard) in the late 60s. Never read books much but has the right instincts supported by vast experience. This experience manifests itself variously in brilliant moves played after a moments thought, and in deeply ingrained prejudices causing many of his won games to slip away.

Richard Granville: Very keen, and getting plenty of practice. Plays rather simple minded go based largely on securing territory early and solidly (the game against Jim Bates presented below is quite out of character - he takes four corners far more often than he gives four away). Could be an extremely effective player if he found out how to avoid being tyrannised by the clock.

Desmond Cann: Very much the unknown newcomer. Few would have been surprised to see him lose all of his games, but I, for one, was more surprised by the small number of times he was really outplayed (one - Terry was a bit much). He is sharp, and tends to find one more eye in his groups than his opponents expected. His yose is erratic and his play in byo-yomi frail, but without these problems he would certainly have finished in the top four.



T Stacey5 danX11111117
J Barty4 dan0X1111116
J Bates4 dan00X001113
J Rickard2 dan001X00113
G Roberts4 dan0011X0013
R Granville3 dan00011X002
A Daly3 dan000011X02
D Cann2 dan0000011X2

(According to the tie breaking rules, there should have been play-off games between John Rickard and Gary Roberts for fourth place, and between Andrew Daly and Richard Granville for sixth. However Gary expects to be abroad next year, and so he resigned that game without playing it. Andrew and Richard have decided to defer their playoff game unless they are tied for fourth and fifth place on games won and on SOS in next years Candidates tournament (the only case where it matters)).


This article is from the British Go Journal lssue 60
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

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