UK Team Draw Last Match of Season Against Belgium
Our team’s last match of the season was against Belgium. If we won then we would jump above them into fifth. A loss would move us down near, but just above, the relegation zone. Jon Diamond finished quickly and Des Cann finished slowly, being the last game of the B-League season to end. His game was a win which went with Jamie Taylor’s to make the match a draw. The team stayed to sixth (on tie-break from Switzerland) to end the league comfortably in the middle. Serbia saw off demoted Lithuania to take the top place, and Italy drew with Switzerland to get the promotion play-off place. The most important game of the evening saw the Netherlands beat Sweden, allowing the former to escape the relegation game in favour of the latter.
Andrew Simons wrote: I lost to Lucas Neirynck, returning to my bad old habit of losing on time after unnecessary complications during overtime in a game that I was leading. We started with some typical modern josekis, and when I peeped his one point jump on the right he resisted with crawling more times than I expected so I pushed through to get thick in the centre, and felt happy when he defended on the lower side (I could have attacked but surely not killed) so then I got to connect my groups at the top right too. He took sente to break my centre influence, so I captured his corner stones, maybe a bit slow but solid, and set up an attack on his outside stones. This he dodged. I took the last big opening point on the left, he connected his group and I tried to solidify my group on the left and start the endgame. I surrounded a sizeable centre and when he shoulder hit reduced it I counted and sensibly decided to just make the points and be 15 points ahead. But then we had a ko, which was fine as I planned to concede with d13 connection if need be, but then I very unsensibly didn't, let him amplify the ko, made a rubbish threat, didn't easily live at b11 and then lost on time as I tried to play my last stone to live on the 1st line with the sad remnants of my left side group (and reviewing afterwards would still have been ahead after all that debacle!). Oops.
Jon Diamond wrote on his game against Jan Ramon: A partially decent start, marred by the usual tactical error - losing 6 stones. This time it was not catastrophic though as I created decent thickness in the centre. He then let me create a moyo and then he took the 3-3 point to leave him with a decent territory and then tried to pull out some of his stones. This was almost certainly a bad move as it gave him a group with not quite 2 eyes. I’m sure he mis-stepped in the following fight and I could have killed him, but I failed and made no territory at all, then a final non-seeing of a tesuji made another loss…
Des Cann wrote: I had a good start against Lucman Bounoider. My Chinese looking close to territory as he had an eyeless group leaning on it. Because of that weak outside I felt strong enough to form a weak group of my own. He chose to attack it quite forcibly and killed it, but allowed me too many moves affecting his larger weak group which I killed. My lead was quite large then. He thrashed around in the rest of the board and closed on me, but I didn’t manage to lose enough points and he resigned in boredom whilst I was considering a final reinforcing move.
Jamie Taylor wrote: My opponent, Gabriel Mercier, seemed a bit stronger than me. It reminded me of playing Andrew Simons back in the day, where he always had a simple move that made mine look silly. I managed to distract him with enough silly nonsense moves to trick him into making a big mistake though and he followed that up with enough other mistakes for me to win by 8.5 points. Interestingly, Katago thinks that the first big mistake was actually a very sensible sacrifice play, but that's certainly not what it felt like.