British Go Week

British Go Journal No. 61. March 1984. Page 3.

The second British Go Week was held between October 22 and October 29 1983, three years after the first one. Once again response was somewhat patchy, ranging from the miniscule to the magnificent. While many clubs apparently ignored the opportunity to increase their membership, others made strenuous efforts:

NATIONAL PUBLICITY: On October 28th, Richard Granville appeared on "Womens' Hour' on Radio 4. This opening was created by Andy Finch, while restoring the producer's piano. Although the spot only lasted five minutes, the membership secretary received 50 enquiries within the next two days.

NON-STOP GO RECORD: In 1977, playing under Guinness Book Of Records rules, David Mitchell set up a record of 46 hours' non-stop Go. During British Go week two brave souls tried to break this record, one successfully, one not.

Tony Atkins, 4 kyu of Nottingham university made his bid on October 21, this was organised at short notice in aid of Karnival (the local rag week). He took on anybody and, everybody, with strengths ranging from 1 kyu to 38 kyu (have you ever tried giving 9 stones and 250 komi?). He held out for 30 hours (82 games: won 40, lost 41, one jigo) before being forced to retire by a bad cold. Thanks are due to all members of the local club for providing the opposition.

A week later Matthew Macfadyen started his attempt to break the record. From 10:30 on the Friday morning, he kept on playing until 6:33 on Monday morning, at which point the matchsticks finally snapped and his eyes clanged shut. By then the record had been well and truly smashed - from 46 hours to a mind wrenching 68 hours and 3 minutes. During this time he played 191 games, winning 124 and losing 67.

Finding opponents for the nights is always a problem with such attempts, and special thanks are due to Harold Lee and Chris Whitehouse who bore the brunt of this onerous task, as well as to Sue Paterson for organising it and for her efforts to get Fleet Street interested, though these were largely unsuccessful.


SOUTH LONDON: On Saturday 29 October, six stalwart members of South London club set up their stall in Croydon's busy Whitgift shopping centre and proceeded to bewilder the local populace with a session of go alfresco. The less physically robust were soon assigned to a warmer pitch inside the local W H Smiths, which had spotted a good chance to promote pre-Christmas sales of Go sets. However the hardy perennials, suitably armed with flasks of various brown beverages, stuck to their posts and managed to entice a steady stream of curious onlookers from the cash card queue opposite. Plenty of 'How to Play Go' leaflets were dispensed and nobody reported frostbite of the fingers.

NORTH LONDON: Sue Paterson arranged a display in Wood Green library.

OXFORD: A demonstration incorporating a small competition (first prize: free beer at the Go Club's next meeting) with simple problems for beginners was arranged.

CHELTENHAM: No less than three demonstrations were organised, resulting in several new members.

MANCHESTER: Tony Moran gave a 5 minute live interview on local Radio, and a demonstration was run at a city centre games shop.

MALVERN: A fine attempt by Paul Manning who organised a couple of demonstrations and got two articles (with three photos) in the local paper.

MAIDENHEAD: British Go Week coincided with half term at Furze Platt School, and France Ellul arranged five matches with various visiting teams both before and after the Week. Most notable was a match against the" British Champion's Team" on Monday 17 October. On board 1 Nicola Oswald, aged 12, took 13 stones and 6 points komi against Matthew Macfadyen and won by the komi. Leigh Rutland managed a jigo with Toby Manning on board 2, and overall Furze Platt school won the match by 5.5 points to 4.5. Before the match Matthew and Toby gave a short talk about the game to the AGM of the Furze Platt School's Parent-Teacher Association. Afterwards articles appeared in the Maidenhead advertiser and the Bucks Free Advertiser.

ABERDEEN: For sheer hard work and ingenuity however, pride of place must go to Dave Hall at Aberdeen. His efforts included: articles on Go in the local newspapers, a live broadcast on local radio, almost getting on TV by incessantly phoning the local station, visiting all the Chinese restaurants in the city, giving a live demonstration in the main street, printing 600 leaflets and putting them, plus a poster, in the local tourist information centre, demonstrations in a games shop, and setting up a thriving university club (though not being a member of the university).

The reward of this Herculean effort has been a 500% increase in club membership. Well done Dave - and all the others who did their bit for British Go Week.


This article is from the British Go Journal Issue 61
which is one of a series of back issues now available on the web.

Last updated Thu May 04 2017. If you have any comments, please email the webmaster on web-master AT britgo DOT org.