Highlight of 2008 was the BGA team's trip to the World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) in Beijing. Although no medals were won, the team did better than expected, especially in the Women's Team and Men's Individual sections. New during 2008 was the new-look BGA website, with a modern feel, menus and search facilities to aid navigation. Many new people were again introduced to Go during the year and continually more and more Go is played on-line. Unfortunately, despite growth in player numbers, the number of registered members fell during the year.
The British Go Congress was held on the sunny south coast in Hastings. Well, at least the Saturday was sunny, but the Sunday was marked by an unseasonal fall of snow. Winner of both the Open Championship and the British Lightning was T Mark Hall. The Nippon Club Cup was won by the Brighton Belles. Having won lots of games over the rest of the year, the winner of the Stacey Trophy for most wins during the year was Chinese player Shaoyou Ouyang
In 2008 Jaeup Kim, a Korean living in Reading, won four events: Furze Platt, Bracknell, Swindon and the new Arundel Tournament. Yohei Negi from St. Andrews won the Scottish in Dundee and Belfast and was joint Scottish Barlow winner with Alex Kent. Matthew Macfadyen won Wales for the 16th time, and also won Oxford and Coventry. David Ward was the only other multiple winner with Milton Keynes and East Midlands.
Matthew Cocke stopped Tony Goddard's reign at the Three Peaks. Tony Atkins won Cheshire, with youngster Huw Talis winning the Handicap. Visitor from Japan Yaeko Takano won in Cornwall and Eric Hall won the Handicap. Bob Bagot won the Northern and Bill Brakes the resurrected Shrewsbury. Chi Feng Cheung won the Wessex in Bath. Andrew Jones took Durham and Shaoyou Ouyang the Cambridge Trigantius. Li Shen returned to win Epsom, Alan Thornton won the West Surrey Handicap and Ed Wormington won the Bar-Low. William Brooks again won the Student Championship played on-line.
Central London/Chinese won the spring London team matches, and the autumn one was won by the Chinese alone. Maidenhead won the Thames Valley team title.
The MSO returned to central London the same week as the Isle of Man Go Week. At MSO the Gold places went to Tony Atkins in the Rapid, Paul Tabor in the Open, and Paul Smith won the British Small Board. At a very successful Isle of Man, Matthew Cocke won the Open, Richard Hunter won the Afternoon, Ian Marsh the Handicap and Paul Barnard the Die-Hards. Jenny Radcliffe won both the Continuous Lightning and the 13x13 Tournament and, in addition, won the Rengo with Edmund Stephen-Smith.
Matthew Macfadyen and Kirsty Healey kept the British Pair Go title. The event was again at Boars Hill in Oxfordshire. In the handicap group the winners were St. Albans' Sam McCarthy and John Collins. No British players took part in the EPGC and the IAPGC was recognised in the event at the WMSG this year. A Pair Go event at the London Open was won by Guo Juan and Ian Davis.
The Candidates' Tournament was again at Selwyn College, Cambridge. Matthew Cocke, Matthew Macfadyen, Nick Krempel, Hui Wang, Des Cann, T Mark Hall, David Ward and Alex Selby were the eight selected for the Challengers. As Bei Ge was not defending the title, the two players selected for the title match were Hui Wang who lost only to T Mark and Matthew Macfadyen who lost to Hui. In the title match, Hui won the first game, but Matthew took the next three to regain the British Champion's title.
Francis Roads played in the KPMC International Baduk Championship in Goyang, Korea, winning 4 games and Matthew Macfadyen played at the WYGC in Tokyo ending with 5 wins and 20th place. The big event of the year was the first WMSG in Beijing. Our women scored 8/21 and our men 15/30, led by Matthew Macfadyen on 5/6; he just failed to qualify for the knock-out stage on a tie-break. In the Pair Go, he played with Kirsty Healey and ended fourth in their group with 4/7. Our players in the individual event both won 3/7 and the Men's team won 3 matches to be 15th in their group. It was the Women's team that did best, winning 4 matches and, placing 4th in their group, got to the knock-out, where they lost to Korea. The team was sponsored by Winton Capital Management.
The Youth Championship was held at Aston and attracted 43 players. Maria Tabor was the new Youth Champion, also winning under-18. The other age group winners were Steven Donlon, Mazhar Warraich, John Perkins, Thomas Meehan and Roella Smith. The Castledine Trophy was again won by King Edward VI (Aston) School. The Highest scoring school was from Cambridge. The Youth Grand Prix continued and was won by Danielle Ward, ahead of Matthew Hathrell and Jack Drury. The fifth UK Go Challenge went ahead with finals in Cambridge. Gold was won by Matthew Hathrell and Silver by Hia Xia and Bronze went to Stewart Smith. Best Girl was Cher Bachar. Top schools were Aston and Milton.
The London Open ended the year as usual with 132 players. It was a major tournament of the new Pandanet Go European Cup and was held again at the central location of the International Student House on Great Portland Street. As usual, the first board was broadcast live on Pandanet (IGS). The top boards were dominated as ever by oriental players, some of whom had travelled over specially. Winner was Chi-Min Oh (7 dan), a Korean from Germany. Qing Du, a Chinese leaving near London, took second place and also won the Lightning. Lluis Oh was third with Csaba Mero, and Merlijn Kuin fifth with Viktor Lin. Guo Juan was again the visiting teaching pro.