Since the 1960s Oxford has not done very well in its Go matches against Cambridge. Even by normal standards, 2011 was a particularly bad year -- Oxford lost 6-0. However, in the run-up to this year's match, Oxford's spirits were high. Their line-up included a 5 dan undergraduate, and a 4 dan chef, from China, as well as a 4 dan visiting professor from Korea. To combat this, Cambridge's team included one visiting Chinese 4 dan. On paper, therefore, Oxford were the clear favourites.
Victory did not come easy, however. The first round saw a game between an Oxford 2 dan (name withheld, to protect the guilty) and Sam Rodrigues (3 kyu) from Cambridge. It was a game of two ladders -- one was in the mind of the Oxford 2 dan, and the other was on the all-too-real Go board. After they had played 15 moves each in the ladder, it became apparent, even to the 2 dan, that Sam's mind had also contained the correct image of the real world. Afterwards, Andrew Simons (Cambridge) generously offered the one word comment "Kageyama" -- a reference to pages 12-22, and passim, in Kageyama's brilliant book "Lessons in the Fundamentals of Go", which the hapless 2-dan had carefully re-read only two months earlier! After Round One, the result was 4-4. Luckily for them, in the next round Oxford got 4-3, so winning the Match 8-7.
After the Match Alex Eve donated, in perpetuity, a virtual "Rotten Ladder" as a prize, apparently for the winners. This will be held by Oxford, unless, and until, it is wrested from them by Cambridge -- presumably next year.