The UK youth team narrowly lost to Serbia yesterday 2-3. This was the first of the 3 rounds in the European Youth Go Team Championship 2016/17. Please follow that link for names of the complete UK youth team squad.
Post-match comments (see below for comments prior to the games):
As expected, Zaki and Josh - playing on the two U16 boards - cruised to easy victories, with both clearly outranking their opponents. We needed to win on one of the other three boards.
Given the strengths of the opposing team on these boards, I had picked players from our team who would have a good evenly-matched game, rather than field our U12 7 kyu against a 16 kyu, in what would be a one-sided game. In the event the three remaining matches were exciting and closely fought, which made them fun games for the players, but we did not manage to turn them into wins.
Jianzhou finished first of the three, on board 5, losing by 16 points in a game which had swung back and forth. Jianzhou is an up-and-coming player, and I am sure we will see more of him in the youth team in the future.
On board 1, the U20 board, we were the underdogs, fielding a 2 dan against a 3 dan. Yueran Wang fought well, coming within striking distance, and put up a creditable performance. As our first dan-level youth player, and still in the U16 age group, this bodes well for the UK team in the future.
Board 4 proved the most exciting. Alexander was closely matched as their nominal 20 kyu was now playing at 16 kyu since the lists had been submitted. The game swung back and forth and in the end came down to narrow 4.5 point loss for us. All in all, a very exciting match for the spectators.
We thank those who watched the games, and did post-match reviewing (e.g. Toby Manning 1d).
The players all put up a good fight, and showed that the UK has emerging strength which will surely improve as time progresses.
The remaining two fixtures are scheduled as follows:
2nd round: Saturday, January 7th, 2017
3rd round: Saturday, January 28th, 2017
The UK play Serbia today in the first round of the European Youth Team Go Tournament. The match will be played online on kgs in the Euro Youth teams room at 2pm.
The players taking part today for the UK are:
Board 1: Yueran Wang
Board 2: Zaki Betesh
Board 3: Josh Gorman
Board 4: Alexander Hsieh
Board 5: Jianzhou Mei
We wish them all the best of games. Toby Manning has offered to review games after they finish for those taking part and watching online.
The UK had to nominate a squad for this tournament which could include up to 16 players,
covering three age groups: U20, U16 and U12.
The UK youth squad members named for this tournament, chosen from the wider UK Youth squad, are:
U20 Kapriel Chiarini: 2 kyu
Charlotte Bexfield: 5 kyu
Alex Terry: 6 kyu
Roella Smith: 7 kyu
U16: Yueran Wang 2 dan
Zaki Betesh: 5 kyu
Oscar Selby: 6 kyu
Josh Gorman: 6 kyu
U12: George Han: 5 kyu
Edmund Smith: 7 kyu
Alexander Hsieh: 16 kyu
Jianzhou Mei: 20 Kyu
I choose five players from this wider team for each of the three matches.
Team selection takes account of a number of factors - trying to make sure we field a team that can win the match, but also trying to ensure as many players in the named team have a chance to play a game.
I will also favour those players who are more active in attending youth tournaments, if players are of similar strength (while taking account of geographical location constraints).
I am pleased to say that the strength of the UK youth squad has improved markedly since the squad was formed,
and competition for places is much greater this year. The geographical spread of players has also improved.
For today's match we are fielding players from Oxford, Manchester, Scotland and Cambridge.
The success of the UK youth squad is due to the tireless efforts of a few key teachers in the youth go scene,
and also the financial support of the BGA.
The BGA and Castledine Trust financial support has enabled better venues for the youth events, and kept the cost down for the juniors attending. This has encouraged more novice players to give the tournaments a go.
The greater the number of players at the events, the easier it is to ensure all juniors have fun games and to encourage the weaker players to come back another year.
Alison Bexfield, UK EYGTC team captain