The 23rd Welsh Open was held at the Min-Y-Mor Hotel in Barmouth again, but organised by Martin and Helen Harvey this year, having been staged for many preceding years by stalwarts Tony and Sue Pitchford and helpers. Over the two days, 26 players took part, with the bar at 1 kyu. Encouragingly, all but two players chose to play in the extra (6th) round. This year the playing areas were in two very nice rooms within the hotel (Bistro Room & Family Room) - a change which, whilst forced, was well received.
The weather was overcast most of Saturday, but brightened up on Sunday afternoon. The traditional evening meal on the Saturday was again arranged, and attracted 20 people. The organisers were grateful for this support, which helps keep the hotel management sweet!
Both the London City Go Club and the Central London Go Club have returned this week to their normal pub venue after the pub's refurbishment.
However the Melton Mowbray is now known as the Inn of Court.
For those who do not know it is located at 18 Holborn near to Chancery Lane tube station. Details on the pub website.
City club meets Friday evenings and Central London on Saturday afternoons.
Durham Go Tournament 2015 started with a fascinating two hour teaching event on the Friday night from Chi-Min Oh (7d), who talked for an hour about trick plays and then logged into KGS to analyse and review some people's games at random while they were playing them - demonstrating in some cases that it's not just kyu players who make silly mistakes! It was especially good of Chi-Min to run this, as it was his last day in Durham before travelling back to Korea.
The tournament itself had 29 entrants, ranging in strength from 3d to 22k, and was held again in the Pemberton Rooms.
The 36th WAGC took place in the Montien Riverside Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. Unbeaten winner was Kim Changhun of Korea. China's Hu Aohua was second and twelve-year-old Lai Jyun-Fu of Chinese Taipei was third.
The UK’s player Des Cann lost to France, Malaysia and Sweden. He won his fourth game against Spain, but then lost to Finland and Cyprus. He beat New Zealand in round 7, before losing to Norway in round 8.
James Hutchinson, representing Ireland, beat Azerbaijan and Belarus, before losses to Switzerland and Cyprus. He then beat Portugal and Costa Rica, before losing to Mongolia and Lithuania.
The silver jubilee edition of the British Pair Go Championships was held, like last year, at the Red Lion in Hatfield. In order to make the top group up to eight, a non-qualifying pair was added as ghosts, but then another all male pair had to be added as further ghosts as one pair failed to arrive. This did not affect the results as the winners, like last year, were Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke. The next three places were the same pairs as last too (but slightly different order) and the Fighting Spirit Prize was won this time by Anna Griffiths and Tony Atkins.
In the Handicap Section the new winners were youngsters Charlotte Bexfield and Alex Terry, second and third were as last year and the fighting spirit prize went to the youngest pair: Sophie Ellis and Oscar Selby.
The UK team remained unbeaten at the end of the 2014-2015 season to end top of the European C-League. They ended on 20 match points after 9 wins and 2 draws, and had won 33 out of 44 games.
The UK's last match was against Kazakhstan and all games were won by resignation. It looked for a while like the match was to be played early on the Sunday, but in the end only Tim Hunt's game was, the others (Andrew Simons, Sandy Taylor and Toby Manning) playing their games on the normal Tuesday evening.
In the battle for second place, both South Africa and Bulgaria killed the hopes of Croatia and Lithuania by winning their matches against Portugal and Cyprus respectively, both by four games to nil. This meant South Africa would be in the play-off against Switzerland.
Ireland beat Greece to achieve a respectable seventh place.
The third consecutive Scottish Open in Glasgow, and the second sponsored by the local Confucius Institute, saw 23 different players converge on Glasgow University.
After the dust had settled Tongzhou (Joe) Cai (3d Glasgow) remained undefeated on 6 wins to take custody of the cup, plus £50 cash and chocolate truffles.
Below the bar, the 4-8 kyu division saw a tussle for the prize between local clubmates Niall Paterson (5k) and Joseff Thomas (8k).
This year's Challengers' League, played between the top 8 available players coming out of the Candidates' Tournament, took place at the Goddard Arms in Swindon on the second May Bank Holiday weekend. Paul Barnard and Nick Wedd kindly officiated the proceedings.
Andrew Kay (the reigning British Champion) won all of his games to lead the field, followed by Andrew Simons who won all of his games except for his game against Andrew Kay. Charles Hibbert, playing in his first Challengers' League, finished with 4 wins in third place. Tim Hunt and Alistair Wall were next, with 3 wins each, followed by Richard Hunter and Harry Fearnley on 2 wins each. James Hutchinson completed the field with one win.
Being the top two players at the end of the Challengers' League, Andrew Kay and Andrew Simons will now go on to play for this year's British Championship title.
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Bob Hitchens reports:
I heard at the weekend of the death of Neil Stein.
I realise that members probably do not know Neil, but some players who were around in the 1960s will.
He was a founder member of the BGA and helped create the BGA’s first bank balance of any size when he recognised the possibility of compensation from University College London for cancelling our booking for the first European Congress to be held in Britain. That opened up a lot of possibilities for the BGA.
When I came on the scene he was the strongest British Go player at 1 kyu. John Barrs was 1 dan with perhaps an honorary element in it, but Stein had the beating of him.