The first tournament of the year is always the London Open and it was held as usual over the New Year holiday at the Highbury Roundhouse. Part of the Fujitsu Grand Prix circuit, ten countries were represented by the 119 players. There were 23 Germans, a party from St. Petersburg, Swedes, Slovenians, contestants from France and Luxembourg, but only one Dutchman (a first kyu of course). Organiser Harold Lee kept all in order and took some out for a Chinese meal on New Year's Eve. It was Chinese who dominated the top of the tournament too. Shen won his first five games, losing only to Schoffel; Zhang lost to Shen and Macfadyen; Zhao won five including that against MacFadyen. The final ordering was Shen first with 7, then Zhang and MacFadyen joint second with 6. Next came a group on 5 wins: D. Schoffel, P. Zhao, R. Hunter, S. Liesegang, E. Frolikh, H. Zschintzsch. Tenth was Piers Shepperson with four wins. Exceptional results were achieved by V. Veleskevitch (Russian 7 kyu) who won all 8, and by R. Maire (French 2 kyu) P. Wirth (German 5 kyu) who both won 7. The lightning tournament was also won by Shen, beating its organiser, T. Mark Hall, in the final.
Jim Clare was hopeful of another win at Furze Platt, and the odds were improved by the third Championship game taking place in a back room. However Yuri Ledovskoi from the Ukraine was in the country and Cambridge brought along a Japanese 6 dan, Nagano Shum. In the last round Nagano won the game between the two to take the first place. At the same time MacFadyen beat Shaw, as he had done in the second game a week earlier. The fourth game also went MacFadyen's way, so Matthew retained the title for 1992 three games to one.
Continuing his winning streak Nagano won at Wanstead and at Cambridge before returning to Japan. Oxford was won by Shaw, doing well on his old home ground. Also winning on home ground was Matthew MacFadyen at the Coventry event. At the Youth Championships at Stowe School, Chris Dawson, from the reigning school team of Furze Platt School Maidenhead, won the under 18 title. Brakenhale's Adelberto Duarte and Daniel Cox took the under 16 and under 14 titles. David Bennett of Culcheth took under 12 and Swindon's Graham Brooks under 10.
The campus of the University of East Anglia, situated on the edge of the fine cathedral city of Norwich, was home for this year's British Go Congress. Local 3 dan Matthew Cocke started the weekend how he meant to continue by winning the lightning tournament. He continued by beating the local favourite Piers Shepperson in round one of the Open. Indeed none of the three dans or four dans could beat Cocke either and the mathematics student took the Open title for the first time. His win helped Norwich club to take the Nippon Club team trophy, but it was not enough to stop Desmond Cann from taking the Terry Stacey Trophy for the best results over the previous year, ahead of Francis Roads.
Two of the next three tournaments were new events. West Wales hosted their first tournament on a very sunny day at the seaside resort of Barmouth. Lured by some birds Matthew MacFadyen attended and won easily. Quentin Mills won at Bracknell, having regained form after some time away from go. Francis Roads lead the English invasion of Scotland, winning in Edinburgh despite tough opposition from local Chinese and a late run by Alison Jones. Leicester was won by Des Cann. In Battersea Park the annual Anjin Kai Matsuri match was won by a very small margin by the London Japanese against the London British. Reading Club won the 1993 Thames Valley Go League.
In Europe our top players met with mixed success. MacFadyen won in Gotheburg at the end of 1992 and Andrew Jones was 7th in Zurich. At the Ing Cup in Amsterdam MacFadyen only won one game, but Shepperson won three. Gerry Mills won the Irish Open on tie-break from Noel Mitchell. Shepperson was fourth in Milan and in Helsinki. This left him 9th in the final Grand Prix placings with MacFadyen 11th, helped by his 8th place in the Prague European. Zhang was not in the Grand Prix placings having not played enough tournaments. Piers' mixed fortune accompanied him to the World Amateur in Fukuoka where he was placed joint 21st out of 40 players.
The first stage of the British Championship is the Candidates' Tournament. Any shodan or kyu player who has won a place at a regional tournament, or anyone two dan or stronger can play, providing they have a British passport or have lived in Britain for more than five years. This rule meant Shutai Zhang the Chinese doctor from London could play. Indeed none of the 33 other players could touch him and he won with five wins and a bye. Joining him in the next stage were in order: Bob Bagot, Quentin Mills, John Rickard and T. Mark Hall. They joined together with the seeded players: Edmund Shaw, Des Cann and Alex Rix for the all-play-all Challenger's League. Zhang beat all. The three seeded players retained their places for next year. In the best of five title match Zhang won the first three, so MacFadyen had to reluctantly give up his British Champion title.
The first game was commented on afterwards by Sugiuchi Kazuko (pro 8 dan) who was in London for three days. She was accompanied by Inoue Naomi (pro 2 dan). We were privileged to play simultaneous games against these Japanese lady professionals, having already had six weeks of the Chinese lady professional, Feng Yun, 7 dan. During her stay, as well as London, Feng Yun visited provincial clubs such as Bristol, Cambridge, Maidenhead, Leamington and Teesside, but she said her favourite city was Bath. Many players benefited from her teaching and enthusiasm for go.
The second Isle of Man Go Holiday took place in August. 38 players contested the main tournament. Francis Roads won despite a first round loss to Tony Atkins and tough games against Paul Boogerd and Simon Goss. Francis also won the afternoon tournament and the 13 by 13 event. Outstanding kyu player was Paul Margetts (2 kyu) who won the handicap tournament and prizes in the Main and Afternoon. As well as playing go in the many other side tournaments, there was always the chance to explore the island with its beautiful scenery, horse trams, steam trains, beaches and glens, or to just relax with go friends both old and new.
The Northern Go Congress in Manchester was nominated for the Fujitsu Grand Prix for 1993-1994. However the organisers of the Obayashi Cup in Amsterdam forgot to check the date and clashed, so only one mainland European attended. The attendance was 68 players including more British dan players than normal. Under EGF Rules the winner was Kyung Su Ju who won 4/4 including beating MacFadyen, before leaving early to return to Korea. Incredibly maverick 4 dan Matthew Cocke got a jigo against MacFadyen in the last round. They both ended with a score of 4.5, but MacFadyen was placed second on tie-break. The EGF decided not to award Ju Grand Prix points, so the points went to the following: MacFadyen, Cocke, Wall, Lee, Cann, Wang, Olsson, Roads, Bagot, Hall.
At Milton Keynes there was a four-way tie between Cann, Lee, Roads and Y. Kim who is a Korean living in London. Shrewsbury was won yet again by MacFadyen who also won at the Wessex. Swindon hosted a new tournament sponsored by National Power; it was won by the new British Champion, Zhang. A Yorkshire Dales tournament was run at short notice and was won by Simon Shiu of Teesside.
On the international scene Zhang was first in Copenhagen, but suffered against Shen and Guo in Brussels. Andrew and Alison Jones beat the winners of the previous year, Matthew MacFadyen and Kirsty Healey, to earn the right to play in the Pair Go in Japan. It will be their second annual trip as Alison was the representative to the 1992 Women's Amateur Tournament.
Finally major publicity was obtained by Harold Lee being interviewed on BBC TV science programme "Tomorrow's World" and was filmed playing against a computer opponent.
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