35 players gathered in the sunny Open University Sports Pavilion for the 27th Milton Keynes Go Tournament. The main tournament was another win for Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead). Second place went to Nyoshi (Ngoc-Trang Cao 2d), who beat the tournament organiser (Tim Hunt 2d) by half a point in a hard-fought game in round 2, but, as previously announced, she had to leave a round early. The excuse was quite good. She and her friend Jitka Bartova wanted to get back to Leamington to hear Matthew Macfadyen and Kirsty Healey singing in a concert.
Also on 3 wins were another organiser Ben Ellis (3k), Andrew Russell (4k Birmingham), Edwina Lee (6k Maidenhead) and Joey Capper (10k)
Perhaps more importantly the Milton Keynes Go side event was won with a perfect and persistent eight out of eight by Edmund Smith. Special mention should also go to Steve Bailey with seven out of nine.
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!
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 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 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.
Des Cann won the Bracknell Tournament for the first time. This was hopefully good preparation for his trip to the World Amateur in June. Others of the 26 players winning all three games were Roger Daniel (5k London) and David Storkey (7k Exeter). Arundel won the team prize, Francis Roads the 13x13 on a tie break, Jil Segerman the problem-solving competition and Pauline Bailey the caption contest.
Following on from Chris Volk winning it last year, the winner this year was German 3 kyu Tobias Ungerer from Cambridge University, who won 4 out of 5 games. His only loss was to Bogdan Ghica who came second on tie break from Richard Mullens and James Murray.
The tournament was generously sponsored by an anonymous benefactor who wishes to support the Bar-Low as a great way to encourage and benefit developing players and so the winner went home with a prize of £30. The second biggest prize was awarded to young Alex Terry (10k), who also won 4. Bob Dryden had estimated his grade at 10k, but won all his games and generously declined a cash prize.
Andrew Simons won all his games to win the first stage of the British Championship. The Candidates' Tournament was held this year at The Fulbourn Centre near to Cambridge thanks to organiser Geoff Kaniuk. 24 players played, qualified based on tournament results in the twelve months up to the end of March, though not all played every round.
The qualifiers to join British Champion Andrew Kay in the Challengers' League are:
However, Des Cann is this year's UK rep for the World Amateur, so will not play and his qualification for the Challengers' League is deferred for one year. His place is taken by the next placed person: Toby Manning 1d on 4/6.
Alistair Wall made an early start in the new season of the Stacey Grand Prix by winning the 2015 Welwyn Garden City Tournament. Coming first at this four round event, held at the Red Lion in Hatfield, means he starts in the lead and looks like he has a good chance of retaining the trophy he collected at the British for the previous 2014-2015 season.
Others of the 24 players who won prizes for three wins were Ngoc-Trang Cao (2d Strasbourg), Tim Hunt (2d Milton Keynes), Karim Secker (5k), Melchior Chui (9k Cambridge), Ben Murphy (10k Billericay) and Alex Terry (10k Bungay). Grimsby's Daffyd Robinson (11k) won the fighting spirit prize.