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.
The British Open was part of the British Go Congress and it was held this year in the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury, over a weekend where the weather was described as "inclement". The whole event was sponsored by Pentangle Puzzles and Games.
The weekend started on the Friday afternoon with tuition by Oh Chi Min (7d), who continued with many game reviews over the weekend.
The British Lightning was held on the Friday evening. 28 players played seven tables of four for rounds 1, 2 and 3, then Swiss-style for rounds 4 and 5, to determine the winner as Alex Rix (3d Central London) with 5/5.
The Trigantius tournament was held in the bar of the Cambridge University Social Club in Mill Lane on the bank of the Cam on a gloriously sunny day.
Taking the Trigantius Trophy, and his second title since taking up tournament Go at the start of 2015, was London's Charles Hibbert (3d) with three straight wins.
Other prize-winners on three wins were Alison Bexfield (1d Letchworth), Yuji Tanaka (3k Japan), Martin Harvey (4k Manchester), Philip Smith (5k), Richard Mullens (6k London City), Fred Zhu (7k Cambridge) and Ben Murphy (10k Billericay).
Special prizes were awarded to those on two wins in categories of best Single Figure Kyu and best Double Figure Kyu.
Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead) ended top of the list of 34 players who attended the largest Cheshire Tournament (not counting the 2009 British Open). He beat the previous winner, Mark Elliot (1d Manchester), in the last round.
James Brownrigg (5k Chester) was the only other player on three wins, in this now single-section event.
An enthusiastic and well-behaved party of lads from Cheadle Hulme School did well, all winning at least one game, despite this being - for most of them - their first tournament: Alex Benton (12k) was the best junior and Daniel Gascoyne (27k) was the best novice.
Charles Hibbert from London entered Maidenhead-Hitachi Tournament as his first ever tournament. Having achieved 3d on both KGS and IGS, he entered at 2 dan and went on to win all three games to claim the Maidenhead title.
Also winning three games, and in second and third place, were Alistair Wall (1d Wanstead) and Jitka Bartova (1d Praha). As usual all players winning three or two games got a prize from the eclectic selection on the prize table or, this year, a mystery envelope. Those on three were: France Ellul (6k Maidenhead) and Fred Holroyd (8k Milton Keynes). 55 players took part.
Both Wanstead and Leamington teams won 9 games out of 16 to get the team prizes of sweets and chocolate. Charlotte Bexfield and Edmund Smith both won 4 games in the 13x13 side event.
Congratulations to Centrol London Go Club A team, Franciso Divers, Michael Webster and Chuck Fisher, for winning the 2014 season of the online league ahead of Belfast and claiming back the GoGoD shield, which they last held in 2011, from Edinburgh.
The second division was won by Cornish Rogues (Paul Massey, John Culmer and Rob White), who will be moving up to the first division next year, narrowly beating the Three Counties team.
We are starting to take bookings for the next season of the online league, which we hope to start promptly in April, so please could everyone who wants to take part get in touch with me at jmc AT toad.me.uk to confirm that they want to play.
Whilst we like to have teams associated with clubs, people on their own are very welcome to join up with an existing team which is low on members, so please don't hold back.
The 41st London Open Go Congress took place at International Students House at the end of December 2014. As well as the main seven-round tournament, there were Pair Go, Doubles, Lightning and Rengo side events, and the tournament culminated in 40 participants attending a New Year's Eve Dinner.
Day two of the London Open, Monday 29th December, saw rounds three and four of the Open. At the top in round three Benjamin Teuber lost to Mateusz Surma and Young-Sam Kim lost to Chi-Min Oh. So the two on four wins faced off in round four; Oh beat Surma to take a clear lead. At the end of the day the other players on four wins were: Kalle Timperi 1k, Lova Wåhlin 2k, Johannes Siven 3k, Alberto Adriasola 4k and Jannik Gram 5k.
The three pros present were busily anaylsing games at the end of each round and in the early evening Miss Choi gave a lecture for kyu players and Fan Hui reviewed a game with the stronger players.
The 2014 London Open got under way 15 minutes late on Sunday 28th December after a repairing. 108 players in all are expected, with 101 already playing. As usual a large number of players are from outside the UK, with many strong Chinese players as well as players from several European countries.
Also present are three professionals: Fan Hui from France, Dongeun Choi from Korea and Hajin Lee, the IGF Secretary.
Again the venue is ISH at the top of Great Portland Street convenient for seeing London and providing accommodation for those staying over.
The Edinburgh Christmas tournament saw a total of 25 players.
Tongzhou (Joe) Cai (3d Glasgow) sparkled the most and took the bottle of champagne with 4 wins from 4. Prizes for 3 wins went to co-organiser Boris Mitrovic (3d Edinburgh), Alistair Wall (2d Wanstead), Niall Paterson (5k Glasgow), Baron Hasslinger (5k Edinburgh) and Greg Cox (10k Dundee). The remaining two prizes went to Quintin Connell (9k Glasgow) for 2 wins from 3, and Magdalena Mladenova (1d Sofia) as the furthest-travelled on 2 wins.