The UK had six players representing it at the European Youth Go Championships held over the weekend of 15th March in Zandvoort am Zee in the Netherlands.
Looking very smart in their UK Youth Team hoodies there was a good team spirit. After the first two rounds things were not looking good for the UK, but in the later rounds we did pick up more wins to end with a total of 14 points out of 36.
One of our players had a very exciting finish in the last round. After an epic game, in which her opponent had gone into three sets of overtime, Roella claimed a win by one point – after the additional extra 6 points komi courtesy of Ing overtime rules which give two penalty points per overtime set.
The UK team went clear top of the European C League by beating the other team with six wins, Bulgaria. Congratulations to the team for winning all four games to take the top place in the league by two match points.
For the first time the Irish Go Congress, that features the Confucius Cup (Irish Open) and Irish Rapid Play, also featured a Chinese Chess Tournament. As well as the players, there were Chinese guests from the Go and Chinese Chess organisations including 7p Go professionals Hua Xueming and Huang Yizhong. The venue this time was the historic Gresham Hotel in the centre of Dublin.
The Friday night Irish Rapid was won by Oh Chi-Min (7d Durham) and the runner up was Kirsty Healey (2k Leamington).
The main Go event, the Confucius Cup, was keenly contested between the four 7d players at the top. The number of players was boosted to an excellent 58 on the last day, by a party of youngsters from Galway joining in. In addition there were 17 Chinese Chess players, including the winner Huang Chunlong.
Chris Bryant completed the final game of our match against Croatia with an easy 16.5 point win on Saturday. He got all four corners and failed to follow the proverb "If you win all 4 corners resign" and lived easily in the centre. The game was uneventful without too much fighting.
On the Tuesday Des Cann lost his game on board 1 and said: "I lost my first game this year. I blame it on being a bit stressed at work recently :-)
The game was mostly OK for me but my opponent played fast keeping me under pressure.
We've retained our unbeaten record, with our sixth match still incomplete.
We lead Croatia 2:1 with the final game involving Chris Bryant, our captain, being played this Saturday evening.
Please tune it to Pandanet then to find out whether we make it six in a row, prior to our head to head with Bulgaria in the next round, which will probably decide who comes first in League C.
Full details of our matches are available on our PGETC Page.
Our match against South Africa, probably our strongest opponents in League C, was a nerve tingler, coming down to the closest of all possible finishes.
We managed to put out our top three players for the occasion, Andrew Simons, Jon Diamond and Des Cann, with Paul Taylor (number 6 on our players list) playing on board 4.
Paul was struggling a bit in the opening, but captured a group slightly unexpectedly and was going happily along into yose with about a 15 point lead when he missed the implications of a throw-in and lost an 11 stone group though dame-zumari. Sigh...
Still, Des Cann (pictured right) soon made up for this, as he says: "I had quite a safe game. He made two low extensions from his hoshi, so I invaded in sente and then shoulder hit.
UK stayed second behind Bulgaria in the 12-team C-League. Bulgaria have won two more boards than the UK.
The match against Ireland ended in a 3-1 win for the UK team, as follows:
Links to the games, with .SGFs, are available on our main Pandanet Go European Team Championship (PGETC) page.
Gerry Gavigan (13k) from South London took second place in the 2014 UCC Tournament. This was held in the Mardyke Pavilion of University College Cork, situated in their sports area next to the River Lee. The 13 players who took part all played handicap games with a maximum of nine stones. Gerry won four games to win 100 euro only losing to the winner, Philippe Renaud (2d) from Galway. Philippe won all five games to gain the 150 euro first prize and Thomas Shanahan (4k Cork) took the third place on SOS tie-break from Artur Gower (18k Galway).
The UK's match against Spain on 18th November was split so that board 1 was played a day later.
Des Cann on board 2 wrote: My opponent started our game with the wrong overtime and I didn't notice causing a flurry of emails and abortive attempts to restart. On the board things were much calmer and I was able to plan the yose fairly early. My opponent got a ko in my corner but just using big yose as ko threats was good enough for me. He lived but I won the game quite safely.
Toby Manning on board 3 wrote: We had a fairly quiet game, with no major fights. I played a simple fuseki, ending up ahead and by the early middle game I simply had to avoid a major disaster – either losing a group or letting him get a large central territory. He failed to start a fight on the left hand side which could have been problematic and then I started a small semeai to gain some aji on the lower side.
The 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championships was held in Tokyo at the end of October. To celebrate the silver jubilee, in addition to the usual 32 pairs from Japan and around the world an extra 30 guests were invited, people who have proved keen to promote Pair Go over the last quarter century. From the UK the extra invites went to Tony Atkins, Francis Roads, Alison and Simon Bexfield.
As the pair from Turkey dropped out at short notice, Alison and Simon were promoted to the status of players. They won two of their five games, losing to Singapore, Hungary and Germany, but beating Mexico and Italy to end in 26th place.