Go in Britain: 1994

As the year of the hen faded into the year of the dog, over 100 players battled at go at the London Open. The opening one day fast play event saw two players unbeaten at the top: Shutai Zhang, the Chinese form London, and Matthew Cocke, the young maverick from Liverpool. Shutai also won the Lightning beating T. Mark Hall in an exciting final. In the Open itself players battled under Ing Rules thanks to sponsorship by the Ing Foundation. However Hitachi were the main sponsors, donating a large TV to the top school - Culcheth from Cheshire. Shutai again won all his games to win ahead of Macfadyen, Cocke, Hall, Wall and Rickard. Top visitor was 2 dan A. Grzeschniok from Germany who was sixth and also won the Hitachi camcorder in the winners' draw.

During the year the regional tournaments' titles were shared around the top British players. Leamington Club took their share of titles with Matthew Macfadyen (6 dan) winning at Furze Platt and Barmouth, Nick Webber (3 dan) winning on tie-break at Wanstead and Toby Manning putting in a good result at 2 dan to win the Three Peaks Tournament. Yet another club member Des Cann (4 dan) won at Shrewsbury to ensure that the go ban, usually held by Macfadyen, stayed in the club. Stevenage's William Connolley (3 dan) won at Oxford and Cambridge's John Rickard (4 dan) won the Wessex and tied on home ground with T. Mark Hall (4 dan). Hall also won at Swindon. Simon Shiu (3 dan) of Teesside won twice, at Leicester and Birmingham, whilst Reading's Edmund Shaw (5 dan) won Milton Keynes and Wanstead's Alistair Wall (4 dan) won the Scottish Open in Edinburgh. Tony Goddard (5 dan) travelled from Belfast to Dublin to win the Irish Open. The 1994 West Surrey Handicap was won by Paul Margetts (1 kyu) from Epsom Downs, whereas shodan Jonathan Chetwynd from London won the same at the end of 1993.

The British was hosted by Leamington Club at Warwick University. 114 players attended and despite organising and the distraction of a parallel bird watchers' conference Matthew Macfadyen kept a clear head to win the British Open ahead of Des Cann and win the Lightning by beating Dutch 1 kyu Steven van Belle in the final.

The Northern was the first tournament in the 1994-1995 European Grand Prix circuit. However the mainland Europeans chose to go to the Obayashi Cup in Amsterdam instead. This left Des Cann and Matthew Cocke with the chance to tie for first having drawn their mutual game. The other places were taken by Messers Shiu, Webber, Hall, Thorsteinsson, Rickard, Shepperson, Hazelden and Manning.

The first stage of choosing the challenger for Shutai Zhang's British Championship was the six round Candidates' Tournament. Cocke, Matthews, May, Webber and Hall were the five who survived to the next stage. Reserve was Andrew Jones. In the Challengers' League Matthew Cocke was still on form finishing second ahead of Shaw, but behind Macfadyen who will be attempting to regain the title after returning from his autumn stay in Japan.

Also in Japan in 1994 was Des Cann who was 21st in the World Amateur in Kyoto. He was placed the same as Shepperson in 1993, despite losing to ex- patriot Jim Bates who was 22nd for Australia. Alison Cross (1 kyu) won the women's qualifier and represented Britain at the WWAGC; she was placed 19th. Pair Go champions were Nick Webber and Alison Jones who, in Japan, lost to USA in the first round and then had fun in the handicap section.

Schools' Champions were Brakenhale School from Bracknell who won after nine times of Furze Platt winning. The Under 18 and Youth Champion was Joseph Beaton. David King won the Under 16 and John-Paul Kenton the Under 14.

In friendship matches against the London Japanese the spring tournament and the Battersea Park Matsuri were won by the Brits and Central London won the autumn team tournament. Some of the strongest Japanese had returned home leaving their team a little weaker at the top than normal.

In club events Reading won the Thames Valley Go League Tournament on tie- break from Epsom Downs, Wanstead won the Pink Stone and the Teesside Team Tournament. Leamington held on to the Jubilee Challenge Trophy after beating off some strong challenges from the above clubs.

Very few British attended the European in Maastricht, with only Clive Wright winning a prize in either main or weekend. The reason for the lack of British was a strong attendance at the US Open in Washington DC. John Rickard won the 4 dan section, Nick Webber the 3 dan and Tony Warburton the 1 kyu section. In the Die-Hards Tournament Jim Clare and John Rickard won prizes. Prizes were also won at Pair Go, but the most important victory was the British win in the International Friendship match - though of course the taking part is always more important than the winning!

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