Go in Britain: 2001
2001 saw part of the 27th London Open at the beginning and all of the 28th at the end, thanks to the way the New Year weekend changes with the calendar. The Open at the start of the year of the snake was the last of twelve held at the Highbury Roundhouse Community Centre. It was part of the new Toyota European Go Tour and attended by 103 players from all over the UK and Europe and from the USA and Thailand. Winner of both the Lightning and the Open was Kim Seong-June, the Korean 6dan living in London. Second was Tanaka Masanori, 5 dan from Switzerland, third Matthew Macfadyen (6 dan UK), fourth Matti Siivola (5 dan Finland) and fifth Wang Xiang-Dong (4 dan UK). Clay Smith (USA) won all seven games as a 4 kyu. The London Open at the end of the year ended before the year of the horse began. It was also part of the Toyota Tour and was held in the prestigious, central location of the International Student House opposite Regents Park. This offered on-site accommodation and even a space theme party for those who like that sort of thing. 107 names appeared on a results list that was topped by Hungarian 5 dan Gbor Szabics who won with 7/8. On 6/8 were Pall Sannes (4 dan Norway) and Kim Seong-June. Fourth was Nakamura Taiko (5 dan Japan) and fifth Matthew Cocke (5 dan UK). Best kyu player was UK's Stephen Streater (14 kyu) with 7/8. Filip van der Stappen (5 dan Netherlands) beat Kim Seong-June to win the Lightning, with father and son Mogens and Lasse Jakobsen from Denmark equal third.
British Go Congress
Matthew Macfadyen won the British Open for the tenth time. The congress was held in the Chapter Arts Centre in the Welsh Capital, Cardiff. Matthew finished ahead of T.Mark Hall at the top of a list of 73 names and also won the British Lightning trophy. Best club, taking the Nippon Club Trophy, was Wanstead and that club's Francis Roads held on to the Stacey Trophy for most wins during the year. At the BGA's Annual General Meeting, Simon Goss was elected as the new president; Alison Bexfield stepped down as President following the birth of Charlotte and a family move to Luxembourg.
Kim Seong-June started 2001 with two wins in a row at the Hitachi Furze Platt (Maidenhead) and Oxford, and later won at Wanstead. Matthew Macfadyen also won three events: Milton Keynes, his ninth Welsh Open in a row and his tenth in twelve at Coventry. T.Mark Hall held on to his Northern tile in Manchester and won the Wessex (Marlborough). Quentin Mills retained the Scottish title. Des Cann won the Cambridge Trigantius and was 39th at the World Amateur. Alistair Wall won Cornwall, Kim Young at Bracknell, Simon Shiu at Leicester, Kashiwagi Kunio at Cheshire and Tim Hunt at the Three Peaks (North Yorkshire). Handicap events were won by Richard Moulds (Cheshire), Roger Daniel (Cornwall) and Malcolm Hagan (West Surrey). The Barlow was won by Mike Cockburn; the British Small Board was won by John Rickard. Royal Standard won the Thames Valley Team Tournament.
Matthew Macfadyen and Kirsty Healey were back together in 2001 after the previous year's illness. They won the British Pairs at Boars Hill in Oxfordshire and were top western team at the World Pairs in Tokyo. Natasha Regan played in the European Pairs in Bosnia with Alex Selby (coming fourth) and in the British Pairs with Matthew Cocke (coming second). British Handicap Pairs Champions were Nicola Hurden and Shawn Hearn. The MSO Pairs was won by Kim Seong-June and Sylvia Kalisch, ahead of Jackie Chai and Francis Roads, Natasha Regan and Alex Selby. Pair Go was also played at the European in Dublin (won by Annemarie Hovingh and Niek van Diepen), but no British Pair did well at that one. The BGA thanks the Japan Pair Go Committee for supporting these events.
Matthew Macfadyen proved a worthy champion by continuing to do well in the European Fujitsu Cup. In 2000 he was semi-finalist and in 2001 made the last eight going out to Svetlana Shikshina. 18 players competed in the Candidates' Tournament to get the Challenger's League with three other top UK players. Young Kim, the Korean 5 dan from London, emerged from the League to challenge for the title. He took one win to Matthew's three in the match played during the MSO, allowing Matthew the title for the 17th time in 24 years.
The 5th Mind Sports Olympiad was held at Southbank University during 10 days of late August. It was rather a smaller affair than the previous year, but go events saw a reasonable attendance. However if the MSO occurs at the same time in 2002, it will have the Isle of Man Go Week for competition. In 2001 the main event gold medallist was Matthew Macfadyen, silver Kim Seong-June, bronze Alex Selby. In the Rapid the medals went to Kim Seong-June, Alex Selby and Francis Roads. The Lightning medals went to Kim Seong-June, Piers Shepperson and Francis Roads and the 13x13 to Sugiyama Masashi, Francis Roads and Kim Seong-June. Including Pairs this gave Seong-June three golds, a silver and a bronze. The usual interesting selection of other games were played at the event, including the European Shogi Championship. The British Shogi Championships and the Barlow Go Tournament were both held during the Cambridge Mind Sports Weekend, an event being repeated in 2002.
Youth and Pros
Jimmy Mao from Bristol won the British Youth at Abingdon and became the first junior for quite a few years to make shodan. Bloxham School (near Banbury) became the fourth school ever to get their name on the Castledine Trophy in 22 years. The MSO Youth event was won by Shawn Hearn ahead of twins Adam and Tom Eckersley-Waites. Schools work continued in 2001, especially a new project in Hampshire and also some teaching at Matsuri Festivals as part of "Japan 2001". Also part of "Japan 2001" was the visit of 9 dan pros Magari Reiki and Haruyama Isamu. Their tour, unfortunately without a party of supporting amateurs, visited London, Cambridge, Bristol and Oxford via various castles and monuments. They gave lectures and displays to at least 20 players at each session. The other contact with pros in 2001 was through the BGA's joint organisation of the European Go Congress in Dublin. No less than 16 pros attended at some point during the fortnight from Japan, China and Korea. Early in 2002 more pros would be attending the Kisei Match first game in London. This would set 2002 off in fine form.