Go In Britain: 2014
The international highlight of the year was the celebration in Japan of the first quarter century of Pair Go.
Our online team stayed in the C-League at the start of the year, but won all their games in the new season at the end. A new youth equivalent was started in which the BGA had a team.
Kobayashi Chizu, 5p, is often in the UK and in 2014 she helped teach Go at the Oriental Museum in Durham. The London Open had no less than three teaching pros, thanks to international support.
The main event of the year in the UK was the coming together of the British Go Congress and the European Youth Go Championships in March at Butlins in Bognor Regis.
The tournament scene was not dominated by any one player in 2014, but temporary residents won quite a few events.
Unfortunately the ever large Oxford Tournament was not held, but the Small Board came back. Both the Welwyn Garden City Tournament and the British Pair Go Championships moved to a new venue, the Red Lion in Hatfield. Arundel skipped a year because of the British nearby, but Swindon came back. There was a welcome return after a long break of an event in Letchworth, this time a rapid play event.
European Youth Go Congress
The European Youth Go Congress was held at Butlins in Bognor Regis, alongside the British Go Congress, on the first weekend of March. Nearly 100 young players, plus their families and trainers, came to take part in three age groups. They were able to enjoy the fun of Go coupled with the seaside and the Butlins facilities whilst at the event.
In the Under-12, the best of the 42 youngsters was Oscar Vazquez from Spain, with Denis Dobranis from Romania second. UK's Oscar Selby topped the group on three wins out of six in seventh place. In the Under-16, the best of the 35 players was Alexandru-Petre Pitrop from Romania and second was Grigorij Fionin from Russia. Roella Smith was our top player in 22nd place. Twelve players competed for the Under-20 title. Lukas Podpera from Prague won all his games to win the section.
On the Sunday evening an informal Pair Go tournament was held for both the children and adults. There were ten pairs in the main group and the winners were the young Polish children Marianna Szychowiak (aged 9) and Wojceich Malkiewicz (aged 10).
British Go Congress
The British Go Congress was held at Butlins in Bognor Regis alongside the European Youth Go Championship. On Friday evening, 28th February, the British Lightning was held, won by Romania's Cornel Burzo. 61 players took part in the Open and the Champion was also Cornel Burzo. Second was Robert Rehm (Netherlands), Felix Wang was third and Bei Ge was fourth. Prizes were awarded by divisions: Francisco Divers, Michael Charles, Martin Harvey, Estonia's Jan Willemson and Gerry Gavigan.
The winner of the Stacey Trophy for most wins during the year was Toby Manning, scoring 17 points more than Richard Hunter in second.
In 2014 the tournament scene was not dominated by any one player, but temporary residents won quite a few events. Three British players won two events: Toby Manning won Maidenhead and Cornwall, Jon Diamond won Trigantius and East Midlands, Alistair Wall won the Welsh Open and Milton Keynes. A Chinese player living in Glasgow, Tongzhou Cai, won the Wessex and Edinburgh Christmas events. French player Ngoc-Trang Cao won Belfast and the Northern, whilst her friend Jitka Bartova (from Czechia) won Swindon.
Winning one event each were the following: Mark Elliot at Chester, Matthew Macfadyen at Skye, Andrew Kay at Birmingham, Bruno Poltronieri at Shropshire, Matthew Cocke at the Three Peaks, Alex Kent at Durham, David Lee at the Scottish Open, Alex Rix at Bracknell, Philip Leung at Coventry, Paul Taylor at Welwyn Garden City and Tim Hunt at Letchworth.
Brian Timmins won the Cheshire Handicap, whilst Paul Massey won the Cornish Handicap. Chris Volk won the Bar-Low. Chris also topped the A-Group at South London and Colin Maclennan the B-Group, whilst Andrew Kay was the best teacher there. The British Small Board was won by Paul Smith. The DDK Grand Prix was again won by Colin Maclennan (Gediminas Sarpis was the best player below 20 kyu).
The MSO was again held in London, at a new venue the JW3 centre; this time Aja Huang (originally from Taiwan) won all three events (Open, 9x9 and 13x13).
Central London won the online league when their A Team won the sixth edition. Both the spring and autumn London team matches were won by the North London Club.
The British Pair Go title was regained by Matthew Cocke and Natasha Regan, whilst the handicap section was won by Jil Segerman and Pat Ridley. The new venue of the Red Lion proved quite comfortable. In addition in 2014 there was the usual Pair Go at the London Open and the Pair Go at the European Youth, and several fans of Pair Go went to Japan to join in the silver anniversary of the game.
The Candidates' Tournament was held at the University of Warwick and 24 players took part. Bei Ge won all six, closely followed by Andrew Kay on five wins. Unfortunately Bei could not in the end play the Challengers which was held at ISH in London. Andrew Kay won all seven games and Alex Kent won five to become the Challengers. Des Cann and Boris Mitrovic won four games each. The best of five games match, held in the autumn in Milton Keynes and Oxford, was won 3-0 by Andrew Kay, making him British Champion for the third year in a row.
Vanessa Wong was 35th at the European Go Championship in Romania, and London-based players Pierre Paga and Aja Huang took 25th and 53rd in the Weekend Tournament.
The World Amateur was held in Korea in 2014 and our rep, Francis Roads, won three games to come 44th. Andrew Kay was our representative in the KPMC International Baduk Championship, also in Korea, and placed 33rd with three out of six.
The UK team had mixed results in the 2013-2014 season of the Pandanet European Teams and stayed in the C-League. However at the end of 2014 they won all their matches at the start of the new season, to end the year equal top with Bulgaria.
Tony Atkins, Francis Roads, Alison and Simon Bexfield were all invited to Japan to celebrate 25 years of Pair Go. As Turkey withdrew, Alison and Simon were able to take part in the International Amateur Pair Go Championships. They won two games to end in 26th place, but won a best dressed prize for their Ascot Races outfits. In addition Vanessa Wong was representing Hong Kong and ended up fourth. Korea won the event as usual.
The Youth Championship was again at Aston and attracted 19 players. Dylan Zhu-Dong was the Youth Champion, also winning Under-14. Runner up and Under-12 champion was Oscar Selby. Under-16 was won by Melchior Chui, Under-10 by Hilary Bexfield and Under-8 by Andreas Ghica. The Castledine Trophy was for the first time by Stamford Green Primary from Epsom.
The eleventh UK Go Challenge went ahead, with finals again at Milton Primary School near Cambridge. 25 young players took part in the finals. Gold was won by Melchior Chui, Silver by Roella Smith and Bronze by Edmund Smith. Top junior school was the home team.
The Youth Grand Prix ran for another year. Edmund Smith ended with a sufficient lead, with 675 points after the London Open. Second was Charlotte Bexfield with 626 and third was Kelda Smith with 528.
The new European youth team event saw our youngsters doing quite well, with a win over Italy to their credit.
The London Open ended the year as usual. 107 players took part in the Open, similar to 2013. A lot of effort was put in by new organiser Gerry Gavigan to get support from different organisations and this resulted in no less than three teaching professionals being there. Unfortunately Gerry was unwell during the event and missed most of the fun. The pros were Hajin Lee (3p) and Choi Dongeun (1p) from Korea and Fan Hui (2p) from France. Both the ladies and Fan were kept busy analysing games and giving lectures.
The winner of both the Lightning and the Open was Oh Chu-Min, a 7d Korean player at Durham University. Just losing out in second place in the Open was Young Sam-Kim (7d) from Korea and Poland's Mateusz Surma (7d) was third. UK's Matthew Cocke was 11th to win the new David Ward Cup for the best local player.
Oh Chi-Min also won the Pair Go with partner Lova Wåhlin, beating the pro Hajin Lee with Benjamin Teuber into second. Ngoc-Trang Cao and Jitka Bartova won the doubles section. Bruno Poltronieri, Su Yang and Lova Wåhlin won the Rengo.