Go In Britain 2017
In 2017 the news continued to be dominated by DeepMind's program, especially when the self-taught version of AlphaGo beat its earlier incarnation.
The first BGA youth camp was held in the summer, but sadly one of the teachers there, BGA President Roger Huyshe, died suddenly in November. In response to this sad loss the BGA treasurer, Toby Manning, had to take on presidential responsibities.
The tournament scene in 2017 had a number of different tournament winners, but the top two players of the Stacey Grand Prix won five events between them.
Daniel Hu, a student at Cambridge, became British Champion for the first time.
Internationally our online team continued to do well in B-League, especially at the start of the 2017-2018 season, holding first or second place for four matches.
British Go Congress
The landmark 50th British Go Congress was held at the Centre for Mathematical Studies in Cambridge. This modern building is situated on its own campus west of the centre near to Churchill College, which provided accommodation. 68 players took part in the British Open, won this year by Qinmeng Zhang (7d). Second were Matthew Macfadyen and Lucas Baker. Young George Han (5k) won all 6 games. Toby Manning and Matthew Macfadyen ran a teaching session on the first day and later on the same day Xunrui Zhao (2d) won the British Lightning, beating Richard Mullens (6k) in the final. Charlotte Bexfield won the continuous 13x13 side event. The Annual General Meeting was held as usual on the Saturday evening.
In 2017 the tournaments were won by a variety of players from the UK and abroad. Toby Manning won three events (Cornwall, Sheffield and Three Peaks) and Alistair Wall two (Cheshire and Edinburgh Christmas); these two also took second and first in the 2016-2017 Stacey Grand Prix for the third year running, with 24 and 36 points, and were in the same positions at end of 2017 in the next edition.
Andrew Simons won Maidenhead, Edmund Shaw won Swindon, Alex Kent won Durham, Boris Mitrovic won the Scottish Open, Jon Diamond won Arundel, Daniel Hu won Trigantius and Philip Leung won Coventry. Lucretiu Calota won both Belfast and Bracknell, Yangran Zhang won both the Welsh and a new South Manchester Tournament and Gong Cheng won Welwyn Garden City and all three events at the Mind Sports Olympiad.
Finland's Eetu Erkkila won the Northern and Czechia's Bronislav Snidal won Wessex. Paul Massey won the Cornish Handicap and Alison Bexfield the Bar-Low.
The Isle of Man Go Festival made a welcome return; the Open was won by Andrew Simons and the Afternoon event was won by Sandy Taylor. Oscar Selby won the Handicap, Edmund Smith the Lightning, Jianzhou Mei (19k) the Small Board and the Rengo was won by Joanne Leung and Francis Roads.
Chester A won the BGA Online League and the spring London team match was won by the Chinese players of team daydream.
The DDK Grand Prix was won by Alan Stokes from Manchester for a second year, with 718 points, ahead of Tom Bradbury on 530. Amy Upton was the best player below 20 kyu, with 340 points.
The 27th edition of the British Pair Go Championship was held again at the Red Lion in Hatfield and attracted 17 pairs. The champions were Natasha Regan and Matthew Cocke; they beat Alison and Simon Bexfield in the final. The handicap section was won by Sue Paterson playing with school boy Jack Nolan.
In addition there was the usual Pair Go at the London Open won by Joanne Leung and Ho Yeung Woo.
Joanna Leung and Bruno Poltronieri were 11th in the European Pair Go in Strasbourg and Jenny Rofe-Radcliffe and Francis Roads won two games in the International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Joanne played in the parallel World Student event, with Russia's Alexander Vashurov, gaining a win over Singapore.
At the start of 2017 the previous Championship was decided when Junnan Jiang beat Charles Hibbert in the third game, to take the title for the first time. Junnan did not defend his title in 2017.
The Candidates' Tournament attracted 18 players. Winner was Daniel Hu, ahead of Andrew Kay and Andrew Simons. These and five other top players took part in the Challengers’ League. Andrew Simons and Daniel Hu both ended on six wins so would play the title match. Both these events were held at the Young Chelsea Bridge Club, which is becoming the new London Go Centre.
The title match was won two games to nil by Daniel Hu, the games played on 19th August and 30th September, giving the UK yet another new champion - congratulations to him.
Eleven UK players attended the European Go Congress in Germany. Joanna Leung was fourth in the European Students’ in Odessa.
The World Amateur was held in Guiyang in China and our rep, Alex Rix, won three games to come 41st. Our player in the Korea Prime Minister Cup was Bruno Poltronieri who won three games to come 30th.
The UK team ended the 2016-2017 season of the Pandanet European Teams in an excellent fourth position in the B-League, one higher than previous, with five draws and a win in 2017. In the next season they started even better, holding either first or second place after all four matches, by winning three matches on all four boards and then drawing with Germany.
The Irish Open (Confucius Cup) was again a big international event, with 47 players in 2017. Top was Korea's Seong-Jin Kim, who has been living in Germany, and second and third were Euro-pros Pavol Lisy and Mateusz Surma. Top UK player was Matthew Macfadyen in 8th place. Zhiquing Zhang won the Rapid Play.
The Youth Championship was held this year back at King Edward VI (Aston) School in Birmingham. It was attended by 48 youngsters, aged from 7 to 18, and included teams from Scotland, Cheadle Hulme and Harpenden. Jayden Ng of Bromsgrove School was the Youth Champion, also winning Under-16. Zaki Betesh was the runner up and Under-18 champion. Under-14 was won by Edmund Smith, Under-12 by Lueming Yang, Under-10 by Zoe Walters and Under-8 by George Han. Yueran Wang of Bloxham was the Open Winner in a hard-fought dan player section. The Castledine Trophy was regained by Cheadle Hulme and best junior school was Harpenden Academy at their first attempt.
The finals of the fourteenth UK Go Challenge were held in conjunction with Mind Sports International in Stoke-on-Trent. Best of the 14 players was George Han. Jason Brown of Cheadle Hulme School was second helping his team with the John Rickard Trophy.
The Youth Grand Prix ran for another year. Edmund Smith won easily, for second year running, with 1112 points. Second was Tom Bradbury with 776 and third was Amy Upton with 622, both from Cheadle Hulme School.
Nineteen youngsters, aged from 10 to 17, took part in the first BGA Youth Residential. This was held at Caythorpe Court, an adventure holiday centre in Lincolnshire, and the participants under took things like archery, rafting and climbing as well as playing and studying Go.
The European youth team league saw our team beating a combined Italy-Switzerland-Austria team and France to come fourth in the third season. At the start of the 2017-2018 season they beat Czechia but lost to Germany.
Ten players were in the team that went to the European Youth in Grenoble. George Han was the star player getting 15th in the Under-12s.
The London Open ended the year as usual. 94 players took part in the Open, and much fun was had by all. Catalin Taranu gave lectures and analysed games too. The event was dominated by Chinese palyers who are currently living in the UK. Of these the winners of the Lightning and the Open were Yousun Yang and Weijin Chen, respectively. Daniel Hu took the David Ward Trophy for the best British player.