Go in Britain 2020
2020, like in all walks of life, was like no other. All physical Go activity stopped in mid-March, meaning no clubs, tournaments or events, apart from what could be held online. There was no British Go Congress (though the AGM was held online), no Pair Go, no London Open and no Go Camp for the youngsters. However what was held was successful online, especially the activities organised for the British Youth. One physical event to be noted is the purchase in December of a new location for the London Go Centre as part of the forthcoming London MindSports Centre.
The first event of the year was at Harpenden (won by Toby Manning), closely followed by Maidenhead (won by Peikai Xue). In February Oxford attracted 61 players and 15 novices; the main tournament was won by Zeyu Qiu. In early March, the Trigantius in Cambridge had 47 entrants despite health fears; it was won by Tungang Xie. The final event, just squeezing in on the middle weekend of March before everything stopped, was Skye (won by Matthew Reid).
Matt Marsh, on behalf of the BGA, ran three events over the summer on OGS. Each attracted some 30 or 40 players. Zherui Xu won the May and August events and Kalle Timperi won the July one.
The Mind Sports Olympiad moved online with vast increases in the numbers of entrants. The Go was played on OGS, with Italian players winning the small board events: 9x9 Carlo Metta and 13x13 Alessandro Pace. In the 46-player Open the gold was won by Hiroki Kanno playing from Hong Kong, with Lucas Neirynck of Belgium taking silver and Wei Zhou of Australia taking bronze.
Activities for our junior players have developed well online during 2020. Every Sunday afternoon there is a playing session on OGS, with the intention that the first Sunday of most months features a tournament. The July edition was won by Jacob Zhang and September was won by Sam Barnett. The November event saw an adult-youth match (narrowly won by the adults) and a DDK tournament (won by Julia Volovich). In October the event was the delayed UK Go Challenge Finals. Ryan Zhang ended top with additional titles in the various age groups. In December the British Youth Go Championship was the event, with the title this time going to Sam Barnett. Cheadle Hulme was the top school.
A big group of players went to the European Youth in Croatia and online our youth team ended the 2019-2020 league by losing to Romania and Czechia to end tenth. They started the 2020-2021 season by beating France but losing to Romania again.
Starting in the Summer a SuperGo match against a team of Chinese juniors was played (with UK winning the final game) and the same was organised against Hong Kong, starting in November and running into 2021.
Our youth scene had two star players in 2020. One was Sam Barnett from Cheadle Hulme School, who advanced up to 2k during the year, only losing two tournament games out of 27. The other was Ryan Zhang who also improved a lot during the year and ended by getting to the last eight players in the CCTV World Youth Amateur for individual juniors. Our team in the youth teams section won three matches out of seven.
The Irish Open just managed to beat the lockdown with Lucas Zhirui Ye of France winning. However other international events, such as the World Amateur, were cancelled or went on line (like the Korea Prime Minster Cup in which Bruno Poltronieri took part and the Kowa Cup World Women preliminaries in which Alison Bexfield played). Two new large European open events, called Corona Cups, were held online and several UK players took part.
Our team in the Pandanet European Teams ended 2019-2020 by losing to Switzerland, Serbia and Italy, beating Lithuania and drawing with Belgium to end in sixth place. Staying in the B-League for 2020-2021, the team had an excellant start, beating Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland, to end the year on top.