30th Welsh Open has Youngest-ever Winner!

Welsh Open
Sat, 29 - Sun, 30 Jun 2024

On 29th and 30th June, Barmouth's Dragon Theatre was again the venue for Welsh Open. The weather was mixed, but there were chances to climb the cliffs for views of the town, its wide bay and the start of Snowdonia national park's scenic mountainous region.

Just as Durham, another rare two-day tournament four weeks earlier, Barmouth too boasted 30 players for the 30th holding of the event. It was great to see old faces, such as former winners Alistair Wall and Richard Hunter, and new faces, including players from the new university clubs at Aberystwyth and Cardiff, and a good number of players in the range 10 kyu to 26 kyu. Strongest support, with three players from each, was from Aberystwyth, Chester, Lancaster and Manchester.

Ryan Zhang (3d London City), the top player in the 'U12' bracket in the UK youth squad, became the youngest ever Welsh Open champion, beating all six opponents, an age record that will prove very hard to beat. He was duly presented with his prize and the Brian Timmins Plaque.

Runner-up prize was won by Richard Hunter (1d Bristol) on SOS, winning four out of six. A prize for five wins out of five went to David Baldwin (8k Aberystwyth University) and other prizes were awarded to Chester players Anthony Pitchford (11k) for winning four out of four and John McAnally (6k) for winning three out of three. There were also two prizes for the 13x13 side event, won by James Zhao (10k Cheadle Hulme School) for playing most games, and even-younger Clinton Yu (19k Manchester) for best percentage of wins (100% over four games). Results

Young James was on stage twice - he'd set a personal goal to reach 10k, and was duly presented with his 10k badge to big applause, having entered 4 grades up at 10k and won four games.

Pleasingly - and as the previous year - everybody won at least one game, and a number of players used the event to join the BGA. The organisers - Martin and Helen Harvey - thanked all for coming, and various people including: Pat and Isobel Ridley for bringing the self-driverless organisers, Toby for transporting the Go equipment to and fro, Geoff Kaniuk for resolving a laptop issue, and Florian, Ai and others for helping put tables and chairs away. They look forward to welcoming back many players - and newcomers of course - to next year's event at a similar time.

Photos: Martin Harvey awarding prizes to Ryan, Clinton, Richard, David and Tony.

Last updated Thu Jul 11 2024.
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