UK Tournament Report
This year’s British Go Congress, comprising the British Open and the British Lightning Championship, was held at the Novotel Leicester between the 1st and 3rd of October. This was the first face to face tournament the BGA has organised since Covid, and, despite being delayed and short notice, just over 30 players enjoyed a weekend of games.
After cancelling the 2020 Durham Go Tournament, we were keen to run a tournament this year, reports Andrew Ambrose-Thurman, and the only way to do this safely was to take it online.
We weren't expecting huge numbers, but were quite pleased with the numbers a few days before. Then someone helpfully - without us knowing - advertised it with a banner on OGS, and numbers went up by 50% overnight. On the morning of the tournament we had 90 people registered, of whom 70 actually played (around 50 per round, with some people only playing certain rounds due to their timezone). We'd expected most of the entrants to be from the UK, but people played from 20 countries - including places as far afield as America, China, Russia, Finland and Syria. Some of the players were staying up late at night to finish their games, while others were getting up at 4am to play. We even had some people who registered thinking this was their local tournament in Durham, North Carolina.
29 players took part in the BGA's third online tournament, played one game a day over the August bank-holiday weekend. Zherui Xu (4d Cambridge) came out as winner for the second time in these online tournaments and won a £25 Amazon voucher. Second place went to Mark Baoliang Zhang (1k) and third place went to Yangran Zhang (3d) who won £20 and £15 vouchers respectively. A strong showing from Sheffield Go club saw both Teague Johnstone (6k) and Steve Andrews (14k) win £15 vouchers each for winning all three of their games. Another Sheffield prize winner was David Wildgoose, picking up a £5 voucher for the tied highest-placed DDK prize. Dutch player Gérold Nicolasen (10k) picked up the other half of that prize and Gene Wong (3k) won a £10 voucher for the highest placed below-the-bar player.
This year's Mind Sports Olympiad was played online, with the Go events on OGS (online-go.com). 46 players took part in the main 19x19 tournament on the afternoon and evening of Sunday 23rd August. As well as a lot of UK players and quite a few from elsewhere in Europe, there were players spanning time zones from America to Hong Kong. With the bar at 4k the top players battled over four rounds to see who would make the final, whilst below the bar a big group of players played enjoyable games, though some of the handicaps got as high as 19!
As many as 14 of the players were juniors who had quite a late night as the fourth round games ended between 10:00 and 11:00. Junior medals went to Italy's Davide Bernardis (gold) who was also fourth over all, Samuel Barnett (silver) and on tie-break Ryan Zhang (bronze) who unfortunately lost one game because of loss of Internet. Winning all four games below the bar was Russian junior Fedor Dmitriev (10k).
The second Go event of the online 2020 Mind Sports Olympiad was the 13x13 on the evening of Friday 14th August. 23 players turned up though some Russians arrived late due to getting the time-difference wrong and one player dropped after one round.
The second Gold medal of the year also went to Italy, with Alessandro Pace winning all five games. After applying tie breaks Silver was Maciej Brzeski from Poland and Bronze was Chinese player Wei Zhou. The UK's Tim Hunt was fourth, also on four wins, just missing a medal.
Top juniors were Russia's Fedor Dmitriev and Ryan Zhang; third was Oliver Bardsley.
The 2020 Mind Sports Olympiad moved online with free entry and has been attracting large numbers of players, with the barrier of travel and the cost of entry removed. Chess and Poker event entries have been in the hundreds.
The first Go event was the 9x9 on the evening of Wednesday 12th August. 42 players entered, but in the end 28 players turned up to still make it the biggest MSO 9x9 ever. Small board play is always less popular than 19x19 with some editions only attracting four entrants!
Gold medal this year went to Carlo Metta from Italy who won all five games. The Silver went to Davit Rostomashvili a strong online player from Georgia and Chinese player Wei Zhou took Bronze, both on four wins. Also with four wins, but just missing out on a medal by tie-break and non-longer counting as a junior, was Jacob Zhang (UK) in fourth.
36 players took part in the second BGA real time online tournament, this time with a single day, three-round format. Kalle Timperi (1d) came out top, winning a £45 Amazon voucher for his efforts. Joel Barrett (4k) and Michael Kyle (3k) took second and third place, winning vouchers of £25 and £10 respectively. Vouchers were also awarded to others on three wins: Sam Barnett (7k) and Jason Jackson (18k). Prizes also went to the highest placed below-the-bar (Colin Williams) and highest placed DDK (Dan Whiteley).
The BGA held its first real time online tournament on the 2020 VE Day Bank Holiday weekend. 42 players took part in a three-round Mcmahon tournament on OGS, with one game per day. Zherui Xu (4d Cambridge) came out the eventual winner with three wins. Sandy Taylor (2d Cambridge) took second place and Mark Baoliang Zhang (1k Manchester) was third. All three received Amazon vouchers as prizes. Also picking up vouchers for three wins were Dan Whiteley (11k Birmingham) and Callum Urwin (10k No Club); Callum also took the Highest Placed Double Digit Kyu prize. Gokul Ramanan Subramanian (2k Cambridge) took the highest placed below-the-bar prize.
The intention was to run these tournaments each month whilst unable to run face-to-face tournaments.
A decade since the first, the 6th Skye Go Tournament was again in the Tongadale Hotel, Portree, reports organiser Carel Goodheir. Their generosity is what has made the tournament possible, but they now make more use of the dining room and unexpectedly we were told we had to vacate it 1.5 hours earlier than previously. This resulted in the third round on Saturday being cancelled. By starting earlier we managed all three on Sunday - thus it was a five round tournament not six as planned.
Matthew Reid (2k Cambridge) won all five to take first place and is shown left with the "Isle of Skye" whisky (not Talisker as Diageo generously donated that five times, but decided a sixth was overdoing it).