On the 24th February 2018, just as the cold Siberian front known as the “Beast from the East” started to grip the UK, 30 Go players met in The Dice Cup board games cafe for the Nottingham Go Tournament and Kyu Training Day.
Master of Ceremonies and Nottingham Go Club member Robin Dews gave a warm welcome in what was admittedly a rather cold playing hall, and amid the smell of coffee and the rustling of coats, the crowd parted into three groups to start the training sessions.
Acting BGA President Toby Manning 1 dan (who also refereed the AlphaGo match against Fan Hui) took the mid-level players, former BGA President Alison Bexfield 1 kyu took the beginner and double digit kyu players, and Chris Bryant 3 dan took the higher-level players.
The training sessions were very well received, especially the second lecture in the mid-level group. The attendees were split into 4 teams; each were given a board and stones, the same 13×13 endgame problem, and 20 minutes on the clock to think of some clever sequences. The solution involved the life and death of an L-group, and the gist was to recognise the status of the shapes on the board in order to take the biggest endgame points in sente – a useful lesson.
Lunch followed, and I got to grips with setting up a MacMahon tournament using the excellent GoDraw software, helped by Robin’s Brezhnev-era laptop. Further support was provided by Alison and Toby who were also playing as ghosts in the tournament.
Each round lasted for an hour. Round 1 saw a few players caught out by the sudden-death time controls. The heat went up a notch in round 2, which involved a chaotic game between Trevor and I, which went down to the wire. As the crowd gathered, with seconds left on our clocks, Trevor made a spectacularly unlikely invasion. At this very moment, both players noticed their flags had dropped… but neither had seen which one fell first. Luckily, eagle-eyed Toby was watching the final throes of the game and declared me as the winner – which was fortunate, as I was also ahead by a few points on the board.
Things heated up practically to melting point in round 3. Carl Roll, who was well on the way to victory for Nottingham, suddenly found himself in time trouble. Jonathan Green took full advantage and ended up taking the game and the whole tournament – so, many congratulations to him.
After the prize-giving, which saw some excellent photo-bombing by Robin, some of us decided to head off for a meal and a drink in Nottingham. Special thanks to those players we left behind to clear up a full day’s worth of boards, clocks, stones, more boards, projectors, and so on.
We will return for another tournament and training day next year, maybe further into the Spring.