Report on Cambridge Youth Go 2006/7

This is a report on Go Youth in Cambridge for the school year 2006/7. The first section deals with organisational issues. Next there is a report on school clubs and junior players in Cambridge. The final section deals with special events we organised during the year.

Our main sponsors this year were Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Organisation

At the start of the school year we held a meeting of people interested in helping with Youth Go in Cambridge. As a result, we set up an e-mail group of organisers. So far there are nine members, and another three people have also helped with our project duning the year. We also set up a Cambridge Youth Go account. We have received sponsorship money from Hitachi Europe Ltd, as well as support from the Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club, the British Go Congress and a private donation. As a result, we do not at the moment have a problem finding funds to run our activities.

Junior players studying at the BGA Invitational Training Day.

Youth Go Clubs and Junior Players in Cambridge

The school clubs at Milton School, St Laurence’s School, The Perse School and Kings College School have continued successfully throughout the year, as has the Cambridge Junior Chess & Go Club. In addition, two new chess & go clubs have started in schools at the Cambridge Centre for 6th Form Studies and the Cambridge International School. Also we have visited Coleridge School with a view to starting a Go Club there; and we have had some interest from Morley Memorial School where we are planning to visit soon. The club at Cottenham Village College is at the moment dormant but we hope to visit the school and demonstrate Go in a school assembly to help get the club restrarted.

Heats of the UK Go Challenge took place in four of the local clubs. At Milton School, 39 players took part and at the Chess & Go Club there were 34 players. There were smaller but still enthusiastic groups in the heats at the Perse School and St Laurence’s.

As well as helping with these clubs in and near Cambridge, we do offer to support other school Go clubs in East Anglia with occasional visits. There are five of these clubs; we visited two of them in 2006.

Some of our local players did very well in tournaments. In the British Youth Championships, Roella Smith from Milton School won the under-8 section and Bridget Johnson also from Milton was runner-up in the under-10 section. In the East of England Championships, Yao-Chih Kuo from the Chess & Go Club, who is only 5, won the under-8 section and Aoife McCaul from Milton School won the under-11 section. At the Cambridge Trigantius Tournament, Bridget Johnson was second in the Novices' section and Thomas Danes also from Milton School was third. In the UK Go Challenge finals, Peran Trustcott from the Chess & Go Club won the under-10 boys section, and Roella Smith won the under-8 girls section. Some of our local players are doing well in the national Youth Grand Prix, particularly Roella Smith, Bridget Johnson and Owen Walker who at the moment are fourth, sixth and seventh respectively.

Local junior player Will Brooks, who used to attend the Junior Chess & Go Club, continues to be British Youth Champion and is now also British Small Board Champion. He qualified for the Challengers League of the British Go Championships and is competing in the European Masters Youth Go League. Along with Cambridge University students Andrew Simons and Andrew Kaye he is taking part in the 2007 Go To China trip in the summer to get some professional Go teaching.

Special Events

We used our sponsorship money from Hitachi to fund three special events during the year. These are described below. In addition, we hosted the UK Go Challenge Finals in Cambridge at Meadows Community Centre on Sunday 1 July. This was a great success with 53 junior Go players taking part.

Also the 47th edition of the Sonoyama Trophy tournament, organised termly by the Cambridge University Go Society, was held at our Junior Chess & Go Club on 13 June. There were 32 players, with our junior players competing against the adults.

National Youth Training Day

First, there was a national BGA Youth Training Day held at the Frank Lee Centre at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge on 24 February. The strongest and most promising junior players in the country were invited, and nineteen took part in the event.

The visiting trainers were Mike Lynn, a teacher from Birmingham who runs the most successful school Go club in the country and Alex Selby, a strong 3-dan player who is now taking part in the Challengers League of the British Go Championship and is also well known as the solver of the million pound Eternity Puzzle.

During the day, the expert players analysed some of the students' games, gave some teaching sessions in small groups and led some sessions of solving themed Go puzzles. There was also a team game and a game played using the Kiseido Go Server against Ingrid Jendrzejewski. The trainers demonstrated many useful online resources such as Guo Juan’s Go School, the British Go Association site, the BGA Junior Pages and the Go Problems site. And the junior players had the chance to play some games online.

One excellent feature of the event was that we were able to have a venue with Internet access projected onto a large screen. This made the teaching much more enjoyable for the junior players and was only possible due to the generous support from Hitachi.

Mike Lynn teaching at the BGA Invitational Training Day.

East of England Go Gala

Our second event was this Go Gala, held at Milton School on 28 April where there was training for strong and promising players from the East of England. Fifteen junior players took part. The teaching was provided by Tony Atkins from Kiseki Go who is the President of the European Go Federation and a full time Go teacher and organiser. There were some other expert players on hand who gave teaching games and taught juniors using “penny Go” where a group of players each guess the next move.

In the afternoon the juniors played in a tournament. In between rounds there was a chance to see some episodes of the Go-based Japanese cartoon series Hikaru no Go. Again it was only due to the support from Hitachi that we were able to have a good venue for this event and some prizes for the junior players.

One of the prizewinners at the East of England Go Gala.

East of England Youth Grand Prix

This is Grand Prix continued throughout the year. Junior Go players in the region received points for playing in tournaments and winning games. There were 14 tournaments where they could win points, many of them junior events in Cambridge that we helped to organise. In the end over 90 junior players were involved in the Grand Prix and some played in as many as 7 or 8 different events. There were prizes for the top five players. The winner was Matthew Harris and the next four players in order were Aoife McCaul, Oliver Gerlach, Owen Walker and Roella Smith.

This event was made possible by the support from Hitachi.