The game of go

I have always enjoyed table games, and at school and university I played bridge and chess. I played chess for Pembroke College on a few occasions, but as I met increasingly stronger players I became frustrated with a game which seemed to depend to a large extent on memorising openings. In February 1965 my friend David Hopkin drew my attention to the now famous article in New Scientist magazine by Dr. I. Good about the game of go. We sent off for a cardboard-and-plastic Ariel go set, and learnt to play. I have hardly played chess since.

In 1965 whilst living in London I joined the London Go Club, and began to improve in strength. In 1967 I was co-opted to the Committee (now Council) of the British Go Association (BGA). In 1968, together with Jeremy Hawdon and Wayne Walters, I founded the Enfield Go Club, later the Woodford Go Club, and now the Wanstead Go Club.

When the founder and first President of the BGA John Barrs died suddenly in January 1971, I took over as President, serving until 1976. Since then I have fulfilled several roles within the BGA, including 12 years in two spells on the Council (formerly Committee). I currently serve as Managing Trustee of the Castledine-Barnes Trust.

I have attended many tournaments throughout the U.K. and Europe. I have competed in the U.S. Go Congress seven times, made a go-playing tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1996, and played go in Japan in 1982 and 2004, in the latter case representing Britain in the International Pair Go Tournament, with my pair go partner Jackie Chai. In 2008 I represented Great Britain in the 3rd Korea Prime Minister Cup International Baduk Championship organised by the Korea Amateur Baduk Association. (Baduk is the Korean word for go.)

As a musician interested in go, I have written, collected and edited many songs about the game. These are habitually sung on the last Friday evening of European Go Congresses, and at other gatherings of go players.

Picture of go players in a Japanese setting

Go played at the Nippon Club, London

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