Ancient

This section deals with the history of Go in Ireland before the time when I started playing there. That is, somewhere in the 1900′s to the beginning of 2004. The bulk of the information comes from old Go journals, newsletters, and magazines. There are undoubtably more stories waiting to be told, and at present, only a few anecdotes have been added into the contents here. So we can say with certainty that the history told here is incomplete, but I hope that you can enjoy reading it nevertheless. Rest assured that all contributions are greatly welcomed.

So where does our story begin? Here and there we can find evidence of individual Irishmen who have played the game. John Gibson has said he learnt to play from the book Go and Gomoku, which he read somewhere around the year 1976.  A certain Tony Hart entered a Go playing computer program in the very first tournament of its kind, but sadly it got knocked out in the first round. You can see its game here. Eugene Curtin, a former Irish Chess Champion, picked up the game while working in Texas, USA in 1986. These are just three examples of individuals who played.

The first known club was at Trinity College Dublin. There an academic of Polish origins,was responsible for allowing players to gather together within the grounds of TCD to play Go. This was in the late 1960s or early 70s, which was a rather difficult period in Irish history what with the onset of the Troubles. We can but imagine that proceedings at club sessions were somewhat more tranquil. Who exactly played there though, well that is unclear. There are sadly no written records which could document this fledgling club.

By the 1980s the game was played in Collegians Chess Club (Dublin), in Trinity College Dublin, and perhaps elsewhere. For instance, Alec Beckett, an old chess playing friend, informed me  of a chess player he knew who had been very keen on the game, and that once that he had seen a real goban – solid wood, with 4 legs – up for auction. It seems unlikely that you’d acquire an item that could set you back for as much as 500 pounds without learning how to play! This is only evidence of informal meetings or isolated players, and as such we can say that there was not yet any hint of a central structure, for no co-ordinating body yet existed for most of the 1980s.

It was in late 1988 that things changed when a player from Japan came to live in Dublin. This gentleman could very accurately be described as a dedicated fan of Go, eager as he was to take every opportunity to play the game. He, Toshima Isao, reportedly wrote to the British Go Association begging for help in creating a club in Ireland to allow him to play with others, and he was then delighted to learn from them that people were actually already playing in Dublin. With his arrival, the incentive appears to have been created to actually form an Irish Go Association, which was indeed founded in 1989. The core of the organisation at this time included Noel Mitchell, Isao Toshima, John Kenny, and Paul Eustace. Games took place either at Toshima’s house, or at the Trinity College games room. The birth of the association spawned a relative flurry of activity, with exhibitions being made at Gaelcon and Leprecon. After a letter to the British Go Journal, the United Kingdom’s Francis Roads travelled to the former convention to give assistance. It seems that he enjoyed presenting the game there, although he did complain, however, that some members of the association were playing bridge for 4 hours a day. Why couldn’t they devote the same amount of time to Go? (A good question!)

Then, in 1990, we can read in the IGA Newsletter 3, the amusing announcement that a second group of Go players has been found to exist in Dublin! Of course, it is not really so hard to imagine that with a niche game like ours, such a case of parallel existence can happen. It was the Collegians Go club which had been found, and it was headed by John Gibson and Eugene Mallon – both Chess players. According to this same newsletter, subscribers (as of March 1990) were to be found in the following locations:

North Dublin(14), South Dublin(50), Belfast(1), Co Antrim(1), Cork(1), Kildare(4), Portlaois(1), Limerick(2), Waterford(5), Wicklow (3).  

The first Irish Open was held in the centre of Dublin at the Power’s Hotel in March, 1990. The winner was, quite fittingly, Toshima Isao (2-dan) who also had the title of Sensei of the TCD club. Noel Mitchell, whose rank was then placed at 1-kyu, came in second place, which was thus enough to establish himself as the first Irish Champion. Finishing in third place was Paul Eustace (5-kyu). At the same time a small challenge match was played between the Isle of Man and Ireland, which arrived at the drawn result of 2:2. Later in the same year, the second half of the match was played at the Isle of Man club, and this time the IoM team won 3-1, securing an overall victory of 5-3. This competition seems to have been enjoyed by all concerned, for between them the IOM and Dublin club then set up a challenge competition for the KMPG Peat Marwick McLintock shield – which with a name like that was donated by chartered accountants, obviously.

The first inter-club match took place on the 27th of June, 1990 at the White Horse bar – close to the Liffey – making the Collegians team the home side. The match score is given below, but let us also note that there were now also clubs in Trim (contact Justin Wallace) and Bray (organiser unknown).

Dublin Go Club 4 0 Collegians Go Club
Noel Mitchell (1k) 1 0 Mary Mulvihill (5k)
Damien Lynch (3k) 1 0 Eugene Mallon (11k)
John Kenny (4k) 1 0 John Gibson (13k)
Henry Bacik (11k) 1 0 Bernard Palmer (20k)

The same location played host to a summer lightning tournament in the same year, but the name of the winner is not recorded for posterity. Later in the year a match was played between ‘Dublin’ and Dundalk. For a club had been started in Dundalk Regional Technical Institute by Henry Bacik and Maurice O’Reilly – both lecturers. The club apparantly had as many as 30 beginners playing at one point! Sadly the Dubliners gave them a good hiding, Isao Toshima, Yoko Toshima (Isao’s wife), Noel Mitchell and Damien Lynch providing the muscle.

The Irish Go Association joined the International Go Federation in 1990, but were not listed as an official EGF member until 1992. Not, of course that EGF membership is required for joining the IGF, despite what some may try to tell you. As a result of the IGF membership, national champion, Noel Mitchell gained the right to travel to Japan to play in the World Amateur Go Championships(WAGC). For all aspiring players, this has to be something of a dream come true. Nevertheless, this was no fairytale competition, but a tough affair. Indeed, what else would you expect from such an event? His first game saw a loss against Sorin Gherman (3-dan) of Romania. Sorin would go on to become an insei at the Nihon Ki-in in Japan, and reach the rank of 6-dan. In fact, as an illustration of the nation’s still fragile strength, Noel won only 1 game in the whole competition, against the (tragically) terminally ill Jurgen Mattern (6-dan).

The next Irish Championship was held in January 1991, this new competition was presumably created in part to select the next participant to the WAGC. The tournament was open to all those at least at the rank of 6-kyu, which meant that 4 people entered. Noel Mitchell(1-kyu) and Damien Lynch(3-kyu) reached the final, which was won 2-0 by Noel. Isao Toshima, by now almost wearing the title of Father of Irish Go, sadly returned home to Japan at the start of the year. The Irish Open was won by IOM player David Phillips, who blocked any chance of a poetic final victory in Isao Toshima’s final tournament in Ireland. As in the previous year, a match was played between the Dublin club and the Isle of Mann club. Again the first leg, which took place at the Irish Open was a 2:2 draw, but Ireland lost the second half again, this time 2-1, at the Isle of Mann Congress. Adding to Japanese patronage of the game was amateur 5-dan player Mr. Akihiro Kumagai. He visited Dublin for 1 month this year, and played several teaching games with local Irish and Japanese players. This year Noel Mitchell managed to go 1 win further in the WAGC, picking up victory over the Phillipines and Thailand.

 

1992 was described as « a quiet year for the IGA » in the ranka yearbook, but I am not sure if this was entirely accurate. The first Belfast Open took place, a 3 round affair, which was held in July at Queen’s University. Paul Donnelly, 6-kyu, was the main organiser, but Tony Goddard, playing at 3-dan (!), was the winner. Liming Wang, 1 dan, made his first recorded tournament appearance in Ireland as this event.  The tournament report claims that mortar fire was heard, but this is not supported by press reports from that day. Besides those listed in the tournament report, it is not clear who exactly was playing in the city of Belfast at that time. Paul Donnelly was working on a PhD at QUB under the title « Evolving Go Playing Strategy In Neural Networks », hence by association at the very least, computer science academics like Danny Crookes and Patrick Corr at least learnt about the game. From a brief conversation I had with one of the system administrators of said department, he remembers people playing in the department. Chess playing friends of Tony Goddard may also have learnt to play – for instance I know that a certain James O’Fee played the game, but I believe that he learnt of it independently.

 

In November the first Irish (Open) Handicap tournament was held at the Royal Dublin Hotel, and was won by John Gibson, who was then playing at 5-kyu. Unfortunately the turnout was relatively low, with only 7 players choosing to take part. Possibly this is a natural hazard with handicap Go tournaments, which somewhat pale in terms of prestige beside their regular fellows. There was an Irish Women’s title match as a result of an invitation to the Women’s World Amateur. This was won by Naomi Gibson, daughter to John, against Tara Mitchell. But she either had no interest, or no availability, to play in the tournament in Japan itself. Noel Mitchell was again the country’s representative at the World Amateur Go Championship, but he had an off year, scoring only 1 victory against Venezuela. The Irish Open was won by Taro Matsumoto, 3-dan, (yet) another Japanese player who helped to promote the game here. 1992 also saw a very important event indeed, in that the first rating list was published in September. Of course, as we all know, a rating list is second only to a crosstable in terms of importance.

Trinity Collegians Others
Noel Mitchell 1d Bernard Palmer 3k Mr Matsumoto 3d
Paul Atling 4k John Gibson 5k Mr Sasada 1d
Sean Mitchell 5k Mary Mulvihill 5k Aidan Murphy 3k
Paul Eustace 6k Chris Maguire 6k Padraig O’Hannelly 10k
Kevin Mitchell 6k Brian Gallagher 6k Henry Bacik 10k
Sam Freed 6k Chris Rafferty 7k Justin Wallace 12k
Tom Murphy 7k Eugene Mallon 11k  
Chris Mosurski 7k Mike Lyons 12k  
Montserrat Enrach 8k Inge Fischle 13k  
Paul Brennan 15k Tom Molloy 13k  
  Ger Whelan 17k  
  Eamonn Keogh 20k  

Here, we can make a slight pause to reveal the current location of some of these players. Mary Mulvihill is now running Ingenious Ireland. Henry Bacik , who is originally from Czechoslovakia, has now retired from Dundalk Tech were he was active in running a club. He no longer seems to play Go, but is quite active in other ways – sometimes politically. Eugene Mallon was a bookseller in Dublin  - shop now closed -and a cousin of the SDLP politician Seamus Mallon. This is not a great claim to fame, but it is noteworthy that Ira Einhorn, who was known to the authorities in the USA as the Unicorn Killer, has appropriated Eugene’s name by 1992. Around about 1985 Ira Einhorn had played Go in Ireland with John Gibson, Eugene Mallon, and the like, under the assumed name of Ben Moore. Attending the fledgling Go Club was actually partly what gave him away, and he had to flee Ireland after the feds caught on to his whereabouts. Ira was later arrested in rural France, and with some considerable amount of difficulty extradited back to the USA. Bernard Palmer and Eamonn Keogh are both still active in Irish Chess politics, an area which I would recommend others stay well clear of. John Kenny is now working in London at McAfee, and doesn’t play on the tournament scene any longer. Also happening in September was the Annual General Meeting of the Irish Go Association. Bernard Palmer was elected as Chairman, Noel Mitchell was elected as Secretary (he was formerly Public Relations Officer), Eugene Mallon was Treasurer and responsible for the Newsletter, and finally John Gibson took on the PRO post, with added responsibility for ratings and sponsorship.

 

By now, the national championship had been beefed up. Starting in November 1992, and running until January 1993, there was an 8 player championship league, to decide who would play (Noel) for the title. Bernard Palmer finished 6-1, ahead of Aidan Murphy 4-1, and Brian Gallagher on 5-2, and though not all games were finished, he was declared the winner and given the go ahead to start his final against Noel. Noel was too strong however, and won the final comfortably, by 2 games to nil during the month of February 1993. You can see one of their games here. At this stage he was now sporting the rank of 1-dan, thus claiming a place in history as the first Irish dan player.

 

The fourth Irish Open took place at the Royal Dublin Hotel in March 1993, where just 10 players fought over 3 rounds. Gerry Mills, a great supporter of the game in the UK and Ireland, came first on tiebreak. Second were C.Klawe (1d) and Noel Mitchell (1d). Sad news came in the form of the departure of Mr Sasada, who was involved in JETRO, and Mr T.Iwanami of the Japanese embassy – a long term friend of the IGA. This did not stop the publication of the next rating list, which looked slightly larger than before.

T.Matsumoto 3d A.Murphy 3k A.Walsh 8k G.Whelan 17k
J.Kim 1d J.Gibson 4k T.Molloy 10k E.Keogh 17k
C.Klawe 1d P.Atling 4k P O’Hannelly 10k D.MacBrien 17k
N.Mitchell 1d B.Gallagher 5k H.Bacik 10k N.Gray 17k
Dong-Dong Jia 1d C.Rafferty 5k E.Mallon 11k C.Dalton 17k
G.Mills 1d C.Maguire 5k M.Lyons 12k D.Foster 20k
B.Palmer 3k T.Murphy 7k J.Wallace 12k P.Brennan 20k

As we can see, there were now a growing number of dan level players; although Gerry Mills was not resident in Ireland of course. This led to the proposal of a top player round robin for the summer of 1993, but no details about such an event survive. Inter-club matches were also planned, but again, no records of these survive. What is recorded are the visit of Japanese professional player Hirano Masaaki 6-dan, who played simultaneous games with the locals in the Pembroke Inn. Mr Masaaki was accompanied by amateur 6-dan Dr  Satoshi Masaoka. Also visiting once again in July was Akihiro Kumagi 5-dan. Noel Mitchell again travelled to Japan for the World Amateur, where this year he made a better showing, picking up 3 wins this time.

 

In a less far flung location, Port Erin on the Isle of Man, John and Noel failed to win back the challenge shield at the Isle of Man Congress. Back in Dublin the Irish Open Handicap took place in November, but sadly only 8 players took part in this 6 round swiss. This sort of poor turnout was very sadly just the first of many in Dublin competitions. The winner, on tiebreak, was David Wickham. Stephen Flinter, who was playing his first tournament, was the man he edged out. John Gibson, the organiser, managed to gain third place. Also taking place in November was the next edition of the Irish Championship (93/94) for which a certain Stephen Flinter qualified. Noel Mitchell whitewashed the opposition, whilst John Gibson picked up 2nd place. Exactly who came third is not clear, since 1 game is missing from the last published table of results. Two games are available from the competition, Bernard -v John, and John -v- Noel in the final. Here is the rating list from February 1994, not that I like tables of information or anything.

T.Goddard 5d C.Rafferty 3k A.Walsh 5k T.Molloy 10k C.Dalton 17k
T.Matsumoto 3d A.Murphy 3k C.Maguire 7k M.Lyons 12k D.McBrien 17k
N.Mitchell 2d B.Palmer 3k T.Murphy 7k K.Maher 12k G.Whelan 17k
Mr Oh 1d S.Flinter 4k A.Brabazon 8k J.Wallace 12k D.Foster 19k
Dong-Dong Jia 1d P.Atling 5k R.Delhammeau 8k P.MacDonnell 14k J.McGrath 20k
G.Mills 1d B.Debains 5k P.O’Hannelly 8k N.Gray 16k N.Gibson 24k
J.Gibson 2k S.Mitchell 6k P.Brennan 10k E.Keogh 16k T.Mitchell 25k

The Irish Open saw a much stronger field than in previous years. A total of 25 players were participating in the competition. Tony Goddard came in first place, ahead of Cheng Gong (2-dan), T.Matsumoto (3-dan), Noel Mitchell (2-dan), Tony Atkins (2-dan), then Gerry Mills (1-dan). You can view the game between Tony and Noel here. August 94 saw a quick visit from 2 Chinese professionals (Wang Guanjun 8-pro and Chen Zhi Gang 6-pro) who were on a tour of Britain and Ireland. They played a series of teaching games with the local players in the Pembroke Inn, before going on a tour of Dublin. It appears that both were quite thirsty during their visit, as Bernard Palmer offered to be their guide. Chen Zhi Gang is from the Guang Dong province and is now the coach of the professional team Guang Zhong. Wang Guanjun is from the Henan province, and is chief coach of their professional team. It is sadly somewhat unlikely that their visit to Ireland helped them acquire these positions. October saw promotions to upcoming players for Stephen Flinter to 1-kyu, with Paul Donnelly and John Gibson reaching 2-kyu. Visiting player Mark Ivey won the Irish Open Handicap tournament. John Gibson was the nation’s representative at the WAGC, where he performed well to pick up 3 wins amongst the opposition. John qualified to play in the WAGC after the introduction of a rule to disallow the same player travelling to the WAGC twice in a row. In 1994, after John represented the nation, a new rule was introduced, the creation of the points system that still survives in its essential form today. This was to make sure that the strongest player wasn’t the only one to benefit from the formative experience of the WAGC, but rather that it was shared around more equally between the top players. Finally in 1994 there was a Collegians Club tournament. Although it is documented in newsletter 11, it is not really clear ( to me) what the result was.

 

In 1995 Ireland entered into the Grand Prix circuit of Europe, with the Irish Open being nominated as one of the events which would count towards Grand Prix points. The Irish Open had 34 players, which we can describe as a modest increase on the previous year. The calibre of player had certainly rachetted up a notch though. Matthew Macfadyen 6-dan came away with the title, ahead of Janusz Kraszek 5-dan – both former European Champions. Tony Goddard 5-dan, who was only a former runner-up in the European Championships, came third. There was also a shock as Stephen Flinter toppled the champion Noel Mitchell from his perch in this year’s championship, taking the final 2-0. The newsletter of the time reports that in the second game Noel buckled under the pressure of the Ing Timer beeps during yose. As we all know, the more Ing Timers you can hear in the endgame, the harder it is to concentrate. Paul Donnelly put in a good showing in the championship to come third.  In October there was also a 2 round handicap club tournament, which took place in the Pembroke Inn. This was kindly sponsored by Mr Oh, who treated the 6 attendees to a little feast there before the rounds. Winning the event was Chris Rafferty, with Bernard Palmer in second place. The Irish Open Handicap, in November, was won by Tony Goddard. It is likely that Tony Goddard left Northern Ireland shortly after this tournament as his contract at QUB had come to an end. Steve Flinter had the chance to make his first trip to the WAGC this year, and performed well to pick up 3 wins for Ireland. You can view one of his games on the IGA website (link to appear !)
The Irish Open was won in 1996 by Zhang Shutai 7-dan, a very strong chinese optician who was living in London. Stefan Budig won the 5 way tiebreak to come second, ahead of Liu Si Feng, Tony Atkins, then Noel Mitchell. Attendance sank somewhat to 28, despite this again being included in the European Grand Prix. Noel was Ireland’s representative in WAGC, and he picked up 4 wins – a record – which earned him 27th place. He played a teaching with the professional ‘referee’ Kobayashi Satoru, you can find this commented game in Go Weekly. Noel also regained the Irish Championship this year. 1996 saw a break in the Irish Open Handicap tournament, which now became part of the Irish Go Congress instead. The break was caused by a combination of problems with the venue, and continued low turnout. A handicap tournament, despite being pretty much unique in the British Isles, wasn’t proving to be a draw for the crowds.
There were no super strong players taking part in the 1997 Irish Open. Alistair Wall 4d picked up the title this year. He came ahead of David Ward, Des Cann, Tony Atkins, Steve Flinter, Baron Allday, John Gibson and Bernard Palmer. In the die hards Handicap tournament, which was played on Monday, Noel Mitchell won with 3/3, 1 point behind were John Gibson, Des Cann, Colin Adams, and Paul O’Gradaigh. In the Irish Championship Noel triumphed again, beating Steve Flinter in the final. Paul Donnelly came third, and travelled to the WAGC that year, were he picked up 3 wins, and took up residence in Japan for a while.
The Teachers’ Club in Parnell Square became the venue of the Irish Open in 1998. That year saw the tournament welcome 22 players, including Yuki Shigeno 2p, which combining the fact that it was in the European tour again, must be considered slightly low. Matthew Macfadyen 6d picked up the title again, edging out Christoph Gerlach 5d. Emil Nijhius 4d pushed Des Can aside on tiebreak to take third place. Scott Hopkins, who was a citizen of the USA, but living in Dublin, took home the Handicap title, which was again played on the Monday during the Congress. This was also the year in which the Collegians Go Club website was born on geocities, and its opening message reflected a truth of the day. « The Dublin Go Club Ireland’s premier (only?!) club  », for the sad truth was that by 1998 there were no other go clubs were meeting. Go had become resident only in Dublin city centre. Gone where the fledgling clubs in Belfast, Dundalk, and Trim. Let us hope that this is not a state of affairs that is returned to. On a brighter note, 1998 is also noteable for being the year in which the European Go Congress was awarded to Ireland for 2001. You can read more about that on the Special Events page.
So we move to the next year, 1999. The Irish Go Congress took place again at the Teachers’ Club, which was now to become its regular home, and was again part of the European Grand Prix. From a field of 34 players from 14 different nations, Matthew Macfadyen was again the winner, taking his third title. This time the next best in the field was the argentinian player Eduardo Lopez Hernandez. Andrew Grant picked up 3rd place on tiebreak. Dutchman Ruud Stoelmann took home the Handicap tournament crown. In the Irish championship, Noel Mitchell came out on top again, for the fourth year in a row. Stephen Flinter was the unlucky loser in second place. Brian Gallagher (1-kyu) finished in third place, with the new face of Aidan Egan (4-kyu) appearing in fourth spot. Noel Mitchell travelled to the WAGC in Oita, Japan, where he took 44th place with 3 wins from 8 games.
Matthew Macfadyen elected not to defend the Irish Open title in 2000, laying the field open. Richard Hunter (4-dan) who was then a resident of Japan, and of Cross-cut Workshop fame, won the event on tiebreak from Des Cann (4-dan). Noel Mitchell finished in 11th place, meaning that for the first time no locals placed in the top 10. The turnout was a respectable 31 players. In the Irish Championship, Steven Flinter finally picked up his second title, besting Noel in the final – proving that it isn’t only musicians who suffer from the difficult second album syndrome. Brian Gallagher finished in third again. Steve also travelled to the WAGC, where he managed 3 wins in all to pick up 46th place.
The 2001 Irish Open was a small scale affair, undoubtably because most people decided to visit Ireland for the European Go Congress in July and August rather than the Irish Open in March. Gerry Mills took first place in a field of 16 players, thus picking up his second Irish Open title. Noel Mitchell lost out to Gerry on tiebreak, but must have been pleased to finish in second, having not reached such a high position since 1990. In the Irish Championship Noel took back his title, beating Steve Flinter in the final. Chris Rafferty gained the third place. The European Go Congress was a great success for Irish Go, although inevitably some people whined about various things. Andrei Kulkov, a 6-dan from Russia, was the surprise winner of the event. My former classmate Brian Kelly, who happens to be an Irish Chess Champion and an International Chess Master, entered his first Go tournament in 2001. (I sometimes wonder who else I might know from school who went on to play the game.) He sported the rank of 15-kyu, and seems to have picked up the game from his time near Epsom when he worked as an actuary. After two more tournaments he seems to have quit the game, before ever having played in Ireland – indeed, he did not respond to an invitation to the Top 8 qualifiers. On the international scene, Brian Gallagher made his first trip overseas to represent us at the WAGC, picking up a decent 3 wins to take 47th place.
Of course, after the highpoint of the European Go Congress, it is somewhat inevitable that there will a lull in activity. The 2002 Irish Open then saw the modest figure of 24 players taking part. Winner was Toby Manning (3-dan), a full point clear of Michael Marz (3-dan) in second place, who although a German, was probably still living in the UK at that point. In third place was Stephen Flinter, who gathered more SOS than his fellow tied competitors, including last year’s winner Gerry Mills. Gerry Mills, after winning the event twice very charitably bought a cup for the winner of the Irish Open. The Irish national title was again won by Noel Mitchell, who again beat Stephen Flinter in the final. John Gibson travelled to Japan for the WAGC, where he netted 2 wins for 57th place. I am not sure who was responsible for the following statistics, but they offer up some insight into the activity of the Association for the period of 2001 and 2002. Note that the figures exclude the European go Congress. Irish Go was played primarily in the pub of an evening. Venues such as the Teachers’and Engineers’ Clubs allowed for teaching and outreach sessions to be given. The support from the Japanese embassy is clearly marked by his invitation towards the club to play at his residence. What a creditable asset a playing diplomat is to the game! We can also see that the composition of players was very international. In Ireland, a very large minority of players were not Irish, they were immigrants. Whether or not they were there in the short term, or in the long term, they were welcomed into the small community we had. In terms of the addicts, John Gibson was clearly at the top, tirelessly promoting and playing the game. Arthur Cater and Olivier Deme emerge in 2002, who were also to be very committed players and organisers. Tom McNally I only know of through Dragon Go Server, I simply haven’t seen him playing in real life whilst I have been active.
Sessions 2001 2002
Collegians Chess and Go Club (Pembroke) 93 96
(Col) Maguires (on Bank Holiday) 4 4
Teachers Club 2 4
Japanese Ambassador’s Residence 1 1
Engineers’ Club (Irish Chinese Cultural Society) 0 1
Provost House 1 0
30 Lakelands Park 1 0
Total 102 106
Player Visits 2001 2002
Total 79(708) 87(886)
Top Eight 8(305) 8(281)
Non-Irish Residents 26(268) 29(434)
Other Irish 27(101) 28(131)
Non-Irish Visitors 18(34) 20(40)
Top 10 Attenders 2001 2002
1 John Gibson 88 John Gibson 94
2 Tom McAnally 61 Olivier Deme 62
3 Joerg Abendroth 59 Artur Cater 58
4 Noel Mitchell 44 Tom McAnally 54
5 Aidan Walsh 43 Matthew Bentot 50
6 Stephen Flinter 42 John Leuner 45
7 Frederic Mircovic 38 Aidan Walsh 44
8 Brian Gallagher 35 Bernard Palmer 36
9 Kiriyama Koji 31 Noel Mitchell 35
10 Bernard Palmer 21 Stephen Flinter 32
In 2003 Ireland had the good fortune to receive an invitation to the International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Of course, Pair Go didn’t exist in our country, but according to the points system devised by the European Go Federation, we got an invite to the championships anyway. The good luck stopped there. Bernard Palmer and Margaret McGaley were the representatives chosen to travel to the IAPGC. I believe that they may have won a play-off game to get the ticket. Calamity followed as Mags lost her passport in Frankfurt Airport in deepest Germany. Bernard continued on alone, and ended up being provided with a male partner from Germany. This seems a little odd to me, given the number of Japanese women at the event. Funnily enough though, the partner was Guido Tautorat, whose game against Andrei Kulkov is presented in the EGC report.
PairGoMontage
Meanwhile, the regular events were all still happening. The Irish Championship was won again by Noel Mitchell, who in a repeat of last year, beat Stephen Flinter in the final. The Irish Open was won by Marco Firnhaber, a 5-dan who travelled from Germany for the event. 1 point behind him was Vladimir Danek 6-dan from the Czech Republic. Manchester’s Dan Gilder shared third place with Chen Mingyou. Roger Daniel took the Irish Handicap title. Chris Rafferty represented Ireland internationally at the International World Amateur Baduk Championship, which replaced the WAGC that year due to the SARS epidemic. Chris is a man that I think is always good conversation, which is how I know he landed the following choice phrase on one of the participants (quite probably deservedly – but who knows!?) « you’re a gobshite, and if you don’t know what that is, you can look it up in the dictionary. » I’ll buy a pint for whoever can guess who was the recipient of that one. :) Results wise, Chris picked up 2 wins for 49th place.
So ends our account of 2003, and so thus must we also end this section covering the ancient history of Go on the island of Ireland. As a summary, we note a few little key pieces of information.
  • To date, the following locations in Ireland are known to have had a club: Belfast, Bray, Cobh, Cork, Drogheda, Dublin, Limerick, Maynooth, Trim
  • Trinity College Dublin housed the first Go Club
  • The Irish Go Association was founded in 1989
  • Isao Toshima won the first tournament held in Ireland in 1990
  • The Irish Championship has been run since 1990
  • The first Irish player to claim the dan rank was Noel Mitchell, claiming said title in late 1992, early 1993
  • First European Grand Prix event in 1995

Page last updated on 1st of September 2015

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