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Toyota Pandanet Cup in LONDON

It is the European standard to spend Christmas with family and the New Year with friends. I, too, spent the New Year with a lot of Go friends at the Toyota Pandanet Tournament held in London from after Christmas through the New Year.

Talking about London, it is famous for fog and rain but whenever I visit London, it has blue sky, fortunately. It was much warmer than in Milan and I just realized that I always have luck with nice weather.

Christmas, when family and relatives gather, is a fun and heart warming time but for 2 weeks till the end of the New Year holiday, if I tell you the truth, I was fed up with the enormous amount of food every day at parties. During that time, it is a good opportunity to have fun playing Go, sight-seeing at the same time, at the London tournament. The event has been a popular event and it is suitable for Go fans who like traveling.

This year, it was the 31st tournament. The participants were more than 130 people and half of them were from outside the UK from Europe. 2 games a day, 8 games in 4 days, were played. It is a slow pace so even after the games, you can do sight-seeing and of course you can enjoy the side events, fast Go tournament, 9X9 and 13X13 board tournament, Pair Go and so on, till late at night. Also, it would be good to enjoy the night life of London like seeing musicals or visiting pubs. During the 4 days, you will naturally find friends and it is a pleasure to spend time in many ways in your own style.

The International Student House (so called ISH) where the event took place is 30 seconds' walk from Great Portland Street Station and is a convenient place which is walking distance to the central area. There is Regents Park nearby so I had cheap lunch there of sandwiches for a change. Anyway, the cheapest fare for subway was £2 (about ¥400) in London so the weight of my purse easily became light. I was surprised that whatever you do, it was expensive.

Also, at ISH, on every Saturday afternoon, Central London Go Club is held and it is always familiar with Go fans in London. By the way, in London, Go Club is held somewhere every day except for Sundays and you can enjoy Go. Indeed, London is an international city.

The participants of the tournament were full of international flavor. The winner was a young and energetic Chinese lady, Phao Pei, 6dan, living in Germany. She has experience studying Go in China and because she was brought up in Germany, she has been well known and popular at European Tournaments since she was a child. She is cute and looks like Peko chan of Fujiya character and I really like her. I always call her "Pei chan".

Because London is a place for foreign students, it was lively with Asian participants like Chinese, Philipinos, Malaysians. Go is such a wonderful thing that allows people from different countries to share a fun time in a second, isn't it?

The last day of the tournament, on New Year's eve, we gathered at ISH and everyone played till the new year. I ended up by playing Go the last year and started New Year, 2005, with Go!

I appreciate the great organizers' of Central London Go Club and the officials of BGA(British Go Association) hard work every year without their Christmas and New Year holidays.

From now on, please continue holding such a event goes.

Photograph offer by British Go Association

This "GO Friends Report " started in February !


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