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Toby Manning: Go in Cambridge 1971-1974

Continuing our series "Cambridge Go Down the Ages", the ebullient Toby Manning picks up the story from Alan Williamson (Tesuji 34).

I arrived in Cambridge in Autumn 1971 and the Go Club was in a bad state. There were only three really active players (Paul Prescott, Richard Smith and Mo Amin). I knew how to play (just) before going up, and managed to play in two tournaments in my first year - the Wessex (0/4) and the British (6/6). Gradings were difficult in those years.

Recruitment in 1971 was not good, but the following year was much better; Brian Castledine turned up as a Fresher to announce he was 6 kyu, and the Club started a renaissance. Brian was later to become President of the British Go Association in 1978, but died on Brighton cliffs in March 1979; I succeeded him as President from 1979 until 1984. Another still-active player who started in those days was John Macleod (now 2 dan, at Oxford).

It was in 1973 (I believe) that a second Varsity Match was played. A certain Matthew Macfadyen represented Oxford on Board 2 or 3, at about 12 kyu.

Also that year the 0th and 1st Cambridge Go Tournaments took place (the name Trigantius was added some years later). The 0th Tournament never took place; it was postponed due to a petrol shortage during the infamous "three day week", but the first tournament took place in the Old Music Room in John's.

I left Cambridge in 1974, leaving the Club a little stronger than when I joined - since then it has gone on from strength to strength.

Toby went on to the Bristol club, and left his mark on the British Go Journal in the next few years, as may be seen from the recent Index to BGJ 0-100 (representative title "Do You Play Boring Go?"). He now lives in Leamington, one of the hot spots of British Go. Thursday meetings in John Macleod's Trinity room were treated to Janacek, Brecht and Weill's "Mahagonny", or more extreme musical choices. "Dustbin music" according to Paul Fage, himself more of a Wagnerian and "Tristan and Isolde" fan.

(From Tesuji 36, 1996)