Taken from the 2002 Ranka Yearbook
Irish go came of age with the successful hosting of the 45th European Go Championship in Dublin, starting on 21 July 2001.
After periodic efforts by interested visitors to set up a go club during the 70s and 80s, two small groups were formed towards the end of the 80s. They developed for a while without knowing of each other’s existence. Finally, in March 1990, the Trinity College Dublin group, headed by Noel Mitchell met the Collegians Chess Club group led by John Gibson. The groups successfully amalgamated and quickly arranged the First Irish Open in Power’s Jotel, won by the sensei of the T.C.D., Toshima Isao.
Within a few years, with the encouragement and help of Tony Atkins and the BGA, Alan Held, President of the EGF, and others, the tournament had progressed to the level where the EGF considered it suitable for Grand Prix status.
At some time in the late 90s, Tony and Alan suggested we might consider running the European Championship, as there were vacant years approaching.
This appeared to be a tall order. How could a group of little more than a dozen people organize Europe’s top go event? Where would the money come from? Would enough players travel to the edge of Europe? We answered that we would do some planning to see if it were feasible. The BGA offered to provide sufficient people to run the events if we could handle everything else.
Luckily we knew some people in Dublin and targeted suitable companies, offering them a package of benefits in exchange for sponsorship. We targeted the Irish branch of Fujitsu Siemens Computers as an ideal sponsor, as the largest national contingents were from Japan and Germany.
One of the most interesting elements of the proposal was to put Igowin, a 9×9 version of David Fotland’s Many Faces of Go, on the desktop of 30,000 PCs sold by Fujitsu Siemens Computers and to run a beginners’ event for the hundreds of new players who would flock to Dublin to learn more about go.
Although we were pleased to receive generous support from Fujitsu Siemens Computers, unfortunately our scheme to multiply the number of go players in Ireland thirtyfold failed due to technical problems. However, having the funding in place meant that we could continue planning the event without worrying about money.
As virtually all of the BGA help would appear just days before the start of the congress, it was left to the locals to do all the preplanning. The Gibson living room became the centre of operations. Philomena looked after accommodation, Naomi the introductory bulletin and PR, and Susannah the design of logos, badges, etc.
The local players were coordinated by Noel Mitchell and the large BGA group by Tony Atkins.
Thanks to the BGA and Fujitsu Siemens Computers, without whom it would not have been possible to run this congress. Diary here
Because of the upcoming congress, the 12th Irish Open reverted to a two-day event. Gerry Mills 1-dan (Wales) won on tie break from Noel Mitchell 2-dan (Ireland), with Alistair Wall 4-dan (England) third and Tony Atkins 2-dan (England) fourth.
The 2001 National Championship was won by Noel Mitchell, ahead of Stephen Flinter. Brian Gallagher represented Ireland in the 23rd WAGC and finished with 3 wins.