Take your pick in Courchevel, Chamonix, Sainte-Foy, Megève, and Val Thorens

The British Go Championship

Matthew Macfadyen has won the British Go Championship with three straight victories against Charles Matthews in the final. Go is the ancient board game that is the reason why so few Japanese and Koreans play chess. Simple rules - which dictate that the two players alternately place stones on a board to attempt to surround territory - leads to a game of astonishing complexity in which, at the highest level, intuition plays a greater part than precise calculation. Which is why computers can beat grandmasters at chess, but not at Go.

Mind sports

The first Mind Sports Olympiad finished last week with England claiming the majority of the medals - but they did have the advantage of having the vast majority of the 2,000 competitors. England took 78 medals in all (22 gold, 26 silver, 30 bronze) leaving the Netherlands (7 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze) well behind in second place.

No rest from mental fight

The organisers of the first Mind Sports Olympiad believe that thinking can broaden the mind. William Hartston is not so sure


It's time to bin the Super Marios and dust down the Monopoly as the retro resurrection of board games has reached an all-time high. A turnout of 15,000 is expected at Highclere Castle in Berkshire tomorrow for the Family Games Festival. Backed by games giants Hasbro UK, the festival - the first of its kind - will see all proceeds going to charity, and aims to prove that computers are out and boards are in. The centrepiece of the festival is a giant Jenga game, where players sporting compulsory hard hats must prevent the skyscraper from toppling while removing bricks from the bottom and balancing them on the top. For die-hard Jenga addicts, there will also be a Guinness Book of Records competition at high noon with a more wieldy game. Other amusements include a full-scale game of Cluedo, five-a-side football, Twister, Gladiator-jousting and the obligatory bouncy castles.

Particularly susceptible to draughts

When computers meet draughts players, the results can be surprisingly exciting, as William Hartston discovered in a new book

Go is coming

The British take control of an oriental game


Fancy yourself as something of a main player? Whether you relish the capitalist cut and thrust of Monopoly, tiddling winks or concentrating on a nice cerebral game of chess, Pass Go is the exhibition for you. Opening this week at Leicester City Art Gallery, it's a show that plays mind games with your attitudes to contemporary art and board games, while tapping into the rich seam of twenty- and thirtysomething nostalgia

The draughty state of E Lasker

William Hartston rediscovers a game invented by one of the first world chess champions

Board games in Brighton

The UK Board and Card Games Championship reaches its climax this weekend at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton, where some 200 enthusiasts from around the country have, since yesterday evening, been playing all manner of games.

Bluely, madly, deeply

The world's greatest chessplayer reveals its deepest and bluest thoughts concerning its recent achievements and future plans in an exclusive tete-a-chip with William Hartston

Letter: Man vs machine: it's not over yet

Sir: Garry Kasparov may have lost to Deep Blue, but the latter is still utterly incapable of giving a press conference to say how delighted it was to have won, and how much it is looking forward to a re-match.

Letter: Deep Blue is not that clever

Sir: While the victory of Deep Blue over Garry Kasparov demonstrates that the machine certainly does play a mean game of chess, the implications for artificial intelligence are less clear.

Man mastered by machine as Deep Blue triumphs

Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion, has been beaten by a machine. Last night in New York, the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue trounced Kasparov in only 19 moves in the deciding encounter of their six-game match.

Go for its plug, Garry!

Today in New York, the world chess champion faces a new challenge from the most powerful chess computer. William Hartston assesses the prospects

Games: Backgammon

Here is a more difficult example of a "Pay me now/ Pay me later" problem. In the diagram position Black has a 5-3 to play. He has already borne off 3 men. He has two choices: (a) 3/Off or (b) 6/3. In both cases he cannot play the 5. Note that the rules of backgammon state that you must play as much of your roll as possible. If you can play only one of two numbers, you must play the larger if you can. Here you cannot play the 5 whatever you do.
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