Being a great fan of Channel 4's programme Countdown, Tony had been to several recordings already and was glimpsed in the audience when a Conundrum was solved by an audience member in October 2010.
At the same recording he and his friend Roger Edwards, the Chess arbiter at Frodsham Chess and Go Weekend, collected application forms. These were duly sent off and they both attended and passed auditions early in 2011.
Roger was selected to appear on the show first (recorded 30th March and 13th April) and won 3 games. These were shown between 28th April - 3rd May. If he had won five he would have met Tony in his sixth game.
So Tony also went to the old Granada Studios in Manchester on 13th and 14th April for the recordings. His first game (shown 5th May) was against Scottish lass Jennifer Strachan, who had beaten Roger's vanquisher in the previous game. How would Tony get on?
Most stressful part of taking part, it seems, is the interview at the start. However it provided a good chance to promote Go to the viewers, together with wearing Go themed polo shirts, the first day being a WMSG Beijing 2008 British Team shirt.
JS: Now Tony joins us from Earley in Reading and he is a Go Teacher. Um, Tony, what's Go?
TA: Well, for those people who are familiar with the second dictionary definition of Go, they will know that it's an oriental board game, about 3000 years old. It ranks alongside Chess and Draughts and other games of skill, but it's a... very interesting game.
JS: How long have you played for?
TA: I've played for more than 25 years.
JS: Oh, OK. Tony is the current secretary, in fact, of the European Go Federation. Er, and he's played in the likes of Japan and Korea. Now he's captained the winning British Go Team in the US in 1994, and he says he would love to open a British Go Centre. So it's all Go Tony!
TA: It is. Yes, absolutely.
JS: As we established yesterday he absolutely loves Go and is the current secretary
of the European Go Federation. We talked about Go, but does Go dominate your life
in terms of games or do you do other games as well, Tony?
TA: I like quizzes and obviously Countdown-type programmes as well, but Go is my main, main game that I play, yes.
JS: He's a Go teacher, which we learnt last week is an ancient oriental strategy board
game. And you've toured a lot of the far east, haven't you, you know, playing Go and
and watching it and the such like, but never been to its country of origin which is
China. Is that high on your list of ambitions?
TA: It is. I have been to Korea and Japan several times, but never to China. When the World Mind Sports Games were there in 2008, I was the member of the team who stayed behind at home and did all the office work, while the team enjoyed themselves in China, so I never got to go.
JS: Oh well, must be your turn next time.
What if I had won the third game and got to play Tom Barnes...
Anyway, my 2 wins and 257 points put me in 13th place in series 64. Roger was 11th (3 wins and 316 points). My avarage score of 85.67 was better than his (79), but he says that doesn't count! Thank you to all who sent me such kind and encouraging messages, sorry I didn't do better. However I did get the winner's teapot to bring home, along with the goody bag and lots of happy memories (and the odd unhappy one).