After his 5th-round win over Chinese Taipei’s Yitien Chan on Tuesday morning, China’s Ruoran Wang (left, below) must have been eying the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship trophy a bit possessively. After all, he had just beaten the only other top undefeated player, and heavy favorite Taewoong Wei of Korea (at right) had lost by half a point to Taipei in the 3rd round on Monday. But when the dust settled after the 6th round on Tuesday afternoon, the top trophy was once more up for grabs, with China, Korea and Taipei all holding 5-1 records, though on SOS, Korea looks to have the edge.
Meanwhile, the US and Russia, also 5-1, are looking to break back into the top five and Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada and the Czech Republic are battling it out for a top 10 finish. The final two rounds on Wednesday will settle things; top pairings for Round 7 are Korea-US, China-Russia, Taipei-Thailand and Hong Kong-Canada. Click here for latest results.
It was Korean maestro Taewoong Wei who derailed China’s march to the title by snatching victory in his 6th-round game Tuesday afternoon against China’s Ruoran Wang, who had taken the lead just that morning with a win against Taipei (click here for the game record). Wang let out a huge yawn at the start of the afternoon round and the game turned into an early running battle with the Korean collecting points on the right side of the board that in the end proved to be too much (click here for the Korea-China game record).
Meanwhile, Jie Liang (US, below right) edged out Yongfei Ge (Canada, below left) by 1.5 points in a North American showdown Tuesday morning that was one of the last games to finish (click here for the game record). Perhaps drained from his hard-fought 4th-round win against Japan on Monday afternoon, Ge fell behind early and Liang was able to maintain his lead into the finish. Liang then drew the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera in the 6th-round. Podpera had fought gamely but vainly against Korea in his morning round (click here for the game record) and threw himself into the battle with Liang, winning three fierce ko’s but coming up short in the end and resigning gracefully (click here for the game record).
As the tournament wears on the challengers are cranking up the pace, and many games are now reaching their conclusions before the one hour mark. Players are getting more experimental too, with Francis Roads (United Kingdom) taking two 5-4 points and 3-3 sightings coming from the New Zealand and Swiss camps. Dominique Versyck (Belgium) was delighted with his 6th-round defeat of India’s Soni Shah 1D, taking apart a large central group that he allowed he “didn’t need to kill but, well, might as well.” While “perhaps not the politest solution,” Versyck’s victory pushed him to a respectable three wins out of six. Twelve-year-old Nhat Minh Vo (Vietnam) steered his 6th-round game into a huge central battle, culminating with a semeai where it was his stones, and not those of Australian opponent Sang-Dae Hahn, that perished in the fight.
Other Round 5 game records: Sweden-Russia
Other Round 6 game records: Thailand-Slovakia; ChineseTaipei-Ukraine
Shigeno Passes the Torch: This year’s WAGC marked the retirement of Yuki Shigeno (at right) from her post as the Secretary General of the International Go Federation (IGF), where she’s served since 2006. Hajin Lee (left) of the KBA is the IGF’s new Secretary General. Shigeno and her husband Ivan Vigano, who edits Ranka, have been longtime friends and supporters of the E-Journal’s WAGC team; we deeply appreciate the many kindnesses she’s shown us over the years and wish her the very best as she continues her work promoting go at the Nihon Kiin. Click here for Ranka’s complete report.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Aji’s Quest, the popular online comic about a quoll who plays go, has published its last panel, author Colette Bezio announced on July 5th. Her comic strip was launched two years ago and has grown to 180 pages, and attracted an international audience of kids and adults. Fans followed the witty adventures of a quoll named Aji, on his long quest to become a go master. On the way he encounters a huge variety of go playing animals and creatures, all of whom illustrate different aspects of the game, and provide some kind of lesson to help Aji along the way. “A sequel is possible… I even have a couple of ideas,” said Bezio, “but I have to get back to some other projects before I even think about it seriously.” The strip can be read on Bezio’s website here, and was also featured on Tigersmouth. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor. Drawing by Colette Bezio: Aji confronts his worst nightmare, the evil white stones monster.
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Korea and Japan, two of the favorites to top the 2014 World Amateur Go Championship, both lost by half a point to their respective opponents from Chinese Taipei and China in the third round of the WAGC on Monday morning. China and Chinese Taipei then solidified their status as clear favorites by handily winning their 4th-round games Monday afternoon, with the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera (left) the only other 4-game winner, while Japan’s dwindling hopes were dashed by Canadian Yongfei Ge. Korea, meanwhile, kept their hopes alive with a 4th-round win over Hong Kong. Click here for complete results.
Korean star Taewoong Wei (at right), the clear favorite to win the first WAGC to be held in Korea, felt he had a comfortable lead coming out of the fuseki in the 3rd-round game, but young Yitien Chan (at left in photo) from Chinese Taipei came up with an unexpected play at move 98 that both agreed in their review later (click here for the commented game) gave Chan a winning position, although fierce and complicated play continued for another 200+ moves.
Japan’s Kiko Emura, hoping for victory after a disappointing 8th place in last year’s tournament, also lost a half-pointer to China’s Ruoran Wang; their 3rd-round battle kept fans on the edge of their seats as the two players tussled over an intense endgame in which Emura was constantly under time pressure. As it turned out, the pressure extended to Emura’s clock button, which finally broke, allowing Emura’s time to expire, and bringing play to a halt as a crowd gathered around the board awaiting the referees’ decision as to how to continue the game. It was decided to keep playing with a new clock, giving the Japanese player one final byo-yomi period. “I was happy with how things were going,” said Emura, “but before I knew it I wound up half a point behind. I’m used to fast time limits but this clock business added to the stress of this important game.”
Other Round 3 Game Records
Norway-Sweden: Includes comments/variations by Thomas Hsiang, Hajin Lee & the players
Lithuania-Denmark: Comments/variations by the players, plus Pal Balogh (Hungary) & Fredrik Blomback (Sweden), in photo at left.
Uncommented game records: Japan-China; Vietnam-Ukraine.
In the 4th round, Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel (below, right) finally got the chance to show why the Japanese press call her “Tengen Girl”, drawing black and deploying her trademark tengen strategy. A fight erupted in the first few moves that engulfed the entire board, eventually leading to death and destruction, and the defeat of her Portugese opponent, Pedro Pereira (click here for the game record). Meanwhile, Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya once again tried again to mimic D’Bel’s winning strategy but was clinically dispatched by his Swiss adversary Sylvain Gasana Praz.
Canadian Yongfei Ge snuffed Japan’s Kiko Emura’s ambitions once and for all in an exciting 4th-round game in which Ge built – and defended — a gigantic central moyo. Emura went all in with a desperate invasion but it was not enough to shake Canada’s WAGC veteran (click here for the game commentary).
Previous Round Updates: Yesterday’s WAGC report has been updated to include the Japan-Netherlands Round 1 game and we’ve also added the following Round 2 games: Belgium-Czech Republic; Taipei-Hong Kong; Korea-Canada.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the third round and fourth round and here for complete results. Matches are broadcast live each round on WBaduk.
Round 1 Reports, Game Record & Photos
There were no surprises for top seeds in the first two rounds of the 35th Annual World Amateur Go Championship in Gyeongju, Korea on Sunday, July 6. In the first-round Japan-Hungary match, the game reached an essentially lost position with only three minutes used on Pal Balogh’s clock. After a twenty minute deliberation, the Hungarian left the playing room but returned minutes later to choose the only possible continuation and struggle through a futile battle to the bitter end. In the Hong Kong-Netherlands game, Naisan Chan (at left in photo) enclosed the Dutch envoy’s central-right stones in another first-round battle but no amount of tsumego wizardry could save Merlijn Kuin’s (right) group from inevitable demise. “I thought W58 was good enough but to be honest I didn’t read it out very carefully,” said Kuin. “I should have taken more time to consider my options.” Click here for the Hong Kong-Netherlands game record.
Other interesting first-round games included Costa Rica versus Belgium, this year seeing a new player, the Costa Rican system engineer Luis Enrique Boza Araya, attempt a tengen-based strategy. He was unable to use the central stone, however, and suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Belgian accountant Dominique Versyck. Suzanne D’Bel, known by the Japanese press as ‘Tengen Girl’, took white in her game against Andreas Götzfried of Luxembourg, so we have yet to see if she too will employ this unusual opening strategy.
Sweden-US: Jie Liang (US) let his advantage slip away in the middle game as Sweden’s Fredrik Blomback squeaked out a narrow win. Click here for a game commentary by Kim Seung Jun 9P of Blackie’s International Baduk Academy (www.bibabaduk.net), with assistance by Shawn Ray 4D.
Lithuania-Canada (click here for game record): As to be expected in a match-up between a 3-dan and a 7-dan, Canada’s Ge (below at right, reviewing the game) cruised to an early lead; the middle-game death of one of Petrauskas’ (Lithuania) groups simply hastened the inevitable.
Round 2 Reports, Game Record & Photos
After a lunch of fish and assorted kimchi, the players returned to the underground playing area for the second round. Within fifteen minutes Hungary’s Pal Balogh’s game had yet again finished in a flurry, but this time with victory over Khatanbaatar Tsend-Ayush, a hotel manager from Mongolia. Also quick to finish was the US-India game, both players playing very rapidly until the end. Soon after, South African John William Leuner was defeated by Danish postman Arne Steen Ohlenbuch when his group became entangled in a web of black stones.
This was not the only spectacular game of the afternoon. A large crowd gathered around the Indonesia-Luxembourg match-up as semeais erupted and dead stones littered the board. Malaysian representative Suzanne D’Bel launched a fierce attack on Brazilian Csaba Deak and, although he managed to dodge this assault, another group came under fire, leading to a decisive victory for D’Bel.
But the bloodshed didn’t stop there. An audible groan was let out by the UK’s Francis Roads (at left) as he tried to find a way to save his group from Australian Sangdae Hahn’s deadly onslaught (click here for game record). Not finding a solution, the stone in Roads’ hand was slammed back into the pot, followed shortly by resignation. The candidates from Costa Rica and Portugal joined the list of casualties as large groups were swallowed up by their Belarusian and Lithuanian counterparts.
Round 2 game records:
New Zealand-Ireland (photo of Ireland’s John Gibson at right)
No suprises again at the top, as Korea, China, Japan and Chinese Taipei all won their games. A highlight was Korea-Canada, with Canada’s Yongfei Ge, back again from last year, putting up strong resistance in a relatively peaceful game. His 45-point lower side was not quite enough to overcome Taewoong Wei. Japan vs Singapore took the longest to finish but in the end Kiko Emura’s lead in territory sealed another Japanese victory.
- Game reports by John Richardson, game records by Chris Garlock, photos by John Pinkerton and coordination by Ivan Vigano. Click here for Ranka’s complete reports on the first round and second round and here for complete results.
Why top players love go is as varied as the players themselves, but they all pretty much agree that in order to get stronger, “you must love the game.” So said Japan’s Emura Kiko at a brief press conference on the opening day of this year’s World Amateur Go Championship, echoed by Malaysia’s Suzanne D’Bel Low, Korea’s Taewoong Wei, China’s Ruoran Wang, Vietnam’s Nhat Minh Vo and the Czech Republic’s Lukas Podpera, who were selected to answer questions at the press conference. “Go enables me to meet a lot of new friends, who become part of my family,” said Low. “Each game reveals my opponent’s style and personality,” added Podpera. At just 13, Vo is the youngest player at the WAGC, but already the game has enabled him to “meet a lot of interesting new people and travel around the world to share the go spirit,” he said. And while all the selected players said that lots of play and study is necessary to improve, Podpera was the most specific, noting that “In Europe we are failing at life and death (tsume-go) so that’s what we must study to improve.” Wei was even more succinct, saying that the three things necessary to get better at go are “Will, confidence and concentration.”
- Chris Garlock; photo by Ivan Vigano
The 35th World Amateur Go Championship got underway Saturday morning in Gyeongju, Korea with the traditional Friendship Match between local go players and the WAGC players from around the world. Gathered in the main playing area on the first floor of the Hotel Hyundai, the WAGC players’ places were marked as usual by their nation’s flags and the locals eagerly joined them for a spirited round of friendly but intense matches. At the head of the room were pro Kim In 9P (at right in photo at lower left) playing a teaching game with a local luminary beneath the WAGC banner. Gyeongju City, along with the Republic of Korea, is hosting the WAGC in this scenic resort in the Bomun Lake resort area. In the back of the room, professional Hyun Wook Lee (at right in bottom right photo) played a 10-on-1 simul while Ms. Yun Jin Bae gave some three dozen avid youngsters a go lecture. After an opening ceremony and banquet on Saturday night, the tournament will begin Sunday and run through Wednesday, with games scheduled each morning and afternoon. The E-Journal and Ranka are teaming up again this year to provide full coverage of the WAGC, including updates on each round, player interviews, game commentaries, photos and final daily results at the end of each day.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock
July 15 is the deadline to reserve the lowest hotel prices for US Go Congress attendees at the Hotel Pennsylvania. “After July 15, we cannot guarantee room availability or prices, so you’d have to book rooms at the hotel’s normal rates instead of our special discounted rates,” says Congress Director Matthew Hershberger. “We’ve negotiated incredibly low rates with the Hotel Pennsylvania for go players, so don’t miss out!” Late fees for Congress registration will also go up after July 15. The US Go Congress runs August 9-17 in New York City.
Local organizers are looking for volunteers to help teach go at the final weekend of the Smithsonian’s Folk Life Festival on the National Mall in Washington, DC this Saturday and Sunday. Local players Julian Erville (left) and Juan Pablo Quizon were joined by fellow DC-area club members Todd Heidenreich, Ed Hsu, Sam Lee, Mike Pak, Yi Weng, Justin Teng, and John Goon last weekend “as they taught weiqi/go to some promising young talent,” says Goon, who coordinated the effort reaching more than 200 each day. China and Kenya are the centerpieces of the festival, which ends on Sunday. Contact John Goon at Spineyone@yahoo.com for details on how to volunteer.
-photo by John Goon
Ballots for the 2014 American Go Association Board elections have been sent to chapters and members, reports Arnold Eudell. “If you have not received your ballot and believe you should have, first check your spam folder,” Eudell says. “Then send a note to email@example.com.” Note that only one ballot can be sent per email. If an email is duplicated, such as for a child’s membership, only one voting code will be sent. Contact the email address above with a unique email to receive all ballots. Also, comments sent through Ballot Bin are anonymous; if you want a response send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Voting closes August 8.
Impressive Ge: “7 Dan is impressive,” writes Chris Uzal about our profile of Canada’s Yongfei Ge (2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Americas & Oceania 6/29 EJ). “Playing go in the womb is even more impressive: ‘Yongfei Ge 7D is a 30-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years…’”
That would be impressive indeed! In fact, Ge is 45 and has been playing since he was 15.
Looking for Spanish Go News: Uzal also asks “Where can I find go news in Spanish? I work for a local Spanish newspaper. I have enough influence to get go stories published. I’d like to see more on the Latin American players.”
Send your tips on where to find go news in Spanish to us at email@example.com and we’ll pass it along.
Last of a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old fromIndonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.
Argentina: Haroldo Brown 3k (right) is a 54-year-old development consultant from Buenos Aires. Career accomplishments Include “17 years of working with an outstanding humanitarian organisation (Oxfam) and at least 15 years in the theatre world.” His favorite thing about go is “The different paths one goes down in each game and, of course, the chance to meet people from many walks of life.” Hobbies include screenwriting. He’s not married, but says he “’adopted’ three daughters while I lived in Nicaragua.” He adds that “Go keeps my mind thinking strategically and this includes analysing with an open mind the different alternatives paths I can take in the face of whatever challenges come my way… And this has proved most useful in my development work as well as in the screenwriting world.”
Canada: Yongfei Ge 7D is a 45-year-old software architect from Scarborough. He’s been playing for 30 years, winning the Canada Open Championship in 2007, and the US Open Championship in 2001, 2007 and 2011. His favorite thing about go is to “Win after hard fight.” Hobbies include PC games, novels and running. Career highlights include the Horizontal Award, “signed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.” He’s married, with one daughter.
Costa Rica: Enrique Boza Araya 7k is a 52-year-old systems engineer in San Jose. He’s been playing go for 11 years and says his favorite thing about the game is “The depth of the game despite its simple rules.” His hobbies include strategy games – he’s a 5-time champion at the Banco Central de Costa Rica’s annual tournament — writing fantasy stories, and movies.
Mexico: Ricardo Quintero Zazueta 5D is a 63-year-old mathematician and full time researcher at Cinvestav in México City. He’s been playing go for more than 40 years and has been Mexican champion eight times. His favorite thing about go is “Making lasting friendships through go and the depth of the game itself.” His hobbies include Kendo. He’s married, with three children.
United States: Jie Liang 7D is a 43-year-old software engineer from Nashua, New Hampshire. Working with the same company for over 16 years, he says “I am doing well in the work so I have spare time to play go.” He’s been playing for 30 years, won 4th place in the 2010 KPMC and says his favorite things about go are “comfortable, brain game, concentration, competitive, friendship.” Hobbies include photography and fishing. He’s married, with “one 2-year old lovely boy, full of energy who likes placing stones on board in some patterns.” He adds that “I can still find great interest in playing go. Also I try to improve my games through online resources. There are some strong young players and Europeans are getting better too. I hope I will have better luck this time in the WAGC.”
Missing: Brazil (probably too busy with the World Cup!).
Australia: Sang-Dae Hahn 7D is a retired professor who just turned 73 and lives in Sydney. He’s been playing go for 48 years, and is a 12-time Australian Champion (1978~1993) and won the 2012 Korean Ambassador’s Cup. His favorite thing about go is “creating my own aesthetic world” and his hobbies include “singing, traveling, and people.” Career highlights include teaching at Yon-sei Uni, Sydney Uni, Myongji Uni and 10 times Singing Recital. He’s married, with one child.
Missing: New Zealand
Africa: missing Madagascar & South Africa
Last week’s Quiz was inspired by EJ reader Vernon Leighton who thought he spotted an error in a May 13 Wired article on go. “It said that Michael Redmond (far right) was the first American go professional and that James Kerwin (near right) was the second. I believe that Kerwin was the first.” As the vast majority of respondents knew, Kerwin was indeed the first American pro, but the real answer is a bit more nuanced. The Wired article correctly said that “The charismatic Redmond, an American… remains the only Westerner to ever reach 9-dan, the game’s highest rank” and that “James Kerwin…(became) the second-ever Western professional Go player” which is what created the confusion. Manfred Wimmer 2P (left) of Austria was the first Westerner to achieve professional status in 1978 at the Kansai Kiin; Kerwin 1P, from the United States, became a professional later that year at the Nihon Ki-in, the first westerner to do so there. Redmond was the first Western professional to achieve the rank of 9P, in 2000. Michael Goerss of Scottsdale, AZ is this week’s winner, chosen at random from those answering correctly.
This Week’s Quiz: Most of the registrants for the upcoming US Go Congress are from the United States; which country has the second-highest number of registrants? Click here to submit your answer.
AVE-KONTAKT s.r.o., PromoGo o.s., and the Czech Go Association will host the 13th International Czech Open on July 11 through July 13. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five players, the top five EGF players, and players with five and six points. Additionally, material prizes (3000 CZK value) will be awarded to those with four points, the best female player, and the best youth players who accumulate at least three points. Starting fee is determined by rank, with the maximum fee as 17 EU. For more information including a full schedule and accommodations, please visit the official Czech Open 2014 website.
Love the Czech Republic? Coming this fall: the 2014 annual international tournament BRNO. An official video trailer (preview below) is currently being featured by our friends at EuroGoTV.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar
Capital One has informed its Card Lab Connect partners that it is ending the program, under which AGA members could apply for go-decorated VISA cards whose fees were shared with AGA, according to AGA President Andy Okun. ”I am quite disappointed, as the program was a nice addition to the AGA budget and the cards a nice conversation piece,” he told the E-Journal. New applications are no longer being accepted, although spending on existing cards will generate revenue through the end of September. After that the cards will be replaced with ordinary Capital One cards, which members may keep or cancel as they please. The AGA will make good on its offer of a $50 cash rebate for New York Congress attendees showing the card. “We promised,” Okun said (U.S. Go Congress Registration Opens with Special Rebate Offer 3/30/2014). Capital One cited declining business in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis as reason for leaving the affinity card business. There are a few similar other programs out there, but Okun said he would like feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org before deciding on whether to go down that path.
United Kingdom: The Welsh Open finished in Barmouth on June 22 with Alistair Wall 2d in first, Toby Manning 2d in second, and Christian Scarff 1d in third. Bosnia and Herzegovina: Also on June 22, Mijodrag Stankovic 5d dominated the 10th Open Zelenkovac. Mihailo Jacimovic 1d came in second and Daniel Zrno 2k in third. Austria: Ali Jabarin 6d (left) took the Wien 2014 Vienna International Tournament on June 22 while Cristian Pop 7d took second and Hui Fan 8d placed third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
If you’re in the St Louis area this weekend – or maybe just passing through the airport – you’ll want to stop by the stamp show at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. Longtime go player and philatelist Les Lanphear will be showing his award-winning stamp exhibition “Go, The World’s Oldest Board Game,” which uses brilliantly-colored stamps from around the world to tell the story of go, from its’ origins through development of the game, the people involved, as well as various related historical developments, including go’s transmission to Japan, Europe and the United States. “The last time I showed the exhibit was around three years ago,” Lanphear tells the E-Journal. “About 50% has been changed with many new items. I am getting it ready for an international exhibit on Korea in August.” The hours of the show are 10a to 6p Friday and Saturday and 10a to 4p Sunday.
photo: Lanphear at the 2008 US Go Congress in Portland, OR; photo by Chris Garlock.
Third in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea.
Germany: Bernd Radmacher 4D (left), 42, lives in Meerbusch (near Düsseldorf, Cologne) where he’s “just looking after my children at the moment.” He’s been playing go for 25 years, placing second in the 2013 German Championship, and played in the 2008 WMSG amateur tournament in Beijing. He likes go’s “creativity and beauty, creating shapes on the board” and the game’s “magic, even for pros, who study it all their lives. It has surprises in every game.” Hobbies include other board games, and playing piano. Married, he has one daughter (18), and two sons (16, now 2-dan, and 13).
Luxemburg: Andreas Goetzfried 4D (right) is a 24-year-old student in the capital city of Luxemburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and like go because of “Its rather simple rules compared to its very complex structure.”
Netherlands: Merlijn Kuin 6D (left) is a 32-year-old Program Manager/Project Leader in Amsterdam who’s been playing go since he was 15. He’s been Dutch Go Champion “many times” and was part of the 2011 European Team Champion team. His favorite thing about go is that “It’s near infinite possibilities allows one to be creative and come up with new and surprising high level strategies to slowly but inexorably move towards control of the game and then give the game away during byo-yomi endgame.” He suggests “reinstat(ing) decent thinking time in the WAGC or should we change the name to WA Rapid GC?” His hobbies include reading, studying go strategy or teaching go and playing other strategy games and he enjoys “Teasing people in a hopefully fun way (for example by filling out online forms unconventionally)” In response to our query about non-go accomplishments he said “I’ve got a job. How much time do you guys think I have, next to becoming and staying 6d?”
Norway: Oeystein Vestgaarden 2D (right) is a 35-year-old project manager for digital learning software in Oslo. He won the Oslo Open in 2012 and 2013 and was the Norwegian participant in the 28th WAGC in 2007 and the 31st WAGC in 2010. He’s been playing since he was 19 and likes “The simplicity of the rules combined with being infinitely difficult to master. Go has a certain beauty that no other board games can match. On the more practical side, I like that the game is equally enjoyable in both silent ‘study-like’ environments and more relaxed environments like a café or pub.” For hobbies, “I sing in a choir, play the bass in a band, play football, indoor climbing, reading, mountain hiking.” Other accomplishments include working as an editor in a publishing company for seven years.
Poland: Stanisław Frejlak 4D (left) is an 18-year-old student in Warsaw. He’s been playing since the age of 6 and was Polish Youth Go Champion Under 16 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011, Under 18 champion in 2010 and Polish Go Champion in 2012. “My favorite thing in go is the exciting fights between big groups on which a game’s result depends.” Hobbies include maths and he was Laureate of Polish Mathematical Olympiad (2013, 2014) and took 3rd place with the Polish Team on “The Baltic Way mathematical contest” (2013).
Serbia: Nikola Mitic 6D (left) is a 22-year-old student from Nis. He won the 2013 Serbian Championship and the 2014 Serbian Cup. He started playing at the age of 6 and likes “Fighting on the board, meeting people off the board.” Hobbies include reading, basketball, football, and video games.
Slovakia: Peter Jadron 4D (right) is a 33-year-old psychiatrist who currently lives in Karlstadt, Germany. He’s been playing for about 20 years and was the Slovakian Champion in 2008. “I like the fact, that only a well balanced combination of intuition, creativity, flexibility, knowledge and deep reading leads to success in the game of go,” he says. He’s married and has two children. Hobbies include cycling, nature, photography, classical music, composing and medicine.
Slovenia: Timotej Suc 3D (left) is a 30-year-old EM physician in Ljubljana. “I like complex battles,” he says, adding that “Because of go I have traveled many places in Europe and also elsewhere.” He’s been playing for 15 years and achievements include 1st place in the 50th Ljubljana Open in 2011, Slovenian team champion with the Ljubljana Go club from 2005-2013, Balkan student champion in 2007, 1st place in the 2005 Rijeka Open, 2nd place in the Slovenian championship in 2008 and 2012, and 3rd place in the Slovenian championship in 2010,’11 and ’13. He’s married and has three children (5y, 3y, 6m) and his hobbies include playing football.
Switzerland: Sylvain Praz 1k (left) is a 27-year-old history student who lives in Lausanne. He’s been playing go five years and his hobbies include reading, seeing friends and having a drink. His favorite thing about go is “When, during a game, anything else stops existing.”
Ukraine: Bogdan Zhurakovskyi 5D is a 26-year-old data analyst from Kyiv who holds a Phd in Statistics. He’s been playing since he was 11, and was the 2005 European youth vice-champion the 2008 Ukrainian champion and 2014 Ukrainian vice-champion. His favorite thing about the game is its “Mix of complexity and simplicity.”
United Kingdom (England): Francis Roads 1D (though he notes “formerly 4 dan”) is a Retired Music Education Advisor who lives in London. Roads (left) learned to play at 22, has been playing for 49 years and his titles are “Too many to count.” His favorite thing about go is “The people that you meet.” Hobbies include West Gallery Church Music and he currently serves as Honorary Secretary of the West Gallery Music Association, and Music Director of London Gallery Quire. He retired as Head of Music Curriculum Support for Essex County Council. “My selection as British representative to the 2014 WAGC results from the points system in our Challengers League, which rewards persistence as well as competence,” he notes.
Missing (we hope to include in a future edition): Azerbaijan, Denmark, Portugal, Russia, Sweden.