Ranka: It must have been quite a challenge to organize this big event. Would you tell us what kind of role the European Go Federation played in organizing the 1st WMSG?
Martin: EGF was involved because we have 35 members in the IGF. It was difficult for the IGF to contact these members directly . So we were responsible for contacting them to collect information, I worked very closely with Yuki Shigeno (IGF-Secretary General) and Thomas Hsiang (IGF-Director). Also I had very close internal cooperation with other Go federations to prepare for the 1st WMSG.
Ranka: Did all the members of the European Go Federation participate in this WMSG?
Martin: Nearly all. But not all. I feel sorry about that. Two were missing—Luxembourg and Slovenia. I did asked Luxembourg why they didn’t make it. It turned out that they didn’t have enough time. There are so many Go events to be busy with in these days: the European Go Congress, World Amateur Championship, etc. For Slovenia, because there was only one free flight provided by Air China, they decided that it would be too expensive for the federation and their players.
Ranka: How was your cooperation with the Chinese organization committee?
Martin: It was perfect. We worked in a very friendly atmosphere. Nothing could have been better.
Ranka: This tournament focused mainly on championship play. What about the spectators?
Martin: I would say that it is difficult to have a competition with thousands of spectators. But I think, at least all the participants here should have the opportunity to watch the games. After finishing their games, many players might want to stay to watch the other games. But in fact they were asked to leave the playing room immediately after their games. That is not OK. Lots of them came to me to ask for help. Sure, I could help someone sometimes, but not everyone every time. I think this depends on the room too. In the World Amateur Championship, the players play in the center, in a roped-off area. Standing outside that area, the spectators can watch the games without disturbing the players. Here the rooms are all too small. However, if it’s not possible to have spectators in the rooms, there should be more live broadcast games in the hall. Only one game displayed is surely not enough.
Ranka: What is your general impression of this event?
Martin: It is an excellent event. I think it is the start of a hopefully long relationship between all players and countries. Especially for Europe. Half of the IGF members are from Europe. We really need this kind of big event to make contact with the rest of the world and to learn from each other. Actually I am quite surprised that the team tournaments, not the individual tournaments, are especially highlighted.
Ranka: What is your relationship with federations of the other mind sports?
Martin: I regret that I don’t have much relation with them. At the beginning of organizing the 1st WMSG, during some high official meetings, we did have some contact with them. But here, in Beijing, I have had hardly any contact with them. I didn’t watch any of the chess competition, or bridge competition. That is a point that needs to be improved.
Ranka: What is your opinion of the future of the WMSG?
Martin: I think that it may happen again, and I really hope so. It’s not so easy to organize this kind of huge event. It needs a large amount of money, and also some powerful government or city that is willing to have it. But it is still possible. I believe in it and I want to work for it. Every player wants it again. I’m sure it will happen again!
Ranka: Thank you very much for the interview and all the excellent work you have done for the WMSG!
– Max and Chen