Ranka interviewed three members fo the Czech team after their loss to the team from the Republic of Korea in the first knockout round on October 17.
Ranka: (to team captain Vladimir Danek): Please tell us about your game in the first round of the men’s team knockout, against Korea.
Danek: I lost, but I was was happy to play against Choi Chulhan. I also played Korean professionals in 1992, and 1997 when I was stronger.
Ranka: What of your team’s other games in this afternoon’s match?
Danek: We all lost. In one game one of our players almost killed a large group, but it was a ko, and the professional had of course anticipated it, so in the end the group lived. If we had any chance it was on the first board. Ondrej Silt has been an insei in Japan for three years. That makes a difference. He is pretty strong. If he gets a game that matches his style, he can beat professional opponents. He has won his last three games with Catalin Taranu.
Ranka: How was your game against Christian Pop in the match with Romania in the morning?
Danek: It was a peaceful game, as are all games with Christian Pop. I got the advantage when he tried a move that didn’t work, but later I made mistakes and lost the advantage, and the game. He is 180 points above me in the European rating system, a difference of almost two stones. A few years ago we were even but he has gone up and I have gone down. We have played many times. He usually wins, but when we have an important game, usually I win—in the Toyota and Denso Cup, for example. Today’s game was the exception. It was important and I lost.
Ranka: The western European countries that were strong twenty or thirty years ago are not doing as well as the Eastern European countries these days. Why do you think this is happening?
Danek: They are too rich, too lazy. Some time ago I was discussing forming a professional league for the eight top European players. When we drew up a list, seven of the eight players were from Eastern Europe. This is not a good situation from the standpoint of finding sponsorship. These discussions are temporarily on hold.
Ranka (to Ondrej Silt): How was your game this morning against Catalin Taranu?
Ranka: But you won.
Silt: It just happened. Catalin often loses games that he should win.
Ranka: And your game this afternoon against Won Sungjin?
Silt: I was looking forward to being given a free lesson from a Korean professional player. I wanted to play an interesting fighting game, but he was very calm and collected, just played on the three-three points and took territory, so I got a different kind of game from what I expected. The best thing was that Kobayashi Satoru said that Czechia is among the eight strongest countries in the world.
Danek: Kobayashi Satoru was Silt’s sensei when he was an insei in Japan.
Ranka (to Zbynek Dach): How was your game against the Korean player?
Dach: I decided to play fast. He never gave me a chance. He had black and he always kept sente, kept taking profit.
Ranka: And your game against Lucian Corlan from Romania?
Dach: I lost. He played very well. He took all the points. I got hardly anything. I tried to start fighting, but I lost the fight. We were lucky to get into the knockout.
Ranka: Your overall impressions of this event?
Dach: I had good games with players from Finland, Hungary, and Romania. Playing for a team is good, because you’re playing for the whole team, not just for yourself. My one complaint is that we didn’t have the chance to watch our teammates’ games after we finished our own games. It was nice that there were other mind sports being played here. Even though I didn’t have time to watch them, I met and talked with the players at dinner and lunch.
Ranka: Did you make any special preparations for this event?
Dach: No, I was too busy getting my visa.
Ranka: Thank you all for the interview.