Ranka: How do you feel about your win over the Brazilian player in round 2?
Leslie: Happy. It was a great achievement for me. I surprised myself. I hope my opponent doesn’t feel too disappointed.
Ranka: How did you get started playing go?
Leslie: I was attending a university in Valparaiso, studying for a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and one of my classmates taught me how to play. I guess it was destiny. I went on to take a master’s degree, and now I’m studying for a Ph.D in Belgium, but I’m still playing go.
Ranka: Tell us about your career on KGS.
Leslie: My high-water mark was 1 kyu, but that was two years ago, before I became busy with graduate study, and even then, 2 kyu was more accurate. Since I haven’t been playing go so much recently I demoted myself to 4 kyu for this tournament.
Ranka: Besides KGS, where else have you played?
Leslie: On Pandanet, at a club in Valpariso, and now at a club in Belgium. The players in Belgium are stronger than the players in Chile, so I hope I’ll improve. Incidentally, I’m not originally from Valparaiso. I grew up in Punta Arenas, which is the southernmost city in South America, the place you have to pass to get to Antarctica.
Ranka: Have you visited Japan?
Leslie: Yes, two years ago I came to Kita Kyushu for a computer science conference, and since I was also in Tokyo I dropped in at the Nihon Kiin. Mr Hosono was very kind at that time, showing me around.
Ranka: Is this your first visit to China?
Leslie: Yes, and although I’ve only been here a couple of days, I like it. It’s much different from Chile, but the people have been very kind. I visited the White Cloud (Baiyun) area, which was beautiful, and the people there were so nice.
Ranka: What are your future plans?
Leslie: To get my PhD, and then to go into research. My field is artificial intelligence, so someday I’d like to write a computer program that plays go. And like all of us in this field, I’d like to do something to make the world a better place.
– James Davies; photo by Taro Matsuo