Fresh from his first game this morning, the Kazakhstani representative Alexandr Bukh (‘zoigo’ on KGS) gave us an insight into his background and the evolving go scene in Kazakhstan.
Ranka: Tell us a bit about how you got into go.
Alexandr: I have been playing for around 5 years. For as long as I can remember I have been captivated by Japanese culture, both the new and the old, and this led me to discover the game of go. I spent some time working in a company importing used vehicles from Japan, and through this I had the chance to learn some Japanese.
Ranka: So this opportunity to visit Japan means a lot to you?
Alexandr: Yes. It is my first time in Japan… and my excitement is hard to put into words.
Ranka: Could you describe go scene in Kazakhstan?
Alexandr: Each week I travel to the city of Karaganda to play at its go club, which has roughly ten regular players, and aside from this I have met another twenty or so other players across the country. Recently there has been a surge in interest – in fact, this year is the first we have been represented in the World Amateur Go Championship. The most popular sports in Kazakhstan are ice hockey, soccer and martial arts – I hope go will soon become one of them.
Ranka: Do you have any interests other than go?
Alexandr: My first love is anything to do with computers, but I also am interested in aircraft modeling and electronics. And now is a great opportunity to deepen my interest Japanese culture first hand.
Ranka: Thank you for your time, and we hope you enjoy the tournament.
– John Richardson