Thiago Shinji Shimada Ramos is an enthusiastic Brazilian 6 dan who found an original way to pay his airfare to Japan: crowd funding. Ranka asked him about this and about recent go developments in Brazil.
Ranka: Please start by telling us what’s going on with go in Brazil.
Thiago: One new thing is that some states have programs in which they teach elementary school teachers how to teach go to children. Most of the go activity is centered in Sao Paulo, where the Iwamoto go center and the Brazialian branch of the Nihon Kiin are located, but go is also spreading in Brazil on the Internet, and we have go clubs and strong players in Brasilia, Curitiba, and Rio de Janeiro as well. Because of the Internet, go players are turning up all over Brazil, and we’re all connected. Another thing is that most of our players are young, many of them thirteen to fifteen years old, and they were born in Brazil; they’re not immigrants from the Far East. So go is developing in Brazil. We already have one 5-dan on KGS.
Ranka: Now please tell us about your crowd funding project.
Thiago: At this championship we had to purchase our own airplane tickets, so I came up with the idea of a crowd funding project to finance mine. In this project I held go workshops, gave go lessons, played games, and commented on games. The project was a complete success, meeting its target 100 per cent. You can see the project website by googling ‘thiago rumo ao mundial‘.
Ranka: And what are your personal ambitions in this world championship?
Thiago: My ambition is to place among the top fifteen. I want to win five or six games.
Ranka: What other international tournaments have you taken part in?
Thiago: The first one was the KPMC, the Korea Prime Minister Cup, in 2010. After that I played in the World Amateur in 2013 and twice in the world student Oza tournament, in 2013 and 2014. I’ve also played in the World Mind Sports Games and the Ibero-American Go Championship, and in Ibero-American competition on the Internet.
Ranka: How do you like Japan?
Thiago: I really enjoy Japan. When I was a child I lived in Japan, in Ibaraki Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture, from age three to age six.
Ranka: Is that where you learned to play go?
Thiago: Actually, I got started later through Japanese comics and cartoons, manga and anime. A friend invited me over to look at some of these, and there I happened to see Hikaru no Go. It caught my interest and I watched the first three episodes; then I started playing the game.
Ranka: Thank you and we hope you have a good tournament.