Hakki Burak Guner, this year’s Turkish player, lends an exotic flavor to the World Amateur Go Championship with his Turkish garb and long hair. Ranka interviewed him after the fourth round.
Ranka: How did you do in the first three rounds?
Hakki: I started terribly by missing my first game, but then I won against the South African in the second round. In the third round Benjamin, the French player, was just too strong. I don’t think I could ever beat him, but it was good experience.
Ranka: How was your second-round game?
Hakki: Easier than I expected. Before the game started I thought he would win because I’m not in good shape. I haven’t been able to play online for the last few months because I’ve started working for my master’s degree and don’t have much extra time. But I got the black stones and just played my fuseki and did what I could and it was enough. Maybe he wasn’t in good shape either.
Ranka: And how was your last game against the Malaysian player, Cheng Khai-Yong?
Hakki: I screwed up. I started to play well, but later I made more mistakes than him so I lost.
Ranka: Well, he’s ranked at 4 dan and you at 1 dan.
Hakki: Yes, but I think there’s a difference between European ranks and Asian ranks.
Ranka: Do you play in many European tournaments?
Hakki: No, just Turkish tournaments.
Ranka: How many do you have?
Hakki: About one per month. There are several tournaments in Istanbul, Izmir, and Ankara, and smaller tournaments there and in other cities. Many of the tournaments are held at universities, including my university, Hacettepe University in Ankara.
Ranka: Who is your best opponent in Turkey?
Hakki: Ozgur Degirmenci. He’s our best player, five dan. I like to play with him because he plays so smoothly — so regularly. Every time we play, I enjoy it. We also have some players at about the two dan level, and I like to play against them too. Most of our players are still at the kyu level, but the number of dan players is increasing.
Ranka: How else do you play or study go?
Hakki: I used to play a lot online. In my first year I played perhaps one thousand two hundred games. I would also watch a lot of games, and solve a lot of tsume-go problems. But now I do not have so much time to study go.
Ranka: Now please tell us about the master’s degree you’re studying for.
Hakki: It’s in science and mathematics for secondary education departments — how to teach biology to high-school students and some other educational stuff.
Ranka: And what do you plan to do after you get your degree?
Hakki: I’m planning to go abroad to study for a doctoral degree, maybe in Germany or Austria, because I studied biology teaching in the German language.
Ranka: Finally, please tell us something about Turkey.
Hakki: Turkey has a lot of tourist attractions and a lot of good swimming beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Aegean Sea. Also, we’re in Mesopotamia, so you can find a lot of relics, and a lot of natural beauty if you like to hike or climb mountains.
Ranka: Thank you, and good luck in your remaining games.