Ranka welcomes Mr. Bogdanov, new director of the IGF. Mr. Bogdanov was so kind to share a few words with us at the end of round one, not as much as a new director yet but , well, just a go player. Although Mr. Bogdanov (Russian champion 1986) has represented Russia several times in the past at the WAGC this time he’s here as an official.
Ranka: You have been here in Japan before, haven’t you?
Bogdanov: Yes, I have been here 7 times before, approximately 7 times, that is.
Ranka: What do you do at the moment?
Bogdanov: (smiling) Well, I teach go and play a little, but not as often as I used to. There’s also some some fishing and stuff like that. In other words I’m in early retirement for reasons of health. I used to lecture economics at university, though.
Ranka: Is go popular where you live?
Bogdanov: Where I live is only small town in Russia, near the border with Finland called Petrazavodsk*, population is less than 300. Actually, Mr. Lazarev (Alexei Lazarev, Russian 6 dan, 10 times Russian champion) and I were classmates there. But still, no, go cannot be really called popular, I think.
For one thing it seems to me that before Perestroika (1987) really was the golden age for go in Russia. People stayed at home at more and had nothing to do but, for example, drink Vodka, perhaps (smiling). That is, however, the same period that people got behind their go board to play a game or two and naturally some people would get quite good at it.
We have a popular magazine here, the title in English translates to “Science and Life”. This magazine ran a special about go a couple of times. That was in 1975, 1976 or thereabouts. That really gave a tremendous boost to go in Russia. In many towns people started to organize go clubs. But now the situation unfortunately seems to be going backwards a bit. In my opinion Go is not as popular as it once was.
Ranka: Thank you for your time Mr. Bogdanov and good luck as director of the IGF!
Petrazavodsk* = “The Factory of Peter the Great” The factories at the time of the founding of Petrazavodsk (1703) were there to manufacture cannons.