Runan Wang 8p, chairman of the Chinese Weiqi Association, has been attending the World Amateur Go Championship and other international go tournaments for three decades, and has extensive experience in liason between the Chinese Weiqi Association and the International Go Federation. He was also closely involved in the organization of the first World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008.
Ranka: Could you start by reviewing the World Mind Sports Games?
Wang: This is a tournament that was made possible by the efforts of a tremendous number of people. Since it was the first time such an event had been held, in many ways the organizers were groping their way forward, and perhaps some things could have been done better, but it turned out to have very positive results for the development of mind sports. Mind sports have always been well recognized in China. Go has a long history in China as a refined game, an accomplishment. Chinese philosophy recognizes go as a deep game with much to teach us, many paths to show us. Because of this cultural background, the World Mind Sports Games were well publicized in China, and their significance was widely recognized by the Chinese populace. Perhaps they could have benefited from more publicity in other countries as well.
Ranka: Could you also review the history of the World Amateur Go Championship up till now?
Wang: This tournament sprang from within the Nihon Kiin and it has been sustained for thirty years by the Nihon Kiin’s efforts. These have been thirty years of really wonderful success, both in terms of the great increase in the number of participating countries and territories and in the great increase of the level of the play. The Nihon Kiin, and a large number of Japanese people and organizations, deserve great credit for starting this tournament and keeping it growing and developing.
Ranka: What do you expect of the World Amateur Go Championship in the future?
Wang: I see the World Amateur Go Championship becoming a cooperative effort by China, Japan, and Korea, so I expect it to get even better.
Ranka: Finally, what can you tell us about the great development we are seeing in go in China?
Wang: This is the result of tremendous effort put into promoting the game in many ways: on Chinese television, the radio, the newspapers, and the Internet. We have asked the government for support, but most of the effort has come from the Chinese Weiqi Association and from the regional weiqi organizations and individual fans and players in China. It also helps that the game has very good social standing in China. Its educational value is well recognized by everyone. People think that go should be part of your education. But another important factor is simply that go is a very interesting game, so we are able to tell people to play go because it is terrific fun. If it were just a matter of educational value, people might get tired of too much education, but go is also a way to enjoy yourself, and that is what keeps people playing the game. In China, we stress both of these points: the educational value and the fun factor.
Ranka: Thank you.