Representative from Germany: Robert Jasiek
Ranka: How do you like this WAGC?
Jasiek: Well, it certainly is a big happening, the players field is kind of what I had expected, some kyu players some dan players and some real strong players.
Ranka: Although this is the first time you are participating in the WAGC it is not your first in Japan, is it?
Jasiek: True, I was here before to participate in the 3rd meeting of the International Go Rules Forum in 2005.
Ranka: please tell us who do you think has the best chances of winning this time?
Jasiek: er… I haven’t given it any thought, actually. After his loss yesterday to Hong Kong I think that Japan’s chances are pretty bleak. So the top two probably will be China and Korea but I don’t actually have a good impression of exactly how strong the representatives from Hong Kong and Taiwan are.
But anyway, I think that it is a pity DPR Korea is not here this year. In recent years when they participated their player always was very strong. If DPR Korea would compete in the WAGC again I think they certainly will have a a good chance to finish in one of the top slots.
Ranka: As you are a rules expert I’d like to ask you this related question, do you think that this tournament system, an 8 round Swiss system, is a good way to decided the amateur world champion?
Jasiek: Yes, sure, the Swiss system is actually a good system to determine the number one player. You need a certain amount of minimal rounds, of course. The 8 round system used in the WAGC is pretty good but the problem with a fixed round system is that you could have a number of players ending up winning together with the same number of wins.
Commonly tiebreakers are used (e.g. SoS points) to further narrow down the field but I do not like any kind of tiebreaking system as it is actually pretty close to drawing straws!
That’s why I’ve been thinking about setting up a tournament system with a flexible number of rounds. In case of the WAGC I’d propose to set the number of rounds at at least 7, if you’d have a clear winner at that time just declare the winner and end the competition. On the other hand, if there would be several players with the same number of wins than just continue for one or two rounds until that problem is solved. In terms of “fairness” this is much better than tiebreakers.
Ranka: Is this system in use already that you know of?
Jasiek: No, as far as I know this system only exist inside my head, it’s not adopted yet. By the way, I said that I hate tiebreakers but the only barely acceptable exception could be to have a play-off, using only a third or a quarter of the original time allowances.
Ranka For people who are not familiar with your name I’ll repeat that you are a rules expert. Can we ask how you got to become one?
Jasiek When I ran into go the first time it was in 1981, I was about 10. I was at a department store and there they had a book about go but it was impossible to actually learn how to play a game correctly no matter how long you’d study it.
So while we thought that we were playing go, it actually turned out that we played something completely different. It went on like this for a couple of years until I was fortunate enough to run into a teacher who happened to be Jurgern Mattern, a former European Go Champion.
During his first lesson he already mentioned that all over the world there are different rule sets. I immediately wanted to find more about those rules and asked about them but Mattern told me that he’d handle those some other time. He never actually came back to explaining the rules.
I never lost that idea of wanting to find about more about exactly how the rules were defined. Later on I continued the study mathematics but I actually quit that after a few years to continue studying about go.
Ranka What kind of work do you do?
Jasiek I write about go and also do some teaching. This actually started only recently so it’s not clear whether or not I can manage to make a living from doing just those things.
My first book is set to come out soon now, though. We are in the proofreading stage and if there are no unexpected obstacles than it should come out within this year.
Ranka What is your book about?
Jasiek It’s about Joseki but it’s not just a dictionary; many useful ideas are explained in detail. My aim certainly has been to produce a quality book.
Ranka Thank you Robert Jasiek and good luck with your go career and, of course, the remaining rounds of the WAGC!