The election of Chang Zhenming of China as President of the International Go Federation (IGF) highlighted the International Go Federation’s General Meeting on Monday as the 31st edition of the IGF’s flagship event – the World Amateur Go Championship – formally launched in Hangzhou, China. “I will give my best effort to promote go to the whole world,” Chang promised, “Go is a benefit for everyone.” Chang’s election was the most visible manifestation of the tripartite financial support the IGF now enjoys from Japan, China and Korea, each of which have pledged $30,000 in annual financial support, effective as of the 2010 fiscal year, reported Secretary General Yuki Shigeno, who expressed the IGF’s “sincere gratitude for this generous support.”
The other major news was that while there have been setbacks in the attempt to achieve recognition for go as an Olympic sport, mind sports are making significant progress. Thomas Hsiang reported that while the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has agreed to work with the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA) as the responsible body for organizing all mind-sport federations, the IOC includes mind sports as a category of sport that has “no realistic chance of entering either the Summer or the Winter Olympics,” and so won’t be recognized. The good news is that SportAccord (formerly the General Association of International Sports Federation, or GAISF) is expanding its definition of sport to include mind sport and plans to sponsor a number of new events, including Mind Sport Games. Planning for a second World Mind Sports Games (WMSG) in August 2012 is now underway, with Manchester UK as the leading candidate to host. Also under consideration is a third WMSG in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.
In even more exciting news, the International Federation of Poker has applied to become an IMSA and SA member, which has attracted interest from several major marketing firms, with which the IGF is now in discussions. Upcoming events either sponsored by the IGF or with major IGF involvement are the 21st International Pair Go Championships October 16-17 in Japan, the 16th Guangzhou Asian Games November 12-27 in a $35-million complex constructed especially for the event in Guangzhou. China, and the 32nd World Amateur Go Championship in Shimane, Japan. Eight IGF Directors were elected at Monday’s meeting: Hideo Otake (President of the Nihon Kiin and immediate past President of the IGF); Liu Siming (President of the China Qi-Yuan); Sang-Yull Han (President of the Korea Baduk Association); Eduardo Lopez Herrero (Counselor, Ibero-American Go Federation); Thomas Yi Hsiang (American Go Association Vice President); Korsak Chairasmisak (President, Go Association of Thailand); Neville Smythe (Vice President, Australian Go Association) and Martin Stiassny (President, European Go Federation).
– Chris Garlock; photos by John Pinkerton