After the 4th round of the competition, the individual events will enter the cruel knockout. Professional players will have to be more serious and concentrated.
And the losers will have to leave this exciting stage.
As one of the weak team, Portugal didn’t achieve so big success in the men’s individual tournament. However, the team members still remain happy and hopeful.
Ranka: First, would you introduce go activities in Portugal? How did the team prepare for this WMGC?
Cristovão Neto (president of Portugal Go Association):
To build a full team for this event was very exciting but difficult. We have a very small go community of 100-150 players among which there are only around 30 active players. We have no sponsors. The free airplane tickets offered for this event were used as the rewards of a qualification tournament and finally the other players managed to buy their own tickets to join this WMGC.
Vasco Pimenta: Go was introduced to Portugal in 1992. Some people happened to find some Go booklets sent by Japanese organization in a chess club. They were interested in this “new” game, and started to try to play with only very basic knowledge of Go learned from these booklets. Some Japanese living in Portugal helped us to improve, but they are no more so active now.
Pedro Carmona: Portugal is a destination for summer holidays, so indeed our clubs are very active in summer when foreign go players take their holidays in Portugal.
Cristovão Neto: And our players have participated in tournaments throughout Europe.
As the Portugal team told us, there is now maybe only one active go player from the “old generation”. For most of the team members, this is their first or second time to play in the international Go tournament. However, their team leader Cristovão Neto has been twice in the World Amateur Championship held in Japan.
Cristovão Neto: We would like to organize some short-term European summer camps but we are still a very small Go association in Europe. Also we are really interested in having some contact with professional players even it seems to be difficult for us.
Ranka: So now let’s speak more about your impression on this WMGC.
Rui Carmona: It’s really impressive to see so many professional players!
Vasco Pimenta: We really expected to see professionals very formal and serious. But they just look like ordinary people!
Diogo Figueirinhas: They are Go gods but they are humans.
Rui Carmona: Also it’s very nice to chat with people from different countries with different perspectives and to share with everyone this exceptional experience.
Ranka: Did you play a lot of friendly games?
Portugal team: Not really. We went sightseeing.
Ranka: Are you satisfied with the organization work for this event?
Portugal Team: It’s great. We have no complaint. The organization committee did a nice job. The only problem is that the team doesn’t stay in the same building. Another thing, I think the shuttle bus is maybe not very necessary. The convention center is just no more than 5mins walk from the apartments.
Ranka: Are you happy with what you achieved in this event?
Pedro Carmona: My object was to win one or two games. I have got it. I’m happy.
Ranka: Did you get somebody review your games?
Rui Carmona: The players are very friendly and helpful. They helped us to review after finishing the games.
Ranka: Do you have some suggestions to make this event even greater for the next time?
Portugal Team: Well, we wanted to watch the games. 20 minutes is too short. After we finished our own games, it was too late to get access to the other playing rooms. Many games were not recorded either. But we want to learn from all these games.
Cristovão Neto: I’ve participated in World Amateur Championship. I think it is better organized to solve this problem. There is walking paths around the playing areas and each game is recorded by camera so you can watch them from the TV screens.
Ranka: What do you think about the counting system?
Rui Carmona: The counting system was a little complicated to understand at the first. But it looks quite accurate.
Ranka: For some internet players, Go is just a game and a fight about calculating abilities. In China Go is officially recognized as a sport and for some other players go is an art…What’s your own opinion?
Diogo Figueirinhas: I think it’s a mix of all these.
Vasco Pimenta: I agree. As a game it gives me pleasure and challenge. On the other side, Go looks simple on the surface, but when you really play it, it starts to be so complex..
Rui Carmona: Go is like a common language for people from different backgrounds. They can just communicate on the same board.
Ranka: Thanks for all and hope the best for your next games!
– Max and Chen