This afternoon in the playing hall of Teams Women tournament, among the “VIP” spectators we found Li Zhe 6p (China), the 19-year-old bronze medal winner of Individual Men tournament. Since the games between Chinese women team and Australian women team have been moved to the VIP room, his unexpected presence in the “amateur” playing hall really surprised us.
He wandered around, sometimes stopped at one table to watch the game. Luckily, we “caught” him when he was about to leave the hall.
Ranka: Do you enjoy the 1st WMSG?
Li Zhe: Yes, very much. I think it’s a very interesting tournament, also a great party for all the go players, including me. I’m very happy to see that players from all over the world communicate with each other through Go in a friendly atmosphere.
Ranka: Did you feel bored when playing with low-level amateurs?
Li Zhe: Not at all. I had very good communication with the amateur players. We were all very serious and concentrated when we played.
Ranka: Have you had any contact with non-Asia countries?
Li Zhe: I went to USA during the last Chinese Spring Festival. There I had the opportunities to take part in some activities in the Go clubs. Some players in USA are quite strong. I hope that there will be more and more people enjoying playing go in the future.
Ranka: We are very surprised to see you here. In China, for a great majority of go lovers, it seems that the women tournaments are much less attractive than the men tournaments. What is your opinion?
Li Zhe: For me, this WMSG is a very rare and precious occasion. No matter whether you are a man or a woman, a professional or an amateur, it’s just great to get together to enjoy this game. Everyone should be highly respected.
Ranka: Before when we interviewed Gu Li, he mentioned about the Chinese team’s special training for this event. Could you tell us a bit more?
Li Zhe: Actually there is always training programs in the Chinese Weiqi Association. To prepare for the 1st WMSG, Since September, we have strictly followed the daily schedule of the 1st WMSG. The training programs were also reset according to the competition schedule.
Ranka: What do you think about the time and byo-yomi rules of the WMSG?
Li Zhe: In most national tournaments and international tournaments, each player has 2 hours or more, and the byo-yomi is 1 min. per move. Compared with that, the individual tournaments can be called fast game tournaments with only 1 hour for each player and 30 seconds per move byo-yomi. I think that professional players from South Korea should feel quite comfortable with this rule since in South Korea there are many telecasted fast game competitions.
Ranka: What do you think about the final game of the Individual Open between Jo Taewon of DPR Korea and Ham Youngwoo of the Republic of Korea?
Li Zhe: I watched that game yesterday. Both players are quite strong. I would say that both of them have reached the professional level. DPR Korea is one of the biggest surprises in this event. I believe that once the professional system is established in DPR Korea, there will be more and stronger DPR Korea players.
Ranka: Have you ever thought about writing a Go book? Would you like to have it translated into other languages and introduced to players in other countries?
Li Zhe: I really hope that I will have this opportunity. I think China should make more effort in promoting Go all over the world. I will be very happy if I can make my own contribution.
Ranka: What is your next international tournament?
Li Zhe: The Samsung Cup in Korea, in December.
Ranka: Do you think that you will be the champion?
Li Zhe: Nowadays the levels of professional players are quite close. Each one wants to be the champion and each one has his chance.
Ranka: Thank you very much!
– Max and Chen