American Go E-Journal

2014 WAGC Player Profiles: Europe (Part 1)

Thursday June 26, 2014

Second in a series of profiles of players in the 35th World Amateur Go Championships, which will be held July 4-11 in Gyeongju, Korea. Fifty-seven players from a like number of countries and territories are scheduled to make the trip to Korea to compete in the four-day, eight-round Swiss system. Many will be veterans of previous tournaments held in Japan and China, some drawn back to WAGC competition after a long absence, perhaps by the chance to be part of the first WAGC held in Korea. As usual, the largest contingent will come from Europe (30 players) and the youngest from the Far East (15 players, including an 11-year-old from Indonesia). Click here for Ranka’s June 24 WAGC preview.

Austria: Matthias Frisch 1D, 21 (right), is a student and works in a hotel in Vienna. He first started playing five years ago “but I quit very fast and then I got interested in it again about three years ago.” His favorite thing about go is “not the game itself, but rather the people you meet.”  Hobbies include soccer and snowboarding; “I like to do many things if there is enough time besides my studies.”

Belarus: Aliaksandr Suponeu 1D (left) is a 64-year-old engineer who’s been playing go for 30 years. Winner of the Belarusian Championship, this will be his eighth World Go Championship.

Belgium: Dominique Versyck 2D (right) is a 31-year-old accountant in Lennik. He’s been playing for 9 years and says that “Each game is different, there is no luck involved, go is simply perfect!” His hobbies include chess and quizzes. He’s married, with a 2-year old son, and a daughter due at the end of October.

Bulgaria: Teodor Nedev 3k (left) is a 44-year-old teacher in Ruse. He’s been playing 10 years and won the 2013 Open Championship in Bulgaria (Pomorie). Go is “a representation of the Universe,” he says. Hobbies include reading books and extreme sports: he’s a master in martial arts (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Philippines), chess (International, Chinese, Japanese), healing arts and yoga.

Croatia: Zoran Mutabžija 5D (right) is a 69-year-old retiree. He’s been playing go for 49 years, winning the 1967 European Championship, 1st place in the 1971 European Championship, and was a first-place winner in the Croatian Championship many times. Hobbies include programming and his favorite thing about go is “Seeing places and people at tournaments.” He’s married and his children now run his web hosting company.

Czech Republic: Lukas Podpera 6D (left) is a 19-year-old student in Prague who’s been playing since he was 7 years old. His favorite thing about go is its “huge number of variations and creativity” and his hobbies include soccer, cycling and music.

Denmark: Arne Ohlenbusch 4D (right) is a 23-year-old postman in Oldenburg. He’s been playing for 10 years and his favorite thing about go is that there’s “basically no luck involved and you can use unlimited much time getting better.” Hobbies include soccer and pc games.

Finland: Juuso Nyyssönen 5D (left) is a 21-year-old student from Helsinki. He won the 2013 Finnish Championship. “Every game brings new surprises,” he says, “even though I’ve played thousands of games by now.”

France: Antoine Fenech 5D (right) is a 28-year-old mathematics teacher in Strasbourg. Titles include the 1996 and 1997 Under 12 European Youth Championship, the 2003 Under 18 European Youth Championship under 18  and the 2013 French Pair Go Championship. His favorite thing about go is “Travelling around the world and meeting people from different cultures.” Hobbies include soccer.

Ireland: John Gibson 4k (left) is a 65-year-old interior designer who lives in Dublin. He’s been playing since his early 20′s, won the 1992 Irish Handicap Championship and says that go is “Such a satisfying game. Great also for travelling and meeting new people wherever one goes.” He’s married and has three daughters, including one, Naomi, who won the Irish Ladies Go Championship in 1992 “but has not been active recently.” Hobbies include chess, Jamble, Pits, and tennis.

Italy: Niccolò Sgaravatti 2k (right) is a 24-year-old IT Developer in Padova. “This game is a constant challenge to see the reality of things,” he says. He enjoys “walking the hills, reading sages about anthropology, bronze age, biology and so on.”

Lithuania: Andrius Petrauskas 3D (left) is 39-year-old manager in Vilnius. He’s been playing since the age of 12 and has been Lithuanian champion several times. His favorite thing about go is that it’s an “Interesting, deep game.”
Tomorrow: Europe, Part 2.

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