SAWMG Go Tourney Makes a $plash: The SportAccord World Mind Games (SAWMG) $400,000 in prizes makes the recently-concluded event the fourth largest international men’s tournament in 2012 — after the BC Card, Samsung and LG Cup tournaments — reports International Go Federation (IGF) Vice President Thomas Hsiang, who notes that this year’s go prize pool was doubled from last year. It’s also the richest international women’s tournament ($185,000 in prizes) and pair-go tournament ($66,000), Hsiang adds, as well as “the first international professional tournament run by the International Go Federation.” photo: medalists in the Men’s Individual tournament (l-r): Kang Dongyoon (silver, $40,000); Choi Chulhan (gold, $100,000); Lin Chi-han (bronze, $30,000); photo by Ivan Vigano
Murakawa Daisuke (Japan)
Born near Osaka, Murakawa Daisuke (below, at left) made professional shodan with the Kansai Kiin at age 11. He has been a frequent member of the Japanese team at the International New Stars tournament, where he has played alongside such current greats as Iyama Yuta and Xie Yimin in competition against young professional teams from China, Chinese Taipei, and Korea. This year, just before
the World Mind Games began he earned a place in the Japanese Meijin League, and he celebrated his 22nd birthday during the individual competition in Beijing. Click here for the interview.
Mukai Chiaki (Japan)
Though not a title winner in Japan, Mukai Chiaki (at right) has challenged for women’s titles six times, and was promoted this year to 5 dan. She has frequently represented Japan in international competition, and has done well in team and pair competition at both SportAccord World Mind Games, earning three bronze medals. Ranka spoke with her after the individual competition, in which she defeated Su Sheng-fang of Chinese Taipei in between losses to Rui Naiwei of China and Choi Jeong of Korea, and again after the pair competition. Click here for the interview.
Natalia Kovaleva (Russia)
Natalia Kovaleva (below, at left) began competing in tournaments in the Far East in 2004, when she and Alexei Lazarev won three games at the International Amateur Pair Go Championship in Tokyo. A high point in her career so far came at the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing in 2008, where she won a game from a Japanese professional opponent. For the past couple of years she has been working for the Russian Go Federation. Ranka spoke with her after the first pair round, in which she and Ilya Shikshin lost to Japan’s Mukai Chiaki and Murakawa Daisuke. Click here for the interview.
Ilya Shikshin (Russia)
Three-time European champion Ilya Shikshin (at right) comes from a go-playing family that includes his sister Svetlana, who has played professionally in Korea. At this year’s World Mind Games he lost to Japanese and Chinese opponents in the first two rounds of individual competition to earn a five-day break, after which he partnered with Natalia Kovaleva in the pair competition and took fifth place, best among the pairs from outside the Far East. Ranka talked with him after the first round of the pair event. Click here for the interview.
Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero (Hungary)
Ranka interviewed the Hungarian pair, Rita Pocsai (at left), a university student studying special education, and Csaba Mero (right), a statistical programmer, after their loss to the Chinese pair in the first round of the pair-go competition at the World Mind Games. Click here for the interview.
Vanessa Wong (UK)
During the gold medal individual matches, Ranka had a chance to speak with European women’s champion Vanessa Wong (at left in photo at right, with Pair Go partner Jan Hora), who was born in Hong Kong, and came to England to go to boarding school. Click here for the interview.
photos by Ivan Vigano