Though he is a 7-time European Go Champion, the first Russian player to achieve professional rank and currently considered one of Europe’s finest players, Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p (“breakfast” on KGS) keeps his accomplishments in perspective.
Referring to his record against Ilya Shikshin 7d (“roln111″ on KGS), he told the E-Journal in a recent interview that “The official score is 24-8, but we cannot say that I am stronger.” Dinerchtein says he won early games against Shikshin because the distance in strength between them was much greater. For example, in their first match in 2001, Dinerchtein, the European Champion, played Shikshin as a 3-dan amateur. Their score in recent games has been more evenly matched, however, and Dinerchtein says he thinks Shikshin has more talent. “My score is not bad with him only because I know his go style well, his weak and strong points.” Citing strategy as a key Shikshin weakness, Dinerchtein said he forces Shikshin to solve more strategy-oriented problems. Shikshin “plays the same fuseki in every game for exactly the same reason,” says Dinerchtein, “he likes to avoid fuseki and joseki questions and start middlegame fights early.” These middlegame conflicts are Shikshin’s greatest strength and Dinerchtein’s biggest weakness. “I cannot fight as well as Ilya can and I hate any risk on the go board,” Dinerchtein told the E-Journal. Like his favorite professional Kobayashi Koichi 9P, Dinerchtein would rather games be as peaceful and risk-free as possible.
In terms of game study, Dinerchtein said that when he started playing go 25 years ago, “it was hard to find even a single go book, [a] single pro game record.” But now with many go books, game databases, and internet lessons (including his Insei League KGS go school), “it’s easy to find good partners online, so you can improve a lot without even visiting Asian go schools.” Dinerchtein emphasized the importance of studying professional games by using chess as an example. “Every chess grandmaster who wants to win tournaments spends a lot of time preparing new variations using go game databases,” he said, “I am sure soon we will see the same situation in go.”
Though go resources have expanded, the thing Dinerchtein would like to see most in the future is more “serious” interaction between top European and U.S. players. Except for his game with Michael Redmond 9P in 2001, he has never played any top U.S. players in an official event. As for recent U.S.-European events, he said, “I saw the matches between Lee Sedol and U.S. pros (and European pro Taranu), but I don’t think that they were interesting enough” because they were “novelty” fast games. He’d like to see the European Go Federation (EGF) and American Go Association (AGA) sponsor tournaments with big titles and prize purses, like those organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association, Korean Baduk Association and the Nihon Ki-in in Japan. Find out more about Dinerchtein on his homepage, KGS, OGS, DGS, or sign up for the GOAMA newsletter.
- Annalia Linnan