Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Close to my departure from China I had the idea of having an interview with An Yan re his background, his go-school, his opinion re the current go-situation and re the future. I considered that it might be interesting to get his opinions and his knowledge as a professional go-player and teacher. I have really looked forward to his answers, but I need to admit that some of them surprise me, especially when talking about the current and future go-situation.

Thanks to Juan Guo who took her time and supported my idea by translating the interview.

One note: No editing was done by me towards the answers.




Started to learn Go at 10 years old, Won many times of HuBei province and Wuhan city youth championships, Entered HuBei province team in 78, 1982 4p. 1985 national team championship 5th place. 1986 national new talent cup 3ird place. 1989 promoted to 7p. From 1083 to 1985 in the China National Team.

- When did you start playing Weiqi, and how many years have you been playing now?

- 您是从什么时候开始下的围棋? 您下了多少年围棋?


Since 10 years old, played go for 36 years.

- When did you become a professional player?

- 您是从什么时候成为职业棋手的?


1982 became 4p (guojuan: before 1982 we did not have official pro ranking).

- When were you promoted, finally to 7p?

- 您是从什么时候打到职业七段的?



- As a professional player, how many hours per day did you do exercises?

- 作为职业棋手, 您曾经一天花多少时间做联系?


Half an hour to one hour.

- At how many tournaments did you participate (roughly) and how many years/ games did you play in the league?

- 您大概参加了多少比赛? 大概下了多少年比赛? 大概下了多少盘比赛对局?


Don’t remember anymore.

- When did you decide to become a Weiqi teacher?

- 您是什么时候决定做围棋老师的?



- What was the reason that you decided to teach Weiqi? Was it your dream to become a teacher?

- 是什么原因使您决定做围棋老师的? 做围棋老师曾是您的做梦想吗?


I want to train young players to become pro. My dream is to make a world champion.

- What did change for you after you had become a teacher?

- 做围棋老师之后, 您的人生有何改变?


Same as when I was a pro player.



- How many Weiqi students does your school have and how many teachers do work there?

- 您的围棋学校有多少学生? 有多少老师在那里工作?


Our go school has more than 200 students, 10 teachers.

- Is your Weiqi school also active in other areas, eg promotes Weiqi at "normal" schools?

- 您的围棋学校在其他领域也有活动吗? 比如说到学校去普及围棋?


Yes, we go to schools to promote Go, at this moment we started go classes in 8 elementary schools.

- How many Weiqi schools do exist here in Wuhan?

- 在武汉有多少围棋学校?


4 go schools, 1500 students taking go classes.

- How come that you had the idea to offer to foreign Weiqi students to study Weiqi at

your school?

- 您是怎么想到让西方国家的围棋手到您的学校学棋的?


When I visited European Go congress in 2005, in CZ I met my old friend Guo Juan 5p, she talked with me about this, we started to work on this together.

- How is this program re foreign students developing?

- 西方国家的围棋手到您的学校学棋的发展情况如何?


Students from western countries, then learn from our school about Go theories, skills and real game applies, normally after 3month, they can improve 1 dan.

- Do you have for every student, especially for the foreign students, an individual program?

- 对您的每一个学生, 尤其是西方国家来的学生, 您都有个别的训练计划吗?


Yes, for every student, especially from western countries, I all have training plans for each of them.

- How many of your students have become a professional player?

- 您的学生中有多少成为了职业棋手?


8 of them became pro, like Yan Huan 3p, Lu Jia (female) 1p are already entered the China national youth team.

Current situation:



Up to now, there were students from USA, Germany, France, CZ, Netherlands, Morocco, total about 30 students.

- How do you judge the current situation re Weiqi in China?

- 您对目前中国的围棋形势怎么看?


The development of Chinese Go is good.

- What do you think is the reason that Weiqi in general is so popular in Asia - compared to for example Europe, and that people start to study at a very young age?

- 和欧洲比较, 您认为是什么原因使围棋在亚洲这么流行? 而且亚洲的孩子学棋那么早.

No answer.

- There is the rumour that in China especially children from poor families seriously study Weiqi. Is this true? Is yes, what do you think is the reason for this phenomen?

- 传说在中国, 尤其是比较穷的家庭的小孩学棋特别认真, 是这样吗? 如果是, 您认为这是为什么呢?

No answer.

- If you compare China's level with the level in Korea and Japan what do you think?

- 您是如何看待中国与韩国和日本围棋水平的差距的?

No answer.

- It is said that Japan did have a lot of problems, and recently Korea is said to have big problems. According to some open sources info a lot of Weiqi schools had to close in these countries because few children went to a Weiqi school. Do you have further information re this development?

- 人们说日本棋界曾经有许多问题, 目前又说韩国棋界问题很大. 具一些公开的信息渠道说在这两个国家很多围棋学校都关了门, 因为生源不够. 您对此有更多的信息吗?


I don’t know.

- Is it possible that this development could also arise here in China?

- 上面所说的问题也可能在中国发生吗?


I don’t know

- In which way does the Chinese Weiqi Federation support and promote the game within China?

- 中国围棋协会是如何在国内支持和普及围棋的?

I don’t know.

- Is the Chinese Weiqi Federation interested in supporting and promoting Weiqi outside China?

- 中国围棋协会对在国外支持和普及围棋有兴趣吗?


I don’t know

- In Seoul/ Korea there is the only Weiqi university in the world. What is your opinion re this university? If you compare this university with a "normal" Weiqi school what is your judgement? Can you imagine that China is going to have also a Weiqi university?

- 韩国首都首尔有世界上唯一的围棋大学. 您对这所大学有什么看法? 如果将这所围棋大学和一般的围棋学校作比较, 您的判断是什么? 您认为中国也会有一所围棋大学吗?


I don’t know.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Today I have a "special" request:

I am looking for training partners. Ideally you are around my rank (I am 1 dan China). You should be - in a positive way - crazy about go and would like to improve.

My idea is to play together and to learn from each other. The weekend is family time, but why not to play during the week - if possible - one, two games per day, and to discuss problems?
What else? We could play on any server (KGS, IGS etc). I would prefer if we could play during the day, and not at the late evening (Moscow time).

Anyone interested? Just leave a comment here...

Monday, April 28, 2008

What has happened during the last 2 months?

first I played a tournament immediately when I returned. Not a good decision. The tournament was just a disaster. I simply played badly.
Secondly, I am continuing to exercise. My training plan has changed a little bit compared to China. In China I did mainly Life&Death problems and played games that afterwards were reviewed. Back, I am extending the pillar "Basic Technics" by learning a lot about josekis and I am working hard on fusekis.

It has taken some time to be "really" back, but now I am enjoying my daily training and especially I have fun when I can play with real people.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Let's have a look at the problem of game 1:
I frustrated my opponent by playing at 1, this moves enables Black to link up his groups, and therefore to win the game. Whatever White does it doesn't help.

If White plays here (2) Black simply plays 3 and wins the capturing race.

White 2 here looses, too; Black wins the capturing race by 1 move.

For Black it is more elegant in this variation to play like this, it takes some of White's liberties:

Monday, February 18, 2008

It is time to say good-bye to Wuhan . Suitcases are packed. Tomorrow morning at 06.00 An Yan is driving me to the airport.
It has been a hard work, and An Yan has put a lot of pressure on me. But, all the time I have had a lot of fun. This is for me the most important.

I want to thank Alexander Dinerchtein for being my teacher and for his advise when we discussed this project; Juan Guo for her kind support, advise and translations; An Yan's family and friends for their hospitality, I appreciate a lot their efforts to make me feel comfortable; kids and teachers in the go-school, they showed and taught me a lot; An Yan for being my teacher and mentor here in Wuhan, it has been a pleasure to learn with him as teacher; friends for their interest and feedback; my family for their love and understanding.

Is there already a next goal? Yes, EGC 2008 in Leksand, and I hope that I can improve until then a little bit ;-)

I hope that the other foreign students who are going to come here have fun and eventually share their experiences.

PS: As mentioned this blog will be continued, but probably not on a daily basis. Interview with An Yan and solutions for whole board positions will be published within next days.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's done!
Today I have been the last time in the go-school and have played my last two games there. In my first game I made a big mistake, and the game was quite fast. I took the opportunity to go the haircutter earlier. Unfortunately, the person who cut my hair the last time had just started with another person. A woman wanted to have her long hair short. I was told the famous: "Wait a minute."... I "explained" them that also another person can cut my hair, no problem. So, the master himself cut my hair. I had to pay a premium of 33%, compared to when a normal employee works. I paid 20 RMB (appr. 2 EUR), instead of 15 RMB (appr. 1.5 EUR)... ;-). For this premium I look now so hot, just wow!
I still had some time, had a walk, and by accident I found a bookshop that had some interesting go-books. I bought one; the original price was 75 RMB (7.5 EUR) but it was reduced to 15 RMB (1.5 EUR). Good deal!

Then in the evening An Yan gave me the feedback re my studies here in Wuhan:
- I am 1 dan (China)
- I have improved during these 3 months by 7-9 grades

That could lead now to an academic discussion about different ranking systems...
As I said earlier I played at the EGC 2007 with 7 kyu an even result. If we are now prudent and say that I have not improved between EGC and the begin of my studies here in Wuhan (or alternatively I was 8 kyu and improved a little bit) then it would match. According to the ranking comparison published on "Sensei's Library" ( http://senseis.xmp.net/?RankWorldwideComparison) a 7 kyu player in Europe is a 8 kyu player in China.

What remains?
- The circle is closing; even the weather is cooperating. When I came here it was a phantastic weather, and the weather forecast for Wuhan is between 5 and 15 degrees (Celsius). Springweather!
- Tomorrow is my free day, and I need it to pack my suitcase, buy some remaining stuff, and then I relax a little bit,
- I am going to continue this blog,
- I had an interview with An Yan, and I am going to publish it,
- I hope that this blog might have given you an impression about daily life here in Wuhan/ China (from my point of view),
- I still need to publish the solutions for the 2 whole board problems,

- And last but not least:
I am looking forward to seeing my family again.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Today I have said "Good bye" to MacDonalds. Though it has been a wonderful day I had to go there and to have my last cup of coffee.
The weather has changed completely. Sunshine, and considerably warm. Amazing, if I think about the weather a couple of days ago...
I am already thinking about the additional bag I need to buy on Monday for all the books I bought here. Hopefully I can convince the clerk at the check-in at the airport that it is "just" a small bag with some presents I got, and very light ;-).