IGS PANDANET is suporting The Nihon-Ki-in professional player Yuki Shigeno who is trying to increase Go population in abroad.
Boun Giorno!! From NILANO Report
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Toyota Pandanet Cup in Milan
A happy new year, everyone.
In fact, I am writing Christmas cards, listening to `Jingle Bells' and writing this news letter.
The last work for me in 2003 was the big Go event, Toyota Pandanet Cup, held on the 5th to the 8th of December in my local town in Milan.
Christmas (Natale) in Italy starts from the 8th of December, the public holiday of the Annunciation to the 6th of January, the public holiday of the Epiphany for 1 month.
Our town has bright glittering illuminations. All the balconies and gardens of residential houses have interesting decorations and they are enjoyable to see.
For Christmas, we spend time with families and for New Year's eve and New Year's day, we spend time with friends. That is the opposite of Japanese customs.
Also, as soon as Christmas season ends, winter sales which everyone waits for starts. In this season, couples who look into show windows in cold weather and estimate prices for the coming winter sale at the same time enjoy Christmas shopping stand out.
In Milan, because there is a public holiday to celebrate the patron saint of the city, Ambrogio, on the 7th of December, Milanese have a nice short holiday including weekends.
Saint Ambrogio church where the patron saint is worshipped was built in the 4th century and is the oldest church in Milan. There is a dignified history and solemn atmosphere. But during the holiday, a big festival called `Obej-Obej' is held around the church and it gets very crowded. (Obej-Obej is the short form of Oh bella = very beautiful)
At flea markets, there were sweets stalls, second hand book stalls, street performers, post office services and even furniture stalls. Everything gathered from all over Italy and it was lively till midnight as if it blows away the dark and cold winter.
For the last few years, during this holiday, a game festival is also held by Milan city and state and is very popular.
For the 4 days of this event, over 160 game organizations participated this year.
The games varied from traditional games like Chess and Owara to computer games which are popular among children and demonstrations of the latest games. Also, this time there were people who dressed as the characters of Star Trek, a popular TV series, walking around. The place was full of excitement and had a fun atmosphere.
Of course, the Go tournament was held, too. Since Toyota Pandanet Cup was held at the same time, there were nearly 80 participants altogether and the number of participants was the most.
The winner was Burzo Cornel, 6 dan, from Rumania. He won all the 6 games.
Nechanicky Redek, 6 dan, from the Czech Republic came 2nd. Unfortunately, for the strongest Italians, 4 dan, winning is still far away.
Unfortunately, for the strongest Italians, 4 dan, winning is still far away.
Burzo and Nechanicky make their living by teaching Go and from tournament prizes. People like them started to appear and I suppose Go has started to be socially accepted.
That is a big change that we never thought possible in Europe before.
In the near future, I am looking forward to Go become popular in Europe and Go teachers will exist like in Asian countries and Go club (places to play Go) where everyone can play Go every day will open and someday, professional organizations will not be a dream.
Nechanicky hitchhiked (!?) from the Czech Republic to Milan, 1000km.
"I'm used to it. ~ I can save money. ~ It's not bad."
He said holding his trophy with a smile. Then he hitched the long way home.
I hope we have a peaceful and bright year in the coming 2004 even though we had a lot of unhappy news this year.
Hope you have a happy new year and I look forward to your continued interest in Go. Buon Anno!

Q&A of Yuki Shigeno 2 dan go
2004.01 december
sent Question