IGS PANDANET is suporting The Nihon-Ki-in professional player Yuki Shigeno who is trying to increase Go population in abroad.
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In mid-summer, from the end of July through August for 2 weeks, this year, too, Go fans from all over Europe gathered and the European Go Congress was held.
I am not exaggerating when I say that if the Go Congress was not held, summer would never come or end so it is so loved and is familiar to everyone. Also, recently, fans from Asian countries like Japan and Korea, and U.S.A. come and it is growing as an international event.





This summer, the 48th Go Congress was held at a forestry school in a small town, Tuchola, completely surrounded by greenery, an endless forest and a lake, in North Poland, and 700 participants, the largest number recently, from 32 countries gathered!

Participants played games of Go in classrooms here and there and the accommodation was at a boarding house in a part of the school.
The meals were at a big dining room of the school. Over here, people call lunch dinner. Indeed, lunch was more deluxe and bigger. Maybe, in Poland, lunch must be the main meal. Anyhow, I ate meat every day, there.
Also, if you walk for a few minutes to the center of the town, there are Italian restaurants, pubs, and beer gardens and you can get cheap and tasty food. Oh, a glass of beer was 2 ZL, about \60. Compared to Milan, the price was about 1/6. Because of that, I let myself go and I carelessly drank too much.





If you play the main tournament, you have 1 game a day, and you are free for the rest of the day. You can do whatever you like and it is the best Go vacation.
A lot of side events, fast Go, 9X9 board game, 13X13 board game, childrenís game, womenís game, pair Go, rengo, and so on, were held, arranged with consideration by the Go Congress committee so youíll never be bored even though you have plenty of time to spend.

Also, there were not only Go but also other board games, a table tennis tournament, a song party, biking with rented bicycles, forest hiking with a special guide, experience canoe course, and many more plans that I cannot introduce here, so families and children who donít play Go can enjoy together. From beginners, 30 kyu, to children and elders, anyone can participate and they can be friendly with each other once they sit in front of the Go board face to face. Isnít it a nice atmosphere? I think that is the best attraction of the Go Congress.





Many professional Go players thronged to the Go Congress. From China, 3 male professionals with an interpreter came. 4 female professionals from Korean Ki-in participated 2 years in a row and around them, it was crowded as if flowers were in full bloom.
From Nihon Ki-in, Mr.Tozawa 9 dan with his wife, Mr. Catalin Taranu 6 dan who has lived in Rumania from this April and I participated. From Kansai Ki-in, Mr. Muraoka 9 dan and Mr. Kaname Inoue 8 dan were there.





From the afternoon to the night, professionals from each country were waiting to do the teaching games and commentary. In between that, we did reviews and free teaching games and so on, and it must be the real thrill of the Go Congress to be so close to the professionals for the whole day.
Because, usually, Europeans have little opportunities to learn Go from strong players and of course professionals, it was a very valuable opportunity. That was why, the professionals were asked questions non stop and not only I but also other professionals didnít have time for a rest and were exhausted. There were many professionals but there were so many participants, 700 of them. But day by day, I started to get used to it and gradually, I started to feel the tiredness changed to pleasantness. And then, Iím sure I will come back to the Go Congress again the next year. (I secretly call it a Go Congress syndrome.) Anyway, the place was lively from morning till night filled with the energy of a lot of people.





Even though strong players from many countries participated, Mr. Youn, a Korean university student, won the main tournament by 9 wins and 1 lost. Centering around the Go Congress, he was spending his summer holiday sightseeing and visiting many places in Europe. He is a strong player and a nice young man. The person who came second and a European champion for 3 years was Mr. Dinerchtein 1 dan, a Russian professional, from Korean Ki-in. He will go back to his country, Russia, and is planning to do Go activities, mainly in promoting Go. In third place was Mr.Catalin Taranu. This tournament was an open event which professionals or anyone else could participate in. That is also European style, isnít it?

I hadnít been back to Poland for 2 years but this time, I was surprised that there were many young participants like teenagers and university students. For the last few years, Go has been spreading through young generations by the success of teaching Go using the internet and also the influence of `Hikaru no Goí. The power of the internet is tremendous here, too.

Finally, to the staff who worked so hard day and night and were not discouraged despite the great number of participants, but instead were filled with joy, I would like to say that the Go Congress this year was super-great.
I think it was a heart warming Go Congress. Thanks to the wonderful Go Congress, I got even more addicted to it.





Q&A of Yuki Shigeno 2 dan go
2004.9 September
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