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IMSA (International Mind Sport Association)

In Japan, Go is a part of the culture and is an accomplishment as an art. Also, in yose and semeai (capturing race), there are a lot of mathematic factors, and it is one of the few games which the computer cannot win. On the Go board which is full of dramas, it is called philosophy which is a mirror reflecting the lives or a way of communication because you enjoy playing without talking. I think that the attraction of Go is to be able to enjoy in your own ways with various senses.

Since 2 years ago, to compete against sport which use the body, a new program called `Mind Sportí has started and it has united with 3 groups, Chess, Bridge and Draughts, and IMSA (International Mind Sport Association) has been established to promote `Mind Sportí.

Go equals Sport? In fact, for Japanese people, it sounds unfamiliar but in the neighboring country, China, Go and Chess are sport. Korean Baduk Association, too, has approved as a group in a Sport Bureau recently so in Go advanced countries of Asia, there are differences in consciousness.

In autumn, 2005, I went to a meeting of IMSA which is held once every 6 months, for the first time. This meeting was held, at the same time as the World Bridge Tournament, at Estoril, a resort by the sea, 30 minutes drive towards the Atlantic Ocean from the capitol of the Republic of Portugal, Lisbon. I felt uneasy to go to an event with no Go boards and I was so nervous that I couldnít sleep well the night before I leave.

Do you know the game, Bridge? It is a card game played by 2 pairs, 4 people, who sit at a table like Pair Go. I only know the flow of the game but I could get used to the atmosphere of the Bridge Tournament easily. Maybe, in the same `Mind Sportí, there is something in common through the games.

There are Bridge Associations in 130 countries (There are Go Associations in 68 countries.) and more than 1,000 participants gathered from all over the world and it was very lively. The secret of that must be the large number female players! The game is mainly enjoyed by couples so usually more than half of the participants are female. In that way, itís very different from Go.

The president of IMSA who has been working actively as a leader is the president of the World Bridge Association (WFB), Mr. Jose Damiani. Jose who is a fashionable French born in Corsica always gives everyone peace of mind by his humorous jokes.

One of the biggest activities of IMSA is to approach the Olympics (IOC) to consider the Mind Sport as a new sport. To be accepted as an official game, it seems quite difficult and it sounds impossible in reality but for example, like the Paralympics, we can hope to have Mind Sport tournaments after the Olympics, using the same place and presenting the same Olympic medals.

At the IMSA meeting, the plan of the future Olympics was discussed and for the first step, I have confirmed that they will start campaigning for Go to join General Association of International Sport Federation (GAISF), as Chess and Bridge have already been authorized in GAISF. In this April, at the earliest, at the GAISF meeting which is held in Seoul, Go might be accepted. Then, they will proceed to apply to join the IOC. Iím looking forward to it!

If I tell you the truth, I donít like the Olympics much. Because, I think that the result is influenced by the difference of the financial power of countries, not the real power of the participants and it looks like show business and pure spirit of sport seems to be fading.

But, if Go is taken up at the Olympics, like the first-class stage of the world, and through the mass media, Go can be seen by people all over the world, and there will be so many people who would get interested in Go. I am sure it will have a big influence which I canít imagine. In that case, I think that the existence of the Olympics is a big chance.

I wonder what kind of year, next year, 2006, will be? I would be happy if the world is peaceful and I can enjoy every single day full of wonderful dreams.
At last, I thank you, the readers, who are always checking out this page. I hope you have a nice year, this year.

This "GO Friends Report " started !


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