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Kisei Title Match in Berlin

At the beginning of this year, on the 15th and 16th of January, the 30th Kisei Title Mach came to Berlin! In Europe, it is very rare to have an opportunity to see games of top professionals and that is once in a few years. Many Go fans came from not only Berlin but also from all over Germany and countries outside Germany like Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the UK to not to miss the great game.

It seems that it has been a severe winter with heavy snow in Japan but in Europe, too, it has been especially cold, this year. In the morning of the game, it was minus 14 degrees in Berlin. The wind which was biting my cheek was more painful than cold and even for a little while at outside, my ears turned red.

Intercontinental Hotel where the Match took place is close to Berlin Zoo Station, in the center of city. As the meaning of the station suggests, in front of it, there is a zoo and followed by an aquarium, and next to it is a tall, modern hotel. I heard that the hotel is host to important persons from both Germany and outside Germany and it has a high class look. To tell the truth, there must be many Go fans who were impressed by the location. If I think back, people who gathered there were more dressed up than usual.

The players were Naoki Hane Kisei who represents Japan as young professionals and Keigo Yamashita 9dan who was a challenger. There were many big posters of their faces here and there in the hotel and they drew peopleís attention. I was wondering what German people who donít know Go thought of them, when they saw the posters.

Of course, at the live broadcast of the Kisei Title Match and commentary and the day before the Match, Koichi Kobayashi 9dan who was an observer, Satoru Kobayashi 9dan who was a commentator, Catalin 5dan, a Romanian professional, who was a recorder, Makihata 3dan, Kanda 9dan and I all participated, and the Go seminar and Tamen uchi were held. Also, a Go tournament and Kisei Title Match for children were held, and all together, 200 people gathered.

íHikaru-No-Goí which was translated in German has been around for about 3 years. Through comic books and while Go has spread among children and young generation, there were many participants at the Kisei Title Match for children. I was pleased to see that at the commendation ceremony of the Kisei Title Match for children, Hane Kisei participated in, specially, as a presenter and the certificates were handed from Hane Kisei to a child Kisei. Iím sure it must be a good memory for them that the children and their parents will never forget.

At the hall, the National German broadcasting station and newspaper reporters came to interview, and the event attracted many people in society, thanks to the cooperation of the sponsors who love Go and Japanese culture and the everyday effort of the Go fans in Berlin. I appreciate it.

Now, it is necessary to have several considerations to hold a game overseas. For example, Japanese room for the Title Match. This time, we borrowed some tatami mats from the Japanese-German Cultural Center in Berlin and 2 days before the Match, a Japanese room was made in a room which looked like a meeting room taking a few hours instructed by a German leader. The lunch in the waiting room was a Japanese lunch box. Also, instant noodles, Natto (fermented soybeans), shochu (spirit) and more were prepared and I was happy. I ate Japanese food which I hadnít eaten for a while.?

In the room in which the game was played, Seigen Go senseiís kakejiku (scroll) was displayed and I was surprised. Also, a few kakejikus of famous professionalsí were displayed in the hall and they are owned by a German living in Berlin. If you interpret the purpose of each of them, there must be precious stories which trace the history of promoting Go. When I think of it, I get excited.

As I expected, the most popular event was the commentary with a big Go board by 2 Kobayashi Sensei (Koichi and Satoru). Not only German people listened to the commentary quietly but also they asked questions and gave their opinions frankly. And sometimes, there were moves which Sensei didnít notice! Everyone was very serious that they seemed not to miss a word of it and it was very successful.

íI was more spirited doing commentary there than in Japan. People here are enthusiastic.í
Satoru Sensei said and was touched. I, too, was helping them as an interpreter and an assistant and the game on the Go board which played by the top professionals was fantastic, but also I was deeply impressed by the exciting mood of the hall that was created by everyone there.

I wish there were more Matches overseas more often. The exciting game in Berlin has just finished, I am looking forward to the next opportunity!

This "GO Friends Report " started !


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