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May 2nd, 2005

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Interview with VC

As promised many moons ago, here’s the transcript of an interview I did with Victor quite some time ago.

Interview with Victor Chow—14/9/02

Tristen: How old were you when you started playing and studying GO?

Victor: Nine, but that’s a bit late according to modern standards or thinking. I played Chinese Chess before then, but GO is more complicated. There’s more room to grow with GO. In China, I learned to play in a centre for children/young teenagers. They [the centres] give talent classes; in GO, Chinese Chess, sports, and so on

T: Victor, you came in fifth at this year’s WAGC, how do you feel about that result?

V: If you told me I’d end up fifth before the tournament, I’d be very happy. But after seeing the how the tournament went, I feel that I could’ve done better.

T: Speaking about the WAGC, what do you think of SAGA’s selection policy, especially the proposal to alter the participation points so that the top players have to play more, and thus pass on their skills?

V: We [SAGA] have to ensure that top players can play regularly in tournaments like the WAGC. And, at the same time, we have to give others a chance to play. It’s a balancing act. Top players get South Africa international attention and respectability. We wouldn’t have got the Toyota Denso Cup if it wasn’t for this attention. What I mean is that good results in international competitions can get the international GO community interested in Africa. Who knows? If we do well, maybe the Nihon-Kin will open up a branch here.

T: This year you also played in the Toyota Denso Cup (held in Japan), after earning the right to represent Africa, what are your comments on your play at that tournament?

V: I’m not so happy, but it was a good experience.

T: Do you think it is fair that the Toyota Denso Cup didn’t give Africa its own place and made the African contestant fight for a place against Australia, Taiwan and Hong Kong for a place?

V: The tournament had a very bad format, ninety minutes each player and no bouyomi. This is not acceptable, maybe for amateurs but not in an international tournament. It was an improper way to conduct a tournament. Also, the Africa Zone—which was allowed one player—had to enter a qualifying tournament with the Rest of Asia Zone—one player from Hong Kong, and one from Taiwan—and Oceania Zone, who had only one player. [The winner of this qualifying tournament then went on to play in the Toyota Denso Cup proper] This wasn’t fair as neither North America nor Europe had to qualify. There either should be no qualifying tournament, or everyone has to qualify.

T: Given your international experience, how do you rate SA GO? Are our kyu and dan players as strong as, say, Holland’s?

V: I don’t know about Holland, but we’re stronger [the comparative ranks] than the British. We’re stronger than most, but we’re weaker than IGS ranks.

T: What do you think are the weaknesses of amateur players in SA?

V: There are two main weaknesses. A) Reading, that needs to improve, especially life & death. B) Planning of play, players often contradict their own plan or overall strategy. Sometimes the moves are inconsistent to the plan. Players need to get both their reading and planning right before they look at other weaknesses, and reading is fundamental…it’s more important than planning of play.

T: What’s the best way for a kyu player to become a dan player? What should he study?

V: [He] should play more intense games. He must be able to reconstruct the game after it has been played. I could do it when I was 5-kyu, and every 5-kyu should be able to reconstruct their games. I can even remember games I played ten years ago because they were such intense games.

T: What do you think the future of SA GO is?

V: Positive, but we need more people like Sello [Sello Leopeng of Dobsonville GO Club) to teach people. We need to have some organised classes.

T: Thank-you for taking the time to talk to us.

V: You’re welcome.

Posted by tristen in Articles

3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Interview with VC”

  1. Rory says:

    It’s all well and nice to say improve this and that but how to improve these things arent public knowledge to us nearing that level , se please help those who are willing to learn 🙂

  2. Tristen says:

    Practise and study, Rory. Application and hard sweat. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts, magic wands, etc.

    Spend hours solving problems and playing through professional games. Play each game to win.

    As an aside, when Victor came to SA he was about 4-dan or so. He then studied (professional games), experimented, and played a lot on the interent.

  3. Rory says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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