After the 7th-round Russia-Serbia game, Ranka took the opportunity to interview the winner, Russia’s Igor Popov.
Ranka: Where do you live?
Igor: In Moscow.
Ranka: What is your profession?
Igor: I am a logistics manager for a trading company. I’m in charge of all aspects of transportation.
Ranka: Did you get into go by playing chess?
Igor: No, I tried playing chess but I don’t like it.
Ranka: How have you been managing the stress of the tournament?
Igor: During the thirty years I have been competing in tournaments, I have improved in this regard. I’ve learned to control my emotions.
Ranka: Does smoking help?
Igor: I like to smoke, and when I’m playing, I smoke more.
Ranka: How do you feel about your results so far in the WAGC?
Igor: At first it was quite difficult, including difficulties in just getting here, and I lost my first two games. After that, I won five straight and I’m in contention for a high finish, so I think my results have been quite good.
Ranka: What do you think of the organization of this tournament?
Igor: The organization has been superb, of the highest caliber. Few of the tournaments that I have competed in have been organized this well. There have been no problems at all.
Ranka: How were you selected to represent Russia?
Igor: The Russian representative is selected from among the players in the final stage of the Russian Championship. I didn’t win the championship, but the players who finished higher than me could not compete for various reasons: Alexander Dinerchtein because he is a professional player, Ilya Shikshin because he decided to play in the Korean Prime Minister’s Cup instead, and Oleg Mezhov because he played in the WAGC last year. Russia has a rule that a player cannot represent Russia two years in a row.
Ranka: What is the recent go news from Russia?
Igor: The big news has been that the Russian team won the Pandanet European team tournament. I was on the winning Russian team. Now they will go on to compete at the European Go Congress in Bonn, although I won’t be going with them.
Ranka: What has been the effect of having Russian professional go players?
Igor: More Russian people are starting to play go.