The day after China’s Qiao Zhijian won the World Amateur Go Championship, Ranka had a lunchtime interview with him.
Ranka: Congratulations on becoming world amateur champion. Please tell us something about yourself.
Qiao Zhijian: What would you like to know?
Ranka: What is your hometown?
Qiao Zhijian: Yantai in Shandong Province, but now I live in Beijing.
Ranka: When did you start to learn to play go?
Qiao Zhijian: When I was five years old.
Ranka: Do you have a particular go teacher?
Qiao Zhijian: No, I have learned from many people.
Ranka: You are sixteen years old. Are you attending high school?
Qiao Zhijian: No, I stopped going to school in order to stay home and play and study go.
Ranka: How much time do you spend on that per day?
Qiao Zhijian: At least ten hours.
Ranka: Do you play on the Internet?
Qiao Zhijian: Yes.
Ranka: Is the World Amateur Go Championship your first international tournament?
Qiao Zhijian: Yes, it is.
Ranka: How did you qualify for it?
Qiao Zhijian: By winning the Amateur Evening News Cup this January.
Ranka: Of your games in the World Amateur Go Championship, which were the most difficult?
Qiao Zhijian: The games against the players from Korea and Chinese Taipei, Lee Hyunjoon and Chen Cheng-Hsun.
Ranka: How would you compare them with the top Chinese amateurs?
Qiao Zhijian: Lee Hyunjoon is at about the same level. Chen Cheng-Hsun still has a little way to go.
Ranka: Which game did you enjoy the most?
Qiao Zhijian: The game in the last round, against the German player, Benjamin Teuber.
Ranka: When will your next tournament be?
Qiao Zhijian: I haven’t made plans for my next tournament yet.
Ranka: Do you intend to become a professional player?
Qiao Zhijian: Yes. After winning the Evening News Cup, I have a year in which I can apply to become professional. I intend to turn pro some time this year.
Ranka: Have you played many games against professional opponents recently?
Qiao Zhijian: Yes, very many. For example, after the Amateur Evening News Cup, there was a match between the top finishers and several professional players. I played Nie Weiping.
Ranka: How did you do?
Qiao Zhijian: I won. I think Mr Nie was not playing his best game.
Ranka: What other pros have you beaten?
Qiao Zhijian: Well, one other is Li He, by half a point. In that game I had a good opening, but played badly in the endgame and nearly lost.
Ranka: Which professional player do you admire the most?
Qiao Zhijian: Shi Yue.
Ranka: Have you been scouted by any team in the Chinese City Leagues and do you have any team you would like to play for?
Qiao Zhijian: I’ve had some offers, but for the time being I intend to compete individually, not with a team.
Ranka: Do you have any other interests or activities?
Qiao Zhijian: Basketball and soccer, and I also like Chinese popular music.
Ranka: Thank you, and congratulations again!