Interview with Vanessa Wong

Vanessa Wong (left) and Jan Hora

During the gold medal individual matches, Ranka had a chance to speak with European women’s champion Vanessa Wong.

Ranka: Where were you born, and when did you move to Great Britain?
Wong: I was born in Hong Kong, but when I was starting middle school, I came to England to go to boarding school. My parents thought the British schools were better than the schools in Hong Kong. I went to the Shrewsbury School. Shrewsbury is a small town, far from London, close to Wales.

Ranka: Do you like boarding school?
Wong: Yes, I do. You learn to be independent, and there’s less parental control.

Ranka: And when did you start playing go?
Wong: When I was a schoolgirl in Hong Kong. My father liked to play, so he taught me. He’s 2 dan in Hong Kong, but he’d be about shodan or 1 kyu in Europe. It took me a year or two to catch up with him.

Ranka: How have you been doing in European tournaments?
Wong: I’ve finished second twice in the European Youth Championship, second last year and first this year in the European Women’s Championship, and 22nd this year at the European Go Congress.

Ranka: Have you studied go in the far east since moving to Shrewsbury?
Wong: I went to China to study go in 2008, and spent three months in Korea in 2009 at the Chong-am Dojang. That’s the go school that produced Lee Sedol.

Ranka: Who are your current rivals?
Wong: Lukas Podpera in Czechia is my main rival. He’s the same age as me, so I guess we were born to be rivals. Mateusz Surma in Poland is another rival, although actually we’re all three good friends.

Ranka: What are your future plans?
Wong: I hope to go to a university, and to play go professionally. I want to reach a level of go that I can be satisfied with. I’ll probably play professionally in Europe, because that’s where I have the most contacts.

Ranka: What are your outside interests and hobbies?
Wong: None in particular. I spend my time on my school studies and on go.

Ranka: You seem to be a serious girl.
Wong: Yes, I like to take things seriously.

Ranka: Thank you.

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