Interview with Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero

Rita Pocsai (left) and Csaba Mero

Ranka interviewed the Hungarian pair, Rita Pocsai and Csaba Mero, after their loss to the Chinese pair in the first round of the pair-go competition at the World Mind Games.

Ranka: Please tell us how you began playing go.
Pocsai: I

got into the game easily because my father was very active in it. He taught me to play when I was six or seven years old, and then we started going to tournaments together.
Mero: I also learned from my father, when I was twelve or thirteen. He was about 3 kyu. It took me perhaps a year to overtake him. I started going to tournaments in 1994, I think, but that was a long time ago and I don’t remember the details.

Ranka: Have you studied go in the far east?
Pocsai: Not at all.
Mero: After winning the European Championship I really wanted to go to Japan to study. Finally in 1999 I was invited by Kobayashi Chizu, and spent two and a half years in Japan as an insei.

Ranka: An what are you doing now?
Pocsai: I’m a university student, studying special education. This came from teaching go to children in schools. I taught at many schools. I got the feeling that I liked being with children, and I got the idea of using go as a form of therapy. I don’t know how it will turn out; we shall see.
Mero: I’m working for a multinational company, doing statistical programming. That’s something like data science. You’ve got a lot of data, you have to clean it, you have model it, make predictions, that sort of thing. Not much connection with go.

Ranka: Are you enjoying the World Mind Games?
Pocsai: Yes, I am. I’ve lost all my games so far, but it’s been very nice to watch the other games and play against some strong players.
Mero: It’s nice to be here again.

Ranka: What are your future plans?
Pocsai: Well, the first step is to get my university degree.
Mero: I’ll keep on playing go, of course, but conditions in Europe are not very good for a go player who has a family to support. You can’t make a living at it. For that matter, even if I could make a living by playing go professionally, go would then become a job rather than the pleasure it is now, and maybe a different job would suit me better. If it became possible to play professionally, I suppose I would give it a try once in my life, but by the time it does become possible I suppose I’ll already be too old.

Ranka: How often have you been to China and what is your impression of the country?
Pocsai: I think this is my fifth time. I like China very much, but for me, although Beijing is a nice city, it seems very crowded and noisy and the buildings are huge. I prefer to visit smaller and more natural places. For example, last month I was in Suzhou for a women’s world championship (the Bingsheng Cup). It was up in the mountains and it was beautiful.
Mero: I’ve been to China three times, always to Beijing. I’m dying to see other parts of China as well.

Ranka: Thank you.

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