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.