Brief Interview with Christopher Welsh (South Africa)

34wagc_Welsh

Christopher Welsh

I’m 1 dan in South Africa and this is my first WAGC. The tournament is amazingly well organized, a very slick operation, impressive in many respects.

I lost my first game, but I had a very strong opponent (Franz-Josef Dickhut of Germany), and I guess my performance was reasonable.

Go is not as popular in South Africa as it is in some European countries. We have perhaps a hundred registered players. Perhaps fifty of those are regular club and tournament players. There are some initiatives to bring go into the townships in South Africa, which are going encouraging well, but its difficult make these initiatives happen. The South African Go Association is a completely volunteer organization, and it’s hard to get people to spend their days teaching and evangelizing about the game.
So we’re finding it very difficult to grow the game organically.

The Hikaru no Go thing was a big external boost. Something like that would be great. I work as a computer programmer, and I only took up the game in my late thirties, so I’ve only been playing for seven or eight years. I regret not starting sooner. I may already have plateaued at my upper limit, but we’ll see. I’ll keep trying. Go is my main non-work activity. It’s kind of an obsession, as I suppose it is for many people.

Playing online? I guess I play online a lot, because it’s so easy, but I don’t really enjoy it. It’s a good way to try out openings, but I prefer to play when there’s something at stake, some rating points perhaps–then I can get motivated and bring my best to the game.

- James Davies

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