Brief Interview with Soni Shah (India)

Soni Shah

Soni Shah

I live in a city adjacent to Delhi. In 1996 I switched jobs and started working for a Japanese man, Mr Oda. He was a go player. He was always playing go. The game looked to me something like a game I used to play as a little girl, called Goat and Lion. I asked Mr Oda to teach me the game and he agreed. After learning go, I wanted to learn the Japanese language, so with the assistance of another Japanese man, a Mr Ishii, I began taking classes at the Japan Culture Center. In 2000 I decided I wanted to come to Japan to see what go was actually like. Mr Oda and Mr Ishii helped me to come over. I also came to Japan for the pair go tournament in 2001. In 2002 Mr Oda went back to Japan, and I wasn’t able to interest Mr Ishii in the game, so I stopped playing for awhile. I needed to earn money to return to Japan, so I opened a small DVD shop and worked very hard for eight years. After eight years my business had grown into a big store, and I was able to come here to observe the World Amateur Go Championship in Sendai. When I arrived I found that the Indian player (Shashank Dave) wasn’t able to come, so I said I could take his place. Arrangements were made through the Indian embassy and here I am.

I really enjoy the game. When I’ve been working too hard and feel tired, what I always do is to open the Internet and play go online. So my mind is always fresh. I generally play on Yahoo. In India the games people like most are cricket and badminton, followed by football. They also play mind games, chess in particular, but I don’t play chess; I don’t understand it.

- Ranka

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