“The goal is to win one point,” says professional knight Kravets as he competes for Samsung Flower Cultivation Europe
A man in the wall has thrown down the gauntlet in professional Go, a game dominated by the four East Asian nations of Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan.
Andriy Kravets (32, Ukraine), the European representative, was the center of attention at the draw for the round of 32 at the 2023 Samsung Flower Cultivation World Go Masters held at the Samsung Fire Global Campus in Goyang City on Friday.
He was the only non-Asian player in a field that included 17 players from South Korea, nine from China, four from Japan and one from Taiwan.
It was the first time in four years since 2019 that a professional player from a country other than the four East Asian nations competed at Samsung Fire.
Kravets, who hails from war-torn Ukraine and now lives in Germany, said he first picked up a Go stone at the age of eight.
“Ever since I first learned to play Go, I’ve loved and enjoyed it all my life,” he said at a press conference after the draw.
“The professional knight system was first introduced in Europe in 2014, and I became a professional knight in 2017 after several challenges,” he said. “My biggest achievement as a professional knight was winning the European Championship in 2023.”
Kravets was runner-up at the 2019 and 2020 European Championships, and this year he finally won the title, beating Israel’s Ali Jabarin in the final.
He also competed in the 2019 Samsung Flower Cultivation World Group qualifiers, going 2-1 but failing to advance to the main draw.
However, when Samsung Flower Farming resumed the “face-to-face” competition after a four-year hiatus, the European champion was invited as a wildcard, giving Kravets a chance to compete in the main draw.
Of course, even though he is the European champion, his objective skills are inevitably lagging behind those of knights from East Asian countries with active professional competitions.
“I’m very happy to be playing against world-class players,” Kravets said, “but my goal now is to win the first round anyway.”
Even if Kravets loses in the round of 32, he plans to stay for a few more days and enjoy his first world championship. 파워볼사이트