Мы подготовили вопросы для игроков сборной Франции – победителей командного чемпионата Европы по Го. На них ответили Dai Junfu, Tanguy Le Calvé и Thomas Debarre. Публикуем эти интервью в оригинале, на английском языке.
- The Tournament was held online for the first time. How did you like the format?
- France took 1st place again)) this year, last year… Can we say that now France is the leader in the team Go?
- Why did the results of the French national team grow?
- How did you prepare for the final?
- How did the fans watch the game in France? Did you feel supported?
Dai Junfu, 1st board:
1. It was quite fine, we may feel a bit strange to play online, but since no cheat is possible, it is acceptable to play online, especially no more need for travelling too far away.
2. I think France and Russia are the top two in Europe since all the 4 tables are strong. Russia has Ilya who almost never lost in the final, but France has Benjamin who never lost on 4th table too.
3. Maybe my presence in the french team reduced the pressure of all the other french players, i first played in Pise and we were 2nd, and then we won twice. French people said they never had a strong 1st table (compared to the top european pros in other teams ). My main role is just to attract the fire from the best players of other countries, so that the other tables can have less strong opponents.
If I start to win in the 1st table, at least it will be hard for France to lose since a victory is almost ensured on our 4th table. Personally, I think all the 2, 3 and 4th table have the level of 2nd table. Even they play on the 1st table, victory is also possible for them. This is hard to imagine for the other teams.
4. It has been more than 1 year I didn’t play an official tournament since the last final iof Pandanet. I tried to play several games during the lock down period in France, but It was hard to find close opponents and play reasonable time game. Since many people use bots to cheat on internet games, I choose not to play. The only thing I did was to solve the tsumego and watch games of top players during my vacation just before the final.
5. I don’t know how french fans follow the games, maybe directly in Pandanet, or in twitch? Since chat is not allowed, not any support comes directly, we only encourage among ourselves. But when we won the champion, the French fans are numerous to give like in facebook.
Tanguy Le Calvé, 2nd board:
1. Well, I believe this format was a good compromise for everyone. With all the covid issues, it was a good idea to gather each team in its own country. Also, I believe there is mutual trust and respect between players of the league, especially the finals because we played so many times together! The cameras and proctor were just a + in order to erase all suspicion of cheating.
2. Yes, of course we are so happy! The level of our team improved significantly, but of course, our main problem is Russia. You also have really strong players on all boards, so making a draw is already a big challenge. And if we manage to take the victory like this weekend, we can’t hide our excitement, because in the 10 years this cup has been held, it happened only a couple times.
I believe there is still a long road to decide who is leading European team go, it is still quite unclear for now! Eventually, I hope that we can continue to win until we have the next generation of young french players coming to replace us.
3. I believe our main power is having the best 3rd & 4th goban in the League. Having Thomas Debarre who has been for many years an active top european player, and 4 times French Champion on board 3 is already huge. And Ben0 on board 4, when he is actually holding this year a double title of French Champion. They are so solid that we almost ensure to have wins on these boards, which makes all the power of this dream team.
Junfu and I are trying our best to tank out the first boards, but on these two most teams have players of same strength, if not better! I believe the level improved especially because of ben0..and myself.Before, we had Fan Hui or Dai Junfu on first board, but only Thomas Debarre was close to them, and so we were lacking strength on board 3 & 4. Now everything’s changed.
Also, one of the things that keep us together is the amazing spirit our team has. I believe our victories are mostly due to the fact that we play as a whole and not individually, each player has its place in the machine, and we all support each other in good vibes. It is mainly thanks to our Captain Antoine Fenech, who deserves most of this good team spirit.
4. I don’t think we really prepared the finals, Junfu and Thomas didn’t play much, Ben0 was busy enjoying Budapest night life, and as for me, I kept traveling for teaching and holidays this summer. But we all trusted in our team.
5. Yes, there is always a solid base of viewers and supporters from France. This year it was not easy to spot, but if you go to EGC, you can usually see that a huge group of french go players are coming a few days before just to watch and support us for the Pandanet Team Championship, which we are really thankful of!
I hope this answers most of your questions, I’m sad we didn’t play this year.
Thomas Debarre, 3rd board:
1. In general I much prefer playing games live rather than online, since I have trouble focusing online, and because psychological warfare, which is a big component of competitive go, almost completely disappears. However, there was no other option this year, and I probably wouldn’t have gone to Ukraine anyway. So in the end I was glad that it was held online, which is obviously better than nothing. The fact that the team was playing in the same location (except for Benjamin) really helped me a lot in terms of focus and motivation, and I was able to play at a decent level and enjoy myself almost as much as in a real tournament.
2. Of course our current team is very strong, and with this lineup we will probably be very strong contenders for the title in the years to come. However, the same can be said for Russia, who has won many titles in the past and whose 3rd and 4th boards are still young and will likely continue to improve. Other teams are also very solid. Aside from a few players who are above the rest, the level of top European players is very close so I think everything really depends on the current shape of the players. In the past 2 years, perhaps we were slight favorites and things turned out well for us, but we don’t take anything for granted for the future.
3. A huge factor is obviously that Junfu joined the team a few years ago. Not only is he a very strong player who wins important games on board 1, but he shifts the whole team down one board which gives us all easier games in theory. Aside from Junfu, the other team members have improved in the past few years (except for me, but I compensate by sliding down in board numbers), Tanguy has become a professional and Benjamin, although he has always played very well for us, is now among the best European players and is a huge asset on board 4. Last but not least, an important part in our success is our team spirit, we are always very motivated to play this tournament.
Personally, I sometimes lack motivation to play tournaments, but this is never a problem for the European Team Championships, since I am not only playing for myself but also for my teammates, and I really don’t want to let them down. Also, there is nothing like celebrating a victory with your teammates, it’s a lot more fun than when a single person is celebrating something.
4. I didn’t prepare much, I just played a few games for the Corona Masters League juste before the tournament. As I said, I’m not a fan of playing online so I haven’t been very active lately.
5. It’s a bit more difficult to feel the support when you’re playing online, but I’m guessing some French fans followed the games live on Pandanet, and we received many emails of support of the mailing list of French go players. We also had a few people who followed our homemade prize-giving ceremony in my parents’ living room on Twitch, so we did feel supported.
Мы благодарим наших собеседников за интервью и желаем дальнейших блестящих побед в спорте!