Bill Lin ranked 10th at the World Amateur Go Championship

Bill plays against Slovakia's representative at the World Amateur Go Championship

Paul Wang, Staff Writer

On September 1st, 2013, a grade 12 student of St. George’s School represented Canada and placed 10th in an international board game competition. After winning the Canadian Go Championship in late June, Bill Lin qualified to go on to compete in the World Amateur Go Championship, which took place in Sendai, Japan.

Bill started playing Go when he was six years old. John Lin, his father, was the main influence and the reason for why Bill started to play. While John was in college, he was obsessed with the game. His father’s passion for Go endured after university and eventually influenced his son. Bill’s earliest memories include playing and learning Go from his father.

We’re fortunate to have a few words from Bill reporting about the competition.

Q: Few of us play the game; could you give us a quick overview of the basic rules?

Bill: Go is a board game that involves two sides, black and white. The game is played on a 19 x 19 line board. The objective of the game is to use one’s stones to surround a larger total area of the board than the opponent.

Q: And how do you surround an area?

Bill: To surround an area, one needs to put his stones around the opponent’s stones and capture them, and this is done by surrounding an opposing stone or group of stones by occupying all orthogonally-adjacent points.

Q: How often do you practice or play?

Bill: I just treat it as a big hobby, so any time when I am bored or free, I read Go books, play online games, or watch professionals online.

Q: How did you qualify for this event? How did you place?

Bill: I qualified because I was ranked the top player in Canada, and this was before the Canadian Go Championship. I placed 1st in the Canadian Go Open Championship. Winning the national title allowed me to compete internationally to represent Canada. At the World Championship, I placed 10th among 62 players from around the world.

Q: How is the competition organized? Do you have different formats, or did everyone compete in the same category?

Bill: A Go competition is always open. There are no age limits, so I could be competing with a four-year-old if he’s good enough. However, there are several divisions that are based on the rankings. 8 Dan, which is my division, is the highest. 7 Dan is lower and has more players in it, etc. However, to compete in the Canadian Go Championship, the players must be at least 6 Dan. In the World Amateur Go Championship, there were no divisions. Only 62 players from 62 countries.

Q: Why do you play Go?

Bill: I play Go because it is extremely deep and complicated. I love the feeling of exploring the unknown and the unlimited possibilities in this game. The number of variations of Go is more than the number of atoms in the observable universe.

Q: Will you continue to compete in the future?

Bill: Yes, I have another World Championship coming up in October. Also, I will play until my brain wears out.

As shown, Bill is deeply passionate about Go, and he considers it his favourite hobby. Always exploring deeper into the game, we have no doubt he will have further exceptional achievements in the future. With another international Go competition scheduled in October, we look forward to hearing results!