Executive Director of the ANO "Center for the Development and Popularization of the Game of Go and Strategy", a member of the Presidium of the Russian Federation of Go Mikhail Emelyanov met with the head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), Aisen Sergeevich Nikolaev, a longtime fan and devotee of this exciting game.
Mikhail Emelyanov: Do these games and philosophies help you feel the cultural code of the East?
Aisen Nikolaev: The game of Go is one of the oldest intellectual games that are known to mankind today, and it came from afar, from China. And today, thanks to the fact that at least a little, but I know how to play Go, I somehow better understand my interlocutors from the countries of Southeast Asia, from China, Japan, Korea. This game teaches people to think globally, teaches people to think strategically. When playing Go, you really understand a lot of what your interlocutors do from Southeast Asia and from Asian countries in general. This helps a lot, because the essence of the game is not just moving the game stones, it has a strategy, there are very beautiful combinations here, for example, when you seem to be sacrificing and your position seems to be losing, but in fact, with one move you can completely change the picture world, or, conversely, you can move forward, painstakingly building your strategy, and ultimately achieve your goal step by step.
Mikhail Emelyanov: : Yes. This moment about painstaking and elaboration shocked me in my time in Go, it was one of the reasons why I began to study the game in depth. You have extensive experience in carrying out large unique projects. I know that last year the International Intellectual Games were held, in which more than 70 children from all over the world, from the Russian Federation, took part. It was such a scientific project where children competed, showed their projects, and communicated with each other. How do you evaluate the results of these games? Our federation would like to integrate into a similar project in the future and, in turn, introduce your guys to our game.
Aisen Nikolaev: You know, International Mind Games appeared in our republic not by chance, the republic very consciously relies on work with gifted children. This policy has been formed in our country since the time of the first president of the republic, Mikhail Efimovich Nikolaev. Today in the republic we are creating an entire ecosystem for working with gifted children in a variety of areas. One of the solutions that we developed was to hold International Mind Games in the republic. This idea was implemented last year, the first games were held, they were successful. Many hundreds of children from the republic, from Russian regions, from many countries of the world took part in them, and we will definitely hold these games on a planned basis. Of course, this is primarily a competition in scientific disciplines, some modern disciplines. At the same time, it seems to me that Go, as closer than chess to an intellectual one, rather not even to a sport, but to such an intellectual occupation, could to some extent be represented at such games. Maybe at first in the form of demonstration performances, and later (why not?) it will be possible to connect the past and the future just through the competition in playing Go at the International Mind Games for schoolchildren.
Mikhail Emelyanov: : Let's try it, it would be very interesting. You probably know examples of the practical use of the inventions that the guys made. One of the participants, for example, invented a microsatellite that fits into a tin can. Do you also have such talented guys in the republic who have shown themselves?
Aisen Nikolaev:: Of course, there are many examples when, thanks to such additional school occupations then grow up very serious specialists in one direction or another. That IT boom, that superiority that Yakutia is demonstrating today in the IT industry, at least on the scale of the Far East, is largely a consequence of the fact that there is a strong mathematical school in Yakutia and the Fizmatov movement has been well developed. I myself am a graduate of a rural physics and mathematics school, one of the first in the Soviet Union. In our time, this trend has continued. We already have private IT schools that train children not only in Yakutsk, this system is spreading throughout the republic. We really see the results of such training in the fact that many Yakut companies are now entering international markets. In the past, InDriver and Mytona were our hallmarks, now new companies are emerging, such as Fntastic, which creates games that are now preinstalled on all Apple devices around the world. This actually does credit not only to the Yakut IT industry, but, probably, to the entire Russian IT industry. We have many such examples, and I am sure that doing mathematics, programming, playing Go in any case contributes to the formation in children of those inclinations, those abilities that can lead them to great success in the future.
Mikhail Emelyanov: : On the walk of fame of stars who play Go, there are Bill Gates, and Sergey Brin, our compatriot, and Vitalik Buterin, who develops the Ethereum platform for smart contracts. Your national team won the cup of the fifth, anniversary, VEF among all regions of the Far East, defeating both Primorsky Krai and Khabarovsk Krai. The Russian Federation of Go is very interested in the fact that the experience of Yakutsk spread to the republic, and the republic becomes a model for the entire Far East. How do you look at scaling up the successful experience in developing Go in Yakutsk, which is now being demonstrated by the Go Federation of the Republic of Yakutia?
Aisen Nikolaev:: We have relatively recently started organizing a structure to support the game of Go. With your support and with the support of the Polymetal corporation, a federation was created - a structure that helped our players quickly organize themselves and take part in fairly large competitions. Taking the cup at the jubilee EEF is our main achievement so far. We didn't even expect such a big victory from our Go players, but this success shows that our players are very good, they work hard, they want to win. I am sure that this is not only the first, but far from the last of their triumph. Your idea of scaling up approaches to learning Go from the school desk is actually a very interesting idea. Today, thanks to the first president of the republic, we are introducing a program when we massively teach children to play chess in schools. I am sure that there should be a certain variability, and if, along with chess, children learn to play Go, then there will be nothing bad in this, but only the very best. Therefore, I accept your proposal, I am sure that we will consult both with our federation and with our educational institutions in order to have such programs for teaching the game of Go in schools.
М.Е.: It seems that it is important here to give the opportunity to choose and to develop in the child with different games his intellectual, strategic potential, without which it is very difficult to succeed in the modern world. Will we see your wonderful team at the All-Russian Go-Congress, which will be held under the auspices of the championship as part of the world festival? Will you take part in the match between politicians and businessmen?
Mikhail Emelyanov: : I think that this is generally in general It is a great achievement of our country that for the first time in history the World Cup is held outside the countries of Southeast Asia, it takes place here, in Russia, in Vladivostok, the capital of the Far East. We will make every effort to ensure that this championship is held at a high level. Of course, our team will also take part. I am sure that Yakut cultural figures will also be represented in the cultural program of the World Cup. In general, I think that this is very important and very necessary. Of course, I'm not a great Go player, although my match with Vitaly Nesis...
Mikhail Emelyanov: : He was great!
Aisen Nikolaev:: ...according to the general feeling, it turned out to be “ excellent.” Therefore, of course, in one form or another, I will definitely take part in the popularization of this wonderful ancient game of Go in our country, which helps so much to get closer to other countries.