June 5: Igo Festa in Oita, The world largest Igo game
by Mie

The 21st world amateur Igo festival in Oita will be held in Oita Toyo hotel from June 7 through June 11. A commemorative pre-festival was held today here in Nanase River Park newly opened in this April. The title of the pre-festival is "The world largest Go game."
Many fans are already flocking in front of the tent, well early than the start of the game from 2:30 p.m.
   
In the tent, the staff is discussing how to play the game. Today, a professional Go player Ms. Mayu Hosaka (right in the right picture), second grade, who is very popular on NHK regular Go program and Mr. Miyoshi Abe, fifth grade, the representative of Oita prefecture for the world amateur Go tournament, will play the game. The commentators are Mr. Hideo Ohtake (left in the left picture), ninth grade, and Ms. Eimi Nishida, fifth grade. My husband was moved to get a close look at Mr. Ohtake. Mr. Oshima of Oita cable TV will be an MC Today (standing in white shirt.)
Now the game opens. On behalf of Governor Morihiko Hiramatsu, the chairman of the 21st world amateur Go festival in Oita, Mr. Kinoshita, the mayor of Oita city, makes a few words. After that, Mr. Ohtake explained the importance of the festival. A large Go board was designed on the green lawn. The size of the board is 40 by 40 meters. A Go stone's diameter is 1.8 meters wand its weight is about 1 kilogram. It is made of foamed styrene plastic. As the explanation of the game is made here in the tent, spectators are busy to watch the Go board and looking back the field.
   
The player climbed up a high stand to overview the field. High school volunteers from Oita Uenogaoka and Oita Industrial carry a large Go stone in two. They are the members of Go club in their school, and their power ranges from 18th class to sixth grade.
Many Go fans enjoy the special event in the park covered with thick green: on the left is the white tent, and two stands in the center and on the rightmost in white and red colors.
A close look of the jumbo Go stones. You can't grasp the whole view of the game from a close point. On the back is a large screen that displays the progress of the game.
   
Reporters take pictures from the cranes high above the ground level more than 40 meters. Four helicopters flew in to broadcast the game in the air. I hoped to get on the crane but it was exclusively for the reporters.
   
Mayor Kinoshita is one of Go fan. He was busy in looking around here and there. A cool shadow offers a rest for the family.
After the dead heat, the game was over on the half way upto 142 hands. The player joined under the tent. from left: Ms. Nishida, Mr. Abe, Ms. Hosaka, and Mr. Ohtake. He gave a comment "The game is not still over. Please create your own game after this."


Please try to create your own Go game after this.
A guy was handling computers. Who is that? Yes, it is Mr. Hoashi of Heart, a web design company. He is now reporting the game through the Internet. Thank you for your efforts in heat.
   

After the game was over, I climbed up to a stand on which Mr. Abe played the game. It was a wonderful view. In the back is the stand of another player Ms. Hosaka. Large Go stones dot the lawn. On the stand, an actual Go board was set for playing the game.
I don't know how to play Go, but I could feel the heated atmosphere of the site along with the hot and humid weather. Go is supported so many fans all around the world. I will report another Go festival, "The longest Go game" tomorrow.

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