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NAGF Exec Dir bullish on North American Go

Chris Garlock | Published on 8/9/2023

This year’s NAGF pro qualification tournament for the first time included players from all three North American countries. “The event has always been open to players from Canada, but it’s been difficult for Mexican players to travel, especially during covid,” NAGF Executive Director Hajin Lee told the EJ. “So we’re especially excited that Emil Garcia and Abraham Florencia – both from Mexico City -- were able to join us this year.” Joel Kenny is from Canada.

The Federation is committed to resuming an annual schedule for the pro qualifications, Lee said. “Last year we had our very first North American Professional Go Championship and the Youth Championship,” Lee added. “Although we won't be able to hold those again this year, but we do hope to continue these regularly, whether it's biannual or perhaps every three years.” With the international professional Go schedule picking up post-covid, Lee says U.S. pros are being invited to join events again. Recently, for example, “Kevin and Alex represented North America at the MLily Cup.”

Asked her assessment of the state of Go in North American currently, Lee said that “I think it's tough because like people don't have much time in general and there are just too many fun things out there that compete for people's time. But I have a belief that Go has really good potential because it's survived thousands of years. So many people love this game; I think we just need to continue what we are doing and don't feel too anxious about not getting bigger in a short time.” 

photo: Hajin Lee observes play at the 2023 NAGF ProQual; photo by Chris Garlock

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