European Pros

In 2014 the European Go Federation launched a new Pro Qualification Tournament. Held in May and June, 16 players took part in a six-round tournament that spanned three legs, in Strasbourg, Amsterdam and Vienna. The first player with four wins would be the first European professional, the remaining players continuing to find the second professional.

Pavol Lisy won his first four games to become the first pro and Ali Jabarin ended on five out of six to be the second.

Pavol Lisy Pavol Lisy wrote: Hello, my name is Pavol Lisy. I was born in Slovakia, but my first language I learnt was Hungarian. My mother was Hungarian, my father comes from Slovakia. Recently I speak 3 languages: Slovak, Hungarian and English. When I was 4 years old I started to collect lids from beers. When I was 5 years old, I had already thousands of them. The most were white and brown. One day I was playing with them, and my father saw me. He remembered one game, which he was taught at the University. We made a board from paper and started to put lids on it. That's how I learnt to play Go. It is already 13 years. Except Go, I study on a high school in a math class. I will probably finish the school next year. I also do sports, such as basketball or football. But the best game I ever played is Go. Go is my life.
Ali Jabarin Ali Jabarin wrote: I am a 20 year old engineering student from Tel-Aviv, I started playing go 8 years ago when a friend told me about the game, after playing online for a while I started going to tournaments, my most notable achievements were winning the European youth(U18) championship and placing top 10 in the EGC a couple times. Other than go my hobbies have been playing the guitar(badly), reading (I work on and off in a bookstore) and playing other games like poker. I hope that 50 years from now I will still be playing this game.

In 2015 the European Go Federation ran the second Pro Qualification Tournament. Held from 6 to 8 March in Pisa, 16 players took part in a six-round double-elimination tournament. The first player with four wins would be the third European professional, the remaining players continuing to find the fourth professional.

Mateuz Surma won his first four games to become the third pro and Ilya Shikshin ended on five out of six to be the second.

Mateusz Surma Mateusz Surma wrote in 2014: My name is Mateusz Surma. I am 18 years old high-school student, currently living in a small Polish village - Dzimierz. I started to play go, when I was 6 and half (my dad taught me). At the age of nearly 14 I came first time to baduk school to Korea, I was going there a few times for about 3 months each, totally I was in Korea 2 years and 5 months (studying in King's Baduk Dojang, Yang-Jae Ho Dojang and Choong-Am Dojang). I managed to win European Youth Championships 3 times (in 2006 u12, in 2010 and 2011 u16). Last year I was 3rd in European Championships. After high-school I would like to go to university to the faculty of aviation and cosmonautics and become a pilot (and of course Go pro).
Ilya Shikshin Ilya Shikshin wrote in 2014: I am 23. I am a student. I started playing go when I was 5 in 1995. My most notable results: Five times champion of Russia in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012; Three times champion of Europe in 2007, 2010, 2011; Two times winner of European Team Championship in 2011, 2012; Winner of European Pair Go Championship in 2013.

In 2016 the European Go Federation ran the third Pro Qualification Tournament. Held from 4 to 6 March in Baden-Baden, 16 players took part in a six-round double-elimination/knockout tournament. The winner would be the fufth European professional.

Artem Kachanovskyi won all his games to become the fifth pro.

Artem Kachanovskyi Artem Kachanovskyi wrote in 2016: My name is Artem Kachanovskyi, I live in Kyiv, Ukraine. In February 2015 I finished my studying in university, so now I am finally free. I started to play Go when I was 6 or 7, I think. I studied Go mostly by myself. Until I was 17, I think, I was dreaming to become pro. I read many books that were describing not only the games, but how professionals think and some details of their living. That was inspiring. From some moment I stopped feeling like it's necessary to become pro. I just play Go. As the university is behind now, I'll have more free time. I work as a programmer, so it's not so easy to play online each day, after staring almost all the day into a monitor. I think I'll pay more attention to reviewing pro games on a board, maybe playing online on weekends

European Pros in Far East

In autumn 2014 the first two pros were invited to a pro tournament at the Kansai Ki-in in Japan. Their results are as follows:

  • 11th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Pavol Lisy 1p (B) vs. Yuki Satoshi 9p (W) W+8.5
  • 11th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Ali Jabarin 1p (B) vs. Saito Tadashi 8p (W) B+8.5
  • 11th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 2nd round: Ali Jabarin 1p (B) vs. Nakano Yasuhiro 9p (W) W+3.5
  • Exchange Match Japan vs. Europe: Pavol Lisy 1p (W) vs. Hashimoto Kan 1p (B) W+Res
  • Exchange Match Japan vs. Europe: Ali Jabarin 1p (W) vs. Takashima Yugo 1p (B) B+5.5

In autumn 2015, Ali and Mateusz were invited to the 2015 edition. Their results are as follows:

  • 12th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Mateusz Surma 1p lost to Kurahashi Masayuki 9p by 5.5
  • 12th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Ali Jabarin 1p lost to Yo Seiki 7p by Res
  • Exchange Match Japan vs. Europe: Mateusz Surma 1p lost to Nishiyama Shizuka 1p by Res
  • Exchange Match Japan vs. Europe: Ali Jabarin 1p lost to Hon Akiyoshi (Hong Seok-Ui) 1p by Res

In autumn 2016, Artem and Mateusz were invited to the 2016 edition. Their results are as follows:

  • 13th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Mateusz Surma 1p beat Sato Yuta 1p by res
  • 13th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 1st round: Artem Kachanovskiy 1p beat Hashiyama Shozo 7p by 26.5
  • 13th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 2nd round: Mateusz Surma 1p lost to Moriyama Naoki 9p by res
  • 13th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 2nd round: Artem Kachanovskiy 1p beat Inoue Naoki 3p by res
  • 13th Sankei Tournament Pro preliminaries 3rd round: Artem Kachanovskiy 1p beat Sonoda Yuichi 9p by 0.5

Other Europeans with Pro Accreditation

Several times in the past strong European players have been able to live in the Orient and qualify as professionals under the system in one of the oriental countries. Other players have moved from the Orient to Europe after gaining professional status.

Current Europeans with Pro Status

  • Catalin Taranu (RO, 5p Japan)
  • Alexandr Dinerchtein (RU, 3p Korea)
  • Svetlana Shikshina (RU, 3p Korea)
  • Diana Koszegi (HU, 1p Korea)
  • Mariya Zakharchenko (UA, 1p Korea)
  • Antti Törmänen (FI, 1p Japan)

Pro Status Players now European

  • Guo Juan (NL, 5p China)
  • Fan Hui (FR, 2p China)

Other Pros living in Europe

  • Yoon Young-Sun (5p Korea)
  • Lee Ha-Jin (3p Korea) - now known as Haylee Maas in Switzerland
  • Li Ting (1p Japan Kansai, but applying for AT nationality)

Deceased Europeans with Pro Status