Many of us who already have played, would agree that Go is certainly a game which changes a person’s behavior and his own character through his Go journey. Although the last statement is probably not applicable to everyone, today we have a chance to look at a rather unusual example coming from a prison in China, which is truly unbelievable.
The documentary movie “Go Club in Chinese Prison” has been translated and released 3 days ago by Vladimir Nesterov and Alexander Dinerstein with the voice “Kolobki” on Baduk1 YouTube channel.
The movie is currently translated only in Russian, but hopefully there will be also English translation soon. Nevertheless, I wrote below a small summary of what you can see in the documentary.
The prison of Hulan has over 4,000 prisoners who are distributed over 20 precincts. Prisoners in this prison are those who have been given more than 15 years of life imprisonment or the delayed death penalty. Everyone you can see on the video has been in the prison for at least 10 years.
Wang Suehua is the most educated prisoner and has received a master’s degree in management from Nankai University. He has been given 15 years in prison for fraud. He says that when he first got there, he barely spoke to other prisoners or even to the wardens. He thought there is not much to talk about with other prisoners since he is an educated man and he avoided everyone. However, Wang Suehua learned to play Go from one of the prisoners and he says : “When I first started to play Go, it was very entertaining.”
He also shares, that soon after he started playing, Go improved the way he communicates with others and made him calmer. In the thirteenth precinct where Wang Suehua is located, not many people knew about the game.
That’s why in order to have more partners in the game, he taught people to play Go. At the beginning of 2013 it was suggested to Wang Suehua to set up a Go-Club inside the prison and call it “Fire Phoenix” in order to spread Go among the prisoners. They are having more than 40 sets of Go at the moment (boards and stones) and over 200 books. The cultural level of prisoners in Hulan’s prison is generally low as they say, and those who like Go are very few, but still 40 sets are not enough and the result with spreading Go that they are having is simply amazing.
To a question “What’s important in Go?” the prisoners are answering “Making friends through Go, studying, playing in tournaments, you can
make a lot of friends.” They are also having a teacher who comes every weekend and plays half a day with the players. This way they feel they haven’t been abandoned and additionally it also helps them raise their level in Go. You can see from their eyes that they really want to talk to a teacher and discuss situations. When they are having a connection with outside teacher, they are learning how the society is changing and how Go is developing.
They also got honored to have simultaneous games with one of the most respected Go players nowadays – Nie Weiping 9-dan professional.
The Russian translation is provided thanks to donations from Go connoisseurs : Pavel Avraamov, Andrei F, Rostislav Zalevsky, Mikhail Ivanov, Georgy Mikadze, Pavel N., A. Dinerstein + there were two anonymous donations.
Below you could see the original Chinese video. Thanks to everyone for the time spend on reading the article, hopefully there will be English translation available soon.Follow me in social media: