News from the American Go Association

June 12, 2006 Volume 7, #49

EUROPEAN PROFILE: Thomas Debarre By Guo Juan 5P

      I first met young Thomas Debarre in 2004 at the French summer
camp. Fred Donzet 6d said "You must play a game with that little boy,"
so we played and sure enough, I was quite impressed by the way the
11-year-old put himself into the game. It was obvious that he really
loved go and had talent. Thomas is from Strasbourg and studies with
Antoine Fenech and Fred Donzet. Although Thomas was at Go Camp for just a
week, he never missed a lesson. He was very small and the table seemed
too high for him: he never sat down, always standing right next to the
table so that he could reach the board when he wanted to place a stone.
He was very quiet and had incredible concentration, able to instantly
memorize the josekis and fusekis I was teaching. When he replayed
josekis he went so fast that sometimes even I had to slow him down so
that I could follow the moves.
      Thomas was my partner in the camp Pair Go Tournament and I had
great fun with him. We had very good game against tough opponents but we
lost in the end. It was my fault and Thomas was so sad that it really
broke my heart. After that I played more seriously and did my best to
win the other Pair Go games with him. One night Olivier told me Thomas
was crying because his week of Go Camp was over and he really wanted to
stay. From that moment on, I knew this little boy would become strong
one day. A month later I met him in Vancouver when Thomas played in the
Ings' Goe Youth World Championship. My pro friend Mrs Hua XueMing 7P
told me "Pay attention to this kid; this little boy plays like a
beginner, but he will be good: he has no fear." But it was only when
Thomas became one of my students that I really got to know him. We study
together and have fun talking about pro games and the mistakes we made
in the many games we play together. Thomas is a very gentle, open-minded
boy, but on the go board, he is a little killer. I am very proud of him,
and glad I have had the chance to work with him.
      Because he had just gotten into the higher under-18 group with
many 3-dans, 4-dans and even a young 6-dan, I did not have high
expectations of Thomas - now 13 and a 1-dan -- at this year's European
Youth Championship,. But Thomas surprised us all by defeating two 4-dans
and winning 3rd place. Like many young French go players, Thomas is
doing very well indeed, and I hope he continues study hard and reach
higher and higher levels in understanding the game of go.