Russia
Alexander Dinershtein
3p

I started to play Go in 1986. I was 6 years old and my father (10 kyu) was my first teacher. For the several years I was playing both chess and go, but from the age of 10 I gave up chess and started to learn Go more actively with a new teacher Valeryi Shikshin, 4 dan and his students. I was very fortunate to be living in Kazan, because it was the capital of Russian Go. There were so many top players around me : Ivan Detkov 6d, Valeryi Solovyev 6d, Ruslan Saifullin 6d, Rustam and Nail Sahabutdinov both 5d, Alexei Vasilev 5d and Roman Gataullin 5d. They kindly gave me Go lessons and I owe them a big debt of gratitude.

In 1996 (I already was a 5-dan) Cheon Pung-cho, 7-dan professional from Korean Baduk Association (KBA) invited Svetlana Shikshina (daughter of my teacher) and me to study Go in Seoul as an insei. First of all I was really surprised at the level of the Korean children. I was living in one of the largest Go Schools, and there was around 20 students who were both stronger and much younger than me.Later I changed clubs several times, but I was never the strongest player in any of them. I studied Go with Pak Yeong-hun, who was already the strongest Korean amateur (I only beat him once, in 1998), Pak Chi-eun 9p, Yi Chae-ung 6p, Yi Ta-hye 3p, Kang Don-yun 9p, Ko Kun-tae 7p and later, from 2001, with Pak Cheong-sang 9p, Chu Hyeon-wook 7p and Pak Chi-hun 3p. By the time you read this article many more of the children who were training alongside me will have become professionals.

I became a professional in 2002, by the special decision of the KBA with the kind support of Cho Nam-ch'eol 9p, an honorary member of the KBA, and my teacher Cheon Pung-cho 7p. I am probably not the weakest professional here, but to be honest, I would say that there is about 1 stone difference between me and the other new professionals in Korea. Nowadays I am still studying hard to make this difference smaller.

Personal website: http://breakfast.go4go.net/

Blog(russian): http://vk.com/go_secrets

Russia
Ilya Shikshin
1p
I started playing go when i was 5 in 1995.
My most notable results:
Seven times champion of Russia in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2014, 2015
Three times champion of Europe in 2007, 2010, 2011
Three times winner of European Team Championship in 2011, 2012, 2014
Three times winner of European PairGo Championship in 2013, 2014, 2015
 
Got EGF 1-dan pro rank in 2015
 
Poland
Mateusz Surma
1p

I was born on 3rd September 1995 in Rydultowy in the region of Silesia in Poland.
I started to play Go when I was six and half. My dad taught me.
In years 2009-2013 I was training Go in South Korea at schools: King’s Baduk Dojang, Yang Jae-Ho Baduk Dojang, Choong-Am Baduk Dojang.
I spent there altogether 2 years and 5 months. In Poland in middle school (Gimnazjum nr 1 w Rydultowach) and high school (Liceum nr 1 w Rydultowach) I had an individual study path. So, I’d been training in Korea for 3 months, then I was going back to Poland and had been studying to school at home. In middle school and high school I had one exam per subject after every term.

In 2014, after I passed “matura” (it’s an after-high-school-exam, kind of SAT, Abitur, etc.) I managed to qualify to study at the Rzeszow University of Technology at the faculty of aeronautics and space technology. I was about to go to pilotage (as the specialisation), but…

Go had hit me again.
16 people among amateurs with highest Go rating in Europe were invited for the PRO qualification tournament to Pisa to Italy in march 2015. I was in these 16, so I went there, managed to win this tournament and I’ve become first Polish player with the PRO title.

I’ve finished first year at the university. Even though, I had one of the highest average grades at the faculty and pretty high chance to get to pilotage, I took one year off, because I was invited to Beijing to Go school – Ge Yuhong Weiqi Academy. I’ve been training there for 3 months so far (September – December 2015).
Probably I won’t come back to my university studies, because I realised that Go – the oldest and most difficult board game of the world – is what I’m going to stay with.

My best achievments are:

1st place in European Youth Championship under 12 (2006, St.-Petersburg, Russia)
6th place in World Youth Championship under 12 (2006, Shenzhen, China)
1st place in European Youth Championship under 16 (2010, Sibiu, Romania)
6th place in World Youth Championship under 16 (2010, Magong, Taiwan)
1st place in European Youth Championship under 16 (2011, Brno, Czech Republic)
5th place in World Youth Championship under 16 (2011, Bucharest, Romania)
3rd place in European Championship (2013, Olsztyn, Poland)
1st place in European Professional Qualifications and obtaining PRO title as the first Polish player in history (2015, Pisa, Italy)
2nd place in 1st European Grand Slam (2015, Berlin, Germany)
2nd place in 2nd Silk Road Tournament (2015, Xi’an, China)

In years 2014, 2015 I managed to win Polish Championship.

Slovakia
Pavol Lisy
1p

5 times Slovak Champion (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
3 times European U20 Champion (2011, 2013, 2015)
Winner of the 1st Qinling Mountains Cup, Xian, 2015

Got EGF 1-dan pro rank in 2014

Plays on KGS as "cheater"

Israel
Ali Jabarin
1p

I'm 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. .

Got EGF 1-dan pro rank in 2014

Ukraine
Artem Kachanovskyi
1p
I was born in 1992 in Russia, Ufa city. I started to play Go when I was 6 or 7, I am not sure. My father taught me and my brother to play. At first I didn't want to play, but my brother was so excited about the game that soon I got involved too. We were studying Go together at first - my father, me and brother. Father helped us to understand complicated books which were mostly in russian language or sometimes just some diagrams without explanations. That period of studying Go together with my brother and father was great. Then I started to read Go books separately too, as father of course was busy with his regular job most of the time, and my interest was growing. By the way, my father is Go teacher now in School of intellectual games in a Rivne city.
At that time economical situation in Ukraine was at least not easy and what most of people were doing can be called surviving. My parents managed to save some money for me and my brother, and we were able to go for tournaments abroad. My first international tournament was in 2000, if I am not wrong, in a Prague - European Youth Go Championship. I was already 6 or 7 kyu at that time and somehow managed to take a 3rd place. Then next year we had one more interesting trip to Cannes, France, again to EYGC. That time I took 2nd place and went to World Youth Go Championship to Shanghai, China, where I somehow managed to take 4th place (luckily again, I cut off and killed a big group of taiwanese 5d).
There were many tournaments. Most notable success in adult category were 2nd place on European Go Congress in Finland, Tampere (2010) and 3rd place in Bordeaux, France (2011). And of course, becoming a 5th European Pro in 2016 in Baden-Baden, Germany.
I work as a programmer but Go is my interest. I play on Tygem on weekends, try to study pro games and solve some problems after I come home from my job.
From professional players I like Kim Jiseok and Shi Yue.