Western Star Players
Hans Pietsch, a German national, was one of the few European (and the first and,so far, only German) Go professionals at the Nihon Ki-in. Born Germany in 1968, he became interested in the game of Go at age ten, but only started to develop his talent after finishing school, when he was discovered at an international tournament by the Japanese 5-dan professional Kobayashi Chizu and her brother, the 9-dan professional Kobayashi Satoru, who took him on as a student and sponsored his becoming an Insei.
After six hard years of study as an Insei in Japan, not even speaking a word of Japanese at first, he succeeded in passing the pro-exam in 1997. In the same year, he defeated Meijin title holder Yoda Norimoto in the 2nd LG Cup. Rising through the ranks quickly, he reached 4-dan in 2000.
During a go-promotion tour of Cuba and Central America together with 6-dan Nagahara Yoshiaki, Pietsch was robbed and murdered in Guatemala on January 16, 2003, while sightseeing with Nagahara and two guides.