Sunday, January 28, 2007

An interview with Chang Hao, 9-dan, the winner of the Samsung cup

The final match has finished. Chang Hao beat Lee Changho with a 2-0 score.

- Congratulations! What can you tell as about the match?
- It's a very important day in my life. I won the Ing cup recently by beating Choi Chelhan, but winning the match against World Number 1 Lee Changho is special. I am very happy now.
- Which game of the match was harder for you? The first or second one?
- The first game was rather difficult. I made an overplay, and my group found itself in a dangerous situation. In the second game we both made some mistakes, but my position was very thick and it was hard to lose it at the endgame stage.
- What do you think about the recent form of Lee Changho, 9-dan?
- We can say that he is in a slump, but I believe that it will only be a short period in his Go life.
- Can you tell us something about Lee Sedol, 9-dan?
- He is the strongest Korean master after Lee Changho. He is very young, so I think we will often play each other in future.
- Can we say that Lee Changho, 9-dan has changed a lot during the last 10 years?
- He is my friend and I know him very well. He was always stronger than me, and you may know about my bad score against him. I don’t think that his playing style or strength has changed a lot, but nowadays it's harder to achieve good results because there are so many strong young players both in Korea and China. As I remarked before, his recent condition has not been so good, but I think he will be able to break this slump. I would be happy if I get another chance to play with Lee Changho for a big title.
- You won the match against Lee Changho, 9-dan, who is the World Number 1. Could you perhaps claim now that you are stronger than him?
- Of course I cannot. Lee Changho, 9-dan has won so many World Go Championships during the last 15 years. For sure, I will not be able to surpass his outstanding record.
- As a friend of Lee Changho, will you invite him for a party?
- Yes, I will. Not this time, perhaps, but certainly I will find a chance to buy him a beer and have a chat.
- You will play with Gu Li, 9-dan soon in the final match of the Chunlan World Go Championship. It's an all-Chinese final. What are your feelings about it?
- Even though we are both Chinese, for me there's a big difference between first and second places. Gu Li really loves to play with me, but I will try to show him that I am not an easy opponent.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein.

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