Thursday, August 30, 2007

An interview with Kang Dongyun, 7-dan, the winner of the Korean King of Kings tournament

Kang, 7-dan was my former classmate. We studied Go together with Park Yeonghun, 9-dan, Park Shiun, 8-dan, Ko Keuntae, 6-dan, Hong Minpyo, 5-dan and others in Yangchun Baduk Academy from 1997 to 1998. That time most of us were amateurs. Together with Kang Dongyun we stayed in the second group of our school league and played lot of games with each other. I think that my score was slightly better. I won 60% of my games against Kang or so. That time I was already a strong 6-dan player (around 2600 EGF) and he was … just an 8-years old child. He was one of the youngest and one of the most talented kids in our school. I remember his playing style well. His Go was always thick and solid. Other kids in our club (Ko Keuntae or Lee Tahye for example) were fighting a lot, while Kang Dongyun always played close games, deciding them in endgame. Other kids were so nervous and aggressive. They were laughing loudly, fighting with each other, discussing computer games while playing. Kang Dongyun was the only one who was 100% concentrated on his games. He was always serious and silent.

His Go style did not change much since that time. He is still playing Go slowly and solidly.

Recently he won his first big title by beating Lee Changho, 9-dan in the final match of the 4th Korean King of Kings tournament ( list games ) Kang’s recent score is very nice. He played 59 games and won 44 of them. Today you can read a short interview with him.

Congratulations! What can you tell us about the final match with Lee Changho, 9-dan?

I was lucky. The last game was hopeless and I was already thinking about resigning

Was you far behind?

Yes, I was. It was necessary to think more in the beginning of the game, but I played it too fast and got a bad position early. Later I destroyed his big territory, but only because of his mistake.

Can we say that Yun Chunsang, 6-dan is your main competitor on professional ring?

I don't think so. I prefer to say that they are Hong Seongji and Lee Youngkyu

You got the title at the age of 18. It very early, right?

Yes, it's early, but I don't think that I played well in my match against Lee Changho. I won it only because of luck. I am not sure that I am strong enough for keeping the title

Do you have any future plans? Would you like to win some international tournaments?

I don't feel a big difference. The main problem that only top players of Korean rating allowed to take part in such events. So, first of all I will try to improve my local ranking.

What do you think about the recent shape of Lee Changho, 9-dan?

It seems that his form is far from ideal. We can find some mistakes almost in every game he plays, which was impossible in the past.

What can you tell us about your strong points?

I think that I am good at winning unfavorable positions

We have a standard question for you. If you play against God, how many handicap stones will you need for winning?

I am not the right person for asking such a difficult question. You will better ask the World Champion or someone stronger than me.

Alexander Dinerchtein

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