Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An interview with Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan

An interview with Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan, from "Chungang Ilbo", one of the largest Korean newspapers.

We heard that you suggested a new system for Korean professional tournaments. Can you please describe it?
Yes, I think, that it’s necessary to change the current situation. There are lots of young players in Korea, who are not able to become professionals, because there are only few vacant places yearly. I think, it’s possible to allow them to take part in pro tournaments together with foreigners. They can make our tournaments much more interesting.

Currently there are 230 professionals in Korea. All of them are getting money from tournament sponsors, even if they lose in the first round. If you increase the number of players, the tournament income of each player will become smaller. Am I right?
Yes, of course. I suggest to give prizes only if you enter 1/64 stage. Most of professionals are getting money from teaching Go, so this decision will not be so painful for them. Older players will lose only $300-800 monthly, comparing to the current situation. I think, it's better to give more money to young players, so they can work harder and harder and compete well with Chinese players.

Will the Korean Baduk Association accept your idea?
It’s hard to say. I know that old players and even some younger players are against of it. I feel, that we cannot change the current situation without accepting this rule. It’s a pity that we are losing so many young and talented players, just become they cannot become professionals.

What can you tell us about your Go school?
Everything is fine. We are teaching kids together with Choi Kyubyeong, 9-dan and Kim Yeonghwan, 8-dan. I think, that I am getting stronger, because I play lot of games with strong students :)

We heard that some young Korean professionals are also studying in your school. Is it true?
Yes. Lee Youngkyu and Choi Wongyong are visiting our school daily. Park Yeunghun, 9-dan is also an often guest.

I have the last question, which is different. You lost your wife 3 years ago ( A.D: She died, because of her health becomes weaker after she gave birth to last child). Will you marry another woman?
(Yoo's faces is getting red) I don’t want to discuss this subject. I have two kids, 4 and 6 years old. They love me a lot.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An interview with Kang Changbe, the winner of the Korean Prime Minister cup

You played 8 games with foreigners. What do you think about their strength?
They surprised me a lot. I thought, that they are much weaker.

Did you make any friends?
I cannot speak English, so it was hard for me to communicate with them.

If we exclude your games with China and Japan, what was the most difficult one?
My last game with Frank Janssen, 6-dan (The Netherlands). I was behind in the opening.

According to the rules of the Korean Baduk Association, they give pro 1-dan grade to the winner of the World Go Championship, if he is Korean. Prime Minister cup has very similar members. What do you think about the idea of making the winner professional?
There are only few strong players here: China, Japan and Taiwan. Others are much weaker, so it’s much harder to win the Korean Pro Exam tournament. I will be glad to see the special decision of the Korean Baduk Association, but I think, that they will not accept it.

Can we say that the Korean Qualification tournament for the Prime Minister cup was harder than the main tournament?
Yes, I think so.

How will you spend the prize money? (A.D: $3000)
I will bring them to my parents

The tournament table
Commented games from the tournament will be available :

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An interview with Wang Xi, 9-dan

Wang Xi, 9-dan, the member of the Chinese team won two games straight during the recent Nongshim Cup

What do you think about your games?
Both games with Hong Minpyo, 6-dan (Korea) and Kono Rin, 9-dan (Japan) were easy for me. I got a big lead in the beginning twice. The last game with Kono Rin, 9-dan was even easier. I was able to keep some time till the end of the game, so I counted the balance accurately and was sure, that I am winning.

What do you think about your chances in the next game?
I will meet someone from the Korean team. All members are very strong. I will try to win at least one game more.

We heard that Lee Changho, 9-dan will appear earlier and he will not stay as the last member as usual. You will probably meet him in your next game.
Yes, I heard about it too.

So, if he really will be the next one, what will you say us about your chances?
I will make my best. I know that my chances are smaller, but I am not afraid of him.

Will you prepare for this game?
I know his Go very well, so it's not even necessary to prepare. I played him 3 times and my score is 1-2.

The next game of the Nongshim cup will be played in Pusan (Korea) on November, 26.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

4 interviews with Samsung cup semifinalists

Gu Li, 9-dan, His last game in Samsung cup

What do you think about your game with Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan?
The opening was comfortable for me, but later I spoiled the position and it was unclear, until Yoo, 9-dan made a big mistake. I was lucky!

You will play a best-of-three match against Park Yeonghun, 9-dan in November. What do you think about your chances?
It will be an interesting match. Park, 9-dan has a very solid playing style and he is always a difficult opponent. I will try to make my best!

Park Yeonghun, 9-dan, His last game in Samsung cup

I feel that you won your game against Han Sanghun, 1-dan easily. Is it true?
Actually, it was very complicated. I decided to kill his big group and it was an overplay. I killed it finally, but it was possible to lose this game even after killing it

Your next opponent will be Gu Li, 9-dan. Your current score is 0-1 against him. Can you take revenge this time?
He is a very difficult opponent and the match will be hard for me. I have some time till the semifinals and I will seriously study his games.

If you reach the final, which player would you like to meet?
I did not think about it yet

Lee Sedol, 9-dan, His last game in Samsung cup

You got a huge corner at the ko fight in the beginning. Was the game already over after the opening stage?
The corner was huge, but I was not happy with that result, because of bad adji. I won the game much later, because of good endgame. We can say that it was a very complicated game.

You played 15 games with Chang Hao since 1997, and even few years ago your score was not good. Did you become stronger or find a special key?
That time I was much weaker. I beat him in the final match of the Toyota-Denso cup in 2005 and got the feeling, but he is not stronger than me. Now my score is 10-5 and I feel that the situation changed a lot.

Your next opponent is Huang Yizhong, 6-dan. You never met him before. What do you think about him?
Yes, I never played him before, but I saw his games and know that his Go style is very thick and solid. I must be careful in the opening and will try to prepare for our match.

You played a lot of games in 2007 and your winning percentage is really high (80%). Maybe you know some magic methods?
I was just lucky. I won lot of bad games. If I see them now, I cannot even understand how it was possible to win such positions. There is no magic, just luck.

Your fans think that you become the strongest master in the world. Do you agree with them?
No, not yet. I will win Samsung and LG cup and think about this subject once again :)

Huang Yizhong, 6-dan, His last game in Samsung cup

You surprised us by beating Hu Yaoyu, 8-dan. What can you tell us about this game?
I was behind, but won it luckily, because of his endgame mistake.

You reached the semifinals of the Samsung cup. What are your feelings?
It was hard to imagine such result. I am happy!

Your next opponent is Lee Sedol, 9-dan. What do you think about your future match?
I believe that Lee Sedol, 9-dan is the strongest player in the world and I am happy that I will get a chance to learn something from him.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Thursday, October 4, 2007

An interview with Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan

Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan, who is 41 years old, is currently keeping 7 games straight winning record

He beat lot of good players, including: Heo Yongho(twice), Kim Jiseok, Cho Hunhyun, Kong Jie, Park Yeonghun and Kim Kiyoung.

We decided to meet him and ask some questions:

What can you tell us about your current life?
I have a Go school and spend all my free time by teaching students. Also, sometimes I work for Baduk TV and take part in Go tournaments

Congratulations on your results in Samsung cup! What can you tell us about this tournament?
I don't have chances to play in World Go Championships often, because of my low positions in Korean Rating, so I have to make my best in every international tournament I play. I won such championships 6 times and I feel that I am still able to do it again.

What do you think about your next opponent – Gu Li, 9-dan?
I won some games against Gu Li in the past, but they have no meaning. Now he is one of the top masters in the world and everyone think that his chances must be higher. Any way, I am not afraid of him and will try to make my best.

1.5 years ago you set the record of 1000 wins in professional tournaments. Were you happy?
I was not counted my wins and it was a big surprise for me. It takes me 20 years to reach it. As well as I know, there are only 4 players in Korea, who won more than 1000 games.

Your Go school was opened 3 years ago, but still you were not able to produce any professionals. What is the reason?
I try to work with beginners, who has talent and it seems that we will need few years more. It's possible to accept already strong students, who learned Go in other schools, but I don't like this idea. Also I always ask the permission of their former school directors before accepting such students. I feel, that some students I have, are already on pro level, but recently it's not enough. They must be able to show good result on pro arena.

What can you tell us about your family?
I don't want to answer this question now. ( A.D.: Few years ago Yoo Changhyuk, 9-dan lost his wife, who was ill after giving birth to his child )

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Monday, October 1, 2007

An interview with Kang Dongyun, 7-dan

An interview with Kang Dongyun, 7-dan, the winner of the Korean Osram cup (New stars tournament)

What can you tell us about your last game with Paek Hongseok, 5-dan?
It was a close game. He made some aggressive moves and lost it at the end, probably because he thought, the he is behind. Actually it was still close

You won King of Kings tournament with short thinking time control (10 min) and Osram cup, which is blitz tournament too (5 min per player with byoyomi). Can we say, that you are good at speed Go?
I don't think so. There are lots of mistakes from each side, if we play blitz. This time my opponents made more mistakes then me, so we can say that I was just lucky.

We heard that you play Go by internet a lot. Does it help you in blitz tournaments and can we say that your achievements in tournaments with long-thinking control are not as good, because of it?
Internet Go is very useful, I think. It helps to improve your reading and it's good for studying new patterns. I try to play Go as much as I can with other professionals offline, but I also want to play Go in late hours, so I try to find my opponents on Tygem or Cyberoro.

So, what is the reason of your unsuccessful results in other tournaments, except blitz?
There is only one reason – I am not strong enough for beating good opponents. Also, it's hard for me to keep myself concentrated during several hours. Usually I get good openings, but lose my advantage later.

What are your future goals?
I will try to play my games even more seriously than now and ,as any other professionals, I will try to show good results in international tournaments

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein