Tuesday, December 25, 2007

An interview with Park Yeonghun, 9-dan, the winner of the Korean GS Galtex cup

An interview with Park Yeonghun, 9-dan, the winner of the Korean GS Galtex cup.

Congratulations! You surprised us a lot by winning the title after losing first 2 games!
Yes, I think, that it was over too. I thought that I already lost the match, so it was easier to play the 3rd game.

What can you tell us about the last game?
Lee Sedol, 9-dan made a big mistake in the opening and I thought, that I can finish the game easily. Later the position suddenly became close.

You will play him again in the final match of the Samsung World Go championship. What do you think about your chances?
In my previous interview I said, that he is the most difficult opponent in the world. I still think so, even after winning the GS Galtex cup.

You beat Gu Li, 9-dan in the semifinal of the Samsung cup. What can you say about that match?
I was behind in the deciding game and thought that my chances are close to zero. Later he was too passive in the endgame and gave me the chance.

Can we say that Gu Li's style and Lee Sedol’s style are similar?
I don't think so. It's possible to imagine the next move, which will be played by Gu Li, but Lee Sedol , 9-dan plays so many unexpected moves!

As a GS Galtex titleholder, which master you would you like to meet in the title match next year?
I know that the challenger will be strong, but if possible, I want to avoid another match with Lee Sedol, 9-dan.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

An interview with Lee Sedol, 9-dan

Lee Sedol, 9-dan won the Korean Kuksu titlematch by beating Yun Junsang, 6-dan with the 3-0 score. It's a great achievement! We remember that Yun Junsang, 6-dan got this title by winning Lee Changho, 9-dan last year with an outstanding 3-1 score! Both Lee Sedol and Yun Junsang are fighters, so Yun was probably an easy opponent for Lee.

Congratulations! What do you feel after winning the match?
I am happy. Kuksu is the oldest Korean tournament and it was my dream to win it.

Why is it so important for you?
Because I can add "Kuksu" word to my family name. There are only few people in Korea who can do it: Yun-kuksu, Kim –kuksu, Cho-kuksu, Lee-kuksu and only few others.

What can you tell us about the last game of the match?
Both made a lot of mistakes. Finally I was 1.5 or 2.5 points behind, but Yun, 6-dan made a big mistake at the end. It was a hard game for me from the early opening.

Is it hard to play so many tournament games?
Yes, I am getting tired, if I play a lot of games with 2-3 hours thinking time straight. Blitz games are much easier for me. I don't care much if I lose them, but if I lose serious games – they can make me sad and disappointed.

What do you like more? Attack your opponent or take territory and defend your weak groups?
Of course, I like to defend more. It's much easier. If you are behind on territory, it's usually necessary to kill groups – this task is too hard on pro level.

In your previous interview you said that you are weak at fuseki. How do you study it?
I don't know how to make this stage stronger. Usually I win my games in middlegame.

Chinese players said that "Lee Sedol's era is starting in Korea". Can we say so?
Not yet! I will play both Samsung and LG final matches, but even if I get the both titles, it's still early to say so.

Who can take away your lead?
Let me take it first :) There are lots of unknown young players in Korea, Hang Sanghun, 1-dan for example. I must be afraid of them!

Currently you keep 7 titles. What is the most important one for you?
All professional players like the tournaments with bigger prizes more!

You can see the games from the Kuksu tournament here:

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Sunday, December 2, 2007

An interview with Han Sanghoon, 1-dan

An interview with Han Sanghoon, 1-dan, the first 1-dan in Go history, who entered the final match of the World Go Championship (LG cup).

Congratulations! What was the most difficult game in this tournament?
The last one with On Sojin, 4-dan. It was really close finally and I think, that I was slightly behind until the endgame stage.

You became a professional about 1 year ago. Did you think that you can reach the final match of the World Go Championship so quickly?
I remember that it was very hard to become a professional. I was almost 18 and it was my last chance to win the qualification among inseis. Of course, I did not think, that I can show good results quickly. I was surprised, that professional tournaments are not much harder than the insei league :)

What are your weakest and strongest parts in Go?
I am weak at the opening, but I feel myself confident in middlegame fights. Usually I try to defend my groups solidly, before fighting.

Who is the hardest opponent for you?
Yun Junsang, 6-dan. I lost him twice and feel that he is much stronger than me. Also his Go style is very impressive.

What do you think about your final match with Lee Sedol, 9-dan. How big are your chances?
I never played him before, but I saw lot of his game records and I know that Lee Sedol, 9-dan is much stronger than me. Any way, I will try to win the match! Usually I am not afraid of the star opponents at all!

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein