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

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