Monday, December 8, 2008

An interview with Kang Changbea, new Korean professional

Kang Changbea, 7-dan (22 years old)(rights on photo), who won the Korean Prime Minister Cup in 2007, finally became a professional!

He won the Qualification tournament, open for both inseis and amateurs. The second winner of the qualification is Park Siyoul (19), who is also the former insei of the Korean Baduk Assosiation.

You may heared about Kang before. He became famous in Korea after winning the KPMC-2007 with the perfect 8-0 score. Former WAGC winner Hu Yuqing from China was second (most people think that Hu is the strongest amateur in the world). Here is the KPMC tournament table:

Since 2006 Kang won five other important amateur tournaments and several times he successfully played in qualification stages of Profesional World Championships. He crushed such a strong opponents as Ko Guntae, 6-dan pro and O Chusong, 2-dan pro in Samsung cup qualification.

Some other info: Kang is a student of Chang Suyong, 9-dan and he is the 4th professional, produced by Chang's Go school. First 3 are almost unknown. Kang became amateur in 2005 — he was not able to stay in insei league anymore, because of his age. Kang started to play Go at the age of 7. His favorite professional is Lee Changho, 9-dan

Here you can read some interview questions, from the official KBA website.

Congratulations! Was it hard to win the qualification?
Yes, I met lot of inseis and it's much harder to beat them than regular amateurs. It's a pity that I cannot play in amateur tournaments anymore — I enjoyed them so much! I even took part in the Amateur Taewang tournament in Taegu city few days before the 1-dan qualification tournament. (A.D. Kang won it by beating Park Seunggyun, 7-dan in the final)

How do you think, can you show a good score on professional arena?
I know, that it will be very hard. Top 10 professionals are much stronger than me, but others are about the same level with top amateurs. Any way, I have a big dream — I want to win a World Professional Championship one day.

How did you study Go since 2005 the year you became an amateur?
I played in amateur tournaments it was very useful. Also, I still learned a lot from my teacher Chang and other students and teachers of his Go school. I studied even more seriosely than I was an insei!

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein

Monday, December 1, 2008

An interview with Takao Sinji, 9-dan (Japan)

Takao, 9-dan stopped the outstanding winning streak, showed by Kang Donyun, 8-dan (Korea) in Nongshim cup.

Congratulations! What do you think about your game with Kang? Most people said that he had no chances in this game.
Yes, I never was behind. Both fuseki and middlegame were good for me. Later it was a bit difficult for me to estimate the balance, because of byoyomi, so I was not sure, that I am still winning.

You are the last member of the Japanese team, but your team still has chances of winning the cup, if you win 5 games straight. What do you think about your chances?
I was afraid that Japanese team will not win any games at all. There are 4 players, who are still alive — Lee Changho, Lee Sedol, Gu Li and Chang Hao. All 4 are very good players and I cannot even think about winning 5 games straight. It will be very difficult for me to win a single game in the next stage.

Nongshim cup is a very popular tournament in Korea and China. Why is it almost unknown in Japan?
Maybe because of our bad results. I cannot see any other reasons.

According to the Nongshim cup rules only native-born players can take part in the competition. So, we cannot see Cho U and Cho Chikun in Japanese team. What do you think about this rule?
Yes, it's a pity that they cannot play. We cannot change the rules, so the only way for us is to improve the level of other candidates.

Translated from korean by Alexander Dinerchtein