Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Breakfast's Insei League!

A few weeks ago Alexander Dinerschtien announced the opening of the "KGS Insei League"

It is basicly an online league/tournament/study group that imitates the style of the Korean younguseng (insei) leagues held by the Hanguk Kiwon (Korean Go Association)

Participants of the league will be broken up into several groups where they play games against themselves and the teachers.

This league starts in the New Year. It will cost $95 USD to participate each month.

There will be prizes as well, to give aditional incentive for the players.

A group: 1-place: 200$, 2-place: 100$, 3-place: 50$

B, C, D groups: 1-place: 100$, 2-place: 50$

Currently there are 40 people registered.

At the end of the year the person with the best record gets $1000 grant money to study in Korea.

Full information is here


Honestly, I really recommend this league for anyone who wants to get better at go quickly, its not by any means a shortcut, as far as I know there are none, but its a the best way to improve that i know of. If you couple it with daily life and death of course.

Though its fun, this will be a time consuming league, prepare to devote a lot of your time to this if you seriously want to get the most benefit from it. It costs close to a hundred bucks but its a great deal. You will be getting your games reviewed by a Professional player/Go instructor as well as light commentary on your league games, teaching games, and audio lectures.

This is how we studied when i was in Korea, this is how the younguseng study. Pro's are a little different, but what they play can be called a whole other game...

Please go check it out, email backpast@gmail.com for more details

Friday, November 13, 2009

Go kills babies!

Well. Whoever said you need to be smart to play go never met this doctor.
I won't trash this man too much, I mean go is a good a reason as any to forget about your responsibilities...

Taken from http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,26344685-23109,00.html

"A FIVE-month-old baby boy suffering from an eye infection died in hospital in eastern China as the attending doctor was playing a game online, state media has reported, citing health officials.
The ophthalmologist has been stripped of his licence and fired from his post at Nanjing Children's Hospital following the baby's death on Wednesday, the China Daily reported today.

The hospital initially said the doctor, Mao Xiaojun, was working on his thesis when the baby's condition worsened and he subsequently died, but an internal investigation revealed he was in fact playing an online game of Go.

"Mao lied to us a few days ago,'' Li Shandong, director of health care reform in the Jiangsu provincial health department, told the newspaper.

"He admitted to playing the game of Go online after our computer experts checked out evidence on his computer.''

Eleven other hospital employees, including the facility's president and party chief, will be punished over the incident, Xinhua news agency reported, citing investigators, without specifying what the punishment would entail.
More than 10,000 lawsuits relating to medical disputes have been filed in Chinese courts every year since 2002, Xinhua reported."

There it is. Go is great and all but lets not forget about our lives.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Mets <3 Yankees

Just a cute old Asian couple I saw on the train today

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Go Students

The New York Go Center has undergone many changes recently. Primarily Vincent Liu has become the full time host. I am not sure if this is the main reason, but many more people have started to show up. I came to the center today and about 10 people came to play and study go. It is quite nice to have some really young kids playing at the center. There is one 5 year old Japanese boy who aspires to be a professional. His name is Ken-chan, perhaps he will be pro one day, but for now he has to learn to sit through a 45 minute lesson on life and death ^^.

Vincent (Yong Xin) Liu 6d

There are also two young kids who have been under Vincent's tutelage since this March, have been getting quite good. Well at least at life and death. They are able to solve some of the more difficult problems already. The two brothers are 4, and 8 years old.

Also, the main reason for this post, I am taking a photography class and wanted to share my first printed photograph. It is of the two brothers.

Camera: Nikon SLR; Film Tri-X kodak 400 iso.

Exposure 30@1.8 printed on fiber paper. Click on image to view full size

Andy Liu 9D vs Kim Seungjun 9P

This is the game that Andy played against Kim Seungjun when we had the workshop in New York 3 weeks ago.

As I mentioned earlier Andy lost this game. The two played a blitz game with a clock, and apparently Andy felt the time pressure a lot more than did Kim Seungjun. This is an incomplete record, but it stops right after Andy feel he made the game losing move.

Kim Seungjun kept a very calm face throughout this game, while Andy looked nervous and uncomfortable.

Also please disregard the last two move ^^

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Diana and Kim Seungjun workshop report.

Hi All, I have not been writing for a while, and after considerable procrastination, I have finally decided to sit down and write a post about the great workshop that we had in New York about 3 weeks ago.

Well, Kim Seungjun and Diana arrived in New York late Thursday night, and arrived at my house by 2am. After some catching up and a few cups of tea, we all went to bed. Friday was spent sleeping/in Times Square. But you guys don't care about that stuff do you?

There we are, Saturday, the workshop. Arriving almost late, we quickly proceeded to collect registration fees and hand out life and death problems. The two pros decided to use problems from the "Speed Baduk" series. It was rather amusing/disappointing to see all of us struggling with a set of problems, that was meant to be solved withing 5 minutes, for about 40 minutes.

Afterwards, we were broken up into groups and instructed to play games while the pros went over the problems. I stepped out after the game, so i missed the rest of saturday, however, I know that the Dia, and Kim went over some basic Joseki that they saw people have trouble with, reviewed the games that we played, and played simultaneous games.

Another little event happened post workshop, Andy Liu, our local champion, had a game with Kim Seungjun. It ended rather quickly, as Andy was apparently nervous and played to quickly, unfortunately I don't have the game record to show.

Sunday was rather similar to Saturday as far as the program goes. We solved life and death, played our group games, reviewed, studied some joseki, and played simultaneous games with the pros. Overall everybody seemed to really enjoy the workshops. We had a total of 16 different people with, 11 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Overall I think that the workshop was a success, however, next time I will try to make it more organized with better food for lunch, and perhaps some celebrating after it is done. Thanks to everyone who came and participated, and thanks to the Pros for coming halfway around the world to teach us. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Pro Workshop Update and Schedule

The pro workshop that will be held at the New York Go Center is being rescheduled to October 17th, and 18th.

Details and Schedule are as follows.

Who: Diana Koszegi 1P and Kim Seungjun 9P New York Workshop 2009
When: October 17th and 18th @ 10 am (time subject to change)
Where: New York Go Center
How Much:
Preregistered price: Weekend/100 1-day/60
Regular Price: Weekend/120 1-day/70
Preregistration ends September 29th.
-To preregister send an e-mail with your name and go level to badukboris@gmail.com

-If there are not at least 6 people registered, the workshop will likely be canceled.

10am-12am :Opening theory

12pm -1:30 pm lunch break

1:30-3 pm Life and Death Practice

3 pm -5 pm Simultaneous games, and review.

This schedule is tentative, and might change by the choice of attendees, or instructors.

Hope to see you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diana Koszegi, Kim Seungjun Workshop

Who: Diana Koszegi 1P and Kim Seungjun 9P New York Workshop 2009

When: October 3rd and 4th @ 10 am (time subject to change)

How Much:
  • Pregistered price: Weekend/100 1-day/60
  • Regular Price: Weekend/120 1-day/70
Pregistration ends September 29th.
-To preregister send an e-mail with your name and go level to badukboris@gmail.com

What: A Go workshop. Two proffesionals from Korea will spend two days in New York trying there best to raise the level of our go. Their attempts (hopefully succesful ones ^^) will include simultaneous games, lectures on specific topics, Pro-game reviews, lower level game reviews as well as life and death practice. A pizza lunch will be included in the price.

They recently did a similair workshop in Turkey. They will also do another workshop in California the following weekend along with Janice Kim 3P.

It seems that The two are touring the world and teaching Go. This is rather exciting for us in the west because these are both active pro's, and they are offering their services at a great prices. In korea pro's get upwards of 1000 dollars each for a simultaneous game!

Some more details will be added to this page on Monday.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

State of my go

I went to Korea for 6 months. It changed me in many ways. But it seems sometimes that my go hasn't improved much.

I am probably about 1kyu these days, but to be honest, I feel so incredibly weak.

After getting back to the states I took a break for a while from playing. My mind was in disarray because of a mess I made in my life. This translated onto the Goban.

Recently, well in the past 3 weeks, I have started to get those things sorted out. So I started studying and playing again. I really only took a break of just under a month, but its made big difference in my ability to learn. At least in my mindset.

Vincent Liu 6d is my current teacher. To this point we have only had one lesson -- during which he said that I wasted my time in Korea because I obviously don't know how to play. So... with this thought in mind I decided to re-learn how to play. I have studying Janice Kim's learn to play go series so that I can get a refresher on the rules/basics. I have to say I think I am seeing results. Shapes and Aji are just so important.

I hope once I relearn the basics I will be able to grow stronger. I don't want to be one of those eternal shodans...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Goh Ju Yeon 2p.

A few weeks ago, the week after congress, Goh Ju Yeon 2P visited New York. I had the pleasure of showing her around. For three days we went to see various tourist attractions. For me it was a bit challenging because I had to use my very limited Korean to its limit, and for her it was likely the same. It was also very tiring walking around all day, going to bed late, and waking up early for work. However I really enjoyed her company.

On Friday, before leaving she played a few games with some of the people at the New York Go Center. Michael Fodera 2d was defeated with 4 stones, and I managed to get a win with 8 stones.

Will Lockhart, Ben Lockhart, Joshua, Kim Chaelim, Lee Hyang-mi, Goh Juyeon, Andy Liu, Lisha Li, Michael Fodera and myself got some snacks and drinks together and had ourselves a little going away party for Juyeon.

Around midnight, after having a some beers and some snacks, Andy and Juyeon decided that they would play. Apparently they had played two games earlier, with her winning both.

They were happy just to play, but we decided to make an event out of it. The kaya board was pulled out. We went to the tatami room. The two sat down and started to play. Ben and I broadcasted the game live on KGS, while everyone else came and went alternating watching the game online and live.

Although we announced it just 5 minutes before starting, over 280 people watched.

B+ 1.5

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Moon Ji Hwan, a go player who had been playing go for 10 years-one who had reached the highest level of amateur play, 7 Dan-who endlessly, and one can say futilely tried to reach some level of enlightenment through his go, left Lee June Gi, his girlfriend who had been patiently waiting for 6 months for a fraction of the attention he gave to go-all the while turning down many suitable men who courted her-for her only desire was to be on the receiving end of the passion that she knew Moon was capable of; he left her standing in the snow on new years clutching a gift soaked in melting snow and tears.

Don't lose yourself too much! OK?


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I am Back In New York

So I have been back in New York for a week now, and even though I spent the past 6 months in Korea playing Go, somehow everyday I seem to make it out to the Go Center.

I definitely feel the effect of my stay in Korea. I am able to play as a 1d solidly, and the other day I even won against a 3d in an even game. When I visited the Korean club in flushing, I played as a 6 gup, and had 2 wins 3 losses. Previously i had played as an 8~9 gup.

I am living with my mom for the summer with plans of moving out, and for now I am working as a canvasser, basically a fundraiser, for Environment New York.

I will post some pictures of an epic fireworks show we had this past weekend soon.

Currently Chaelim and Hyangme are teaching at the New York Go Center, and so far they are doing great. Its nice to have youth at the center.

I plan to keep studying so that I can play as 2d by congress.

I will write again when there is something interesting to say.

Thanks for reading all this time guys!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Leaving Korea

I am in the airport now, I Am getting on the plain in 10 minutes...

Good bye and thanks for the Kimchi. :P

I am sad and happy now. Happy to go home, sad because I don't know when I will see my friends again.

--Boris the Traveling Baduk Player

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Korea University Drummers

These guys just walked around and around for hours in Korea University

From 6-28

Pro's, Younguseng and Education

One of the things we talked about, and one of the things that I talked to many people about, is the sacrifice of education on has to make when challenging the Pro summit. Most of the former younguseng I have met have not finished high school, much less college. Although recently the school Myongji University has offered a Baduk major, from what I hear, its not a very demanding course. I do think it is great for all the Youngeseng though, since it teaches them how to apply their highly polished Baduk skills to the world.

In a conversation I had with one of my teachers I learned that he wanted to be a pro singer, but felt that he was limited due to his previous dedication to studying Baduk. He seemed melancholy as he told me that when he was a child his teacher had said he had great talent for the game, enough to be the number 1 in the world. This may have been detrimental for him, as the other kids heard this and gave him a hard time studying. My teacher told me he regrets letting them get to him, and interfere with his baduk studies. By no means is he weak at all, (KGS 9D), he was not able to get pro.

Another friend of mine Jang Bi (gentlerain 9D KGS) also graduated from Myongji, he still loves Baduk, but he recently started to study architecture. With such a late start (he is 28) I hope he does not have to hard of a time with it.

Cho Hye Yeon expressed her concern that Pro Baduk players have trouble contributing anything to society other than baduk. Obviously not all, but still many Pros have never studied much else than baduk. But we came to the conclusion that the top of the top are there for that precise reason. Hye Yeon told me that many of her western teachers don't understand what it is to be a Baduk Pros. She has had to miss classes because of official matches, and her professors would fail her for missing class. She has had to take classes only from Korean teachers because of this. Although, those too were troublesome. Many times she got comments along the lines of why dont you just focus on Baduk, why do you bother to study at university. Currently she is majoring in English Literature, and hopes to learn many languages.

There are, of course, a few other pros who went to good schools, like Chiyung Nam 1P, who graduated from Seoul National University one of the top three schools of the country. But these are the exception not the rule.

This conversation evolved into talking about Lee Se Dol. If he does not play baduk what can he do? I learned something interesting, there are rumors that he plans to open a bar, and be a Bar tender. Personally I highly doubt he will be able to stay away from baduk for long. Anyone who has been playing baduk since they were 4 should feel some sort of strong longing for the game even after a short break.

When I was in high school I was ready to abandon my life and go to Japan to try and be pro. After just 6 months I can say that I was correct to not do that. While I do love baduk, and will never stop playing it, hell it will probably always be a focal point of my life, but I can now say that it is not the only thing you need in life. I guess that last part is pretty obvious, but it wasn't so to me about 6 months ago. Still though, most things that I plan to do this summer revolve around baduk anyway.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hanging out with Cho Hye Yeon 8P

Friday was a very hectic day for me. I woke up early to meet with my English student. Instead of teaching on Friday, I helped her blow up balloons to promote her business. Briefly- she runs an art school where children create storybooks, they are then published hard cover, and the children are given the option to try and sell the books.

At 11 O'clock Santiago (Colombian 1k) Joonas (Finish 1d) and I set out to go to Insa-dong. Insa-dong is a bit of a tourist trap, however they have some cool galleries and lots of places to buy gifts. We quickly separated, as they were bored with gift shopping. I bought gifts for my family and friends, and also a violin my friend asked me to buy.

Around 2 I set off to meet two Chinese girls that I spent a lot of time with at the beginning of my stay in Seoul. However, I could not find them, so I set off to the Hanguk Kiwon to see if there was anything interesting happening.

For a while I watched some pro games of the Myung Cup. After as I was leaving I bumped into Myungwan Kim 8p. We talked for a little while, his English is very good, and then I went along on my way. I decided to stop by the book store on the way out. I was surprised as the shopkeeper asked me if I am Boris. I told her I was, but after that the Korean got to complicated. Luckily for me Kim Myungwan walked by at that moment, and translated for me. The pro player Cho Hye Yeon had asked the shopkeeper to call her should I stop by.

Needless to say I was stunned. I did once leave a comment on her blog saying I wanted to meet her, but I did not realize she would go out of her way to meet me too. We agreed to meet an hour later at her school. Korea National University, one of the top 3 schools in Korea.

When we met, she was very friendly right away. People had warned me she is very talkative, but as those who know me know already, with me that's a good thing. I was happy that there was no awkwardness of just meeting someone. We had some coffee and talked about many things including Lee Se Dol's retirement, and education and religion.

About Lee Se Dol's retirement I won't say much since there are plenty of places to find that information, but a few interesting things I learned: He learned to play from his father at age of 4. After his father's death he continued to study under his brother's supervision. There is a rumor that he plans to open a Bar during his Hiatus from baduk.

My thoughts on education are in a separate article here.

As for religion... To anyone who has read her blog, it is well known that Cho Hye Yeon is a devout christian. This aspect was what i was most nervous about when meeting her. I find myself very uncomfortable when people start telling me I must believe in Jesus, or whatnot. I am very happy to hear about the religion, and what they believe, but I prefer not to have to believe in anything. I was happy to learn my worries were indeserved. We spoke for a short time about different aspects of christianity, judaism, and buddhism. Although I am very interested in these things I feel a little silly talking about them, as I feel I know too little. Regardless it was an interesting conversation.

We proceeded to play a teaching game of Baduk. I was very lucky, I learned that usually a lesson game would have cost me $400 usd. I thoroughly lost, but I feel I learned much from the review. At least two mistakes that I often make where pointed out to me. Due to my crappy memory I am sorry I can't show you the game, I tend to forget them about 2 or 3 hours after playing. In case I did not thank you enough, again I say, Thank You 조혜연사범님. :)

I had a lot of fun, I only wish that I had met her a little earlier on my trip to Korea, she would have been a good friend to have here.


Facts About Cho Hye Yeon

  • She became pro at age 11
  • She juggles being at one of the most prestigious schools in Korea and being one of the best Baduk Pros
  • She has seen Hikaru No Go over a hundred times
  • Akira Toya is her favourite character
  • Visit her blog loveku.livejournal.com for more... Its really interesting, and you can get some nice lessons on opening too ^^

New Instructors At the New York Go Center.

The New York Go Center's main selling point is that we always have a strong instructor ready to teach visitors. But what happens when the instructors are not so strong. Before I came to Korea I noticed that often, although stronger than me, the Instructors where not all that strong. Although there were a few great ones, like Hyodo Shunichi, Hyodo Susumu, and Tadashi Komoto, who could teach, and play well, many seemed to be lacking in the play well area.

On a side note I will be working on a little project to collect a photo book of the previous instructors at the New York Go Center.

The other thing I realized is that they were always Japanese.

Neither the fact that they are Japanese, nor that they aren't too strong are problems. After all, they are volunteering 3 months of their time for the sake of providing a good chance for us westerners to study Go. Still, I thought it would be interesting if we could get some young teachers to come to the NYGC. I found the perfect solution on my trip to Korea. Hundreds of strong teenagers fail to become pro yearly. Their main skill is Baduk, so I decided to introduce the opportunity to come and teach in New York for 3 months.

So, I would like to announce, although rather late, that two new instructors are coming to visit the New York Go Center on June 30th. They are Kim Chaelim 9d and Lee Hyangmi 7d.

The two girls are students at Myongji University and have volunteered to teah Baduk for the summer in New York. Remember they are Korean not Japanese, so instead of sensei, refer to them as Sabonim, (Sa-bo-nim)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pros Playing Baseball

Baduk pros are people too... so, just like real people they like to have a little rest from time to time.

I found these guys playing a little Baseball in the park. ^^

I am awfully bad with names, so forgive me. I will add the names at a later time.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I saw...

This is a new type of blog I will try, in the future I will try to have pictures ^^...

4 People riding on a motorcycle.

The father was steering, his daughter sat on his lap. The wife was holding on the husband, and there was a baby strapped to her back. They were happily speeding along the freeway.

A black ladybug.
about a week ago I Saw a black ladybug, I cannot seem to stop thinking about it. What do you guys think of www.blackladybug.com as the new adress for my blog/website?

A Paul Potts concert.

Last friday I went to watch a Paul Potts concert with a girl named Jiyae. We met briefly on the train a few months ago, really we were on the train together for all of 3 minutes, I gave her my name card and we have been exchanging emails for a while.

We decided to meet and watch the Paul Potts concert. It was surprisingly good, surprisingly because I am not a fan of opera ^^. My only complaint is that we sat in front of the press box...those guys were really rude.

Two elderly Koreans kissing on the subway.

A while back I saw two Koreans start making out while waiting for the train. It was very surprising. I happened to be talking to someone at the time, and he told me in his life he had never seen such a thing. It should be noted that the public displays of affection are almost non-existant, even between spouses, and bg/gf. But, there is much same sex affection to be found, although if you ask a Korean if how many gay people they know, they will likely say that there are not any in Korea. :O !

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The New York Go Center Newsletter Volume 2 issue 1

The New York Go Center Newsletter Volume 2 issue 1


* Introduction from editor
* New Instructors
* Congress Tune up tournament
* KGS Day
* October Pro Workshop
* New books to arrive

Hello everyone,

I have not written in a long time, Roman has been taking care of the
mailings and tournaments for the past 6 months or so.
I was studying Go in Korea. I know many of you followed my blog, http://notquitepro.blogspot.com, and supported me with the ads, and for that thank you.

Overall I feel that my trip has been a success, although I am not 5d as I had hoped to be, I have improved quite a bit. I will play in the next tournament as 1K, and see how that goes. If you are interested in studying go in Korea, please do not be afraid to ask me, I will be happy to help. Its a great experience, and a lot of fun.

Lastly, I would like to thank Roman Kudryashov, who was taking care of all the e-mails and tournaments for me the past 6 or so months.

I will be back at the beginning of July, and I will see you all then.


New Instructors

Getting on to the exciting part, this summer, we are going to have to instructors. Kim Chaelim 8D and Lee Hyangme 6D have voulenteered their summers to teach in New York.

The two girls are from Korea, are young, and are both studying in the Baduk (Go) Department at Myongji University. Its a unique program that teaches players how to teach go, as well as improving their own skills.

Kim Chaelim used to be an Insei, so she is very strong. Lee Hyangme is as strong or stronger than most of the previous instructors. I am not only excited about their playing levels, I think that this is a step in the direction of making our Go Center truly international.

Congress Tune Up Tournament

On July 19th we will be having our monthly AGA rated tournament.

There will be 4 rounds of AGA rated play.
Entry fee: $15
Time: Round 1 starts Promptly at 10:15, if you are late call ahead, and your opponent will be allowed to start your time.
40 minutes basetime 3/30 sec overtime

There will be cash and book prizes.


On June 14th The New York Go Center held its first KGS'ers day. Although many people could not make it, 14 people met face to face after only being aquainted online.

Attendees included Andy Liu (BigBadWolf 9D), David Saunders (Dsaun 1D) and Kim Daeyol (NYDY 6D). The players met, played games, and afterwards went out together for dinner.

The writer was unfortunatly on the other side of the world, otherwise, would
have loved to be there.

October Pro Workshop

In October The New York Go Center is hosting a professional workshop!

(The exact date is not yet confirmed, it will be either start the 2nd, or the 16th of October.)

Diana Koszegi 1P and Kim Seungjun 9P will be teaching.

This is very exciting, because this is their first visit to the U.S.
They have much experience teaching in Europe.
Also, they Recently worked together on special online lecture for a large Amsterdam tournament.
They will also be teaching in San Fransisco the following weekend along with Janice Kim.

Activities will include:

* - Lectures
* - Simulaneous games
* - Paired games
* - Game reviews
* - AGA rated games

The pricing is as follows:

One Day: $60
Two Days: $110
Three Days: $150

Lunch is included in the price.

Additional Details to follow.

If you are interested

New books to arrive

The New York Go Center is recieving many new books from Korea, and should
arrive in the first week of August

They Include

* - 100 tips for amatuer players vol 1 & 2
* - Inspiration of a Pro
* - Speed Baduk
* - Think Like a Pro Haengma, Pae
* - Cho Hyeyeon's Creative Life and Death
* - A life of a hundred years seems like a game of Baduk
* - Various Korean titles

If anyone has any requests, I would be happy to bring something special for


Boris Bernadsky
Vice President New York Go Center

Boris Bernadsky
Vice President New York Go Center

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A day in the life of a Pro.

I am sure many people wonder what it is that Go pros do on a day to day basis. Well, I seem to have some Idea, and I will share it with you...

Based on Diana Koszegi.

8:00 am: Woken up by the mailman, he is very happy to tell you, a foreign Baduk Pro, that you have mail from the Hanguk Kiwon. Your next tournament is announced.

8:33 am: Woken up by alarm clock, time to head to Oromedia.

(SPECIAL 9:13 am: Woken up by alarm clock, time for tournament. On tournament days, you usually go to Youngusil after the game when you finish to review)

9:25 am: Arrive at Oromedia. You were hired to work here because you are a western Pro, and you can speak English and Korean fluently. Although only 6 hours a week, you definitely studied your ass off learning Joseki, and solving life and death so that you can help someone write e-mails. But really you are helping reach out to all the different countries worldwide and Promote an international go scene.

1:00 pm Arrive at Youngusil. A Youngusil is a place where players, mostly pros, gather to study. Studying includes life and death, reviewing your recent games with your colleagues, reviewing others' games, and sometimes watching baseball, or board games.

6:00 pm Its food o'clock!

7:00 pm Back to studying, its funny that games are seldom played in the Youngusil. Even though there are sometimes league games, usually its just studying.

8:15 pm Arrive back home, and translate Korean baduk books. Perhaps some teaching online if you have students that day...while watching Baduk TV :)

11:00 pm Time for 10 sec blitz games on Cyberoro... and chatting on MSN with friends and family. Re-assuring your father that everything is good is an everyday necessity

Sleep at Random times...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

6 Brothers Baduk Factory

This weekend, Leonardo Dal Zovo (stopciovo.com) and I went to visit the 6 brothers baduk factory.
They are the largest supplier of baduk equipment in Korea, and possibley the world.

When you guys buy those cheap sets in H-mart or other Korean grocery stores, you are buying their boards. Of course they aren't limited to only cheap stuff, but that's mostly what we see in the states.

Their website http://www.6brothers.com.

We set out on our journey early Saturday morning, and we thought we had a short ride ahead of us. After all it was a mere 30 kilometers away from the IBA.... But alas, we spent the better part of two hours in a bus. That was the longest 18 miles ever. Well I am exaggerating, but it was pretty long. We apparently took a really windy path to get there.

I am going to try a different photo sharing method this time, enjoy the slide show ^=^

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Player Profiles: Kings Baduk Academy Students

Other than the IBA there is another Baduk school which caters to foreigners. That is the Kings Baduk Academy. The two schools are quite different as far as their approach goes. Kings Baduk has a rigorous training schedule with little or no time to d other things than study. Due to the location, some mountain village, even if there was time there would be little to do. This sort of place would be perfect for me, and I regret that I did not know about it when I came to Korea.

The IBA is in Seoul, the metropolitan center of Korea, no one will force you to study, and there are plenty of distractions. These are not bad things just style preference.

The students of the Kings Baduk Academy often visit us in Seoul. We like to go drinking and singing, and of course we like to play baduk. There are several really interesting people that I have met from Kings Baduk. It is generally very fun when they visit, as it should be, when people from all over the world gather in one place to practice something they love.

Here are some of the students I met from th KBA. These are just my opnions and should not be taken as fact.

Gabriel Benmergui

Age: 23
Country: Argentina
KGS ID: Danigabi
Strength: 5D
Who are you? : "If I don't have a good move I tenuki....also I am better the Ofer."

Gabriel seems very intelligent. I have been able to talk to him about most things so far, and he has some answers for everything. He is very opinionated, and very persuasive. Although I seem to believe everything he says, it strikes me as odd that a 23 year old knows so much, I suppose I should not take everything as fact.
Ofer Zivony

Country: Israel
Strength: 3D
Who are you? : "I am Ofer, Asians call me Ope"
Ofer worked with birthright groups (google it) as a guard in Israel. He is rather talented at portrait sketches. He seems very modest, but never ceases to make jokes.

Francesco Marigo
Age: 27
Country: Italy
Strength: 4D
Who are you?: "I'm.....unsolved problem"
I have not spoken much to Francesco, he seems to be quite kindhearted. He also was National Champion in Italy for several years. Recently he lost the "title" to Davide Minieri.

Sebastian Rieche

Country: Germany
Who are you? "I am me, I am really pragmatic, it comes from studying Philosophy"

Sebastian is an interesting guy. He wants nothing more than to continue his baduk studies in Korea. He is an avid eater of chocolate, and has practiced martial arts for years. He started out in Wing Tsun, and more recently has switched to Shotokan Karate. He is also a writer, and is working on a fantasy novel. He keeps a blog about his baduk studies... http://beginningpath.blogspot.com/

Klara Zaloudkova

Age: 24
Country: Czech Republic
Strength: 3d
Who are you? : " I am a friendly girl."

Clara was a philosophy major back at home. Her classmates say that she is stronger than she claims. She is also a big fan of partying.


Age: 22
Country: Mongolia
Strength: 3d
Who are you? " I am a person kkk..." (kkk is the Asian sound for laughing, same as LOL, not to be confused with the white supremacist group KKK)

I have not had a chance to really speak to her. She has a very attractive energy however. Her classmates said that in the 3 weeks she has been in Korea she has already improved a lot.

Leonardo Alberto Dal Zovo

Age: 29
Country: Italy
Strength: ~3k
Who are you? : " I am Ciovo"

Somehow out of the KBA students I felt I could relate to Ciovo the most. Again our meetings have only been few but the magic of baduk makes us all close. He recently toured Korea with Pedro for one week. I am extremely envious, at the time I did not have the capital to join him. He works as a Computer Scientist back home. He told me that while he has Slate and Shell stones, as well as high quality bowls, he only has a cheap homemade goban. This is funny if you are a go player, if it is not, then I am sorry. He also has a website about his stay in Korea, it has many pictures and interesting stories, check it out: www.stopciovo.com

Pedro Carmona
Age: 24
Country: Portugal
Strength: 2K
Who are you?: " I am a Brazilian."
I don't know much about him, but he has a very fun energy. And is always smiling. Also he is from Panama. Or Brazil. Maybe Mexico.

Svilen Pavlov

Age: 25
Country: Bulgaria
Strength: 3kyu

Svilen is rather quite compared to the other KBC students, however I have reason to believe that when intoxicated and metal is present he turns into a headbanger. He uses a lot of time when he plays. At home he was working as a stage designer for a theatre, but he wants to be a Computer Scientist. He was offered a good job, but it would require him to move to Czech republic, so he could not really move at the time. Lastly, if anyone needs a Computer Scientist in Bulgaria, contact me I will forward it to him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Lately I have been having a lot of problems with Mosquitos...

The apartment we live in is very hot at night, but if we open the windows a swarm of gnats, flies, and mosquitoes find a nice free buffet.

Anyway, this hhas caused me to think alot about them, mainly why we itch when we get bit. It seemed counter intuitive to me, I mean, it would not be so bad to get bitten if not for that longlasting, irritating, waking you up at night itching feeling. It would seem that if they were not so itchy, people would kill them as much. It seems that evolution failed the mosquito by making them make us itchy....

Here I though I was being funny and Ironic telling this to my Marc, when he said "Actually we get itchy because our body fights of infections from the mosquitoes..." There goes my "mosquito bit"

Unknowingly, I was determined to find another joke. Later that night I was talking to my friend Big Kyoung, and I asked him whether it was a pimple or a bite on his cheek. (It was oozing something). He said it was both, and that it hurt.

All of a sudden this image of a mosquito sitting itself down on my friends pimple popped into my head.

So it was flying around, and sits down, it thinks to itself - "yummy a meal, and its even on a raised platter!". And it sticks its little sharp hose down and takes a big swig. It is expecting the irony-delicious taste of blood, instead it gets the --actually I don't know the taste of pus so no adjective here-- (blank) taste of pus instead. It flies off confused, its stomach hurts, so it cant fly and its in generally bad shape. After agonizing, trying to fly for a few seconds it sits down on a garbage can and slowly titches away into the unknown abyss where mosquitoes go when they die.

Anyway... I told this to my friend, and he seemed to feel better about the pimple bite.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What does this mean to you?

What does this mean to you?

Please respond by leaving a comment.

Oh wow, his moyo is so much bigger than mine.

Hey, he is coming inside my moyo!

Ah damn it, I am in Atari.

Player Profiles: Kim Seungjun 9P

Hanguk Baduk League Pre-lim


I met Kim Seungjun 9P through a mutual friend, Diana Koszegi 1p.   He was the first Korean pro that I met on my stay here. 

He is known by many as Blackie, or Black Knight due to his dark complexion.  In a recent article in the American Go Association E-journal, I was mis-quoted as saying that he speaks perfect English.  This deviates a little from the truth.  While he speaks enough English to teach Baduk, his conversational knowledge of the language is limited.

Our first meeting was in Coffee shop, he approached me in hopes that I could help him set up a workshop in the states.   Though his English is limited, due to his emotive personality, and my minute knowledge of Korean, we had no problems communicating, I was even able to conduct a brief interview with him.  

I quickly learned that he was passionate about spreading Baduk, or Go, in the west.  Blackie had just come back from a short European Baduk tour with fellow pros Mok Chinseok 9P (mymy on KGS) and Diana.  They played simul games in Budapest, Romania, and Amsterdam, as well as helping with a tournament in Amsterdam.

This coming weekend he is doing a live Web-cam commentary on The Amsterdam Pandanet Tournament. my sources tell me he has been studying English, so lets see the results.

In October, he and Diana Koszegi will be conducting a BaduK workshop in San Fransisco.


Kim Suengjun started playing Baduk at 10 years old, he learned to play from his father, an EGF 2D.  Though his brother and sister quit baduk rather quickly he kept playing.

I asked why he plays Baduk, he had no answer.

Two years later the Black Knight became a younguseng, or a pro in training.  At that time he would take 5 stones from a Pro**.  He did nothing but play Baduk, three years later, in 1988 he became a Pro.

In 1994 he made it to the finals of the Kogi cup

In 1996 he made it to the semi-finals of the Samsung cup.

Many of his games, recent and old, can be viewed online here.  


In addition to playing Baduk, Kim Seungjun enjoys playing Golf, this has been his most recent hobby.

He is a the second strongest billiards player among the Korean Baduk pros.

He is the strongest foot volleyball player among the pros.

After finishing his Simul-games in Budapest he proceeded to defeat their strongest Billiard player as well.

Unlike most Koreans, he does not drink or smoke.

While he is good at almost anything he does, he cannot swim.

---Side Note**---

Younguseng these days are far stronger than they used to be.  They are divided into 10 groups, competition to become a Younguseng is so fierce that even the lowest group ones can compete with a weak pro without handicap.  The ones in the top class are often stronger than many current Pros.  We have seen many young kids, who had just made pro, defeat 9P's.  Even the world champions Lee Sedol and Gu Li would not be able to give these kids 2 stones.

---End Side Note---

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jail of his own

A man I know is in a cage, though he did make it himself...

What will he do?


Many people sleep at night.  They wake up in the morning.

It all seems really natural, but for some reason these days I cannot.  My friend Pascal, he cannot sleep either.  My friend Marc, sleeps but in the daytime.  My friend Roman sleeps but 4 hours at a time.

What is it that makes modern youth not sleep?  (sounds preachy donit)

Seriously though I want to sleep, I consider sleeping and waking with the Sun, but thats somehow silly...  Isn't it?  

Is 6 hours of sleep enough?  Is 9.

This was meant to be a poem, but I guess I am not a poet.  

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We are the Evil Space Invaders

As everyone knows, we are starting to run short on Natural Resources, and our climate is changing rapidly.  

Our forests are running out.  The rate at which we consume is phenomenal.  On top of all of that there are more of us, making more of us every year.  Maybe we can really save the world by being "green".  Maybe, if we recycle, stop eating so much, use solar power, wind power, wave power, and condoms, we can still be saved...

But realistically we are going to run out of resources soon, or just run out of space to live and will have to look elsewhere.  There are some choices, a bio dome on the moon, a space station, or looking at other planets fit for habitation.

Either way, we will be moving to space.  If we find another planet that is fit for people to live on it, is it not likely that there will already be things living there?  Won't we be the evil space invaders taking over a planet and stealing its natural resources?  

Now, this is only partly a joke, unless we take care of our world, necessity will drive us to become evil aliens reigning terror around the universe. ~~~

Monday, May 11, 2009

Racism in Korea

There is a great deal of racism in Korea.

Although there is quite a lack of diversity, almost everybody is racist.  Maybe its because of lack...

Most people I meet seem to love simply for the fact that I am a foreigner.  Now maybe this is not a bad thing, but it seems strange to me.  Coming from New York, I see all people as just people.  Although when I worked at Diesel, I often segued into conversation with someone by talking about their country.  To Brazilians I would tell them how many I meet, maybe mention Capoeira.  To russians I spoke russian, to French I spoke the little french I know.  I would praise the pound to Brits.  I would mention my upcoming trip to Korea to Koreans, and talk about anime/manga with Japanese...

I seem to have digressed.  

In Korea, as I walk down the street and a group of kids walk by they shout out very quickly all the words they know.  Hello --  how are you -- yo yo yo -- thank you -- I love you -- bye bye.  

The other weekend I went to a festival at Myongji University (The only school in the world where you can get a Masters in Baduk studies)   I was not allowed to pay for my drinks my food, and was even invited by these nice 4 girls to share their room. 

The Nice Girls who let me into their room

If I was Korean this would not have happened.

Another wierd thing, is that most Koreans I meet are all scared of going to America because they might get shot.  I realize that it is an unfortunate truth that there is much gunplay in the USA, but it seems that all they know about America is 

A. It is good
B. People have guns
C. People do drugs.

I wonder is this what our country is?  I really don't know.  Europeans I meet just think we suck at geography and history.  Actually this group of Go players from Kings Baduk Academy (more on that later, if you are interested now, visit http://www.stopciovo.com ) and I played a geography game -- naming capital cities -- I got the high honor of being "Good for an American.

Some of the Kings Baduk guys.

I get taken out all the time by Go players, and sometimes by strangers I meet on the street.  Although, I sound like I am complaining, I am not, I am greatful for all the free food I have eaten since coming to Korea, and I have met some interesting people.

And now bad racism.... Really really bad.  This would never fly in the states.  It reminds me of early Disney cartoons.

Mr. Ink.

Look its an African.


I forgot to mention a few things, my friend reminded me...

though by racism I would have wrote about a little different things as I'm not from the usa  
 what do you mean?
 well, for me it's also very annoying that everybody thinks i can only be an american  
 if by chance not, than russian
 nothing else is possible  
 ah right i coudl have mentioned that, but i am both...
 so they would be right on both accounts  
 not to mention that they just point at u and talk about u in korean when u r like half a meter away, because they think no way a foreigner can understand them..  
 yes i know, thats why i wrote i would have wrote this too  

A strange thought..

So.  I have given some thought to starting an Internet Show. 

check out www.thatguywiththeglasses.com so you know what I mean.

I can't seem to decide on what my topic should be.

Does anybody have any ideas?

Please let me know.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Three old men sitting in a bar.
They seem to only know how to yell.

Dicussing issues of great importance,
They get ready to go back to work on monday.


Its not really a poem, I guess it was a thought as I sipped coffee in a bar Saturday night.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Chunpyeong Baduk English Weekend

On Saturday morning Tatu (Finnish 2d) and I left our houses early. I suppose it wasn't early, but we sleep late, so 10 o'clock was a relatively early for us.

We were supposed to meet our teacher 중협 (Joung Hyup) at 11 and go to the Chunpyeong river training area.

Joung Hyup

In the country side along a river there is a place where baduk players come to play. The owner of the place is about 2d, he has a large collection of baduk boards and often invites pros to come and play at his, lets say, club.

Shortly after getting there we played some card games.  I became tired of the game and went off to explore.

Playing Cards

Smelling Flowers

Old style building

Land Scape

I walked around the property until I found a dog, it seemed to want me to follow it. I did so, but I quickly lost site of it, however I found to mating snakes.  After observing them for a little while, I walked around in the woods for a while.  It was really nice to have a break from the city...


There was a family fishing on the river, and they invited me to join them, failing to catch anything, we got to talking.  One of the men was  a baduk player.  He asked me to play so we went back to the playing area. 

After we played a game, a tournament started.  I lost all two of my games, by 130 points and 54 points.  It was a bangnegi style tournament, but with no limit, meaning you were not allowed to resign even if you lost by 100.  In my defense, I had to play with a 2d and a 3d even....

Dinner was yummy, we ate barbeque.  Baduk playing continued well into the morning, and I fell asleep and woke up to the sounds of stones being placed on the board.

The following day was short, I had to get back to Seoul to teach my student.

Bus From the Netherlands

Proffesor Han, Incredibly insiteful man

Katherine From Belgium

My lovely face

Bus at play

Hae Kwang observing a game

Proffesor Han Playing

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Player Profiles: Jang Bi (KGS Gentlerain)

How I met him:
I first had contact with Jang Bi about a year and a half ago, when my friend Andy Liu (BigBadWolf) recommended him as a teacher. Although we never managed to actually enter a student teacher relationship, I learned of his existence.

Some time the Summer of '08 he visited the New York Go Center along with a Korean Pro. He played a teaching game with me at 9 stones and I was thoroughly crushed. Again, I did not talk to him much at the time.

The next time I saw Jang Bi was shortly after I came to Korea. Even though our previous meetings were so brief, when we saw each other, it seemed as if we were old friends. He came to visit the International Baduk Academy, and quickly we all took to joking and laughing.

Jang Bi then helped me with several things, he took me site seeing, and helped me get a Korean cell phone.

From Jang Bi

Jang Bi's personality:

Although we have only hung out a handful of times, Bi's generosity was instantly visible. The cell phone incident is a good example. After hanging out for the first time in Korea, he decided that for me to have a cell phone was a necessity -- and volunteered to take me to TechnoMart, a giant electronics store, to get a phone.

He proceeded to wait with me for 5 hours doing nothing while the cell phone guy tried to activate the phone. We were not particularly close, nor did he have any obligation to wait with me.

In an interview, he told me that happy means to give others his love.

Baduk History:

Jang Bi started playing Baduk because he simply enjoyed playing with his father. With full support from his family, he became yonguseng at age 13. At that time he was about KGS 4d. He progressed to be a first group yonguseng, however he did not make it pro. Apparently he never won many tournaments in Korea. Bi told me that he did not put his full effort into the tournaments.

In the summer of 2007 Jang Bi went to Seattle, Washington (USA) to study English, and western culture. He became involved at the Seattle Go Center teaching there several times a month. At this time he became a KGS Celebrity, Gentlerain.

He quickly became KGS 9d, and seldom lost. I asked him why he preferred playing on KGS to the more popular Cyberoro, and Tygem. Apparently when he first came here he didnt want to be rude and install Korean on his freinds computer, so he just used KGS. One of his frequent opponents BigBadWolf told me that Jang Bi had become stronger since coming to the USA.

In the US, Jang Bi dominated the western tournaments including the Cotsen Open. He is currently 9.39 Dan AGA, and listed as 5th in the country, the only amateur ranked higher than him is Jie Li.

He came back to Korea in early 2009, and currently he is teaching Baduk at an elementary school. He plans to go abroad and continue teaching Baduk some day.


His KGS handle is a rough translation of his Korean name. He told me that many girls would get mad at him since he shared a name with popular Korean Singer Rain (Bi in Korean.

When Jang Bi served in the Korean military, all males must serve 2 years, he was stationed as a General Out Post at the DMZ watching and guarding the North-South Korean border.

I asked what his strongest memory was, "I climbed the dragon ridge of Seorak Mountain when I was 12 years old, the ridge is a famous steep mountain path even for adults"

In addition to playing Baduk, Jang Bi enjoys Karaoke, Soccer, computer games, and music. Ironically, he doesn't like playing computer soccer games whilst listening to music.


Well that's Jang Bi, or Gentlerain as most know him.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Last Days In Japan

I have been back in Korea for a few days now, but I hadnt finished my Japan posts.

This is mostly pictures so enjoy...

Nihon Ki-in

From 4-2
The general playing area of the Nihon Ki-in for Insei

Some hidden bowls

Pro's Tournament

The legendary Cho Chikun

Some random trees outside of the Ki-in

Some more ^__^

Some sort of tournament..

Me thinks it might be only for geezers...

Tournament Sign

Asakusa, and Club Super Deluxe with Kanoko-Chan

A few old fashioned buildings

A golden Poop

Kanoko-chan looking stuff up in a dictionary


Adorable Neko-Bus plate ... only 63 dollars >_<

Big Buddhist Temple

Unfortunately it was closed so we just took pictures in front of it.

A cool old building

Konami headquarters, Roppongi

A dance at club Super Deluxe

I could not capture the picture better on purpose. His dance was very dynamic featuring roosters, Heaven, blood, death rebirth, struggle to live, and some cool clothes.

A Day with Hiroto Suzuki, a former teacher of the NYGC

Random orange tree

Miki, Hiroto, Hikari (left to right)

Pretty Trees


People I dont know on a picnic

More people, lots of people

A really cool tree

Shusaku Go Club in Shinjuku

I did not actually play in this room, but it was interesting with floor boards et all

My opponent

People playing

Club Host, Me, Hiroto