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.
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.
Old style building
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.
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.
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.
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.