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 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 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,, 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 ( 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

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 ^=^