American Go E-Journal

Korea Go Report: Park Jeonghwan first Wooseul-Bongjo League champion; 7th Future Star Rookie Championship; Award for ‘Baduk’ magazine; International Women’s Team Go Cup announced; Jubango under discussion; KBF elects new president Seo Hyoseok

Tuesday April 5, 2022

by Daniela Trinks, Korea correspondent for the E-Journal

Park Jeonghwan first Wooseul-Bongjo League champion
The Wooseul-Bongjo Korean Baduk Association Championship, a.k.a. Wooseul-Bongjo League is a new domestic tournament established last year. It was named after one of the sponsor Infobell’s products. The qualifiers took place in three stages, from February to August 2021, to select ten players who joined the seeds Shin Jinseo and Park Jeonghwan in the two parallel leagues. The league games began in August 2021 with a thinking time of 90 minutes and five periods of 40 seconds byoyomi.
Ranked #1 and #2 on the Korean rating list since January 2020, Shin Jinseo 9p and Park Jeonghwan 9p were expected to win their respective leagues and meet in the final; however, Lee Donghoon 9p pulled a surprise by defeating all five players in the Wooseul League. Meanwhile, Park Jeonghwan went undefeated in the Bongjo League. From February 20th to March 8th, the two league winners met in the best-of-five finals. Park swept the first three games and became the first Wooseul-Bongjo League champion. This is Park’s first domestic title in two years.
The final Wooseul-Bongjo ranks shown in the table were determined after matches between the same-ranked players in each league. The total prize money was 250 million KRW ($205,000), including 50 million KRW ($41,000) and 20 million KRW ($16,000) for the 1st and 2nd placed players. The prize money for the 3rd to 12th place ranged from 4 million to 10 million KRW.

7th Future Star Park Shinyoung 2p (left) and runner-up Han Woojin 3p. Photo courtesy of Han Chankyu/Hangame.

7th Future Star Rookie Championship
The Future Star Rookie Championship, a national tournament, was launched in 2015 with the help of Mok Jinseok 9p and some individual sponsors. This year, Han Woojin 3p and Park Shinyoung 2p advanced to the finals. Han Woojin (16) became a pro in 2019 and was promoted to 2 dan and 3 dan in 2020 and 2021, respectively. His winning rate in 2022 was an astonishing 77.4% which elevated him to rank #58 on the Korean rating list. The other finalist was Park Shinyoung (19) who started his professional career last year. Even though he was lower in rank (#92), he had a better winning rate (78.3%) than Han Woojin 3p in 2022.
In the final, both rookie pros showed high ambitions to win their first title and had a fierce fight from the very beginning. In the early opening, Park Shinyoung started a ko with Black 33, after creating ko threats in the lower right corner. As the proverb says, “There are no ko threats in the opening”, Black ignored White’s ko threat, and KataGo’s winning rate jumped to 85% proving his judgment right. He managed to maintain his lead until his mistake, Black 111, turned the match into a close game. When Han tried to capture a black group with White 122, he missed a big chance and allowed Black to regain his advantage. White should have defended his group at 127 instead. Due to the thinking time of 2 hours, and byoyomi of 1 minute 3 times, a long match was expected, however, it ended rather quickly after 2.5 hours. Park won the first title match in his career by resignation after 131 moves. The winner’s purse was 10 million KRW ($8,200), and the runner-up received 5 million KRW ($4,100).

Award for ‘Baduk’ magazine
The Korean Magazine Association selected the monthly magazine ’Baduk’ as an “Excellent Content Magazine” in the category of sports, hobbies, and leisure. The annual award comes with a publication subsidy from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. ’Baduk’ is published by the Korean Baduk Association. This is the sixth award for the magazine.
It is the only Go magazine in South Korea with a 54-year history dating back to August 1967 when the first edition called ‘Baduk World’ came out. It was later renamed ’Baduk’ in 1969. The 657th 2022 April issue took pride in putting the award banner on its cover.

International Women’s Team Go Cup announced
The Korean Hoban Women’s Go Championship has been transformed into an international team women’s Go tournament, combined with a revival of the defunct Paewang title. The official name of the new competition is “Hoban Cup Seoul Shinmun Paewang World Women’s Baduk Championship”. It is sponsored by the Hoban Group and co-hosted by the Seoul Shinmun and the Korean Baduk Association. The Seoul Shinmun has been published since 1904 and is known as the oldest daily newspaper in South Korea.
This is the first international women’s Go tournament hosted by South Korea since 2011. In the past, South Korea hosted the Bohae Cup (1994-1998), and the Jeong Kwan Jang Cup (2002-2011). Currently, there are only a few world women’s Go championships held, with the majority not opened during the pandemic. China hosts the Wu Qingyuan Cup (also known as Go Seigen Cup), the Bingsheng Cup, the Huang Longshi Cup, and the Tiantai Mountain Cup, while Japan hosts the Senko Cup.
The new tournament is modeled after the Nongshim Cup with teams consisting of five female players from China, Japan, and South Korea who will compete in a “win-and-continue” format. The first stage of seven games is scheduled for May 22nd to 28th, while the second stage will be held in October. The total prize money is 300 Million KRW ($246,000) with the winning team taking home 100 Million KRW ($82,000). In addition, there is an incentive of 2 Million KRW ($1,600) for a 3-win streak, as well as for each additional win thereafter.

Jubango under discussion
At the end of March, the Korean Baduk Association has proposed a jubango between the #1 ranked players of China and South Korea, Ke Jie (24) and Shin Jinseo (22). The match would not only be a good opportunity for the Go development in both countries, but also for promoting Go worldwide. KBA’s proposal stated face-to-face games and that the entire USD 1 Million prize would go to the winner. While both players expressed their interest in such a spectacular event, the Chinese Weiqi Association has yet to respond to the proposal. When the last jubango took place in 2014 between Lee Sedol 9p and Gu Li 9p, it gained worldwide attention among Go fans.

KBF president Seo Hyoseok (right). Photo courtesy of Seo Hyoseok.

KBF elects new president Seo Hyoseok
The Korean Baduk Federation (KBF), the national amateur Go organization, elected Seo Hyoseok (76) as its 8th president. He is known as a passionate amateur 6 dan who has been playing Go for 60 years. He has served as an advisor to the KBF and as a director of the Korean Baduk Association (KBA). The owner of Pyunkang Oriental Medicine Clinic has been sponsoring Go activities generously, such as the international Pyunkang Cup and since 2016 the Pyungkang Cup Senior Baduk League.
Concerned with the lack of publicity, he stepped forward and wrote in March an article for a Korean newspaper titled “Let’s teach Go for children’s happy future” in which he emphasized the educational benefits of Go. In his inauguration speech, Seo said, “There was a time when we saw a Korean Go population of 15 million, but now there are only 7 million. As the president, I will do my best to help Go regain its former popularity and grow beyond that.”

Categories: Korea,Main Page