American Go E-Journal

Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#2)

Monday November 14, 2011

July 8: Today, I woke up, got ready and went to the dojang a little early. I’ve started changing my style from the traditional peaceful play found frequently in the States to the somewhat reckless fighting style of the Koreans. I think it’s the best way to improve because it forces you to read further. I have also found that life and death problems are a huge part of Korean go because they come up so often in their games. Today I memorized a pro game on the recommendation of the headmaster. He says it’s not enough to go over a pro game; you have to memorize it in order to get a solid feel of the best move on intuition. I find pro games to be much more helpful now because when you memorize them you understand why professionals make each of their moves. It’s easy to gain two stones in strength by putting a purpose in each stone you play. Oh it’s  a good night because I won all my games today!
Photo (right): Dinner at the dormitory

July 9: Today is Saturday, which is kind of like a break day at the dojang. Everyone participates in a team tournament. On my team was Yu Minh and Masakito, a 7 year-old student from Japan. Both of them are 9d and aspiring professionals. I felt out of place and was given handicaps against the other players. I played a 9d insei with 6 stones and won. The next game I played with another 9d insei with 6 stones and won again. Our team won the tournament, but I knew I didn’t deserve to win because they were much stronger than me.
photo (left): Win some, lose some

Sixteen-year-old Van Tran spent two weeks in South Korea at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy earlier this year and sent the E-Journal his report, which is appearing in the EJ this month. The high school junior lives in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, has been playing for two and a half years and is “about 3 dan.”

Categories: Youth