American Go E-Journal

Two Weeks at the Lee Sedol Baduk Academy: Van Tran’s Journal (#3)

Tuesday November 22, 2011

July 10: Sunday the dojang is closed so I went to Myongi with Om, an 18-year-old Thai player who has been there for a year. We went by subway and bus. The public transportation in Korea is quite complicated, and we had to transfer subways and buses a couple of times. When we arrived at Myongi we met with Om’s friend and we visited the Inseidong, the Korean Go Club. It fascinates me that there seem to be no weak players to be found in Korea. The club was filled with people 7-dan or stronger and there was a pro tournament on the third floor of the building. After visiting the Inseidong and shopping at Myongi we went to the cinema to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.
Photo (right): Very clean subway!

July 11: Today at the dojang, school founder Lee Sedol 9P came to teach the inseis. He seemed to be very calm and modest. He went over all of the inseis’ games and I  watched the review. I was shocked to see that Lee Sedol was able to play out a whole game after just seeing the board a few times as he went around the room. I got him to sign my fan during lunch, which he did with a smile and nod. On a side note I won all but one of my games against Kang Chang Hyo, the top player in the 10th division. I was put in the lowest league which has 2 dans to 4 dans, but through intense concentrated study for a week I went on a winning streak and was able to end up seco2nd in the league.
Photo (left): A day at the dojang

July 14: Today was a pretty good day. I won two games against people in higher leagues. One’s name was Pakchan and I don’t remember the other’s name, but they are both significantly stronger that the people in my league. Even though I was able to beat them, the headmaster wouldn’t move me up because of my losing streak in the first two days which brought down my record. I memorized another three pro games today, all played by Lee Sedol. I find his games a challenge to go over because he tenukis and plays aggressively all over the board. It takes a lot of thought to follow.

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