American Go E-Journal

Pro System Launch “Monumental Moment” for U.S. Go, says Cho Hunhyun 9P

Sunday April 29, 2012

For a guy whose nickname is “The God of War” and who has amassed over 1,000 career wins, Cho Hunhyun 9P in person in actually pretty mild-mannered. In Los Angeles this weekend to help launch the American Go Association’s (AGA) nascent professional certification system at the Cotsen Open AGA-Tygem Pro Prelim, Cho took a few minutes out of a jam-packed schedule Saturday at the Korean Cultural Center to sit down for an interview with the American Go E-Journal. “This is a monumental moment for the AGA,” Cho said, “and I wanted to be here, on behalf of the Korean Baduk Association, to show our support.” Saying that he’s “very impressed” by the American effort and enthusiasm for go, Cho said that simply by launching the American pro system “You have taken the most important step.” But, like the game of go itself, Cho encouraged American players to settle in for a long road ahead. “China dominated this game for 5,000 years,Japan dominated it for 500 years and Korea has been on top for just 30 years, so for American players to compete on a world level, it’s going to take a long time, 10, 20, maybe even 50 years.”  Developing a professional system is absolutely key to building the strength of American players, Cho said, because it creates the necessary financial incentives and infrastructure and ultimately will make it possible to have a career as an American professional go player. But because it’s impossible to predict the rise of homegrown go prodigies or geniuses, Cho said America must “just follow the path, be patient and put in the effort and someone will come forth.” This was Cho’s own path to the top, he said, saying that “choosing the path of a go professional was like destiny,” adding that he feels that “this journey has not ended” for him and he thinks he still has more to contribute to the game. “The beauty of go is that people become modest when they play.” As proof, Cho revealed that he’s recently taken up golf, where “I am now the amateur” and can just have fun playing.
- report/photos by Chris Garlock; translation for Cho Hunhyun by James Kim

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