Lee Sedol 9P, the longtime #1-ranked player in Korea, has shocked the go world by announcing in a recent interview that he would “…definitely retire and move overseas within three years.”
Lee, 29 years old, is still at the top level of competition, and will probably be able to compete at that level for another four or five years. But the decorated pro says he wants to end his professional playing career at its height, rather than facing a possible decline.
“I’m going to quit while I’m still at the top,” said Lee in his recent interview, “I can still compete for a few more years, but what can I do after that? Competing and being at the top is an important part of who I am, as a fighter and a player.”
Lee has ambitious plans for his retirement as well, however, planning to teach and promote go abroad.
“I want to make go as popular as chess,” he explained.
For American players, at least, this may be good news – since Lee reportedly views the United States as the best place to expand the game.
The U.S. holds another appeal for Lee as well – his wife and young daughter have just moved to Canada for his daughter’s education.