Top 20 Go Players: Park Younghun and Lee Younggu

Hello everyone,

This is An Younggil, and I would like to introduce the ‘Top 20 Go players in the world in 2010’ according to Dr Bai Taeil’s world ranking. This ranking system is officially regarded in Korean Baduk Association since 2006, and most of Korean Baduk fans agree that it shows the current rank quite well even though it’s still controversial.

On the list, some players are close to me, so there’re lots of things I can tell, but some are not. I’ll talk about their characters and personality rather than their performances and careers. I would start from the back of the list.

Lee YoungGu

Lee YoungGu was ranked as No.20, and Park YoungHun was 19th. They had studied together at the Yu ChangHyuk’s Baduk School in Boon-Dang, and they’re very close each other.

Lee Younggu professional Go player 214x300 picture

Lee Younggu 8p - ranked 20th in the world for 2010

Firstly, I’d like to talk about Lee YoungGu 8p. He was born in 1987, and became a pro in 2001.

He’s not yet well known player in the Go world because he is good at domestic tournaments than internationals. His style of playing is not easy to explain because it’s nothing special. He likes to play normally, and it’s also hard to find his weak points in his moves. That is ok when he plays against general players, but his style is too normal to become a great player.

He is well known as a hard worker. He studies Go more than anybody else, and only Park YoungHun studies as much as he does as far as I know.

He is very good at lightning games, and his performances in the Korean Baduk League were nicer than other tournaments.

I played several official games against him, and there’s a game which is still reminding in my heart. In 2003, I was on the semifinal of the Rookies Cup, and faced to him. I was winning the game, and I thought there’s nowhere to lose, but at the same time, I became very nervous of winning.

An Younggil vs Lee Younggu 300x138 picture

The semifinal game in the Rookies Cup: An Younggil (left) vs Lee Younggu

I couldn’t concentrate on the game, and I made some silly mistakes, and finally lost the game. It’s unforgettable, and I can still remember the moment he played the brilliant winning move which I can never imagine.

He has a very charming character. He is humorous with wit, easy going, and thoughtful. Lots of pros like him, and he has lots of friends.

His performance at the international tournaments so far is not outstanding yet, but I believe he’ll reach to the top someday in near future.

Park Younghun vs Lee Younggu 300x200 picture

Korean Baduk League 2010: Park Younghun (left) vs Lee Younggu

Park YoungHun

Park YoungHun 9p was born in 1985, and has become a pro in 1999. He won the ChunWon in 2001 when he was only 16, and it was sensational. And, he won the Fujitsu Cup in 2004, and it was more sensational because he was still only 18, and lots of Baduk fans were excited and thought he would be the post Lee ChangHo and dominate the Go world soon. From that time, his performance so far is not that impressive, it’s because he won the titles when he was so young, and most of fans expects him to be the No.1 in the world. In fact, he’s still one of the top players, and I hope he comes back and take some more of international titles in the future.

He likes to play simple moves and games because he is extremely good at endgame and counting.

Park Younghun vs Yoda Norimoto picture

The final of the Fujitsu Cup Park Younghun (left, 9p) against Yoda Norimoto 9p

Some pros said, he doesn’t do his best in the opening because it doesn’t really matter for him as he can reverse the game in the endgame.

He has a charming nickname which is ‘Little Prince’. One of Baduk commentators started to call him when he won his first title, and every Go fans like to call him like that.

His smile is so pure like a baby and his mind is beautiful, so whenever I talk to him I feel good. He is a real Baduk lover and he studies Go more than anybody else as I mentioned above. When he was an insei, his teacher commanded his students to play 300 game records a week, and all students thought it’s impossible except him. He said it’s easy because he can do 50 games each day, and he can even have a day off.

Park Younghun professional Go player picture

'Little Prince', Park Younghun

I’ve never heard any bad word from him, and most of Baduk fans including pros like him because of that.

AN Younggil 8p

About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He won the 'Prize of Victory of the Year' in 1998 for winning 18 consecutive pro games. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now runs Younggil's Go School in Sydney, Australia and writes at Go Game Guru. You can find Younggil on Google+ and follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Comments

  1. It’s so great article!. I always wanted to know more about top pros but there was no information to get. And now it is :) Thank the author very much! I’am looking forward for continue!

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad to hear people like that article includes you.:) Let me continue.

  2. Thanks for the article, it’s always interesting to know more about top pro ! They look more “human” with this kind of informations ^^

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      You’re right. They’re ‘human’ with warm hearts. I’d like to make Go players feel them closer.

  3. thank you. such a great article. I hope you’ll continue to write this top 20 profile article :)

  4. JeansebL says:

    I’m happy that somebody finally thought of doing this. English descriptions of pro players by a pro who actually knows them. This is awesome!

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