The day after the World Amateur Go Championship ended, most of the players went on an excursion to see the lakes around Mt. Fuji, and this gave Ranka a chance to talk with the second-place finisher, Korea’s Kim Sangcheon.
Ranka: How did you start playing go?
Kim: One of my friends learned to play, he taught me the game, and I thought it was fun.
Ranka: And then?
Kim: I started playing seriously. I went from elementary school, where my favorite subject was the Korean language, into the Han Jongjin go dojo. I never attended middle school or high school. My aim was, and still is, to become a professional go player.
Ranka: How many Korean amateur tournaments have you won recently?
Kim: Just one so far this year. That was the Wangwi Cup, which was also the qualification tournament for the World Amateur Go Championship. Last year I won a few more, including both individual and team tournaments.
Ranka: Have you played in any other international tournaments?
Kim: Yes, not world tournaments like this one but tournaments with Chinese players.
Ranka: What was your best game in the World Amateur Go Championship?
Kim: My game with Wang Chen, the Chinese player. But even though I won, I’m not satisfied with it, because I made some mistakes in the endgame.
Ranka: To change the subject, what’s your favorite food?
Ranka: What do you think of Japanese food?
Kim: Well, everything I’ve had here has been great.
Ranka: Getting back to go, do you make any use of AI?
Kim: I don’t have any AI go software on my personal computer, but I use the AlphaGo Teaching Tool on their website, and I play online against the Fine Art AI on the Fox go platform. There are several versions of Fine Art. One version plays handicap go, and I’ve played against that one.
Ranka: At what handicap?
Kim: Two stones plus a 6.5-point reverse komi.
Ranka: Do you win or lose?
Kim: Win. Actually I’ve only played against it once, but I’ve also played against other AIs: for example, Leela.
Ranka: Aside from playing go, how do you spend your time? Do you have any hobbies?
Kim: Yes, bowling.
Ranka: Thank you very much.