The day after the tournament, reporters interviewed the winner, Hongsuk Song of Korea.
Reporter: Now that the tournament is over, how do you feel about it?
Song: Looking back over the whole tournament, I’m only sorry that it had to end.
Reporter: Which was your toughest game?
Song: There were two: the games against the Chinese player in the fifth round, and against the Czech player in the last round.
Reporter: What has been the most memorable game in your career so far?
Song: The final game in the tournament for top Chinese and Korean amateurs held in 2007. This tournament was played in a series of Chinese cities: Beijing, Changsha, Wuhan, Fenghuang. The winning side in each round got to choose the site of the next round. There were sixteen Chinese and sixteen Korean players in the first round. I was one of the finalists. The final game was played on a huge outdoor board near a river in Fenghuang, with people dressed in black and white, wearing helmets, as the stones. Actually we were playing on a regular go board overlooking this scene, but we could see each move immediately reenacted on the outdoor board. This was my first international tournament, and before it began, I had jokingly promised that I would jump into the river if I won. During the game it began to look as if I might have to deliver on that promise. At least I thought I was winning, but in the end I lost. Then I really did want to jump into the river. I remember that game very well.
Reporter: What other international tournaments have you taken part in?
Song: In 2008 I played in an Asian amateur event in Taiwan, as one of Korea’s top three amateurs, and finished second again. In 2007 and 2008 I was starting to look like a perennial runner-up, but then I won an international tournament in 2009. That was the Korean Prime Minister’s Cup, held in Jeonju.
Reporter: Now that you’ve won the World Amateur Go Championship, what are your future plans?
Song: I would like to become a professional player if possible. That would be the best thing. If that’s not possible, I may go to work for a company, but I would still like to be active in go. There’s much to be done, including publicity and teaching the game to children, so if I can’t be a professional player, that’s all right too.
Reporter: How do you view the current competition between China and Korea?
Song: Right now I think China and Korea are about even. Both have some very strong players. In the future, however, I expect China to pull ahead. One of the advantages that China has is that under their system, the age limit for making pro is fifteen, so if you don’t make pro, you still have time to educate yourself to do something else, and there are many go-related jobs available other than being a professional player. Chinese amateurs have more opportunities in general.
In Korea, if you’re not a pro yourself, you have practically no chances to meet top professional opposition. Only recently has one top tournament, the BC Card Cup, been opened to amateurs. I have friends who got games with top pros in that tournament, including one who beat Lee Changho, but I missed the chance by losing in the preliminaries.
Reporter: Speaking of pros, are there any whom you particularly admire?
Song: Lee Changho. He’s number one. Two others I admire are Choi Chulhan, and Fujisawa Shuko.
Reporter: How do you study the game?
Song: For the past year I’ve studied very little, but before that I attended several go academies, including Yoo Changhyuk’s academy and Kweon Kabyong’s academy, which produced Lee Sedol and Choi Chulhan.
Reporter: Do you have any other hobbies or interests?
Song: I’ve taken up swimming and playing the piano, but I’ve let the piano lapse. I guess go suits me best. Even when I’m doing something else, I’m still thinking about go. But I was enthusiastic about the piano when I started, and when I return to Korea, I mean to start practicing again, going back to the basic scales: do-re-mi…
Reporter: Do you have a favorite composer?
Song: Beethoven. The fifth symphony.
Reporter: Thank you.