Korea’s Lee Hyunjoon spoke with Ranka several times during the tournament. Here is a synopsis of what he said.
Ranka: When did you learn to play go?
Lee: When I was seven years old. There was a baduk school near my house, so I started going there. Now I play in the Korean insei league. Currently I’m number 22.
Ranka: How did you qualify for the World Amateur Go Championship?
Lee: By taking second place in the Korean Amateur Kuksoo tournament. Normally the winner of the Amateur Kuksoo becomes the Korean WAGC player, but this year the winner went on to make professional shodan, so I came in his place.
Ranka: Is this your first international tournament?
Lee: No, I played in another international tournament in China seven years ago, when I was eleven. There were players from several Asian countries.
Ranka: Besides the Amateur Kuksoo, what other tournaments have you taken part in recently?
Lee: Several Korean professional tournaments, such as the BC Card Cup, are also open to amateurs, so I played in the qualifiers for them, but in each case I failed to qualify.
Ranka: Please tell us about your games in the first five rounds.
Lee: I had easy wins in the first four rounds. I enjoyed those games. Then after the fifth round, I felt good at having won a difficult game against the DPR Korean player.
Ranka: In the sixth round, you lost by 2.5 points to China’s Qiao Zhijian. Do you think you could have won if you hadn’t started that ko in the endgame?
Lee: No, I thought I was winning earlier in the game, but I started that ko because I could see that I would lose if I didn’t.
Ranka: How would you compare Qiao Zhijian with your opponents in the Korean Insei League?
Lee: They’re at about the same level.
Ranka: Please tell us about your life in Korea.
Lee: I play and study go twelve hours a day.
Ranka: Do you have any interests other than playing go?
Lee: I like K-pop music, Kara in particular, and sometimes I play soccer. Fullback is my position.
Ranka: What professional go players do you particularly admire?
Lee: Lee Changho.
Ranka: Lee Changho recently married in his mid-thirties. What did you think of that and do you have any such plans yourself?
Lee: It was a happy event, but in Korea it’s common for a man to marry in his thirties. For myself, I hope to get married a little earlier, but I’m still only 18 so I don’t have any specific plans yet.