Ranka interviewed Chinese Taipei’s Lin Chi-han just after his victory over China’s Chen Yaoye.
Ranka: Congratulations on your win and
Ranka: Please tell us something about your career.
Lin: I was born in Taipei. I started playing go when I was about six years old. I was still in kindergarten, but my uncle could play go, and Mother thought it would be good for me to learn. When I was about nine or ten I started taking lessons from Lin Sheng-hsian, a 7-dan pro. To become his disciple there was a kowtowing ceremony I had to go through, touching my head to the ground in front of him. This is an important ceremony in Chinese Taipei.
Ranka: Were there many other children like you studying go that seriously at that age?
Lin: Not many, but one of them was Chang Hsu (known as Cho U in Japan, where he is currently one of the top pros). We were the same age, although we had different teachers.
Ranka: When did you become professional?
Lin: In 2000. I also began studying business administration at Taiwan National University around then. I graduated in 2004, but I had already starting winning professional tournaments and was committed to a professional career. My university training may prove useful later when it comes to investing my earnings, but it has not been of any direct use to me as a go player.
Ranka: What was your first professional tournament win?
Lin: It was in the tournament that is now known as the Taiwan Oza, although it had a different name then. I still consider it my most important victory.
Ranka: And your first win in an amateur tournament?
Lin: There’ve been so many that I can’t remember.
Ranka: Are you able to make a living as a professional player?
Lin: Yes, definitely, both by teaching and by playing in tournaments. I like doing both of those things, but if I had to choose one or the other, I could make a living doing either one.
Ranka: That must mean that there are a lot of people playing go in Chinese Taipei these days.
Lin: Indeed there are. Every weekend there must be five or ten tournaments played somehwere in Taiwan, with participation ranging from one or two hundred at the smaller ones to several thousand at the larger ones. And most of these tournaments are for young kids, from beginners to about shodan-level players.
Ranka: And now let’s hear about your games here so far, starting with your loss to Japan’s Fujita Akihiko in the first round.
Lin: He was very strong, and I lost by playing badly in the endgame.
Ranka: And which was the toughest of the games you won?
Lin: The last game against Chen Yaoye.
Ranka: You have a game coming up against Korea’s Kang Dongyoon in the next round. Have you played him before?
Lin: Yes, once in Korea, although not in a tournament as big as this one.
Ranka: What are your interests outside of go?
Lin: Reading and basketball. I’m a big NBA fan.
Ranka: Thank you, and good luck in the upcoming medal rounds.