Introduction

(Go to Entry# 1)

As a baduk* prodigy, I left home at age 9. Living with my baduk master, his family, and other fellow pupils, I went through years of intense training in baduk until I debuted as a professional player. Recording this experience has been in my mind for many years, but I always had excuses. My writing wasn’t good enough, I didn’t accomplish anything great to make people want to read my stories, I was busy with my academic work, and so on.

Thinking about the new year, 2018, I thought about what I wanted to achieve. My list was long, but writing about my past – the years when I studied baduk with all my heart to become a professional player – felt most compelling for two reasons:

  1. My memory is getting more blurry over time. I consider myself to have good memory, but the longer I wait, the more I will forget about what happened in those years and how I felt about them. Also, it seemed clear that I would only get busier as I get older.
  2. It is becoming unnecessary for young baduk prodigies in Korea to leave home to become professional players. The Korean Baduk Association has made several policy changes to accommodate baduk prodigies in cities outside Seoul (Ex. Now there are separate professional qualification tournaments only for the players who live and study outside greater Seoul area.). Many professional players moved to different provinces to start their baduk schools (There was no professional baduk school in my hometown or neighboring cities when I was young.). Computer baduk programs have become as strong or stronger than top professional players (AlphaGo** is proven to be much stronger than the top professional players, but it is not available to public. Yet, there are several other baduk AIs that are inspired by AlphaGo, and some of these programs are now considered to be as strong as most pros.).

So, I decided to just start writing. I don’t have the luxury to be a full time writer, though. My solution is to break my stories into small pieces and post here as I complete each of them. Having this place public will keep me motivated, and even if I stop writing at some point, there will be at least a partial record of my attempts. It is not uncommon for artists to have incomplete pieces, and these pieces are still appreciated. Having said that, my intention is to write my stories up to the point I pass the professional qualification.

I hope you enjoy my stories!

*Baduk is a Korean term for Go. I use baduk in my writing because if feels more natural to me. I changed people’s names to be easier to the Western audience because I wasn’t using their real names anyway, and I didn’t want the names to be too difficult to pronounce and/or to remember.

**AlphaGo is the name of a Go AI program developed by Google DeepMind.