|Lee ChangHo 9p is changing.
His Baduk is as strong as ever without any sign of
weakening. But his style appears changing every time I
A shy boy Lee ChangHo 9 dan who used to throw a couple
of words in the past is expressing his thoughts actively
mixing some jokes.
His evasive attitude on sensitive points in the past has
changed too. It is difficult to say whether it is due to
his tennis games, reading novels, or his age. But one
thing very clear is that he is becoming very flexible in
every respect, including things other than baduk.
In the beginning of this year he showed a sign of
slowing down when he lost against Lee SeDol 9dan at
the LG cup. But he has reconfirmed his position as
the strongest by grabbing 4 domestic titles and 3
Following is the interview with him.
How is your health these days?
I am keeping myself fit by tennis. I play twice a week.
Lee SangHoon and Mok JinSeok are my regular partners.
Lately Song TaeKon, Choi CheolHan and Won SeongJin are
joining us often.
Are you feeling confident against Cho HunHyun, your
teacher at MyongIn title games?
It doesn't matter whether I win or lose. I only try
my best to play good games. I am not obsessed about
Cho HunHyun 9 dan will be without any title if he loses
the MyongIn title. Do you feel burdened in this respect?
I think it is not polite toward him taking those things
into consideration in the games. I will do my best
against my teacher which will be what he wants of me.
Although I cannot explain well, I always do my best to
find the most desirable moves in the games.
The young professionals accomplish such impressive
results these days. Who do you think is the one who shows
the potential to be your threatening challenger.
There are so many excellent new players. Especially Park
YoungHoon, Song TaeKon and Choi CheolHan are doing very
well. There are also young people who just have become
professionals and very good. But I have not played
against them yet. So I don't know very well.
People say the Chinese are not far behind Koreans.
Chinese young players are also very strong. I think they
are as good as Korean new professionals.
But Korean players tend to think Chinese players still
are not their equals.
I think it is not bad to keep that kind of confidence.
But Chinese players also would think themselves as
strong as Korean players. In my opinion, Chinese players
and Korean players are not very different in strength.
What do you think about the gap between the world top
players such as yourself, Cho HunHyun, Yoo ChangHyuk and
Lee SeDol and Chinese and Korean young professionals?
The actual baduk strength is only very negligible. The
difference is in the experience of winning the major
world competitions and the length of time we have played
Do you play in the internet?
Yes occasionally, but not often.
(it is rumoured that he recently promoted to 9 dan at tygem)
Do you visit your own website often?
yes sometimes, to read my fans' writings. It is awkward
to reply myself so my brother Lee YoungHo is replying to
What are the hobbies other than tennis?
I read books whenever I have time. Children's stories,
novels, culture, philosophy,... anything I can get hold
of. At the moment I am reading "Chinese philosophy" by Uno
How many books do you read a month?
About 5 books per month. My reading speed is very slow
although it seems I am gaining more speed. When I
compare myself with others, I am a lot slower. I read
one book per week normally.
Your fans are very curious about timing of your marriage.
I am curious myself (laughter). Well... I have not thought
about it seriously. I have not got any plan. When I
meet someone I like, I will think about it then.
When you played even against a female Chinese player Mao
JaJwin at the KBS Baduk festival, people were gossiping
about you and her as a possible romantic partners.
I honestly did not intend that result. I just made a
mistake in the latter half of the game. And Mao JaJwin
did finishing part very well. I think she is a very cute junior.
What do you think about a Chinese baduk player as your future spouse.
Well... why all the way to China. (Lee ChangHo said to
a reporter once regarding Chinese female players
"Don't you think it will be hard without being able to
communicate in the same language?")
It is December already. How would you sum up this year?
I was unhappy about my poor performance in the
beginning. But later, I have managed to recover
reasonably. So on the whole, I think I did not do badly.
I feel satisfied with my performance this year.