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Introduction

Lee ChangHo: "I, myself, am curious about when I would get married"

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Lee ChangHo gets married?
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 interview him.
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 international titles.

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 winning.

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 this game.

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 them.

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 Tetsudo.

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.

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