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On the 11th and 12th of May 2001 the 1st Baduk Conference was organized by the Baduk department (founded in 1997) of the Myong-ji University in Yong-In, Korea. The event featured 25 presentations given by representatives of the following countries: Australia, Belgium, China, Czech, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Rumania, Russia, Taiwan, USA, England and Yugoslavia.

Each of the presentations was based on an article presented on the conference in a 350 page book of proceedings. Both a Korean and English version was available.

The topics featured a wide variety of topics in various area's of interest. For example teaching Baduk to children and grown-ups, Baduk and computers, history of Baduk, Baduk middle and endgame, popularizing Baduk in the Western world, Baduk rules, organizing Baduk events, Baduk and psychiatry and many more.

The event was attended daily by some 100-150 visitors with various background: Baduk scientists and students, professional and amateur Baduk players and also the media was represented by the writing press, the Korean television and a documentary team from the USA.

Sessions lasted from 10:00 in the morning till 17:30 in the evening with some coffee and lunch breaks in between. On average each presentation would take some 25 minutes.


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The organization

The event was organized by the following persons:

Conference Convener
Soo-Hyun Jeong (Myong Ji university)
Organizing committee
Chair: Sang-Dae Hahn (Myong Ji university)
Jeong-Woo Kim (Myong Ji university)
Il-Ho Choi (Myong Ji university)
Jin-Hwan Kim (Myong Ji university)
Kwan-Yeol Bae (Myong Ji university)
Advisory committee
Syeong-Woo Lee (President of Baduk Cultural Studies)
Hyeong-Yun Jo (Ha Yang university)
(all Asian names have the given name first and family name second).
Personal impressions

On the 11th and 12th of May the first Baduk conference was held. This event, organized by the Baduk department of the Myong-Ji university in Yong-In, Korea will be a yearly one. Below my impressions of the event and my experiences with the Baduk culture in Korea in general which I collected during my stay in Korea.


In December the Dutch Go Association approaches me with the question whether I would be interested to attend a conference on Baduk in Seoul. They suggest I could talk about my website for example. Of course, I am very enthusiastic about the idea to participate the conference and the same week I write an abstract for the presentation which contains a global description of the plans for my website which I had been carrying around for a while. I keep things vague on purpose so I will be able to change the focus in the months before the actual conference.

In February I receive the invitation from the conference committee in Korea and a hectic time starts to get the article finished in time. I want to use this unique opportunity to talk about GoBase as well, a go database program designed and developed by me and Geert-Jan van Opdorp. Consequently, the article will cover two subjects: GoBase and the website new style.

The first version of the article is rejected: too long, but after some evenings of hard work and creative rewriting I can reduce the article by some 20 pages and this new version is accepted (see below for the electronic version).

Meet and Beat

The 10th of May I arrive in Korea and am welcomed at the airport by the "Meet and Greet" team, a group of students who will take care of us during the days to come. I will soon start to call them the "Meet and Beat" team since besides good care they also provide Baduk lessons on the board with one-sided results. Most students are strong Baduk players (4-6 dan) which was the case for most Koreans I have played. All very strong: good reading abilities combined with a polished sense for shape and direction of play.

The topics

The conference itself was interesting in the sense that a wide variety of subjects were discussed. From artificial intelligence to the effects which playing Baduk has on the human brain. From teaching Baduk to children and grown-ups. From middle game strategies to rational methods to play the endgame. From the history of Baduk to the ways to popularize the game. And from the rules of Baduk to the ways to use modern facilities such as computers to enlighten insights in the game.

The presentations

The presentations themselves were more or less interesting, mostly depending on the time the participants had invested beforehand. While some participants were still cutting and gluing on the very day of the presentation, others were fully prepared with laptops, presentation software and slide shows. In general, most participants seemed to feel that the allotted time for the actual presentation (between 20 and 30 min) was a little short.

Media coverage

The attention of the media was enormous. Baduk journalists, television teams and an American documentary team are present. Myself, I was interviewed three times in total. Twice by the Americans and once by Kwang-Gu Lee from the Chosun Daily newspaper. I have given my presentation twice during my stay in Korea. Once was a private presentation for the internet branch of the Korean Baduk Association. My personal wish to establish contacts for future corporation with Korean organizations were thus realized and I feel that some of the meetings I had might have follow-ups in the future.

The Korean Baduk culture

During my stay in Korea I got a good impression of the Korean Baduk culture. There is the Baduk faculty at the university (more about that later on), there are over 1000 Baduk schools with a wide range in strength and ambition, there are a countless number of Baduk clubs and there is a 24-hour Baduk TV channel to quench the thirst of the estimated 12.5 million Baduk players (about 60 million inhabitants in Korea). This undoubtedly makes Baduk Korean sport number 1.

The Baduk faculty

Before my visit to Korea I didn't have a clear picture of what a Baduk faculty comprised but now I do have some idea of their activities and plans. Globally, you can achieve three aims with the study: if you're interested and have the capabilities you can become a professional Baduk player, you can practise to become a Baduk teacher or you can focus on becoming a so called media expert (think of teaching and reporting facilities using all modern techniques such as the internet). The program runs since 1997 and lasts four years so coming year the first graduates will be delivered. It will be interesting to see where they eventually will end up.

During the studies a continuous program of tsume-go is covered. A set of about 10.000 problems divided into various levels is presented over the years. Koreans strongly believe that good reading skills is the basis for good Baduk play. They have put me on problems for endless hours hoping I would get the mood for solving Baduk problems and maybe also since they quickly noticed that my game (and likely of most western players) shows various cracks and holes in this area. I have to say that spending a while in such a culture of reading is very inspiring. After some days I actually couldn't play any automatic moves anymore but instead tried to read out each and every move before playing.

How to teach Baduk?

During the conference the subject how to teach Baduk to children was discussed heavily. Soon it became evident three different type of schools exist:

  1. Teach the children how to capture a stone and then let them play capture-go (the one who captures a stone first wins). This method is popular partly due to the efforts by Yasuda Yasutoshi, 9p from Japan and is promoted by the EGCC and other European and American Go teachers.
  2. Teach the children the principles of Baduk by means of all kind of games and by using illustrations using computer software. This is the method promoted by Yang Woo Ga from Taiwan, also known for his work for the Ing foundation. Each Baduk principle is introduced using a small story, allegory or explanatory diagram.
  3. Teach the children by giving them problems of increasing difficulty: hitting stones, capturing stones in a ladder, in a geta, making groups alive and dead and so on. This is the Korean method. Reading forms the basis and other aspects of the game which don't require reading like building territory and strategic concepts are introduced next.

Baduk an olympic sport?

Another topic which came up various times during the conference was if, how and when Baduk can become an olympic sport. The importance of Baduk as an olympic sport was acknowledged by all. For example, it would help the popularization of Baduk, especially in the Western world. However, in my opinion there are quite some problems to solve before this plan can be realized.

  1. There are a large number of existing organizations (some of which have a tradition which goes way back) who need to get united into one international organization which should represent all and at the same time be able to operate efficiently.
  2. Baduk lacks any form of doping control. This sounds silly but will surely be important when Baduk wants to become an olympic sport.
  3. Another problem will be the fact that Baduk is hardly known to the members of the olympic committee.
  4. Finally, which rules will be used once Baduk will be an olympic sport? The Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Ing, Australian or maybe the American rules?

But in general the attendants were optimistic about these issues and it will surely be a key element in the Korean long term planning and strategies.

Friendship matches

During my stay in Korea I participated in a total of four (what was misleadingly called) "friendship" matches. The results varied from 0-18 against a team of youngsters in a Baduk school to 10-10 against a random selection taken from the visitors of the largest Baduk club in Seoul (three halls with a total capacity of 1700 seats). The other two matches were against the female and male students of the Baduk faculty. In total this provided the visitors with another 7 wins against 31 losses.

Teaching games

Of course, there were lots of opportunities to play professionals as well.
Myself I played a simultaneous game against Yang Keon, 5p during our visit of the Hankuk Baduk Association. Although I got an enormous handicap (6 stones) still I am very proud of this game considering the very praising comments I received from the professional after the game.
The other game against a professional was with Kim Sung-Rae, 2p. The invitation for the game was more or less as follows: "we are nicely settled now drinking soju (Korean wodka) and all, so this is a good moment to play a teaching game. And in case you play bad moves you should consider to drink more soju." That game had a predictable result.
The same Kim gave all participants a personally signed book containing problems taken from practical situations, very useful.


The days were long, starting from 07:00 (and sometimes even 06:00) till 22:00 in the evening, and exhausting but the amount of impressions we got from Korea and especially the Korean Baduk culture are unique in my opinion. They let us see behind the scenes up to the studios of the Baduk television station. We could watch the professionals play their BC Card Cup games and we could hang over the boards of insei playing their nerve-wrecking qualification games. An incredible hospitality and an enormous eagerness to give the Western go players a good impression of Baduk in Korea was the common denominator during the whole visit with our friends in Korea.


Wodzimierz Malinowski kindly sent me pictures of the conference, friendship matches and excursions which followed after the conference.


In this section I offer the electronic versions of the papers and slides as presented on the conference. Please submit your paper and/or slides as well if you have an electronic version available.

Italy Playing: In Between Rule Systems and Freedom, Francesca Antonacci
This paper investigates the delicate tension between the sense of freedom which one experiences when playing a game and at the same time the restrictions imposed by the rules of the game.

PDF document (140 KB) PDF

Czech Republic Rating the proficiency of Baduk/Go players, Ales Cieply
This paper presents the basic ideas of the rating system used by the EGF and discuss its possible extrapolation towards a uniform scale of professional and amateur ratings.

PostScript document (70 KB) PostScript

Germany Amateurs' Scientific Contributions to the Future of Go, Robert Jasiek
This paper gives a broad overview of what amateurs have contributed to Go as a science.

MS-Word document (390 KB) MS-Word
PostScript document (70 KB) PostScript

Poland Baduk and Human Life, Wodzimierz Malinowski
This essay records the personal experiences and reflections concerning Baduk. Amongst others it will answer the question: How does a man from Europe understand and get enchanted with Baduk?

MS-Word document (50 KB) MS-Word

United Kingdom Some Problems of English Translation of Baduk Terms, Charles Matthews
This paper looks at past and present difficulties in the way of attaining an agreed set of translations of the technical terms of the game

MS-Word document (90 KB) MS-Word
Conference slides Slides

The Netherlands A World-wide Go Game Repository, Jan van der Steen
Outline of the plans for an innovative website based on the existing website (Go, an Addictive Game) and Go database program GoBase

PDF document (350 KB) PDF
Conference slides Slides

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