Ang Ho-soon, 7 kyu, the contestant from Brunei, found himself strikingly overmatched against Finland’s 5-dan Juri Kuronen in the first round. After losing, he kindly consented to give Ranka an interview.
Ranka: First please straighten us out about your names. Which is the family name and which is the given name?
Ho-soon: Ang is my family name and Ho-soon is my given name. It’s a Chinese name, but I’m told it also sounds like a Korean name.
Ranka: When did you start playing go?
Ho-soon: I learned of the game from Hikaru no Go when I was 14 years old. I started playing when I was 16, at a club created by Ignatius Chin Sin Voon, which later became the Brunei Go Association. Now I’m 22.
Ranka: So you’ve been playing for six years.
Ho-soon: Actually, I played for three years and then stopped in order to concentrate on my university studies, in mechanical engineering, so I’m out of practice. I would have liked to take time to prepare for this tournament, but I wasn’t able to.
Ranka: Why is that?
Ho-soon: I was called on as a last-minute replacement for the player who was supposed to come but couldn’t.
Ranka: Please tell us something about go in Brunei. How many regular tournaments are there, how many clubs, and how many players?
Ho-soon: We used to hold four tournamnents a year, but now there’s only one. There’s only one go club in Brunei, at the university. There used to be about sixty active players, but that figure is now down to about twenty. The reason is that Brunei is not like Korea, where a go player can look forward to a busy future. People play for a while, and then stop because of studies, or they leave to go somewhere else. For example, Ignatius is now studying architecture at the University of Nottingham.
Ranka: Did you have books to study from?
Ho-soon: Yes, Ignatius had a library of English-language go books. He also maintained a go/baduk/weiqi website.
Ranka: Are your players mostly of Chinese extraction?
Ho-soon: No, we’re a mixture of Chinese and Malay.
Ranka: Is this your first visit to Korea? What is your impression so far?
Ho-soon: I’ve been to China, for a different tournament, but this is my first trip to Korea. It’s been a good experience. The food is good, the hotel is good, and everything is clean.
Ranka: Thank you very much, and good luck in the coming rounds.
Postscript: Ho-soon went on to win three of his next five games.