Yoonyoung Kim, (김윤영, 金侖映) is a professional 4 dan Go player from Korea. She turned professional in 2007, and was promoted to 4 dan in 2014.
Q: How did you learn Go?
A: When I was 5 years old, one of my friends told me he will go to a Go (Baduk) Academy as of next week. There were more than 1000 Go Academies in Korea. He was a close friend and we hung out everyday, so I asked my parents if I could also join the Go academy with my friend. Finally, I joined the Go academy and I really enjoyed it, especially capturing stones. I have been totally into Go ever since that time. I never stopped playing Go and I still love it. As one might expect, the friend who made me start Go, quit a few months later.
Q: You became professional in Korea, what does it take to become professional there?
A: In Korea, being a professional player is very competitive. In my generation only 2 women can become pro and 9 men can become a pro per year. So, normally teenagers study Go all the day after school, some players didn’t go to school or half day of school since middle school. I always took half day of school and except that time studied Go all the time. In the weekend I went to Yeongusaeng League (Korean Insei) played 2 games each and weekday studied Go at Dojang all day. I had this pattern all the time for 10 years.
Q: What makes Go special for you?
A: When I was young, I only focused on winning in order to become a Professional. Since I became pro and an adult, my view was changed. Go has everything and I learned how to lose or win and gained patience, used to practice hard, be humble, think about other people’s feeling. Through playing Go, I could learn everything. After becoming Pro, I had chance to go abroad as a teacher such as European tournaments, North America, South Asia. Finally, it gives me a chance to make many friends as well.
Q: You are doing English videos on Twitch/YouTube, what is the reason?
A: I stream on Twitch and upload both on Twitch and Youtube. I moved to Montreal, Canada to teach Go since 2017 Summer. One day I made City match. For example team Montreal vs other city. That time I wanted people to enjoy this match, so I broadcasted on Twitch. It was the beginning of why I started English Go Commentary. One day, one of the streamer Shawn Ray asked me to give a lesson to him. but doing streaming on Twitch instead of private lesson. So I did streaming regularly in the summer time. Recently I have reviewed Professional games. I realized there are many kinds of English Go contents, but almost none of pro game review. Watching Pro games can give you new ideas and is especially good for high dan players.
Q: What do you think is the key to improving?
А: 3 Keys to Improving:
Second solving problems
Q: How to improve at kyu levels comparing to dan levels?
A: Kyu players need to play a lot, especially double digit kyu, but when you reach level around 10k, you need to start solving problems. Solving problems means not only Life and Death. There are ton of subjects, such as Capturing race, Opening direction, Haengma, Endgame etc. Having good basics are important when you are kyu players. Otherwise you could have bad habit for a long time. When you reach single digit kyu level, reviewing is important. As you know your typical mistake, we can reach higher rank. Watching strong players game, pro games opening- middle game.
Dan players need to solve problems, play, review and watch pro games.
Q: What should a person do if he is stuck and feels he does not improve?
A: When someone is stuck to improve, there must be a weakness or a bad habit. Find your weakness and study it bit deeper. You can stop playing for a while, study differently. Reviewing yourself is also a good idea.
Q: How to make living out of Go as average professional, is it hard?
A: In Korea, Rank 1-50 can live only by playing Go (Tournaments) . Top 50-100 can by playing at tournament and teach or join event time to time. They can live. But lower than 100 rank of Go players, hard to live by only playing. But if they teach Go at School, Academy, they have no problem to live.
In Female Professional players, Rank 1-10 are the only ones who can play Go without anything else, and the others normally teach Go at the same time. Join event as a Referee, teaching at School or company Go club.
According to research, There are 10.000.000 People can play go over 20 years old, and they send their kid to a Go institution so, if they teach Go, can make good money.