вторник, 4 сентября 2007 г.

Lee Changho, 10 dan

2005 год

By leading a five-member Korean team to a win at the final round of the world paduk championships in Shanghai last week, Lee Chang-ho said he thought he had got over a recent slump.

And what a way to get over a slump. In the three-way group competition at theNonghim Cup, Lee notched five dramatic wins in a row over the best and brightest players from China and Japan. The five back-to-back victories brought his overall winning streak in the competition to 14 games, a new record in international competition.

``I was a bit stressed before the matches, but I just did my best to keep up my physical condition as best I could,’’ Lee said at a news conference held atthe Korea Baduk Association building on Wednesday.

The 29-year-old master of paduk _ called go in Japanese and weichi in Chinese _was the last surviving player for the Korean team, with the rest of the SouthKorean players out of the race. To win the championship, Lee showed his superiority by defeating three Chinese representatives one-by-one _ Luo Xihe, Wang Leiand Wang Xi _ and Japan’s Cho U and O Meien, enabling South Korea to maintainthe Nongshim Cup for the sixth straight year.

He also broke the record for consecutive wins in an international contest, 11 straight wins set by legendary Chinese player Nie Weiping in the 1980s.

Debuting in the professional paduk world in 1986, Lee became the youngest Korean championship holder in 1988 when he was only 14 years old. The wunderkind also broke the world record as the youngest world paduk champion in 1992. In total, he has won more than 20 global championships since his debut.

While his recent 0-3 loss to Korean Choi Cheol-han triggered concerns that thereigning master had hit the wall, his play at the Nongshim Cup proved Lee was still the undisputed top player in the world. Asked if he also regard himself asso, Lee, nicknamed ``Stone Buddha’’ for his well-known nonchalance, stayed silent in an expression of modesty.

``I just want to have more matches with younger players who are improving really quickly, and to steadily get good results in international competitions,’’Lee said.

Concerning the recent ``Lee Chang-ho syndrome’’ among paduk fans, Lee said hedid not expect it. ``I think it was because my recent record was not very good,’’ he said with his usual modesty.

Some paduk fans even contend that Lee should be granted a national order or even an unprecedented 10-tan grade. The 9-tan grade is the highest for professional paduk players and no one has ever been granted the honor in paduk history.

``It’s just too much. I don’t want it. Maybe when I’m much older,’’ Lee said.

Вот такой он, Каменный Будда.

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