Geum Yi

Renowned S. Korean Go player Cho Hoon-hyun joins ruling party

March 10, 2016
Cho Hoon-hyun (Yonhap, file)

Cho Hoon-hyun (Yonhap, file)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — Renowned South Korean Go player Cho Hoon-hyun joined the ruling Saenuri Party on Thursday, apparently hoping to win a proportional representation ticket in the April general elections.

Cho, a ninth-dan player who went pro at the age of 9, said he decided to join the party to work for the broader Go commuinity and its players.

The 63-year-old holds the world record on professional wins with 160.

Go, known as “baduk” in Korea, originated in China more than 2,500 years ago. It involves two players alternately putting black and white stones on a checkerboard-like grid of 19 lines by 19 lines. The object is to claim a larger territory than one’s opponent by surrounding vacant areas of the board using one’s own stones.

“It was shocking that Lee Se-dol lost (to Google AI),” Cho said. “It made me think even more that I should work to promote the growth of Go.”

On Wednesday, Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) program AlphaGo beat top-class South Korean Go player Lee in the ancient board game Go, taking the lead in the historic five-match man-versus-computer tournament.