A journey to Korea, part 2
By Tony Claasen | Articles | 10.09.2023 18:37| Views: 4343
Travelling back from Gwangju to Seoul was thanks to Mrs. Hyanghee Kim a piece of cake.
She drove and I was able to sleep most of the time and recover from my travelling disaster as well as the jet-lag.

After a small delicious dinner, we went back to the hotel and with my new friend Zhou Rui from China, we spend some time talking with the help of google-translate.. And I found out we have a mutual friend Hsiao-yin Changi, who spend some time in my house when she visited Hamburg over 15 years ago.
Waking up in the early morning fresh, rested, showered and after a small breakfast with a hot coffee we were ready for the Conference.
Arriving at the entrance of the Conference I met Hsiao-yin Chang, the happiness after not seeing each other for such a long time was intense.

Hyanghee Kim, Zhou Rui, Vanthanee Namasonthi, Antonius Claasen and Hsiao-yin Chang

Than I met an old friend who lives in Korea since 2006, Daniela Trinks who I teasingly liked to call “The Most Beautiful German Champion in the world”.

referent 2
Daniela Trinks and Chi-Min Oh busy as speakers

The 1st International Conference on Go Studies “Go in the Era of AI” at the Myongji University started soon after these joyful meetings with old and dear friends.

Even when not every topic was interesting for me personally, all in all I was introduced to many new topics in regards to Go and AI.
Each and every speaker was able to catch my attention, showing and teaching me new views on both Go and AI.

Interesting for me was the combination of different aspects of the theme “Go and AI”.

Starting with Topics like “Go Players Should Not Trust AI Win Rate” and “A Statistical Analysis of Amateur Go Players to Assist AI-Cheating Detection in Online Go Communities” via themes as, an anthropological perspective and a cross cultural communication in the age of AI up to AI in the go industry also topics as “Analysis of the Knowledge of Structure of Go” and “Analysis of Solving Life-and-Death Problems on Deep Learning” also the thematic of Go and AI helping to teach children was discussed as well as the theme of the Impact AI has on Go education.

Theo Barolett and Colin Le Duc speaking about  AI-Cheating Detection

All in all my day at this conference was unexpectedly fruitful and not only was I introduced to many new views on the game, also I learned about new possibilities to teach go to young children.

My conclusion for this conference is that Go and AI is more than just AlphaGo beating a human in a match and it also is not just analysing a game with AlphaGo, Leela or similar applications.

A Team of 3 players against AI at the 18th KPMC

Prof. Nam Chihyung, President of ISGS welcomes all participants and speakers

The group picture with all speakers and participants

On TYGEM my new friend Chaiwoo Choi wrote an article about me after reading the interview Artem Kachanovskyi published in the European Go Journal and after both of us had a few talks during dinner, a walk in the mountains and visiting the Namsam Tower. The impressions he made can be found in the article he wrote for TYGEM. Below you find a translation of the article.

The author Chaiwoo Choi,
served as the president of the Seoul National University Baduk Club during his school years, participating as a representative player in the annual exchange matches between Seoul National University and the University of Tokyo from 1976 for four years.(1982~1986) Afterward, he took on the role of president of the Public Officials Baduk Union, making efforts to promote baduk (Go) activities within their workplace community where he had been working as a government officer. In 2023, he participated as the head of the Korean delegation at the 65th European Go Congress held in Leipzig, Germany, alongside Korean Go Association executives. At the Leipzig European Go Congress, he attended as a 6-dan player, carrying out various responsibilities aimed at bridging the gap between European and Korean Go.

Chaiwoo Choi, watching a match between BiBa Students and young Korean Baduk players

Antonius Claasen, the Dutch-German go Federation President:
A Wide Stride for Bridging Korean and European Go

Antonius Claasen, a Dutch national serving as the President of the German go Federation, has embarked on a remarkable journey in South Korea after visiting the Prime Minister's Cup Baduk Tournament.
His life philosophy is to live naturally, like water, and this perspective shapes his actions. In the European Go community, Antonius is known as both a passionate Go enthusiast and an event organizer. His nickname, "Tony Style," reflects his adventurous, passionate, and daring approach, characteristics that resonate well with European Go players. While the term "passion" is easy to understand, the concept of an "event organizer" might be unfamiliar to some. In Europe, numerous Go tournaments take place, and behind the scenes, dedicated individuals collaborate with volunteers and sponsors to organize and manage these events. Referring to event organizers as "event producers" or "event directors" may make this role more relatable.

Over the past year, Antonius opened his home to accommodate six Ukrainian refugees who had lost their homes and families due to war. When asked whether he would choose to spend limited funds on the Ukrainian refugees or his Russian girlfriend, he didn't hesitate to allocate the resources to those who had suffered loss. This compassionate and humane side of his personality shines through.

Compared to the situation in South Korea, where tournament finances and operations are often separate, the role of an event organizer in Europe is far more complex and demanding. Antonius recently completed a year-long preparation effort (most of which was done by Rene and Peggy Scheibe as mainorganisers), culminating in the 65th European Go Congress held in Leipzig, Germany.
Shortly after the event's conclusion, he set his sights on South Korea. His visit to South Korea is driven by his dream of bridging the gap between European and Korean Go communities and further expanding the Go community worldwide. His vision for Go development revolves around two key directions: Inspiring European strong players and professionals to become more passionate about Go and fostering a love for Go among young players to ensure intergenerational transmission. Although his career primarily lies in the field of IT programming, Antonius approached his third visit to South Korea with careful planning and consideration. The European Go scene represents a unique blend of competition and collaboration among countries like South Korea, China, and Japan, making it a hub for Go enthusiasts. While South Korea boasts a rich history of Go, much of its prosperity today can be attributed to the groundwork laid by Cho Nam-chul and his Hanseong Kiwon, who not only excelled as top players but also established systems like the professional Go system. Comparatively, Antonius has been associated with the European Go Congress (EGC) since 1981, starting in Linz, and continuing until Leipzig in 2023. In 1988, during the EGC in Hamburg, he achieved his best-ever European ranking, reaching 14th place. This tournament marked the beginning of his enduring friendship with Martin Stiassny, who now serves as the President of the European Go Federation. In 1995, in Bucharest, Antonius personally cooked and shared meals with around 20 children and their parents from Romania, earning the title "Tony's Chinese Cooking" as they joyfully savoured his dishes. The following year, he and his friend Rob collected donations in various currencies to enable Romanian children to participate in the EGC held in Abano Terme, Italy. These small acts of kindness and love would lead to other meaningful connections. Two years later, during a Christmas visit to Bucharest, Romania, Antonius and Rob were treated to daily meals for ten consecutive days, a heartfelt gesture from the parents of the Romanian children. It was a token of gratitude for Antonius's dedication to "Tony's Chinese Cooking" and their assistance in participating in the Italian tournament. In 2000, when Antonius's son was born, Martin, now the President of the German Go Federation, requested his help in organizing the EGC in Strausberg. After contributing to the event organization with his six-month-old son and wife in tow, Antonius focused on his family and career. During a dinner in South Korea, Antonius shared a surprising chapter from his life story. While establishing a small startup in the IT sector, he faced a major setback when a partner embezzled a large sum from the company. As a result, he had to start from scratch, with 15 employees, losing not only his workplace but also his previous success. However, these setbacks did not appear to impact Antonius's mental fortitude, as he quickly returned to life with an optimistic outlook. In 2008, the EGC held in Leksand became a family trip, with Antonius attending with his three children. In 2016, during the Baden-Baden European Pro Qualification, he played a pivotal role in live-streaming European professional Go matches on the internet and serving as a key referee for top European players. In 2022, he volunteered in the organization of the Vatra Dornei tournament, and he was subsequently elected as the President of the German Go Federation.
Antonius has also cultivated significant connections in the world of Korean Go. In 2001, he visited Yoo Chong-soo's 7-dan Go Dojang, and in 2018, he visited Kim Seung-jun's 9-dan BIBA Dojang, honing his Go skills. During his 2018 visit to BIBA Dojang, he even participated in the World Masters Baduk competition, a part of the Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance World Masters Baduk. In his third visit to South Korea, Antonius is actively engaged in various efforts to strengthen the bond between European and Korean Go communities. He observed the Prime Minister's Cup World Baduk Championship in Gwangju, attended the International Baduk Academic Conference held at Myongji University in Yongin, and spent time with young trainees from BIBA Dojang, among other activities. Moreover, he plans to explore potential roles for Tygem, whom he met during his visit to the Leipzig EGC, in European Go. Numerous international Go fans are supporting Antonius's broad endeavors. His mind is currently filled with ideas on how to organize a fantastic European Youth Go Championship in Hamburg in March next year. Since his introduction to Go during high school in 1979, this board game has been a constant companion throughout his life. Essentially, he can be considered Germany's Cho Nam-chul, given the enduring friendship that began when they first met at the Leipzig EGC and reunited in Seoul less than a month later. Together, we climbed Mount Namsan, enjoyed eel dishes, and shared many meaningful moments. Antonius's tireless efforts to expand the global Go community deserve our support and admiration.

two friends

After the Conference we had a dinner with all speakers and participants, during which I was able to talk with some old friends about the so called "good old days enjoying a trip down memory lane"

Namsam Tower

Part 3
Visiting Samsung, TYGEM, BiBa, PBA and KBA aswell is some sightseeing in Seoul.
A journey to Korea, part 2

This article was written by Antonius Claasen

Born 31th of January 1962, in 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands
started playing go 1979
Promotion to 1 Dan in 1981, after the Go Congress in Linz.
Promotion to 4 Dan in 1985 After the Go Congress in Terschelling.
Eurpean Champion 13X13 in 1984
European Team Champion in 1985, together with Frank Janssen and Joost Cremers.
I have 5 children and live at the moment in Hamburg Germany.

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