Batoo - the game of the 21st century?
Baduk(Go) was very popular in Korea in the middle of 90's. 30% of all males knew the rules.
Nowadays the situation is getting worse and worse.
The door of becoming pros is too narrow (10 players per year), so less and less Koreans want to study Go seriously.
They reach 8-10 kyu and stop studying it. Lot of Korean schools and
clubs are closing their doors. In our last issue of Goama we
introduced you Yangchun Dail Baduk School and it's director Kim Heyong
ama 5-dan. In his recent interview he said that he is thinking about
closing his Go school for beginners (30kyu-1dan) and operate only a
school for serious kids, who want to become professionals. 15 years ago
his School for
beginners was very successful. He had 250 students, who studied Go
several times a week for 1-2 hours and payed him 50-100 usd/month.
Currently he has less
than 50 students from 30kyu to 1dan and he is not getting any profit
from this school. It's a common story in Korea - they have this
problems both with kids and adults.
Koreans pay more and more attention on attracting teenagers, but the
task is not easy. Most of Korean kids are enjoying Starcraft, Warcraft,
Lineage and similar computer games.
Few months ago they created a hybrid of Go and Starcraft, called Batoo
(name comes from baduk+ chantoo, which is "battle" in Korean language)
You can read the rules here an check Batoo example at the attachment (with my own commentary).
1. The board is 11 by 11
2. There are + 5 points zones - A6, F11, L6 and F1. The player who puts the stone here gets extra 5 points
3. There are -5 points zones -C9, J9, C3 and J3 (all san-sans). The player who puts his stone here loses 5 points.
4. It's possible to make one of your moves hidden. The opponent will not know where is it. It's a powerful weapon!
5. Before the start of the game each player makes 3 moves anywhere, so each game starts with 3 White and 3 Black stones
6. They use bidding for deciding turns to play. The one, who gives more points - plays first
The video translation of the attached game with live commentary of Kim Seungryung, 9p is available here (50mb):
More videos can be found here: http://www.batoo.com/MediaList.aspx
Lot of money were invested into this project. The site is officially
supported by top4 Korean pros - Lee Sedol, Lee Changho, Yoo Changhyuk
and Cho Hunhyun, and they
have lot of other famous pros, competing in Batoo tournaments - Park
Chiun, 9-dan, Kang Donyun, 8-dan, Yun Chunsang, 7-dan, Hong Seungchi,
7-dan, Lee Youngkyu, 7-dan, Won Seoungchin, 8-dan, Choi Cheolhan, 9-dan
I watched several videos with live commentaries of Kim Seungryung,
9-dan and Kim Chimyoung, ama 5-dan and I think that Batoo is a fun
game, where you can
watch pro players, who make 30-kyu mistakes, because they cannot see
all stones on the board, but I don't think that this game will attract
lot of new players.
Everything can happen in Batoo, but even experienced 10-kyu has no
chances of beating a pro player. It is still necessary to know yose,
good and bad shapes. It's
important to see the possibilities of invading and know life&death
situations well. Strong Go players have clear advantage in Batoo. I saw
the qualification tables of
Batoo tournaments and it's clear that top baduk pros have better score
against unknown baduk pros. It will not be a surprise, if Lee Sedol or
Lee Changho wins the Batoo Invitational cup, just because they are
stronger baduk players than others.