Jeonju hosts festival to promote ‘go’ game

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Jeonju hosts festival to promote ‘go’ game

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JEONJU, North Jeolla ― Jeonju is trying to imitate Bled, a small town in Slovenia noted as the host of the world’s biggest annual international chess Olympiad. But for Jeonju, it will be “go” that the capital of Korea’s southern province hopes will expand its traditional sphere worldwide, by hosting the 2006 International Amateur Go Festival. The city of 636,000 residents renowned for its hanji, or Korean traditional paper, traditional foods, and pansori, a traditional Korean vocal style, is making great efforts to make this festival an international interface of go and Korean culture.
The festival, from Oct. 20 to 27, under the slogan “Profound World, New Friendship, One World,” will begin with an opening ceremony featuring a Korean folk orchestra performance and a flag procession by the 69 participating countries. Various other events will be presented, including samulnori (kinetic Korean traditional music), a hanji fashion show, cultural performances and Soonjang go and Gonunori (forms of Korean traditional go) tournaments, to attract tourists.
The highlight of the festival will be the first International Amateur Go Championship, with contestants from 69 countries. The office of the prime minister has promoted the championship for two years and it will be managed primarily by the Korean Baduk League, an affiliate of the Korea Sports Council that oversees the amateur go industry, and the Lee Chang-ho Association of Love. Key venues for the championship will be the Jeonju National University of Education, Jeonju City Hall and the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center.
Since Jeonju is the hometown of Lee Chang-ho, a highly-ranked professional go player known as the “Stone Buddha,” who is considered among the best players in the world currently, the festival will provide events for the fans to get his autograph and see Lee compete against a range of national players. Additional events include the eighth Lee Chang-ho Cup, held from Oct. 21 to 22, the KABA Cup, from Oct. 23 to 24, and international go players nights on Oct. 21 and 22 at Nosong Square.
Song Ha-jin, the mayor of Jeonju city, and Cho Kun-ho, president of the Korea Baduk League, will present plans to further promote go at a press conference on Oct. 23. “During the championship, we will discuss the possibility of making go a main event at the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games,” Mr. Cho said. Mr. Song said the city plans to name a street after Lee Chang-ho, to help international go players remember Jeonju as the mainland of Go.


by Park Chi-moon

The International Amateur Go Festival is from Oct. 20 to 27. To get to Jeonju, take a Jeonju-bound train from Yongsan Station. Get off at Jeonju Station and take a taxi to Jeonju City Hall, the Jeonju Traditional Culture Center or the Jeonju National University of Education.
For more information, call (063) 281-2114.

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