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Baduk's leading lady Choi Jeong taking the women's game to new heights
Updated: 2021-04-22 09:58:38 KST
Behind every stone she places lies some complex strategic calculation.
South Korea's Choi Jeong is baduk's leading lady.
She's the highest ranked woman on the Goratings.org charts and has been "The Empress" of South
Korean women's baduk for the past seven years.
That's not the title Choi is after, though.

"Since I was little, my goal has always been to win a mixed-gender, international tournament For some odd reason, I want to win the Samsung Cup so bad. I do better at the LG Cup but it's the Samsung Cup that I crave."

Currently the only woman in the world's top 100, Choi hopes her success can encourage other female pros to break through any preconceived boundaries.

"Don't limit yourself. Perception's a scary thing, you know? Once society labels you as 'good enough', you unknowingly grow satisfied with yourself when there's still room for improvement. This then prevents you from unlocking your true potential."

Despite recent growth, women still make up less than one fifth of Korea's professional baduk players, but if Choi can win an international mixed-gender title, it could inspire more women to take up the game.

"Female pros haven't performed well enough to be viewed by children as stars or heroes Choi Jeong is one of the very few who can change that."

Professor Nam believes other changes are also needed though.
For more young girls to learn baduk and dream of becoming the next "Empress", she says women-only cups should be upgraded in scale and prize money.
That would then help widen the talent pool and elevate the women's game as a whole, so that ChoiJeong is no longer seen as an exception.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
Reporter : alicosell@arirang.com