February 04, 2010 08:06
Diana Kőszegi, the first Hungarian professional baduk player, is in her sixth year of living in Korea. It has been two years since she was promoted to a professional level. "I had the happiest and the saddest moments of my life in Korea in the past five years in terms of both baduk and my private life," says Kőszegi (27).
The joy of playing with world-class baduk players and studying them in the home country of the ancient game came at the price of frustration and loneliness living far away from home.
Kőszegi moved to Korea when she entered the baduk department at Myongji University in March 2005. In January 2008, when she was an apprentice, the Korea Baduk Association told her that she could be given special permission to join the team as a professional player. She pondered the offer for several days. "It was because I wanted to go through the proper channels to become a professional player, but it was hard to resist the opportunity," she said.
A football player and triathlete, she started playing baduk at the age of nine. Her father has been teaching the game as part of an extracurricular program in a middle school in Hungary for 10 years. When Kőszegi returned to Hungary for vacation at the end of last year, her father told her he was thinking of opening a baduk class in Budapest with her if she came back. But that will not happen any time soon as she wants to study more in Korea. "I told him I'll look for ways to contribute to the development of baduk in Hungary while doing my best in Korea," she said.
Kőszegi has taught children in various Baduk classes and also participated in the English translation of Korean baduk books. She makes pocket money by playing and coaching some dozen members of her fan club once a month.
Her New Year's resolution, she said, is to do her best, qualify for at least one of the three major competitions for women players, and raise her annual winning percentage up to 33 percent.
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