Monday, April 2, 2012

Professional Profiles: Xu Zhang

Xu Zhang (U Cho) 9p

Xu Zhang is Taiwanese, but is a professional at the Japanese Go Federation.  Xu was born January 20, 1980 and became a professional in 1994.  Xu was always good at strategy games.  His father felt that it was best for children to play strategy games like Bridge or Go to develop their minds and character, and Xu was especially talented.  He studied with Lin Kaifeng (Rin Kaiho) and worked very hard to earn his spot as a professional.  He actually left Lin Kaifeng's dojo and called his parents to come get him from Taiwan.  His parents came, and gave him a few days to calm down and make up his mind about continuing his studies.  That night, Xu had a dream about Go, and his father concluded that the boy had an inextricable link to the game.  Xu Zhang has been a force in Japanese Go and can compete on the international scene, which is welcome for Japan who has not seen much in the way of success in international tournaments.  Xu won his first major title, the Honinbo, by beating the "killer" Masao Kato in six games.  Xu Zhang then went on to win the 9th LG Cup, which was Japan's first international title since Chikun Cho's victory in 2003.  Xu Zhang has had some serious competition from Yuuta Iyama over the past year, but he is still a powerful force in professional Japanese Go.  His style is a lot of fun to study and I recommend going over his games with Shinji Takao.