Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bangkok: The Ing Cup Semi Finals

Day 1: The Arrival

Just a little introduction. I'm here for the Ing Cup (应氏杯)'s semi finals with Hansiong, Joyce (my assistant) and Phil.

The Ing Cup happens once every 4 years, it's like the "Olympics" for weiqi. One of the most important weiqi championships and has one of the highest payout for prize award of around US400,000. (Players are paid just for making it into the qualification games, and thereafter for each game they play, and it increases as you advance towards the finals).

We stayed at The Sukhothai. Beautiful serene place~

Lobby

Lift lobby~

The pillows, the bed. Omg. Comparable with my Parisian experience. (The TV is from Bang & Olufsen too!)

Serene view from our room~~

The bathtub, which, for the first time, actually allows me to stretch my legs out all the way. It means so much to me.

Awesome is awesome.

We headed out for a late lunch around 3.30 or so. Then back to for the press conference. I was super underdressed. Argh.

Lee Changho autographing for someone at the opening dinner.

Someone pulled me over at some point of time, dragged me all the way to Lee Sedol and then said something along the lines of me being his major fan. *winces*

Our first meeting thus.

Absolutely out of focus thanks to Joyce, my dear assistant. It's kind of candid all at the same time, so, it's okay. Lee Changho is at the bottom right corner of the shot~! XDD


On the way to checking the competition venue we bumped into Choi Cheol Han and Lee Changho around the lobby and took a photo with together.

Left to Right: me, Lee Changho, Choi Cheol Han, Joyce.

At that point of time, I felt like I could have just died happily there and then.


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Day 2: The First Game + Joyce's 21st.

The first round started on the 23rd morning, 9.30am. We were allowed 10min in the game room for photography.

Lee Chanho (李昌鎬) 9P vs Lee Sedol (李世乭) 9P

Liu Xing (刘星) 7P vs Choi Cheol Han (崔哲澣) 9P

Discussion of the 2 games in the viewing room downstairs.


12.30, breaking for lunch.

Beautiful view overlooking the pond. It was so amazing~

I'm skipping food shots all the way here, too much photos...

Back to the game.

In the press room, the reporter across from me commented saying he doubt there were even more than 50 people in the world who understood the game at that point of time.

Lee Changho and Choi Cheol Han won the first game.



Onward to Joyce's birthday celebrations.

We went for Korean barbecue.


Then headed to Lebua (where we were originally supposed to stay for this trip, but didn't) to cut Joyce's cake.

Epic view is epic.

Birthday cake :D

Can I say awesome Chocolate Nougat?

And the birthday girl.

Happy 21st birthday darling~!!!


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Day 3: Excursion.

ha ha. =_=

Man I haven't heard this word since primary school.

Due to some odd alignments of stars I was sat next to Lee Sedol on the way out of Bangkok in the lower deck area of our bus, with Choi Cheol Han next to him on the other side.


.....



I think I can compare it to sitting next to Yoshiki with Sugizo next to him on the other side -- I have absolutely nothing to say and nothing I wish to say or ask. *laughs weakly*

We headed to the floating market in the morning. Pretty cool.

The Chinese team. On the most right w/ a camera is the reporter I spoke of earlier, Xie Rui. Super funny and fun guy. And kept saying I should go back to China to shoot, I do plan to, so I told him so.

Next to him is Wang Ru Nan, not sure of the one in red cap... the lady is someone from the Chinese Go Association. To her left Liu Xing and Shao Wei Gang 9P. Shao started the trend of calling me cameraman, funny. =.=



Afternoon consisted of terrible lunch and cultural dance. No pictures here.

Joyce sleeping on the way back.


Brought Joyce, Hansiong and Phil's roommate to shop at Suan Lam at night, and afterwards in an epic failed attempt to find a place to play pool, we ended up back in Lebua beside a swimming pool playing cards.

We continued further back in the Hotel, and towards 2-3am, I won Hansiong enough in one hand to reach the cap for the night to stop the game. Boohoo~


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Day 4: The 2nd Game.

Lee Changho
Lee Sedol
Choi Cheol HanLiu Xing

Rare moment of Lee Changho the "Stone Buddha" smiling during an interview after the winning the 2nd game, making him the first to advance into the finals.

Lee Changho won Lee Sedol 2-0, Choi Cheol Han won Liu Xing 2-0.

Watching the games was kind of painful. Oh well.


Headed out for dinner with Joyce, Hansiong and Phil at Chamchuri Square with rei-i and asuka111.

rei-i loves me, I know~ *grins lamely*

And Asuka and rei-i both bought my book.

(this is the overdued haircut photo. My hair's till my waist now, previously it was somewhere near my hips. But well, it'd grow again~)


For the rest of the trip we gave up our attempt at trying to play poker without chips so we played bluff and big2 instead.

Due to Joyce losing every single game with more than enough cards to fill up both of her hands, she insisted on never playing the bluff anymore. We stuck to big 2.


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Day 5-6: The Last Days.

Was going to spend day 5 lazing around, but Shao Wei Gang caught Joyce and I at breakfast and had us join him and some others for the morning tour at the palace.

Afterwards, with respect to Xie Rui's non-stop compliments for the cabaret show on the bus back to the hotel, we decided to watch it in the evening afterall.

Playing cards became a nightly routine. Joyce slept most of the previous nights, but she played a few rounds this time. Liu Xing joined us too. :D

It went on till I complained I was hungry and finally we stopped at 7am and go for breakfast.

Continued some more with Liu Xing, Joyce and Phil till 11 or so afterwards.

Didn't do much for the rest of the day other than walking around and preparing to check out and pay my omfexpensiveghotelbills.



Overall it's been an awesome awesome trip. The experience was great. I love the chinese team. The players and officials are somehow all so approachable, unlike the chinese shooters I used to hang out with sometimes, only the kids and coaches talked to us...



Lee Sedol is bishie~ but so fussy it was almost funny. He has a really strange hi-pitched voice which really doesn't suit his face. Everyone's jaw was dropping each time I said it (his voice) kinda grows on you after listening to it after a while. Because they all thought it was just way too weird...

Liu Xing has good language, is super shy to strangers, and we both drink milk at night. :D

Lee Changho is extremely soft-spoken and has this amazing grace about his gestures and personality. If all the players had a scoring system without their strengths coming into play, I rate Lee Changho 10/10. Yes yes, my respect for him just went up a couple stops.

Choi Cheol Han is, as his age is, like a child and restless. I saw his instruction games on the last day with some of the local amateur dan players, omg he was totally impatient to kill everything. *bangs head on wall*


Right, so that kind of concludes the trip. I'm happy~

Ing Cup Finals - Part III
Ing Cup Finals - Part II
Ing Cup Finals - Part I
Ing Cup Semi-Finals

19 comments :

riverstyx said...

cool! :D that looks like so much fun! ah, lucky you. and cool that u got to meet the guy too ;)

and happy bday to ur assistant :)

amandalim said...

omg that leibua place is so beautifull.. :')

Eric Appleguy said...

@amanda: lebua damn atas place lor. it's the kind of place where the servers snub you if you so much as turn up in berms.

@jingna: not fair! i could barely see the sky due to all the pollution when I was there. 8 /

ØŦĀĶŬ-ČĦĂŅ said...

Woah, sweet! Thanks for writting this huge post.

Beautiful photos. That hotel DOES look omega expensive....but definately beautiful.

Interesting games. Wow, if I was sitting next to someone like that it would be like sitting next to Yu~ki with Mana right at his side... xD I would probably cry from happiness/butterflies/nausea/sadness/eooeok[p[pkwr.

The players look intense ( that's a smile?! Lol ), but cool. Thanks for the facts about them at the end. Hee hee, high pitched voices~♥

Oh! I have no doubt that Joyce had a great time at her 21st birthday.

La la, you look great~♪ Haha, your hair is so long. I don't think I would be able to keep my hands off of it. ( Reminds me of one of my friends hair. Her hair is like...hip long, but beautiful! ).

Well take care and keep on...living.

Lol, au revoir.

Joe Goh said...

Evil, EVIL blog entry! Now I want to play Go all over again!

*fires up CGoban 3*

Joe Goh said...

Truly evil.

Now i've just played a game with Joyce and I feel all warmed up and ready to play another game, even though I have shitloads to do. I can't resist.

*searches for opponents on KGS*

April said...

Beautiful view from the Lebua! And you look prettier every time you post!

But I still don't know how you can afford to travel so much and stay at Luxery hotels. Expecially while being so young, how can you have saved up that much money already? My dad works 12 hours a day (double over time pay) 7 days a week for 20 years and we stay at cheap hotels, if we can even afford to travel at all. And he's been saving forever lol We never spend money except on food and living bills. (heat, water)

dante direnç said...

I'd have gone silent too if I was in your position.
Or I would have asked him a couple of questions. One or two. Then I'd have remained quiet and in happy shock.
Your hair's still nice, if not nicer than before (:
Lee Sedol reminds me somewhat of Jay Chou ^w^
And one day I shall attempt to play Bluff/Big 2 against you. 8D

Nik said...

If to compare this " the reporting a series " (considering only signed by a copyright)with a similar series from Paris - "the step up" in a training with technics of photographing is appreciable(!)

Nik Nikopol.

Asuka said...

View on Lebua is so grand.
A never seen before in Bangkok...

Nice to meet you Jingna. ^^

Zhang Jingna said...

asuka: yes yes. you and rei should totally check it out. very beautiful~~

it was great meeting you again. so sad my trip this time is so short too. T_T

P said...

Jealous Jealous...
Sukothai is one of the Best hotels in Bangkok; plus meeting Lee Sedol and Lee Changho .. arg..

I won't talk to you both guys for a while. Need a week or two to sulk.

P-A

Zhang Jingna said...

Hehehe P-A, I've got Lee Changho's autograph too. Hohohoho~~~

ladydesign said...

it seems you had great time you need it!

oxymor0n said...

zomg you are so lucky o.0 i'd give my whole year allowance to be at ing cup =.=

and the photos look super beautiful.

Zhang Jingna said...

oxymor0n: haha indeed i am... it was an amazing experience being able to be so close with these top players.. ~_~

Elvan said...

love love love the nite shots

Mad Hollander said...

Nice shots !!!

kai said...

Wow, I am a lee Sedol fan too and Lee changho. Are you a Go player as well? Funny stuff about Choi Cheolhan