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HaiFong Go Association to run all professional Go business in Taiwan

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Bough Lin (林文伯, right), HaiFong Go Association chair, shakes hands with Wong Ming-sen (翁明顯), chairman of the Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation at the HaiFong Go Association in Taipei in this undated photo. Photo courtesy of HaiFong Go Association

Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) The HaiFong Go Association will assume control of all professional Go operations from the Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation starting in March, in order to optimize resource allocation for the development of the sport in Taiwan, the two major Go institutions said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.

This means that the HaiFong Go Association will assume the responsibility of training young Go players who wish to take the annual professional Go player exam, as well as organizing the exam, which was previously the responsibility of Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation.

"Following discussions between the two institutions, the HaiFong Go Association will take over all business operations from Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation based on shared values that prioritize the future development of Go in Taiwan. We hope that this consolidation will make us stronger and provide local Go players with a better professional environment," they wrote.

The decision was made following a pre-Lunar New Year meeting between two entrepreneurs -- Bough Lin (林文伯), co-founder of Siliconware Precision Industries Co. and chairman of the HaiFong Go Association, and Wong Ming-sen (翁明顯), founder of CMC Magnetics and chairman of the Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation, HaiFong Go Association Secretary-General Cindy Yang (楊寶甘) told CNA.

Despite the change in responsibilities, Wong's institution will remain the major sponsor of the three major tournaments it has organized, according to the statement, referring to the Taiwan Tengen, National Champion Tournament, and CMC Grandmaster.

The announcement means that all nine major domestic tournaments will be held at the Taipei HaiFong Go Association, along with tournaments such as the Taiwan Meijin, Go Grandmaster Tournament, and Taiwan USE Judan.

Before the announcement, the HaiFong Go Association had organized or offered its venue for the other six major title tournaments.

Go players competing for these titles are expected to benefit from the change, as the HaiFong Go Association provides YouTube live streams for the tournaments it hosts, as well as more active social media updates, greatly increasing the sport's exposure to the public.

The HaiFong Go Association will also replace Taiwan Chi Yuan Foundation as the point of contact for international competitions and organize events to select Go players to represent Taiwan on the international stage, Yang said.

As such, the HaiFong Go Association will become the sole hub for domestic professional Go players.

Also on Tuesday, "red-faced Go master" Chou Chun-hsun (周俊勳), the only Go player representing Taiwan to ever capture a major international Go title with his win in the 2007 LG Cup, described the change as "a significant move for Taiwan Go."

Chou, who served as head coach at the HaiFong Go Association for around 10 years until late 2023, told CNA that integrating the resources of Taiwan's three major Go institutions would help propel the industry forward, with the third one mainly in charge of amateur-level events.

Now that the HaiFong Go Association will take charge of all professional business operations, Chou said Go associations abroad will know which one to reach out to in the future, and more tasks can be achieved with the same amount of money.

"I want to thank Chair Wong on behalf of all pro Go players for his contributions to Taiwan Go over the past two decades," Chou said, adding that he looks forward to more good news to come.

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