Feet first - does Korea leads the way in making go accessible to all?


This really is a first in our experience. We have covered blind go before, in some depth, and we have seen reports of Japanese pros visiting hospitals to help mental patients by teaching them go. But we have never seen a player with this kind of disability - no hands - play go. Truly inspiring!

We spotted this in the July 2006 issue of Baduk World. The caption only tells us it was a chap called Han Chung-cheung placing a stone with his toes, but it was part of an apparently very large event - seven pros turned out - for disabled amateur go players. They were playing at the National Disabled Persons Go Tournament, for the Korean Health & Welfare Chief Executive's Cup, which suggests government sponsorship rather than private. A one-day event, it is now in its seventh year and seems to be the biggest event of its kind anywhere in the Far East (though we would be delighted to be proved wrong). This year attracted 300 players playing in six sections based on grade rather than disability. Regrettably Mr Han did not feature in any of the prize lists.

In the earnest hope that this is not taken as disrespectful, this image reminded us of an ancient tale which celebrates spiritual triumph over a physical handicap and which just happens to be featured in a famous go problem... and which just happens to be on the next page.

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