Baduk boom in Thailand
How many Baduk players (who know how to play) do you think there are in the world ?
Besides the three main countries of Baduk, the number of Baduk players is barely over three million. This isn't a lot considering the population of the world. Many people even don't know what Baduk is
By the way, one country has about half of those three million: Thailand
There are about a million and four hundred thousand Baduk players in Thailand. About 350,000 Baduk sets have been sold in Thailand, so a million and four hundred thousand could be right. Most players are under thirty years old. I didn't see anyone over thirty years playing Baduk many times when I was in Thailand last year. Maybe it's because there are no tournaments for seniors, which is not a good state. If there is a tournament or something for seniors, needless to say the population of senior players will go up. However, the dan test is open to everyone, regardless of age or sex. It must be very important for Thai people (especially the younger) to get a dan certification, because with that anyone can enter a reputable university and get a job easily
It is said that the reasons why the Thai Baduk community has become so big are well-known: the Baduk manga Hikaru-no-go and serious support from CP 7/11 by Mr. Korsak Chairasmisak. He is also the president of Thai Baduk Association
The Thai Baduk Association was established in 1993 and some Baduk clubs as well. At that time, there were not many people know how to play Baduk and most people didn't know what Baduk is
Mr. Korsak started to spread Baduk in Thailand around that time. He tried to get university students to know Baduk first, because elementary and high school students are mostly too busy to learn. University students have more free time, so they could learn Baduk
If anyone reaches about three dan level then he/she can enter a reputable university and receive a full scholarship. Tuition fees are quite high for reputable universities so it's obviously nice for them to study without the high cost
In addition, there are about sixty promising companies, including big group CP(7-11), that are open to anyone who is about dan level to get a job
And since the great scholarship in university has been offered to anyone, a lot of middle, high school, and even elementary students started to study Baduk seriously
Mr. Korsak has established a school of commerce to provide resources to CP 7-11 and to also add basic Baduk in the course outline. This is the beginning of the following curriculum in all schools and universities
Those ideas were great to make Baduk community getting bigger
Today, many Thai people know what Baduk is and they are willing to learn it. The only thing that Thai Baduk lacks is that there is not many high dan players or a pro system at the moment. In my opinion, it is proper time to invite strong players to Thailand and make many strong Thai players. Not only is it nice to have many strong players, but also it will also cause another Baduk boom in Thailand
Thai Baduk community has grown greatly since 1993 and is still in progress. We need to pay more attention to Thai Baduk. When they have strong players like the three main countries of Baduk do then Thailand can probably compete for the No.1 country of Baduk someday. Let's keep our eyes on Thailand!