Hwang In-seong 8d on Eastern vs Western Go players

Hwang In-seong 8d, in his live commentary on the 16th KPMC Preliminary League game between Edwin Halim 3d (Indonesia) vs Denis Karadaban 3d (France), said (slightly reworded):

Asian Go players are more practical, more aggressive. They get their level by playing many games. In the West they get their level by studying a lot, like patterns and problems. But they have a lack of game experience, so their moves are less practical, less realistic. Their theory is right but they apply the right theory in the wrong place during the game.

Eastern Go players don’t have a lot of theory but when it happens in the real game they pick the right move more often. It doesn’t mean that one side is better than the other; there is just a difference.

I feel that Western players have a bigger potential but they cannot explode their potential due to the lack of game experience. They try to solve the case by brain, not by Go instinct. But the Eastern players only depend on their intuition, not on study. “Why do you study? You should win the game. Just find the right move and don’t make blunders, then you win.” They believe in that.

This doesn’t apply to all Western players, of course. There are many players who just play games and don’t study, but the majority is like that.

If you play many games then you can digest the things you have studied. The Western Go players are eager to gather the resources. “I want to have the reading resources, so I solve life-and-death problems. I want to have knowledge resources, so I study patterns and opening formations or new moves.” But they don’t digest it. They just collect their resources but they don’t use them; they keep them.

But the Eastern players don’t collect resources; they just play. So their moves are very practical. In reality, this works. But they need more resources.