Although no official world rankings exist, Cho Chikun is widely regarded as the No 1 exponent of the ancient Chinese game of Go. Born in South Korea in 1956, Cho, who is married with two children, moved to Japan at the age of 11 and took up Go, a board game which is more than 1,000 years old and can be loosely compared with chess. Cho, who lives in Chiba prefecture near Tokyo, holds almost every title the sport offers in Japan and his prowess has earned him the title Go Genius. He's in Hong Kong to play Japanese challenger Yoda Norimoto, 31, in the sport's most prestigious competition, the Kisei-Sen Challenge, which carries prize money of 40 million Japanese Yen (HK$2.34 million). On the eve of today's crunch match, Cho took time out from pre-competition meditation to give us his thoughts. What is on your mind? I've played Yoda many times and know he is a difficult opponent. Although he is 10 years younger he will present me with problems. But I'm in a positive mood because this is the first time he's played me for this particular championship. Does the game need vast amounts of concentration? I need to concentrate even the day before the match because each game lasts 16 hours, split over two days of eight hours. It's mentally tiring. People say the strength of my game is that I can play very solidly over the two days. How would you compare Go to chess, is it more complex? All I would say is that we all know computer software has been developed which allows a man to play chess against a machine, but, so far, no such software is available for Go. In that respect I think Go is more difficult and complex. The game originated in China, then spread to Japan, is it becoming popular elsewhere? Yes, already in Japan we have a German and a Romanian playing Go professionally and there is a growing interest in the game in Europe. In Japan there are 20 different titles to compete for and five million people play the sport - it's even played by children in elementary school. There's one Go association here and one of the reasons we decided to hold the championship in Hong Kong was to spread interest in the sport.