Kim Sung-rae is a 8 dan Hankuk Kiwon professional. He was born 11 September 1963 and promoted to 1 dan in 1996. In 2010 Kim was promoted 8 dan.
He is the author, or co-author, of several English language books.
Kim Sung-rae was (as of June 2009) the headmaster of the now defunct King's Baduk Center (an international Baduk school) in Gangwon-do, South Korea.
Later (2010) he started the Baduk center in Budapest, Hungary
Currently works on WBaduk server, according to http://www.wbaduk.com/news/news_view.asp?news_no=433
I don't know how can I be professional player!
I don't know exactly when I started to play Baduk. I was about 7-8 years old. One day my two brothers began to play a board game. I just watched and soon I knew some of the rules. As soon as I learned Baduk, I fell into it. Whenever I had vacation, I spent my days in the Go center near my house. I studied hard and improved very fast without a Go teacher. It didn't take long I beat my brothers. I just played and played against adults.
But I faced a big trouble. About the time I went to middle school, My father told me, "Stop playing Go and concentrate on school." At that time, 1970's in Korea, it was not easy to make a living from playing Go. It was just like Europe now. Even if there was a professional Go system in Korea, the Korean professional players were still hungry. I was Insei for a while but I had no choice and finally I had to quit studying Go. Before I went to the University, I didn't play Go for 5 years .
In 1983, I participated in the Korean university Go championship, and took first price. But in amateur Go tournaments in Korea, I still wasn't a top player. And another period I can't play Go came. I had to join the army for national duty. I was in the US Army in korea for two and half years. It was no doubt I couldn't play Go. After I graduated from the University, I had worked in an Insurance company for 7 years. In these days, I could play baduk on weekends, but I wasted more time for drinking alcohol than studying Go. But I was slowly becoming stronger even if I didn't know the reason. I got married when I was 32.
At about the time my first baby was born, I decided to make a living from Go and quit the company. I realized that Go was one of the most important things in my life. My first lovely daughter - she became professional player in 2011 - was born in January of 1996. I had no job. I started to teach Go for living. Fortunately on march, I took my first and last amateur championship. I was promoted to 6d. And at the end of the year I became professional player even if I had no time to study Go. I was 34. They said "it is a miracle".
To become a professional player, commonly young students have to study at least more than 10 years in Korea. They spend whole day studying Go. So, How I can be professional player at 34. I had much time and studied hard? Honestly no. If I said God give me a big gift, they might be angry. The only one thing I know is that I don't forget the moves I feel fresh. I didn't study life and death problems much, but I can find Tesuji. That is my gift. Nowadays I'm wondering: "if I kept studying Go with professional teachers at my teens, how strong would I be now."