LEE CHANGHO AND CHANG HAO IN CHUNLAN FINALS: Lee Changho 9P (r) and Chang Hao 9P will meet in a best-of-three finals of the 7th international Chunlan Cup. In the semifinals on December 11th Lee Changho 9P of Korea defeated Kong Jie 7P while Chang Hao 9P defeated Zhou Heyang 9P. Chang came in second last year, losing to fellow countryman Gu Li 9P, which is the only time the Chinese have won this event. Lee has won it twice, in 2003 and 2005. Overall, Koreans have won it four times and the Chinese and Japanese once each. The winner’s purse is about $150,000 US. Lee is also the only Korean ever to take second place, in the first Chunlan in 1999 when he lost to his teacher Cho Hunhyun 9P.
KONG JIE TO TAKE ON LEE SEDOL IN SAMSUNG FINALS: Kong Jie (l) 7P will face titleholder Lee Sedol 9P in the Samsung Cup finals. The best-of-three-games semi-finals of the international Cup featured one Korean, Lee Sedol 9P, and three Chinese representatives, Huang Yizhong 7P, Kong Jie 7P, and Zhou Ruiyang 5P, the only teen in the group. Lee kept Korea’s hopes alive by defeating Huang 2-0 and Kong got the privilege of facing Lee in the finals by defeating Zhou 2-0. Both players won their first semi-final game by a mere half point, and Kong took the second by only 1.5 points. Lee won this event last year, as well as in 2004, and currently holds three international titles. Kong’s most notable achievement is winning the national Chang-ki Cup twice, in 2005 and 2007. Overall, the Japanese and Chinese have won the Samsung twice, and the Koreans the other eight times. The finals are set for mid-January.