KONG JIE WINS SAMSUNG CUP: Kong Jie 9P defeated Qiu Jun to take the international Samsung Cup on December 17th. Both players are Chinese representatives. Only one non-Chinese made it to the semifinals: Lee Changho 9P of Korea, who was defeated 2-1 by Qiu. Kong defeated China’s Gu Li 9P 2-0 in the semifinals. Lee Sedol 9P of Korea won this event the two previous years, defeating Kong Jie in the finals last year. Overall, the Chinese have won the Samsung three times now, the Japanese twice and the Koreans nine times. This is Kong’s first win of a major international event. He also won the Asian TV Cup this year, defeating Lee Sedol, which prompted Kong’s promotion to 9P. Qiu has also won several titles, including the Chang-ki Cup last year; this is one of China’s most prestigious titles. Reaching the finals of the international Samsung Cup this year led to Qiu’s promotion to 9P.
Bill Cobb, from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library.
YAMASHITA TAKES TENGEN FROM CHO U: Cho U 9P has lost another of his titles as Yamashita Keigo won the Tengen title match on December 22nd 3-2. All five games of the match were won by Black by resignation. It is surely painful for Cho to now be down to only three titles: Judan, Oza, and Gosei. For Yamashita it has been a hard struggle in the Tengen. He held this title in 2003, but lost it the next year. Then he was the unsuccessful challenger for three years in a row against Kono Rin 9P. Yamashita now holds both the Kisei and the Tengen. Cho can take some comfort from the fact that he is for the first time the challenger for the Kisei; that title match begins January 14th and gives Cho a chance for revenge. - Bill Cobb from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library
CHINESE LEAD IN JEONGGANJANG CUP: The Jeongganjang Cup is a win-and-continue team match for women pros. Japan, China, and Korea each send a five player team. The Chinese team has won this event three times, including last year, and the Koreans four times. The Japanese did take second place in 2007, but have never won. The Chinese started off well this year, with their first player, teenager Wang Chenxing 2P winning the first three games. Aoki Kikuyo 8P of Japan then won the last game in the first round–last year the Japanese team did not win a single game. No one managed a big streak in the second round: the Japanese team scored again when Mukai Chiaki 3P beat Kim Hyeoimin 5P of Korea, who won the only game for Korea in the first two rounds. The second round ended with Song Ronghui 5P of China (another teen) defeating Mukai. The final round is scheduled for early February. The Japanese and Koreans have only one player left: Suzuki Ayumi 4P for Japan and Park Jieun 9P for Korea. Song is up for China with two other players from her team in reserve. It will be surprising if the Chinese don’t repeat as the champions this time.
Bill Cobb from Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library