In the knockout battle of the 14th Nongshim Cup, the second round — held November 26-30 – saw all of the remaining Japanese players eliminated, leaving the two remaining Korean players and three Chinese rivals to battle it out for the title.
The two players left for Korea are Choi Cheolhan 9P (left) and 19-year-old sensation Park Junghwan 9P, while China still has Jiang Weije 9P, Xie He 9P, and Chen Yaoye 9P – providing just the kinds of matchups China wants going into the final. Chen is 9-1 all time against Choi and Xie also holds a winning record against him. In general, the solid, patient style of play favored by the two Chinese pros performs well against the Korean fighting style of Choi and Park.
It was a topsy-turvy second round, where Lee Hobum 3P (who stopped Tan Xiao’s 3-win streak in the first round) lost to Japan’s Fujita Akihiko 3P. Fujita, however, lost to China’s Wang Xi 9P in his next game. Wang went on to defeat Kim Jiseok and Anzai Nobuaki before losing to Korea’s Choi Cheolhan 9P.
Choi snuffed out Japan’s last hope by defeating their final player – Murakawa Daisuke 7P. The final round will begin February 26, 2013
The Nongshim Cup is a team event between China, Japan and Korea. The sponsor, Nongshim, is a Korean instant noodles company. The tournament uses a win and continue format, which is common in these team events. Korea has dominated this event, winning it 10 times. In contrast, China has won the tournament twice and Japan only once.