Albert Yen 7d (at left) and Ary Cheng 1d (at right) lead the Redmond Cup’s Senior and Junior standings after completing the preliminary rounds, held online, over the last few months. The Senior division, with a field of nineteen players, was especially hard-fought: the three top-seeded players, Yen, Jeremy Chiu 6d, and four-time Junior champion Aaron Ye 6d, were all still undefeated after the third round. By the end, it was still close, with four players holding 4-2 records or better. Although the Senior division was competitive, the fifteen-year-old Yen was dominant, winning all six rounds. “Some luck was needed to pull me through undefeated,” Yen told the Journal, “Yunxuan Li is a respectable opponent in the finals, and I must be very careful as his fighting is quite strong.”
Yunxuan Li 6d, age 17, claimed second place in the Senior division by going 5-1. His one defeat was in the third round against Yen, but he will have a chance for revenge when the two front-runners square off in a best of three in the finals. While this will be Yen’s first time competing in the finals, Li is excited to return after finishing runner-up in the Junior division in 2009: “It’s been six years since my last Redmond. It is such a pleasure to be in it again.”
In the Junior Division players fought neck and neck. With a field of seven, byes became an issue, so the event was run as a a round robin – giving each kid a chance to play all of the others. Nine-year-old Ary Cheng 1d, was the clear-cut winner, losing only once to the top seed. Cheng told the Journal he is thrilled to have made it into first place as a shodan: “I will work hard to improve my skill and play the best game I can in the final.” The battle for second place and a trip to the finals, on the other hand, was extremely close. Two players – the top seed, Tingwen Zhang 5d, and Raymond Feng 1d – finished 4-2. The mathematical tie-breaking systems were no help: Zhang and Feng both had the same SOS and SODOS scores. The tournament directors used their face-to-face matchup to decide second place. Because he had pulled off an upset in the first round against the higher ranked Zhang, Feng earned his place as the runner-up.
The final rounds will be broadcast live on KGS, from the US Go Congress, at 3 pm on August 2nd, 3rd, and 6th. Yen, Li, Cheng, and Feng have all won a free trip to Congress, where they will play best-of-three matches for the titles of their respective divisions. -EJ Special Report by Julian Erville