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Lee Sedol Takes First Game in Kuksu Defense

Monday November 17, 2008

Lee Sedol (left) 9P has won the first game in his best-of-five-game defense of the Korean Kuksu (National Champion) title against challenger Mok Jinseok9P. Lee won this title for the first time last year. Mok won a few titles in the late ’90s, but has not taken any lately, although he was number one in Korea in terms of number of games won last year, with 93 wins and 29 losses for a winning rate of 76%. Lee Sedol was in second place, but Mok won 12 more games than Lee. This year Lee is leading on that list, while Mok is tied for third. Lee Sedol currently holds four international titles and two national ones. The next game in the title match is scheduled for November 24th. - Photo by Picasa user BadukNews

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Chinese Taipei Secures Status As Go Superpower

Monday November 17, 2008

Li-cheng Chien cemented Chinese Taipei’s status among the go superpowers with his win in the just-concluded 3rd Korean Prime Minister Cup, held November 8-11 in Goyang City, South Korea. Chien, the Chinese-Taipei representative, won the championship trophy by beating China and Japan, winning on tie-break despite losing to the Korean representative who in turn lost to China. Korea took 2nd, China 3rd, both with a 7-1 record; followed by Hong Kong and Ondrej Silt of Czechia, the highest-placing European. U.S. rep Thomas Hsiang (seated) placed 6th with a record of 6-2, losing by a single point in the first tie-breaker. Hsiang was followed by Australia, France, Singapore, and Macau – the other 6-2 winners. “The significance of Chinese-Taipei winning a first international amateur title was noted by all,” Hsiang tells the E-Journal, noting that Chien’s win follows Chou Chun-hsun’s capture of the LG Kiwon Championship. Japanese representative Kazumori Nagayo came in a surprising 11th with a 5-3 record. More details can be found on the tournament webpage- Photo by Cuong

Koreans Sending Big Group To U.S. Congress

Monday November 17, 2008

A group of more than fifty Korean players will be attending – and competing in – the 2009 U.S. Go Congress in Washington, DC, Thomas Hsiang reports. Hsiang, the American Go Association’s Vice President on International Relations, helped arrange the Korean group visit and adds that “several leaders in the Korean Amateur Baduk Association have expressed interest in joining this group to hopefully inaugurate a permanent link between the US and Korean Baduk communities.” Strong Korean players have been a fixture of the European Go Congress for some years now. Another new development in Korea is the establishment of the “King’s Baduk Academy,” Hsiang tells the E-Journal. “Supported by a number of Korean sponsors, this is a 3-7 year program to train the truly devoted to become pro players and/or go teachers.” Each country is given up to one fully-funded slot for this program and other self-paying slots are available. Applications are being accepted through the end of 2008; stay tuned for more information in future EJ reports.

Chinese Teen Sweeps First Round Of Women’s World Team Match

Monday November 17, 2008

The Chinese team is favored to win the Jeongganjang Cup after teenager Song Ronghui (right) 1P swept all five opponents in the just-concluded first stage. The Jeongganjang is a win-and-continue tournament between five-member teams of women pros from China, Japan, and Korea. There are five games in each of three stages (the third stage can be less than five if more than one player remains on the winning team). Song, who won a gold metal in the individual women’s section of the recent World Minds Sports Games, defeated Lee Daehyeoi 3P and Lee Hajin 3P of Korea as well as Kato Keiko 6P and Mannami Kana 4P of Japan. Song will still be up at the start of the second stage in January in Seoul, Korea, with the other two teams now down to three players each. Korea still has Park Jieun 9P and Lee Minjin 5P, who are strong players with a lot of titles–Lee took the last five games last year to win the Cup for the Koreans. The Japanese also have experienced title holders yet to play. The Koreans have won this event four times and the Chinese twice. The best result for the Japanese second place in 2007.

Europeans Perform Well At Korean PM Cup

Monday November 17, 2008

As noted above (Chinese Taipei Secures Status As Go Superpower), Ondrej Silt of Czechia was the top European at the Korean Prime Minister Cup, placing 5th. Silt only lost to China and Hongkong and finished one SOS-point ahead of Thomas Hsiang from the US. Frédéric Donzet of Paris, France was the best 5D at 8th place and only lost to Japan and Hungary. Among the five-pointers there were many of the usual 6D suspects from Europe, like Dmytri Bogackyj (Ukraine), Csaba Mero (Hungary), Alexey Lazarev (Russia) on places 13-15 and Merlijn Kuin (17th, Holland). Also two 5D’s did well: Vesa Laatikainen (Finland, 18th) – he defeated a Canadian 7D in the last round – and Lucian Corlan (Rumania, 20th). Surprisingly strong was the performance of Lothar Spiegl (Austria) at 12th place he was the best 4D and lost only to China, Czechia and the Ukraine. Janez Janza (Slovenia) at place 19 was the best 3D. Also two shodans from Europe won five games: Ngoc Cuong Nguyen (Luxembourg, 22) and Dmitris Regginos (Cyprus, 24). Other notable European performances came from Martin Reindl 2D of Slovakia who placed 29th and started with a win against 5D from Rumania, and Francois Gonze 1D (Belgium) placed 31stwhile Pablo Morales (Spain) was 32nd. Also noteworth was EJ friend and fellow go editor Mehmet Barsbey 1D of Turkey, who defeated 3-dans from both Argentina and Brazil. results: Click here for results.
- reported by Peter Dijkema, European EJ correspondent; photo of an unknown PM Cup player by Cuong

World Go News: Cho Takes Third Straight Meijin; Teen Park Jiyeon in Women’s Myeongin Finals To Challenge Rui Naiwei; Chinese-Korean Finals in LG Cup

Monday November 10, 2008

CHO TAKES THIRD STRAIGHT MEIJIN: Cho U (left) has retained his Meijin title after an exciting seesaw battle with Iyama Yuta that went the full 7-game distance. After losing the first two games in his Meijin title defense against teen Iyama 8P, Cho 9P then won three straight games to take a 3-2 lead but then lost Game 6 in less than 100 moves. Cho won the decisive seventh game on November 5-6 and so will hold that title for the third year in a row and the fifth time overall. Cho is now in the midst of a major run at the top seven Japanese titles. He already holds the Meijin and the Gosei, and he’s the challenger for both the Tengen and the Oza (he’s won the first game in the Oza title match), and he is in the finals to be the challenger for the Judan. In the Honinbo League, which has just started, he is 1-0. The only one of the top seven he is out of currently is the Kisei, although he came close to winning his section of that League. Iyama is also compiling an impresssive record. He won his section of the Kisei League, but lost the play-off game to Yoda Norimoto 9P; he is still alive in the Losers’ Bracket of the Judan, lost to Cho in the finals to be the challenger for the Oza, and is playing in the challenger’s tournament for the Gosei. 

TEEN PARK JIYEON IN WOMEN’S MYEONGIN FINALS TO CHALLENGE RUI NAIWEI: Seventeen-year-old Park Jiyeon 1P has won no titles yet, but she now finds herself in the finals of the tournament to determine the challenger for Rui Naiwei (left) 9P’s Korean Women’s Myeongin (Japanese: Meijin) title. This tournament is a double-elimination; after their first loss, the losers play each other in a separate bracket until only one is left. That player then plays the winner of the winners’ bracket to decide who will be the challenger. This year Cho Hyeyeon 8P, who challenged Rui for it five times, winning in 2003 while still a teen herself – and who is also the current Women’s Kuksu – is the winner of the winner’s bracket. She beat Park in the semi-finals of that bracket, but Park won the final game among the losers, so she and Cho will meet again.

CHINESE-KOREAN FINALS IN LG CUP: The best-of-three-game finals of the 13th international LG Cup will be between Lee Sedol 9P of Korea and Gu Li (below right) 9P of China. In the semifinals November 5th, Lee knocked out fellow Korean Park Yeonghun 9P, while Gu eliminated Korea’s Lee Changho 9P by 1.5 points. Lee Sedol won this event last year, as well as in 2003, and Gu won it in 2006. Lee Changho has won it four times. Overall, the Koreans have been victorious seven times, the Chinese and the Japanese twice each, and the Taiwanese once. The finals will occur in late February in Seoul.

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Xie Yimin Takes Lead In Honinbo Defense; Gu Li Wins Chinese Agon Cup; Kang Dongyun Vs Lee Sedol In Chunwon

Monday November 3, 2008

Xie WienXIE YIMIN TAKES LEAD IN HONINBO DEFENSE: Xie Yimin (left) 3P leads 2-1 in her best-of-five-game defense against challenger Suzuki Ayumi 4P for the Women’s Honinbo title. Still a teenager, Xie also holds the Women’s Meijin title. She lost her first title, Strongest Woman, to Kato Keiko 6P back in July, though she made it to the finals, losing 2-0. At this point Kato has the best record in the League to determine the challenger for the Meijin. The fourth game in the Women’s Honinbo title match is scheduled for November 5th.

Gu LiGU LI WINS CHINESE AGON CUP: Gu Li (right) 9P defeated Chang Hao 9P by 5.5 points to win the 10th Agon Cup in China (Ahan Tongshan Cup). This is the third time Gu has won this event, more than any other player. Liu Xing 7P won it in 2006 and 2007, and Zhou Heyang 9P in 2000 and 2004. Gu will play the winner of the Japanese Agon Cup in a dual international meet. The Japanese event has reached the finals, which will be between Takanashi Seiken 8P and Cho U 9P. Gu won this event in 2004 and 2005. Every time he has won the Chinese event, he has also won the match against the Japanese winner. Cho won the Japanese event the last two years and was defeated by Liu both times.

Kang DongyunKANG DONGYUN VS LEE SEDOL IN CHUNWON: Teen Kang Dongyun (left) 8P, who won a gold medal in the recent World Mind Sports, will play a best-of-five-game match with Lee Sedol 9P for the Korean Chunwon (Japanese: Tengen) title. Last year Kang took the King of Kings (aka Electron-Land Cup) title from Lee Changho 9P by a score of 2-1. Now he has a chance to do the same thing to the other of the two top Korean players, Lee Sedol. It would be quite a feat. Lee Sedol holds four international titles currently and two nationals. Only Gu Li 9P of China comes close to that level; he has two international titles and five Chinese nationals. Cho U 9P may soon have that kind of dominance in national Japanese titles, but holds no international ones. Kang played in the finals of the Chunwon last year, as well, losing to Won SeongJin 9P.

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Iyama Fights Back In Meijin; Cho U Takes First Game In Oza

Monday November 3, 2008

IYAMA FIGHTS BACK IN MEIJIN: Down 2-3 in his challenge for the Meijin, Iyama Yuta (right) 9P came roaring back after losing three straight to make the score 3-3 and take the match to a final Game 7 showdown. Defeating defending champion Cho U 9P by resignation after less than a hundred moves, the teen will now try to ride the momentum in his quest to be the first teenager ever to hold one of the top three titles in Japan. The final game of the best-of-seven-game match is scheduled for November 4th and 5th (U.S. time), and will be carried live on IGS starting at 7 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday night, enabling those interested in the U.S. Presidential election to follow two historic contests. 

Cho UCHO U TAKES FIRST GAME IN OZA: Cho U (left) 9P got off to a good start in his challenge of Yamashita Keigo 9P for the Oza title, winning the first game by resignation. Yamashita is hoping for a three-peat in the Oza, which he first took from Cho U in 2006. Cho had held the title for three years. Yamashita’s only other current title is the Kisei. Cho also holds the Meijin, which he is currently defending against Iyama Yuta 8P, and the Gosei among the top seven, and he is the challenger for the Tengen. Cho will quite likely be engaged in three top-seven title matches at the same time. He is also the current holder of the Agon Cup and the NHK Cup. In terms of current titles Cho is clearly number one in Japan. The next game in the Oza match is scheduled for November 13th.

Categories: World
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