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World Go News: Takao Keeps Japanese Alive in Nongshim; Park Leads 2-0 in GS Caltex Cup Title Match; Zhou Ruiyang Wins Qiwang

Monday December 1, 2008

TAKAO KEEPS JAPANESE ALIVE IN NONGSHIM: The Nongshim Cup, the popular international team tournament, started off being dominated by two teens. First Chinese teen Tuo Jiaxi 3P won four games, eliminating two members of the Japanese and two of the Korean five-player teams. Then Korean teen Kang Dongyun 9P won five games, kicking out three Chinese and two more Japanese. Down to their last player, Takao Shinji (left) 9P, the Japanese finally managed to win a game, with Takao sending Kang down on November 29th. Facing two Koreans, Lee Changho 9P and Lee Sedol 9P, and two Chinese, Chang Hao 9P and Gu Li 9P, it seems highly unlikely — even to Takao, according to an interview in the latest issue of Goama — that Takao can defeat all four, probably the strongest players in the world at the moment, to capture the title for the Japanese, who won this cup in 2006. The Chinese team, with Chang Hao holding the fort, won the Nongshim last year, but the Koreans have won it the other seven times. In every case, Lee Changho was the Koreans’ iron door. The final games start on February 2nd in Shanghai.

PARK LEADS 2-0 IN GS CALTEX CUP TITLE MATCH: Park Yeonghun (right) 9P defeated challenger Won Sungjin 9P November 28th in the second game of the best-of-five-game match for the 13 Korean GS Caltex Cup to make the score 2-0. Park won the international Fujitsu last year, defeating Lee Changho 9P in the final, and also the 12th GS Caltex Cup, defeating Lee Sedol 9P in that final. Earlier this year he won the Korean Maxim Cup and the Gisung. Won won two Korean titles last year, the BC Card Cup (aka New Pro Cup) and the Chunwon (J: Tengen). Both players are in their early twenties. Photo by Picasaweb user BadukNews

ZHOU RUIYANG WINS QIWANG: Zhou Ruiyang 5P, who is seventeen, defeated Li Kang 6P to take the 4th Chinese Qiwang (King of Go) title on November 15th. Zhou has won the Xinren Wang (New Pro) Cup twice (2007 and 2008) and the Weifu Cup in 2008. The Xinren Wang is limited to players under thirty and 7P. Li, twenty-one and yet to win a title, was the runner-up in the Weifu Cup against Zhou back in February, losing that one 2-0.

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Kang Stops Tuo In Nongshim

Monday November 24, 2008

Korean Kang Dongyun (right) 8P snapped Chinese teen Tuo Jiaxi 3P’s winning streak in the international Nongshim Cup, winning by 1.5 points Monday. Tuo, got the Chinese team off to a blazing start in the Nongshim team tournament by winning all four games in the first stage and eliminating two members of the Korean and the Japanese teams, lost in the first round of the second stage on Monday, November 24th to Korean Kang Dongyun 8P (another teen) by 1.5 points. There will be six games in this stage, which is being played in Pusan, Korea, one each day until November 29th. Coincidentally, the first Chinese player in the similar Jeongganjang Cup for women also won all four of the games in the first stage earlier this month. Song Ronghui 1P, yet another teen, will face a Korean player when that event resumes in early January. Photo from the World Go new blog

Korean Go School Deadline Nears

Monday November 24, 2008

There’s just over a month left to apply for an exciting new go study program in Korea. Applications for The King’s Baduk Academy are due by December 31. Applicants must be between the ages of 10 and 25; There will be 10 fully-funded positions — including paid travel, room and board, and tuition — one for each country, and 50 self-paying positions. Those selected will join a class of fifty other promising young players from around the world for a 3-7-year rigorous course of study starting in March 2009. Contact both president@usgo.org and igf@usgo.org for more information.

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Gu Li Hangs On In Mingren

Monday November 17, 2008

Gu Li (right) 9P won Game 3 to hang on in his best-of-five-game defense of the Korean Mingren (J: Meijin). Gu lost the first two games to challenger Piao Wenyao 5P. Games 4 and 5 are scheduled for November 19th and 20th. Gu currently holds five Chinese titles and two international ones (Fujitsu and Chunlan), while Piao, who is just twenty, has only taken one, the CCTV Cup in 2007. - Photo by Picasa user BadukNews

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

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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