American Go E-Journal


Wednesday May 26, 2010

With the 31st annual World Amateur Go Championships now underway and being held this year for only the second time in China, a look at the current status of the longtime rivalry between the three major go powers is instructive. There are nine currently active international tournaments – the Nongshim, Ing, BC Card, Jeongganjang, Asian TV, Fujitsu, LG, Samsung, and Chunlan — that involve China, Japan, and Korea. Half of the latest winners of these are Chinese, and the other half are Korean. The most recent victory by the Japanese was four years ago, at the 7th Nongshim Cup in 2006 when Yoda Norimoto 9P, in the final game, managed to defeat “iron door” Lee Changho 9P of Korea, who had finished off a win for the Koreans in the first six editions of this win-and-continue team tournament. Several titles have been completely controlled by the Chinese and Koreans. The Ing Cup, which currently has the biggest purse, has been won five times by Koreans and once by Chinese. The Japanese were runners-up twice. The international BC Card Cup, which includes a Taiwanese representative and has one-hour basic time and 30 seconds byoyomi, has been won once by a Korean representative and once by a Chinese. The Jeongganjang Cup, a team event for women pros, has been split five-three between Korean (five wins) and Chinese teams. Others, mostly longer-running events, have had occasional Japanese winners. The Asian TV Fast Game Cup (ten minutes and then thirty seconds) has been won nine times by Japanese players, most recently by Cho U 9P in 2005. Otherwise, the Koreans have seven victories versus five for the Chinese. This is the only event in this group won more often by the Japanese than by either of the other two countries. The Fujitsu is the longest-running of these tournaments and the most fully international. It guarantees a place in the main tournament for representatives from the Americas and Europe as well as Taiwan. On rare occasions one of these representatives has won a game. The Koreans have triumphed in it fourteen times, the Japanese six, but the Chinese only twice. The LG Cup saw the only win of one of this group of events by a Taiwanese player, Zhou Junxun 9P in 2007. Otherwise the Koreans have seven wins and the Chinese four, with the Japanese coming out on top twice. The Samsung is open to all pros and some amateurs in the early stages. It has been won twice by the Japanese, three times by the Chinese, and nine times by Koreans. The Chunlan also includes Western and Taiwanese representatives. It has seen four victories by Koreans, two by Chinese, and one by a Japanese representative. If international events that are no longer held were included, the percentage of Japanese victories would be greater since they had better results in earlier days. At present it is clear that the battle for international dominance is between Korea and China. Korea was clearly dominating until very recently, but China is now making a strong challenge for the top spot.
– Bill Cobb, based on reports on Sensei’s Library, Go News and GoGameWorld

Categories: World