American Go E-Journal

International professional go scene getting more interesting

Monday June 21, 2021

by Yuan Zhou

International professional go play is becoming more interesting with the recent addition of pro players in the United States, as well as in Europe. Non-Asian players have been included in some international tournaments by invitation in recent years, but it is very unusual for one of them to survive the first round of the final competition. There are a large number of international events nowadays, and the title winner can receive as much as the equivalent of $400,000 US. Most of the well-known events are open to anyone who can survive the competition in their own countries to gain a place in the international event, although some are restricted to female players and others are a competition between the winners of similar titles in other countries. In some cases even amateurs can gain admission.

The most striking thing about the current international scene has been the dominance of Chinese pros in recent international events. Only one international title is now held by Japan: Cho U 9p of Japan won the playoff between the holders of the Agon Cup from China and Japan. Recently most of the top titles were held by Chinese players, although currently the Koreans are making a comeback. The Chinese player Ke Jie 9p holds eight international titles, more than any other active player, and is widely considered the strongest active player in the world. However, Shin Jinseo 9p of South Korea has won nine games in international tournaments this year, which is more than any other player. The Korean team of five won the Nongshim (Spicy Noodles) international event in February of this year. This win-and-continue event between five player teams is one of the oldest competitions and very popular among fans. Occasionally a single player will manage to wipe out most of another country’s team. This year, Shin Jinseo 9p of Korea won the last five games in the contest, defeating two Japanese and three Chinese players, including Ke Jie of China in the last game.

One of the oldest top tournaments is the LG Cup, now in its 26th year. The second round was held on June 1st, leaving eight players in the contest. Three are from China, including Ke Jie, Mi Yuting 9p, and Yang Dingxin 9p. Four are from Korea, including Park Junghwan 9p, who has been ranked as number one in the world in recent years, Shin Jinseo 9p, Shin Minjun 9p, and Byun Sangil 9p. The one remaining player from Japan is Ichiriki Ryo 9p, who currently holds five titles in Japan, including two of the top five. All of these names will become familiar as we continue to follow the current international pro scene. The LG Cup will conclude with a three game finals match early next year. Last time’s winner of the title was Shin Minjun of Korea, who is in his early twenties, as are most of the current top pros.

Categories: Main Page,World