No, it’s not Gomoku. It’s the Tianyuan.
On May 13 and 15, 2013, Chen Yaoye 9p defended his Tianyuan title against yet another challenger, in the 27th Tianyuan title match, in China.
This victory marks Chen’s fifth consecutive year as title holder!
A challenger appears!
This year’s challenger, Gu Lingyi 5p, won the right to challenge Chen earlier in February.
Gu, was once considered one of the most promising players in China.
However, he was unable budge Chen from his Tianyuan throne – losing in two games straight.
Chen to equal Gu’s record?
Chen has maintained a stranglehold on the Tianyuan title since 2009, when he ended Gu Li’s six year run.
Chen’s now only one title defense away from equalling Gu’s record.
The China Korea Tengen
Chen’s victory means that he’ll once again represent China in this year’s China Korea Tengen playoff (probably sometime in September).
His record in the ‘international edition’ of the tournament is just as impressive, with Chen having won three out of the four matches he’s competed in.
Chen’s defensive, counter-attacking style is noted as being particularly effective against the stereotypical Korean attacking style, which is exemplified by players like Choi Cheolhan 9p (whom Chen faced in 2011 and 2012).
However, his opponent this time round will be Park Younghun 9p, who won this year’s 17th Chunwon tournament in Korea.
Park’s style is very different to Choi’s. He’s a master of the endgame and tends to prefer more peaceful, territory oriented games.
In good form for the Chunlan Cup?
In recent years, Chen’s regularly appeared to be in excellent form – especially around this time of year, when he’s defended his Tianyuan title.
However, success in a major international title still eludes the wunderkind who’s now all grown up.
Game 1 of the final will be played on June 17, 2013. See the Pro Go Calendar for more details.
The Tianyuan title is the Chinese equivalent of the Japanese Tengen title.
The tournament uses a knockout format consisting of 48 players vying for the right to challenge the previous year’s winner. 16 players are seeded into the second round of the knockout tournament.
The title match is decided over the best of three games. The current winner’s prize is 150,000 RMB (approximately $25,000 USD at the time of writing).