The 15th Nongshim Cup ended on February 28, 2014, with Team China emerging victorious.
A recap of the 15th Nongshim Cup
The last time we checked in at the 15th Nongshim Cup, at the end of round 2, Japan was all out.
Park Junghwan 9p also remained in play, as team Korea’s anchorman, at this stage.
Meanwhile, China was sitting comfortably with three players – Tan Xiao 7p, Zhou Ruiyang 9p and Shi Yue 9p – still on the bench.
Kim Jiseok and Tan Xiao start round 3
Tan was able knock Kim out, but didn’t last long. He fell to Park in the next game. Park also made quick work of Zhou.
It was starting to look promising for Team Korea and many Go fans were optimistic that Park could once again bring the cup home, just like last year.
China unleashes its secret weapon
However, China had a secret weapon in Shi, and he defeated Park in 133 moves.
According to An Younggil 8p, Park made a misread which led him to play heavy moves from 98 onwards.
White 98 at M13 would have been lighter, but Park mistakenly believed he could save all his stones.
Out of the five times Park and Shi have played one another, Park has only won once.
Perhaps the Chinese are playing moneyball?
Anyway, whatever the strategy was, China successfully won Korea’s pet tournament and went someway towards correcting it’s highly skewed historical record (which is a legacy of Lee Changho 9p).
The Nongshim Cup
The Nongshim Cup is a team event between China, Japan and Korea.
The sponsor, Nongshim, is a Korean instant noodles company.
The tournament uses a win and continue format, which is common in these team events.
Korea has dominated this event, winning it 11 times. In contrast, Japan has won it only once, while China is slowly catching up with three wins.