After the semifinals took place in September 2012, the stage was set for a showdown between these two precocious teenagers.
The Ing Cup is the Go world’s most prestigious event and it’s only held once every four years (starting in Olympic years).
This has led some people to dub it the ‘Go Olympics’.
Games 1 and 2 – Singapore
The first two games of the 7th Ing Cup final were played just before Christmas on December 22 and 24, 2012, in Singapore.
No time to relax?
Fan Tingyu 3p (at the time) and Park Junghwan 9p met in Singapore at Marina Bay Sands.
While the hotel is known for its countless shopping malls, restaurants, casino and THAT infinity pool, Fan and Park probably had little time to enjoy any of the amenities as they dueled over the Go board.
But hopefully they had some time to relax and enjoy the scenery before going home with one win apiece…
Game 3 – Shanghai
On March 4, 2013, Fan met with Park again to play the final three deciding matches of the final. This time in Shanghai.
Park was on a high after crucial wins as Korea’s anchorman in the recent 14th Nongshim Cup.
Taking the lead
Fan won the game by resignation – perhaps the extra break played in Fan’s favor – setting up a kadoban (match deciding game) in game 4.
With the score at 2-1 in Fan’s favor, the pressure was now on Park to win the next game, just to stay in the final.
History didn’t look like it was on Park’s side. The Ing Cup final hadn’t gone to five games since the 2nd Ing Cup, when Seo Bongsu 9p defeated Otake Hideo 9p.
However, the punters in the Korean stalls were confident that Park could even the score in the next game.
After all, Park would have white in game 4 and white was proving to be invincible with the Ing Cup’s large komi (8 points), at a 100% win rate in this final so far…
Nevertheless many people seem to think it's bigger, maybe partly for historical reasons.
7.5 points of komi is already quite large anyway, and we've often seen black trying faster and more aggressive openings throughout the history of the Ing Cup because of this.]
Game 4 – The Kadoban
In a tense final game, Fan played a fast paced opening as black.
Meanwhile Park, who had 8 points of komi (Ing rules) as white, deposited solid territory in the bank and proceeded with a kind of amashi strategy.
A lesson in positional judgement
By around move 68, while having plenty of cash, white appeared to have a somewhat uncomfortable position with three relatively weak groups on the board.
However, in an impressive demonstration of positional judgement, Park calmly showed that appearances can be deceiving – by move 112 he’d sacrificed two of his weak groups while reinforcing the other one and taking the lead in the center!
The black dragon strikes
Black played aggressively to rebalance the game, giving white the opportunity to execute a severe splitting attack, which could have decided the game.
But whether by good fortune, brilliant reading or both, black was able to weather the storm and come out with a good position – white was unsuccessful in his attempt to capture the black dragon which which was burning his house down.
With the help of a few sharp endgame moves, black had a modest lead by the time the dust settled.
How 3 points become 5 points
In the end, black was ahead by 11 points on the board (3 points after adding komi) at the end of the game. The official result was that black won by 5 points after Park twice paid 2 points to ‘buy’ more time (Ing timing) and Fan also purchased one lot of extra time.
Shaking up the record books
As we said in a previous article, the winning player in this final was destined to set a new record as the youngest winner of the prestigious Ing Cup.
Moreover, the Chinese Weiqi media don’t seem to have picked up on this yet, but we believe that once Fan Tingyu is promoted to 9p (which he almost certainly will be after this) he may well have set a new record as the youngest ever professional 9 dan (previously Chen Yaoye 9p), at just 16 years and 7 months of age today.
The record buffs and Lee Changho fans out there might be pleased to know that Fan didn’t quite break Lee Changho 9p’s longstanding record as the youngest international title winner of all time, but he came within a hair’s breadth of doing so.
Lee Changho was just 30 days younger than Fan is today when he won the 3rd Tongyang Securities Cup back in 1992 (it’s usually said that he was 17, but Korean’s count their age as 1 at birth).
Show me the money!
Just in case the glory isn’t enough for Fan. He also takes home a cool $400,000 USD in prize money!
And don’t feel too sorry for Park Junghwan, he received a $100,000 consolation prize for his trouble .
Congratulations to Fan Tingyu and Park Junghwan!
The Ing Cup
The Ing Cup is the oldest continuous international Go tournament for professionals.
It started in 1988, just after the inaugural (and now defunct) Fujitsu Cup, and is held every 4 years, coinciding with the Summer Olympics.
The format is a 24 player knockout with 8 players being seeded into the second round. The semifinals are played as the best of 3 matches, and the final is best of 5.
The tournament uses the Ing Rules, which were designed by Ing Changki. Ing Rules have some unique aspects.