The semifinals of the 2013 Samsung Cup were played on November 4, 6, and 7, at the Samsung Training Institute, in Daejeon, Korea.
Defending Champion: Lee Sedol
Lee Sedol lost his first game, in the best of three match, and many of his fans were worried about that.
Lee misread in the opening, and he couldn’t find any chances to catch up again.
However, he won next two games without any significant trouble and made it to the final.
In the second game, Lee built a huge territory at the top, and won the game smoothly.
In the deciding game, the opening was good for Wu Guangya, but Lee caught up in the middle game. Once he captured a big black group in the center, the game was over.
Rising Star: Tang Weixing
Tang Weixing defeated Shi Yue to reach the final.
Most Go fans expected that Shi would proceed to the final, but Tang showed his skill and won the semifinal match.
Shi won the first game, but Tang made it tie in the second game. Tang was behind, but he didn’t give up, trying very hard to catch up.
Shi made a small mistake in the middle game and Tang didn’t miss it. He grasped the opportunity and captured Shi’s big group on the right side.
In the final game, the opening was good for Tang, but Shi reversed the game and took the lead during the middle game.
There could have been a draw, with a potential triple ko in the center and in the lower left corner, but Shi avoided it because he was in the lead anyway.
However, the second half of Tang’s game was excellent, and he was able to catch up.
After endless ko fights, Tang eventually reversed the game near the end, and proceeded through to the final for the first time.
Don’t miss the 2013 Samsung Cup Final
Lee Sedol has won the Samsung Cup four times, but he still wants to win it again.
Chinese players have won all the major international tournaments this year, and this Samsung Cup is the last big tournament in 2013.
Korean Baduk fans really want Lee to win this final and take the title to back to Korea.
On the other hand, it’s a very good opportunity for Tang Weixing to win an international tournament.
Earlier this year, Tang won the men’s individual division of the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, and he’s quickly become one of the strongest players in the world.
Lee and Tang have never played one other, so the final is going to be very interesting.
Interviews with the players
There were interviews with the players after the semifinals finished.
How was the final game?
The opening was bad for me, but the game went smoothly in the middle game. It seems like Wu was nervous.
What do you think of Wu Guangya’s style of play?
Wu’s style is similar to Gu Li’s. He plays solidly, and fights afterwards.
What do you think about the final against Tang Weixing?
It’s going to be our first game together. I shouldn’t misread again, like I did in the first game against Wu Guangya.
Korean players haven’t done so well lately, but I’ll try to do my best to win the final for Korea.
How do you feel right now?
I feel great to have reached the final. Actually, I’d been losing my confidence against Shi Yue, but I was able to defeat him dramatically and I’m so happy now.
How do you feel about this Samsung Cup?
I’m so lucky to be here. Every game was difficult, but I was very lucky and managed to defeat strong players.
How would you describe your own style of play?
Maybe well balanced…
What are your thoughts about the final against Lee Sedol?
It’s going to be a tough series. Lee’s a veteran, who’s won many international titles.
I’ve admired Lee’s style of play since I was young, and I’ll do my best prepare for the final.
There’s not much else I can do at this stage, except study his games.
The Samsung Cup
The Samsung Cup first started in 1996 and uses a rather convoluted draw. Though, arguably, it is fairer than a straight knockout format.
The 32 players in the main draw are split into 8 groups of 4. Players must win two games in order to proceed from the first stage; two players from each group will advance to the knockout stage.
In some ways it’s similar to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, except that only two wins are necessary to continue.
The round of 16 and the quarter finals are played as a straight knockout.
The semifinals and the final are played as a best of three matches.
The time limit for games is 2 hours and 5 x 1 minute byo-yomi.
Samsung is a well known Korean conglomerate.