This is 41st title of Lee’s career so far.
Lee unexpectedly lost the first two games in the title match series on December 17 and 18.
But he came back against the odds, to win the last three games, and claimed the title in a reverse sweep.
Lee Sedol defeats his natural enemy
Before this final, Lee and Baek’s head to head record stood at 6-4 in Baek’s favor.
Many Go fans regard Baek as Lee’s natural enemy, because Baek’s a powerful infighter, and his style is unusually strong against Lee’s.
Just before the final, Lee Sedol beat Gu Li in the final of the 17th Samsung Cup, so the majority of Go journalists expected Lee to win.
On the other hand, since this was the last title match for Baek before joining the navy, some expected Baek to give it everything he had and pull off a win.
Anyhow, Lee reversed a very unfavourable situation and won the title match – demonstrating his mental toughness once again.
Congratulations Lee Sedol!
Lee Sedol’s 41st title
This is the third time Lee’s held the Myeongin title in his career.
He currently holds five different titles, including:
On the other hand, Baek’s won second place for two years in a row now.
Baek’s going to join the navy on January 7, 2013 [Ed: to complete compulsory military service], and he’ll be in the navy for 23 months.
That’s such a pity, because he won’t be able to study and play Go much while he’s there.
This was discussed briefly when I interviewed Baek Hongseok earlier this year.
A year to celebrate
For Baek Hongseok, this year has been the best of his life.
Baek’s absence from the field will also be a big loss for the Korean Baduk world.
2012 Korean Baduk Awards
Since Lee won the Myeongin title, he’s become the front-runner to win the MVP (most valuable player) at the 2012 Korean
For the first half of this year Baek Hongseok was the favorite, but Lee Sedol performed well in the second half of the year, making it a close thing.
This Myeongin title match series was kind of a deciding match for them, and Lee won the title.
I hope Baek Hongseok gets stronger, both physically and mentally, after the hard training in the navy, and makes a successful return to the Go world in two years time!