Lee takes game one
Lee won the first match on June 27, playing black. Black, took the lead in the first game, after an early exchange in the lower left. The second half of the game was complicated and as often happens under such circumstances, Lee prevailed.
Xie evens the score
Xie answered today by winning the second match, also with black. Lee played an unusual pattern in the top right, which lead to an interesting game.
[Update: Lee played the same new pattern again in game three. Here's Younggil's commentary of game three of the 8th Chunlan Cup which also shows the new move]
Both players have performed impressively on route to this final playoff, winning all of their games by resignation. Xie defeated Heo Youngho 8p, Cho Chikun 9p and Iyama Yuta 9p. Lee, on the other hand, faced Gu Lingyi 5p, Wang Xi 9p and Sun Tengyu 7p.
The elusive Chunlan Cup
The third and final match will be played tomorrow. Xie has come agonisingly close to winning this title in the past, finishing third in the 6th Chunlan Cup. Xie’s fans in China have been waiting for his first international title for some years now. Perhaps his time has finally come?
Lee’s best previous result has been a quarter final finish (also in the 6th Chunlan Cup). This is surprising, given that Lee has won just about every other major international Go tournament.
Perhaps Chunlan will be as elusive to Lee as Roland Garros was to Sampras? Let’s find out tomorrow!