On September 4, 2012, the group stage of the 17th Samsung Cup kicked off with much excitement and fanfare.
Nie Weiping enters the group of death
As Nie Weiping 9p drew ‘F4′, you could almost hear ominous music begin to play, in the classic B-grade film style.
The look on Nie’s face says it all, as realization dawns that he’s just entered the ‘Group of Death’.
Nie’s card, F4, signified the fourth position in an already crowded room.
Go fans all over the world were rubbing their hands with glee, knowing that they were surely in for a treat.
Rui Naiwei and Choi Jung still fighting
The games on September 4 were fairly straightforward.
Lee defeated Nie convincingly and Gu defeated Cho.
A quadruple ko and a draw
On September 5, most of the attention was on Lee and Gu as they faced off in their 29th encounter. Lee and Gu’s games are always spectacular and this time was certainly no exception.
Sparks flew as Lee and Gu’s iron wills clashed, a quadruple ko formed, and the game was declared a draw!
This is the first time in the history of international Go that a game has been declared a draw in the main stages of a major tournament. Gu and Lee will have to have a rematch before the results of Group F can be determined.
Update: Lee and Gu played a second game together later that day, and Gu proceeded to the next round after winning by five and a half points.
Lee also progressed to the round of 16, after defeating Cho U the following day (September 6). More news coming soon, once all the results from the group stage are in.
Sadly for Nie, he lost his second game to Cho, which means he won’t progress through to the knockout phase of the tournament.
More coverage to follow
The 17th Samsung Cup is just getting started and more excitement will follow.
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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.
Samsung is a well known Korean conglomerate.
17th Samsung Cup Photos
Here’s a collection of photos from the 17th Samsung Cup so far, as well a Lee Sedol and Gu Li through the ages series. Enjoy!