One broken leg and a Taiwanese import – 20th LG Cup

The 20th LG Cup kicked off with the round of 32 on June 8, 2015 in Kangwon, Korea.

Fans eschew Won Seongjin 9 dan for Lee Sedol 9 dan and Lee Changho 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup gala.

Fans eschew Won Seongjin 9 dan for Lee Sedol 9 dan and Lee Changho 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup gala.

Fans mob the stars

As always, a lavish banquet proceeded official matches. Young fans didn’t waste any time acquiring autographs from their favorite Go celebrities.

Gu Li 9 dan makes a young fan's day with his autograph.

Gu Li 9 dan makes a young fan’s day with his autograph.

Choi Cheolhan’s woes

Perhaps some Nongshim noodles will make Choi Cheolhan feel better?

Perhaps some Nongshim noodles will make Choi Cheolhan feel better?

Poor Choi Cheolhan turned up in a wheelchair having recently injured his leg in a perhaps not so friendly football match.

He must have been in a lot of pain throughout his games as he is still waiting on the final surgery.

Round of 32

Not even a fractured ankle can stop Choi Cheolhan 9 dan take on Ke Jie 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup.

Not even a fractured ankle could stop Choi Cheolhan 9 dan from taking on Ke Jie 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup.

Korea dominated the first day of play, winning 10 out of the 16 matches.

However, the two big Lees, Lee Changho 9p and Lee Sedol 9p, were both eliminated.

The only Japanese professional to survive was Kansai Kiin’s Yo Seiki (Taiwanese name – Yu Zhengqi) 7p.

Interestingly, Yo first turned pro in Taiwan before deciding to pursue a career on the Japanese professional circuit.

Taiwanese professional, Lin Junyan 6p also made it through the first day, defeating sentimental favorite, Lee Changho 9p.

Korean amateur An Jungki 5d (who qualified through the preliminaries) showed his strength by defeating Chen Yaoye 9p.

Much to Chinese fans’ dismay, after the first day, only four Chinese players remained in the tournament.

Lin Junyan 6 dan defeated Lee Changho 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup.

Lin Junyan 6 dan defeated Lee Changho 9 dan at the 20th LG Cup.

Round of 16

China’s luck vastly improved during the next round with Tuo Jiaxi 9p, Shi Yue 9p and Ke Jie 9p all entering the quarter finals.

Meanwhile, Kim Jiseok 9p got his revenge on Gu Li 9p after their 10th Chunlan Cup semifinal match.

Gu Li 9 dan and Kim Jiseok 9 dan repeat their Chunlan Cup Semifinal at the 20th LG Cup.

Gu Li 9 dan and Kim Jiseok 9 dan repeat their Chunlan Cup Semifinal at the 20th LG Cup.

Yo Seiki 7p continued to fly the flag strongly for the Kansai Kiin, defeating Korean youngster Lee Donghun 5p.

Korea will enter the quarter finals with some of its strongest pros.

Kang Dongyun 9p was too strong for An Jungki 5d.

Wong Seongjin 9p snuffed out Taiwan’s hopes by defeating Lin Junyan 6p.

Over in the battle of the Parks, Park Younghun 9p emerged victorious over Park Junghwan 9p.

Round of 16 results

Yo Seiki 7 dan is into the quarter finals at the 20th LG Cup.

Yo Seiki 7 dan is into the quarter finals at the 20th LG Cup.

Quarter final draw

Play will resume in November 2015 with the following pairings:

  • Park Younghun 9p vs Yo Seiki 7p
  • Won Seongjin 9p vs Tuo Jiaxi 9p
  • Kim Jiseok 9p vs Shi Yue 9p, and
  • Kang Dongyun 9p vs Ke Jie 9p.

LG Cup

The LG Cup is a major international Go tournament. It started in 1996 and the prize money is currently 300 million Won (approximately $270,000 USD at the time of writing). The runner up receives 100 million Won.

The main draw of 32 players is part invitational, comprising of 5 Korean players, 5 Chinese players, 4 Japanese players, 1 Taiwanese player and including the previous year’s winner and runner up.

The rest of the main draw is determined through a preliminary tournament. The format is single knockout, with the final played as a best of three games.

The tournament is sponsored by LG Electronics, a multinational consumer electronics company whose headquarters are in South Korea.

Game records

(with preliminary comments by An Younggil)

Tuo Jiaxi vs Lee Sedol


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


The opening up to White 34 was well balanced.

White 44 and 46 were questionable, and Black was happy up to 49.

Black 85 was a mistake (he should play P10 first), and the game became even up to 102.

White 114 was a big mistake, and the White’s group was in trouble.

Black 141 was a good ko threat, and the game was practically over when Black eliminated the ko with 145.

Tuo played perfectly afterwards, and Lee couldn’t have any chances to catch up.

Gu Li vs Kim Jiseok


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Black 33 and 35 were good, and the result up to Black 47 was slightly better for Black.

White 68 and 70 were creative, and a ko started with 82.

White 108 and 110 were nice, but White 112 was questionable (O10 would be better).

Black saved all of his weak groups, and Black took the lead with 135.

Black 137 and 139 were nice, and Black solidified his lead up to 145.

Black 183 was too small, and White started to catch up.

Black 221 was the losing move, and White reversed the game up to 228.

Kim Myounghun vs Zhou Ruiyang


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


The new pattern up to Black 33 created an even result.

Both White 54 and Black 55 were strong, and the result up to White 84 was still playable for both.

Black 93 was nice, and 105 was severe.

White 114, 116 and 122 were nice, but Black 127 and 129 were also strong, and the fighting was very complicated.

White 140 and 142 were small, and Black took a lead up to 151.

Black 157 and 159 were severe, and the game was decided when Black captured the right side with 181.

Choi Cheolhan vs Ke Jie


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


White 12 is a very recently researched opening.

Black 23 was questionable, and White took the initiative with 24 and 28.

White 38 was sharp, and the result up to 50 was favorable for White.

White 58 and 60 were practical and White took sente with White 62 and 64, which was good.

White 78 and 80 were leaning attack, but Black 87 and 89 were nice counter.

Black 97, 101 and 117 were nice, and Black caught up.

White 122 to 126 were severe, but Black 137 was brilliant.

However, Black 141 was a big mistake, and White captured Black’s big group with 142 and 144.


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About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Even though she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru.

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  1. Vendredi says:

    Chen Yaoye lost to a 5d amateur ? I know it’s not uncommon for an ama to beat a pro, but isn’t it generally considered top pros would give top ama something around 2 or 3 stones handicap ? (

    Did he blundered or the amateur was in the zone ?
    Sorry if I’m perpetuating cliches, but that intrigues me.

    Thanks a lot

    • David Ormerod says:

      In Korea and China (Japan is different these days) 5 dan is the highest rank most strong amateur players attain.

      To become 6d in either of those countries, you have to be the provincial (state) champion. To become 7d you have to be the national champion. The ranks above 7d are traditionally reserved for pros, with a few exceptions.

      Some amateur players in other parts of the world promote themselves to 6d, 7d etc (which confuses things), but many don’t because they know there are 5d players in Asia who are basically pro level.

      In short, 5 dan is the top rank for most amateur players. An Jungki (the player who defeated Chen) seems very strong.

      • Uberdude says:

        Both the Korean amateur teachers in BIBA were 7d: Kim Youngsam (who won EGC 2010 and has played in quite a few European tournaments) and was 3rd class insei, and Park Youngun who is stronger and was 1st class insei. Youngun won quite a few Korean amateur tournaments but I don’t think he was ever national champion. Similar thing for other 7d Korean amateurs like Hwang Inseong, Cho Seokbin, Oh Chimin and other Korean visitors to EGC; my impression is that they call themselves 7d in Korea and not just when visiting Europe.

        • David Ormerod says:

          Let’s consider the example of Oh Chimim (just because I know him much better).

          In Korea, Chimin is (and calls himself) 6d, because he’s won a Korean national amateur tournament. In the Korean case, he’d have to repeat that feat twice more to formally become 7d (China is slightly different, I’m trying to keep this succinct).

          When Chimin is in Europe or Australia, he usually does enter tournaments as 7d. At this stage, he’s also already won many national championships in both those regions, so there’s logic in that. Also, what is the tournament organizer to do when someone like Chimin enters and he already has other players entering as 6d and 7d? I think most of them would bump him up to 7d (especially if some accelerated system like McMahon is used).

          I imagine the situation is quite similar for Hwang Inseong and Cho Seokbin.

          Also, not everyone follows tradition and there’s a natural tendency towards rank inflation for various reasons. For example, it would possibly be slightly beneficial for Go Game Guru if I relied on Go server ranks to call myself ‘7d’, but that doesn’t seem reasonable at all when there are many 5 dans who are as strong as An Jungki.

          Regarding An Jungki, he’ll probably turn pro soon. He’s ranked #6 in the current Yeongusaeng class and already has 95 out of 100 points to qualify as pro like Cho Insun did (from this LG Cup and the MLily Cup). The reason why he’s still 5d is that, as Yeongusaeng, he’s not supposed to enter amateur tournaments, so his rank maxes out at 5d until he turns pro or becomes a normal amateur and wins some other competitions.

          Overall, I think people place too much importance on rank.

    • Anonymous says:

      Another thing worth noting is that he actually beat a lot of pros in the preliminaries to makes it to the final 32. So he is basically pro strength

      • Younggil An says:

        Yes, I agree.

        He’s already quite strong pro’s level I assume. An defeated Kim Seungjae 6p, who’s currently ranked #11 in Korea, in the final of preliminaries in LG Cup.

        I was surprised to hear that An is ranked #6 in Yeongusaeng (Korean insei).

  2. Thank you for the quick comments right after the games!

    For Gu Li’s game VS Kim Jiseok, B165 may be better off to atari at E9 first. In the game W lost its position in the middle and B used that to get lots of points.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, atari at E9 first is also possible, and it might be better for Black than the actual game.

      Gu was sure that he was winning at that stage, and he didn’t want to atari first, because that can be a bad exchange for the endgame.

      However, as you pointed out, atari first would be better in that case.

  3. Anjunggi is ranked 6th in Korean insei group A.
    Which means he’s probably stronger than all the pros below top 50 in Korea. Top Korean inseis are ridiculously strong; for example, when Hansanghoon became 1p he was strong enough to beat GuLi and other top pros to play against LSD in LG Cup final. LSD managed to beat him 2:1 though

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you.

      An Junggi is already quite strong, and he will soon become a pro.

      He’s also going to play in the main tournament of the 2nd Mlily Cup in July, and let’s see how far he can go as an amateur player. 🙂

      • Jongwoo Park says:

        He cannot go very far as an ama, because he’s only one win(against a pro in an official tournament, I think) away from automatically promoted to 1p :p

  4. Do Japanese players (for example Yuta Iyama) have chances in international tournaments like this one?

    BTW thanks for explanation of difference between Asian and non-Asian 5dan.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, of course, but Iyama must have been too busy with the title matches inside Japan, and he decided not to participate this LG Cup which was unfortunate.

      Iyama is in the middle of 70th Honinbo title match, and that made him hard to join which is sad.

      Most top Chinese and Korean players can participate this sort of international tournaments without any trouble.

      However, top three Japanese titles have two day matches in the final, and they can make the players like Iyama or Yamashita harder to join the international matches, and that’s very unfortunate for those Japanese players.

  5. Mr. Younggil An how could an amateur from Europe participate in this tournament? How would one even get invited in the preliminary tournaments?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your question Filip, but I don’t know very well about that issue.

      Every international tournament has different system of participation. For example, there’s a division for European and American players in Samsung Cup, and some tournaments used to invite European players to the main tournament as well.

      In this LG Cup, I couldn’t find any information about the European participants, and I don’t know the details.

      • Anonymous says:

        Since professionals from China and Japan can sign up for the preliminaries, presumably European and American professionals can too, possibly.