Ke Jie defeats Lee Sedol to win the 2nd MLily Cup

Ke Jie 9p kicked off 2016 with a bang by winning the 2nd MLily Cup, 3-2, against Lee Sedol 9p on January 5!

Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan (right) at the 2nd MLily Cup final.

Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 2nd MLily Cup final.

The first two games of the final were played in Nantong, Jiangsu Province, China, and the last three took place in Rugao, Jiangsu Province.

What’s half a point worth?

A lot, apparently!

The score was drawn at 2-2 with Lee winning games 1 and 4 and Ke claiming games 2 and 3.

According to 9 dan Korean professionals commenting on the final game, the result was unexpectedly hinged on half point kos and the counting system used.

Using Japanese counting (with 7.5 points komi), Lee (as white) would have won by half a point. In other words, Black was only ahead by 7 points on the board, so pros who typically count games using territory scoring initially thought that White was ahead.

However,  Ke (as black) won the last half point ko, while playing on dame (which are counted under Chinese counting) and played the last move so black came out ahead.

Game records and preliminary comments by An Younggil 8p are provided at the end of this post.

Ke Jie 9 dan wins the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke Jie 9 dan wins the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke’s triple crown

Ke is rapidly expanding his trophy cabinet and consolidating on his fantastic year in 2015.

He won his break through world title at the 2nd Bailing Cup in early 2015, was promoted to 9 dan and in September 2015, became ranked number 1 in China.

Ke rounded out the year by capturing the 2015 Samsung Cup.

However, there was always a niggle of doubt in some minds because both those finals were won by defeating fellow countrymen (Qiu Jun 9p and Shi Yue 9p).

With this win against Lee, Ke has decidedly quashed any remaining doubts and emerged as the new superstar of the professional Go world.

Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Ke Jie 9 dan in a light hearted moment at the 2nd MLily Cup Final.

Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Ke Jie 9 dan in a light hearted moment at the 2nd MLily Cup Final.

He has become only the fourth Chinese professional to have won three (or more) world titles, joining ranks with Gu Li 9p, Kong Jie 9p and Chang Hao 9p.

For Lee and his fans, this was undoubtedly a huge disappointment, but it’s early days yet for 2016 with the upcoming 43rd Myeongin and 34th KBS Cup finals for Lee.

MLily Cup

The MLily Cup is a biennial international Go tournament, which started in 2013 and is sponsored by MLily Meng Baihe – a mattress and bedding company.

It’s intended that it will alternate with the (also biennial) Bailing Cup, every other year.

The draw consists of 16 seeded players from China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan and 48 players from preliminary rounds, including 4 women and 4 amateurs.

Each player receives 2 hours thinking time and 5 x 1 minute byo-yomi. The main time is increased to 3 hours each for the final. The semifinals are played as best of three matches and the final is a best of five match.

The winner receives 1.8 million RMB (about $290,000 USD at the time of writing) and the runner up receives 600,000 RMB. This puts the tournament in the same league as the Bailing Cup and Samsung Cup, in terms of prize money.

The official name, ‘MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament’ (try saying that 10 times) uses the sponsor’s double barrel English and Chinese names.

The Chinese name, 梦百合 Meng (=dream) Baihe (=lilies), translates literally to ‘dream of lilies’. A looser, but more natural translation would be something like ‘sweet dreams’. This explains the somewhat cryptic ‘MLily’ moniker.

Game records

Lee Sedol (black) vs Ke Jie – Game 1

The opening up to White 18 was peaceful.

Black 19 is rarely played, and the result up to Black 31 was playable for both.

White 32 to 34 formed a nice tesuji to strengthen the outside.

White 44 was slow, and Black 49 was a good move to avoid White’s plan.

Black 63 was greedy, and White 64 to 76 was a good way to resist.

Black captured White’s center group with 77, but White 78 and 82 increased the center area.

White 98 was safe, but a bit too early, and Black 107 and 109 were strong.

Black 123 and 131 were good decisions and Black 133 was the winning move.

Black 139 was a sharp tesuji. If White ataris at 143 instead of 140, Black will live with F4.

Black 143 made a miai of J5 and L9.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie (black) vs Lee Sedol – Game 2

The opening up to White 22 was well balanced.

White 40 was bold, and the game became complicated after Black 41.

Black 65 was necessary, and the game was still even up to White 70.

Black 79 to 87 was territorial and practical, and Black started lead on territory.

White 92 was brilliant to steal Black’s eye shape, and the flow of the game was changed.

Black 101 was a bad exchange, and White 104 hit the vital point to capture Black’s center group.

White’s top left corner group was alive with 118, and Black 119 was Ke’s last hope.

White 126 to 128 was a sophisticated combination, but White 130 was the losing move.

White should have extended at Black 131 first, then the game would have been very good for White.

Black 131 and 133 punished White’s mistake, and the game was reversed because White’s top left corner was also in trouble after Black 153.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol (black) vs Ke Jie – Game 3

The opening up to White 12 was the same as the previous game.

Black 25 and 27 resisted nicely and the result up to Black 39 was slightly better for Black.

Black’s strategy after 41 was questionable, and White took the lead up to 56.

White 68 to Black 75 was a light way of reducing, and White still maintained his lead with 76.

Black 91 to 99 was a good sequence to attack White, but Black 109 should have been played at White 110 first.

Black 127,139 and 147 were severe, but White 148 to 150 was a nice way to counter Black.

Black 151 was a mistake, and White 152, 156 and 160 were good moves to manage White’s weaknesses.

The big trade up to White 168 seemed fair, but since Black had to reinforce at 169, White was still ahead.

White’s endgame was excellent and Black didn’t have any more chances to catch up.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie (black) vs Lee Sedol – Game 4

The opening up to Black 13 was the same as game 3.

White 26 was a classic tesuji, but this joseki is rarely played these days.

White 28 was interesting, and the continuation up to White 32 was expected.

Black 33 was a bit too gentle. Capping at E7 would have been more powerful.

White 44 to 46 was flexible, and White lived in the corner with 58.

Black 59 would have been better positioned at White 62, and the game was slightly better for White with 64.

Black 71 to 81 was an exquisite sequence to manage the center area, and Black 83 to 89 was good haengma.

White 92 was a good choice, and White was still in the lead up to 114.

White 124 was strong, but White 136 to 140 was questionable, and the game became very close with 141.

Black 149 was small and should have been played at K14.

Black 153 was the losing move. If Black connected at move 154, the game would have still been quite close.

The game was suddenly finished with 154.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie (black) vs Lee Sedol – Game 5

White 12 and 14 was active, and the continuation up to Black 23 followed joseki.

Black 33, 35 and 37 were well timed probes, and White 38 was the correct response.

Black 55 was a flexible way to sacrifice two stones, but the game was slightly better for White with 58.

White 66 and 68 were questionable, and White 70 was a bit too cautious.

Cutting from White 72 to 76 was strong, but Black managed his weak group pretty well up to 87, and the game was even.

Black 89 and 91 formed a sharp combination, and the trade up to Black 101 was still playable for both.

White 102 was a mistake, and instead, it should have been at Black 103.

Black 105 was sharp, and Black 113 to 115 was a brilliant combination and Black took the lead.

Black 119 to 131 was excellent, and Black solidified his lead.

White started to catch up with 140, 148 and 154.

Black 157, 159 and 183 were mistakes, and the game became very close.

Black 245 was a misread, and the game seemed to be reversed with White 246.

However, at the end of the game, Black won a half point ko in the bottom left while playing neutral point at Black 273.

White 280 wasn’t necessary, but there wasn’t any other place to play. Under Japanese rules, White didn’t have to play there. But White 280 doesn’t cost points in Chinese rules.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Video commentary – Game 5

Myungwan Kim 9p also commented the games live.

Click here to visit the AGA’s Youtube channel.


Related Articles

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.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Why did black answer W134 in game 4? I don’t see how the left side group is threatened.

    • Because if black ignores that atari then black f1 is not sente to kill the white corner, and if f1 is not sente then black can’t connect his lower middle group to the right lower group with j2, and without that escape route it will almost certainly die if black ignores to eat the p14 stones with o15 (is that your idea?) and white then attacks the centre group with k12 for example.

    • Smiley159 says:

      I think, first of all Black group in in the center still in danger. If black connect , he still have a sente move E1 threaten to kills white corner while aiming to connect the L2 group. If black not connect then later cature white will capture the stone in sente and the chance to connect to the L2 group is gone.

  2. Thanks! I was looking at the wrong side.

  3. Only 4 Chinese players to have won 3+ international titles? Does the Asian TV Cup not count? If the Asian TV Cup counts, Yu Bin should be included, having won the LG Cup once and the Asian TV Cup twice.

  4. “Under Japanese rules (with 7.5 points komi), Lee (as white) would have won by half a point.”
    But Japanese rules use 6.5 komi, not 7.5, so the result would have been unchanged.

    • David Ormerod says:

      It’s not so much an issue of rules, but an issue of how players count during the game.

      If you’ve learned to play and become pro in Korea or Japan, you tend to do your in play counting using territory scoring and then add komi. Then, you base your strategic decisions on the result of this count.

      Most of the time it makes no difference, so pros can usually just count in the way that’s fastest and most natural to them, but seki isn’t the only situation where area scoring (Chinese rules) can lead to a different outcome. It can also become confusing for Japanese and Korean pros when there are half point kos in the endgame, for which dame can be played as a ko threat under area scoring, but not under territory scoring (because they’re worthless under Japanese rules). It changes the analysis of the ko fight.

      Lee Sedol’s counting is very accurate and he places a lot of trust in the precision of his analysis. I’ve seen him resign very close games because he was completely confident that he couldn’t win. Korean pros who were watching game 5 live thought that Lee was winning when they counted (until the game was nearly over, when they realized that area scoring would be different) and Lee’s choices in the endgame seem to indicate that he also thought that he was winning by half a point (if he was losing, he would have played differently).

      A similar thing happened to Iyama Yuta last year, so we can see that even the best Japanese and Korean players can be confused by area scoring at times. The matter of 6.5 or 7.5 komi is a red herring here.

      There are surely similar situations which are confusing for Chinese players when playing under the Japanese rules, too. I remember a famous incident with Go Seigen, for example.

      Lee has played in China quite a lot (more than Iyama), so you can make the case that he should have known about this. However, he was also in byo-yomi for about 100 moves during the endgame and probably didn’t have time to consider the vagaries of area scoring, and question his belief that he was ahead, so too bad for Lee I guess…

      I’ve edited Jing’s article to say `Japanese counting’ instead of ‘Japanese rules’, but focusing on her choice of a single word here overlooks the broader point she was making.

      • You’re totally right. Changing the wording from “rules” to “counting” makes much more sense here. I think Jing’s broader point is much clearer now. I can see now how the players (and observers) would miscount here under these conditions. But this is exactly why the rules use different komi values, and most people don’t realize this.

      • Anonymous says:

        No no you can still use Japanese counting under chinese rules (or EGF, AGA rules). You just need to give one stone each time you pass and game is over when black pass and white pass after. Most of the time white just need to give one stone if he pass first (or play anywhere).
        In this game because of the ko, white needed to give 2 more stones than black.

        Most of korean top pro play Chinese League A nowadays and maybe on Tygem. Maybe they play more often under Chinese rules than Japanese rules. (By the way, Japanese rules are the only one where dame worth 0 point.)

        • David Ormerod says:

          The point is that it’s not an issue of rules, but a human’s imperfect perception of the game. The fact that rules are tangentially involved is neither here nor there.

          It looks like Lee thought he was ahead. He probably realized that he wasn’t close to the end of the game, when it was too late to do anything about it.

      • bobiscool says:

        I disagree. While this may be true for Iyama Yuta, Lee sedol has been playing in the Chinese A leagues for a long time, and have participated in many international tournaments before, some of which use area scoring.

        So I don’t think that can be used as an excuse.

        • David Ormerod says:

          Who said anything about an excuse? It’s an explanation of why Lee played the way he did. In other words, he made a mistake in the endgame and I’ve attempted to explain why as well as I can.

          I’m a bit confused that this seems to be a matter of contention. If the discussion were about someone misreading a capturing race instead of miscounting in the endgame, would it turn into a debate about what liberties are? 🙂

    • Yes. The writer should change his wrong attitude.

  5. Geert Groenen says:

    Hi! At the end of game 1, I think white can kill the black group on the lower left by playing on e10. Because I’m only an old 6 dan, please explain me why I’m wrong ☺.

  6. Is it safe to say that games that differ in Chinese and Jap scoring is due to Ko? Without Ko, they would be the same? And is 1 point difference the maximum?

    • No.

      Except in the very, very special case of seki with eyes, it is due to parity.

      Namely, if the Japanese score *without komi* is odd, then the Chinese score *without komi* is the same. If the Japaneses score is even, then the Chinese count one more point for Black.

      Just add the komi afterwards.

      By the way, as said above, current usual Japanese komi is 6.5, so that the score in game 5 would be the same.

    • Oh, and 1 point is indeed the maximum difference, except for this strange seki case. And if a player passes while the other plays on, too, but I don’t think you will see that in a pro game…

  7. s, there are also differences if there are sekis where one side gets more points than the other, or in the case of one-sided dame. I don’t think these are very common. See:

  8. Game 5, move 70 does seem too conservative. Even locally, is there a problem with P14 instead or is it just that Lee Sedol felt the game move was enough?

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you that White 70 was too conservative. White should have jumped at P14, but Lee must have felt the game was good enough for him.

  9. FYI, video reviews of these games by Myungwan Kim can be found on the AGA Youtube Channel’s playlist:

  10. “White 280 wasn’t necessary, but there wasn’t any other place to play. Under Japanese rules, White didn’t have to play there. But White 280 doesn’t cost points in Chinese rules.”
    I cant agree (unless you convince me somehow) – white could still fight a ko(though according to my poor skill Lee would still lose ko).I would play ko for sure, stake was too high.

    • Yes he kept playing for a couple of moves and than figured it was too late. For players at their level the number of ko threats are all counted clearly so there was no need to keep fighting.

      White-250 was the last losing move. Had he played T6 white could have reduced a bunch of ko threats and won the final ko. On the board it would still be black having +7 points but white would win by Chinese rule since he would not have to pass/self-fill a move in the end.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks KGS1d for your opinion and thanks Tony for your answer.

      Yes, I also thought White 250 should have played at T6 to remove future ko threats, and the game would have been reversed as you said.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I fail to see why black 245 in game 5 is a mistake. Does it loose any point ?

    • It is a loss of “half point” since when black plays at E7 white will eventually need to fill one stone in his territory. What happened in the game was like white got E7 for free.

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t see why white needed to respond at E7 if black just have played normally at A11. If black atari at D8 then D9 C8 B8 and nothing happens ?

        • If you already have the exchange of B-A11 W-A10, B-A3 W-A4, and then let B get E7 and W does not respond, then B can force W to play a capture inside its own territory. As a result W will have to play one more move to take B stones off the board which equals filling one point.

          • Younggil An says:

            Thanks Tony for your accurate and detailed explanation.

            • Thank Younggil. Looking forward to your detailed commentary for at least one of the five games. The end game of the 5th still has no final solution yet.

  12. What a great series! I absolutely CANNOT believe that has Iyama Yuta ranked higher than Lee Sedol.

  13. doesn’t seem to differentiate between international and domestic games. Lee Sedol has played a lot of games internationally and he has lost 15 of his last 27 games. Iyama Yuta has had some international games aswell, but with most of his games being domestic ones, he’s currently on a 27-game win streak.

    • That’s the only explanation why Iyama is ranked #3 by It’s a blaring travesty that any Japanese player should be in the top 10. I’d be surprised if Iyama true strength could even crack top 25, much less #3!

  14. Either i or j is missing from the board coordinates. Why? What kind of alphabet is this that omits a letter? In one browser I see H,I,K and in another I see H,J,K.

    • Younggil An says:

      I think ‘I’ is omitted because of the confusion along with ‘L’.

      However in Korea, no letters are omitted.

  15. The WHR algorithm is using is good at dealing with record with time taken into consideration but it still lacks capability in the following areas:
    1. Dealing with record sparsity of internationally inactive players. I think this is not the problem of WHR but the nature of international go games. As a result they have to also include domestic game record in order to get a more reliable probability calculation but the data can still be lacking for very inactive players.
    2. Compensating for the strength differential between professional opponents. Under for example an AGA amateur system opponents’ strength differential is compensated by handicaps which is determined by their levels. While for pros the level system nowadays means nothing and they only play even games. As the actual strength differential can be up to three stones between top and inactive pros, the algorithm will not be able to correctly differentiate for example a game between Ke Jie and Lee Sedol against a game between Iyama Yuta and Yokota Shigeaki who currently ranks at #486. Somehow they will have to find a way to weigh the games by the ranking differential between opponents and even though the ranking is highly inaccurate. Hopefully the system will be able to correct itself over time.

    For the case of Iyama Yuta he definitely benefits from playing majority (>90%) of his games against players ranked no higher than #45. He did win games against Park Jungwhan a couple of time but the sample size is too small and his record against lower-ranked Chinese and Korean players has not been brilliant either (of course the sample size is small as well). The general estimate on Iyama Yuta made by top Chinese players is that he would be able to get into top 30 in China but will definitely be out of top 10.

    In my opinion if Iyama Yuta really cares about proving his skill or improving his skill if it turns out to be a bit lower than the Chinese and Korean peers he should not intentionally avoid international tournaments, as there is no rule preventing him from playing as the #1 seed representing Japan. His #3 spot on is definitely a fluke which shows the loophole of the ranking system.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks for the interesting analysis Tony,

      Like you, I think it’s disappointing that Iyama Yuta doesn’t play more international matches.

      The most plausible explanation for why he doesn’t is based on economics. Iyama only has so many days in the year and so many years at the height of his powers.

      Given that the prize money for domestic Japanese titles is mostly higher than or on par with international titles, and that domestic titles are easier for Iyama to win, his strategy for maximizing his income is to focus his energies on winning domestic titles (pretty much exactly what he’s doing already).

      These days, pros can expect to be surpassed by younger players by the time they’re in their 30s, so their careers are relatively short. If you were in Iyama’s position, wouldn’t you consider maximizing your income too?

      I don’t think the fact that we would all like to see him compete against the world’s best players more often is his primary concern. It’s really a question of whether a player in Iyama’s position places more value on financial security in the future, or the glory of being a world champion (and his prospects at the latter are less certain).

      Unless the skewed incentives are corrected (if international prize money goes up, or Japanese prize money goes down, for example) what Iyama’s doing will continue to be logical until Iyama is well past his prime and possibly for future talented players in Japan too.

      • Thanks David for your reply. About Iyama’s time to play international games I don’t think it is ever a problem. After he has possessed 6 of the 7 major titles in Japan, even if he gets a chance to play in the final of the 7th one, he would need to play at the maximum of 41 title games against lesser players. Together with other games he will play around 50+ games for a whole year. Ke Jie played 80+ games last year plus he is playing on average ~1,000 games per year online since 2011. I still think the best way to improve the skill is to play opponents no weaker than yourself, not to mention the experience he gains from international games can only help him beat domestic players.

        Actually after he defeated Chinese Huang Yunsong in the Agon cup Iyama told the reporter that he would love to play more in international tournaments since he believed at 26 he could not be considered young anymore and with years of income he could focus more on trying to win international honors. However, he also indicated that whether he could participate was not sth. he could decide. I guess the Japanese Go Association is the “obstacle”.

    • Thank you for the illuminating analysis, Tony. Perhaps could come up with a way to calculate the strength differential of Japanese pros AS A WHOLE vs. Chinese and South Korean pros. If the sample sizes of individual Japanese pros playing in international tournaments are too small, then perhaps the records of Japanese pros should be combined to form a larger sample. From there, based on their domestic records, a value can be assigned to Iyama to account for the relative decrepitude of Japanese Go.

      This method is admitted imperfect, but it is still much more preferable over having Iyama ranked as the third strongest player in the world, which is an utter joke.

    • @Tony
      Perhaps I have a different opinion. I believe that the topic about the strength of Iyama and his rank on was discussed one time on another article of Gogameguru, and even Young Il has shared his opinion (that Iyama could be in top 10 worldwide at the moment).

      I read somewhere that after Chen Yaoye beated Iyama in 2013 (LG Cup, not sure), he stated that Iyama could do fine in top 10 in China. And, since the time, I believe that his play has been improved a bit. To me his international results (though not many games are played) since early 2014 could earn him a place in top 10 worldwide.

      – Lost to Lee Sedol (in Asian TV cup).
      – Won to Park Junghwan and Mi Yuting (surely a top 10 player in China) in Nong Shim cup before losing to Kim Ji Seok in a game that he leads until the end game.
      – Lost to Ke Jie in Japan-China Agon cup (understandable).
      – In World Meijin, won to Park Younghun and barely lost 0.5 point to Chen Yaoye in a game he lead since the beginning, partly because not being familiar with Chinese counting. (both are definitely top 15, even top 10 worldwide).
      – Won to Huang Yunsong in Japan-China Agon cup this year (Huang is no. 15 according to

      For goratings, I believe that the system DOES consider the strength of the opponent. Iyama rating was 3520-3523 before the game with Huang Yunsong (rating ~3450), because he only beat weaker domestic opponents in his winning streak before, but it jumps to 3542-3543 right after this game. But it’s true that it doesn’t seem to account the difference between domestic games and international games (true even for Korean and Chinese pros).

      In sum, yeah, to me he’s not top 3 (Shi Yue and Lee Sedol are definitely stronger), but perhaps somewhere between 8-15. Too bad he plays too few international matches.

      • Hello Kimidori, Yes I agree with you that the latest record although suffering from the limited sample size (<10 over the period of two years) shows that Iyama is on par with some Chinese and Korean plays ranked in the top 15. He used to lose some games against players ranked much lower but in the games he is playing now he only faces top players (Nongshim cup as Japan's last player and Agon Champion's cup ). Your estimate of top 8-15 might be a bit high but players in this range or a bit lower have very little differential anyway. The upcoming Nongshim cup will be the best test.

      • @kimidori

        Oh please, Iyama can’t possibly be in the top 15, let alone top 10. In fact, I can’t imagine any Japanese player cracking top 20. I think an active Japanese 9p is probably as strong as an average Chinese or Korean 3p, and I’m being generous.

        Yes, Iyama has done well, against JAPANESE players.

        • @Jeff
          I don’t want to discuss personal views, since it could lead to nowhere.
          First of all, Iyama’s current winning streak against other Japanese players (all are relatively weaker than himself) is not “obvious”, even for top players. You can easily get a bad day and lost to a weaker opponent.

          Moreover, my opinion is based on Iyama’s official games versus other top 15 players (Korean and Chinese pros) in the last 2 years, and perhaps also based on other pros’s opinions that I read (not only Young Il).

          Last, “Chinese or Korean 3p” can be very very strong, because pro rank isn’t really a measurement of strength, but rather an acknowledge of their achievements. Chen YaoYe, Fan Tingyu, Tuo Jaxi even Shi Yue and Ke Jie were all 3p-5p before winning their first international title, but at such moment they surely had the strength to be in top 20, even top 10. The same goes for “Japanese 9p” (Ichikiri Ryo 7p is much stronger than half of the 9ps in Japan).

  16. Another evidence is the international record of the #2 ranked Japanese player by this system, Yamashita Keigo. Compared with Iyama he plays a bit more in international tournaments but I don’t remember the last time he beat any well-known Chinese or Korean player. A lot of players ranked around #90, e.g. Li Zhe, Xie He, and Han Wonggyu may be favored against him anyway. His ranking also benefits from dominating lesser Japanese players.

    • If anyone here is familiar with the ranking system of American College Football, then you’d know that ‘strength of schedule’ is a large factor in determining the strength of individual teams. Iyama plays against weak competition, so his ‘weak schedule’ should count against him, but this doesn’t appear to be the case right now. So Iyama is essentially the Notre Dame Football of international Go, basically a perennially overrated player who gets exposed whenever he crosses path with Chinese or Korean pros. should definitely study how American College Football ranking algorithm works, specifically how it compensates for strength of schedule differentials.

  17. Hello to all, I’m new to the site.
    Regarding game 1: How did Ke Jie determine the timing for his shimari play at, White 18? What was White “saying” when he’d played, 18?
    I’d appreciate any feedback.

    • First off it was the biggest point on the board. Second, considering black’s solid but low group on the top left corner, moves for black around the area of C10 have very little value, but if white plays there it is a great shape together with white’s lower left corner. This is why black decided to approach white’s corner at C6 in the very next move. Black’s language was “if I really have to play on the left side, I want the max efficiency. If white you want to punish me, you will have to play many moves on the left side against my solid group on the top left.”

  18. Roland California says:

    Before the 5th match, Ke stated that it has been shameful, even if he wins.
    And if he lost, he would shave his head and focus on studying like a monk 🙂

    Indeed, his level of play was not nearly as impressive as in Samsung cup vs. Lee.
    The dominance he showed in the 5 game MLily series was mainly on the speed.
    In some of the games, Lee used 3 hours, while Ke only used about 1 hour.

    MLily is very long, 3 hours each and 1 hour lunch break, which could be 7 hours total. Samsung cup was 2 hours each, no lunch break.

    In most of the faster matches, Lee would not have much chance vs. Ke. He was running out of time even in the 7 hour MLily. But he put up a tough fight and got back much respect.

    For Ke, much of the 5% talk seemed to add too much pressure on himself; don’t you think? These 5 matches were a good tough training for him…

  19. Hope Ke Jie loses the #1 spot soon. He seems to have no class.

  20. I hope Iyama becomes #1 in goratings… only than the ranking maker would be forced to change how he ranks the players. There’s huge difference in Japanese players vs Korean and Chinese players average strength. If you don’t lower the Japanese players’ strength on average, the ranking would be useless. I think Iyama is possibly top 10 in the world but he just didn’t do anything in the international competition to be ranked so high.

  21. Roland CA says: got the most important rating right. It has ranked Ke Jie at #1 since 15 months ago, while some other ratings ranked Ke at #2 until 3 months ago. So the European gorating has good predictive value.

    Park Jungwhan did not even get into final 4 in either Samsung or MLily, while Ke was in the final of both and won both vs. Shi and Lee.

    The performance curves and time history curves are also useful and insightful on

    • @Roland,

      Goratings is good at ranking Korean and Chinese pros. There is no doubt about that. However, its ranking of Japanese pros definitely needs a lot of work because it simply doesn’t pass the smell test. As the above discussion shows, Japanese pros need to up their participation in international tournaments in order for Goratings to accurately gauge their strength.

  22. Anonymous says:

    At least the European got the #1 and #2 ratings right more than 10 months ago. Some ratings had Park Jr as #1 till very recent.

    Park J is getting slapped around by Lee right now, dragon slaughtered twice already in last couple days. Poor Jr, Lee is venting his frustrations with Ke onto Park Jr 🙂

  23. Ke got slapped around by Lee too until Game 2. The difference is that while Lee made a shocking blunder against both Ke and Park in their 2nd game, Park wasn’t able to capitalize and reverse the game.

    • I watched both games between Lee and Park recently. I would say both are complete dominance by Lee. Can you point me to where in the 2nd game Park could reverse it?
      Lee’s dominance against Park is another evidence that Ke Jie was a much tougher opponent.

  24. I have no idea who is replying to who in this comment section. Maybe we should switch to a modern comment system?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Anh for your suggestion. I think that’s really a good idea, and we will consider of changing the system.

  25. Thanks for the commentary!

    I have one question:
    In the last game there were at least two more Ko-Threads for Lee at C12 (threatens B13) + E11. Why doesn’t he play these and place S8 instead?
    Or have I missread this…

    • If Black plays S8 Black will have 5 ko threats on the right side. So white will lose the ko anyway. In Chinese rule white would lose nothing when he filled one point by playing S8 as all public points other than the ko on the board were already taken. But of course black would fill the ko and take the win.

  26. Bill Singer says:

    Thank you for publishing these wonderful games.

    In game 4 of the MLily cup, Youngil comments that White lives in the corner after move 58. But how can he survive a Black play at B1?

    • Younggil An says:

      @Bill Singer

      That’s a good question. If Black plays at B1, White at B2, Black at B1, and White will hane at F1, which makes miai of E3 and G2.

  27. It’s indeed a travesty that Iyama is ranked #3 in the world. That’s simply unacceptable. Iyama is definitely out of top 10. He could be somewhere between 11 and 15, optimistically. Realistically, he might just be 18 or 19 at best.

  28. I have an off-topic question about openings, if you don’t mind.
    I was playing over a bunch of recent games from gokifu recently, and I noticed that the majority of players are avoiding the taisha by crawling along the third line. Was this just coincidence from a small sample, or is the evaluation of that opening changed?

  29. Zeno van Ditzhuijzen says:

    Taisha is not played anymore because it’s a joseki with a few playable variations that essentially fills up more than a quarter of the board, after which there is less time to influence the game.
    It is also relatively easy to make a small mistake in one of the variations and the whole game will be immediately lost, not even mentioning trick/tricky plays that a player could prepare beforehand.

  30. Mark can you point to the specific games you saw Taisha options? Without understanding the game situations it is really hard to explain.

  31. Hi, Ke vs Lee in the Lunar New Year Cup is about to start in 1 hour.
    Where can we see the game live?
    Thank you!