Baduk TV English: Chang Hao vs Lee Changho – Searching for Exquisite Games: Episode 25

Searching for Exquisite Games is a Baduk TV series that reviews some of the best games of Go from the last few decades. The commentators are Yoon Seonghyun 9p and Shim Wooseop 7d.

Episode 25 looks at the final of the 11th Fujitsu Cup, played on August 1, 1998. Chang Hao plays black and Lee Changho plays white.

Chang Hao vs Lee Changho

Video: Chang Hao vs Lee Changho

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Transcript of the video

Translated by Oh Chimin 7d for

Edited by David Ormerod 5d

Searching for Exquisite Games

Hello! Today we'll review a game played by two rivals.

There are different types of rivals.

Normally, rivals (in Go) refers to two players who fight to be at the top during a particular era.

There can be an age difference between them.

Sometimes the younger one challenges the champion.

We've seen many challengers take over the throne.

There seem to be many perceptions about rivals.

Everyone thinks Lee Sedol and Gu Li are rivals.

Sometimes two players are thought to be rivals, even though they really aren't.

Let's meet today's guest.

Hi! My name is Kim Sehan. I work for Medicare Soft.

Our company develops medical software.

I recommend the game between Lee Changho and Chang Hao.

It's from the final of the 11th Fujitsu Cup.

Q. How would you define rivals?

I think rivals are two players who strive for the same goal, with mutual respect.

Q. Why did you choose this game?

Rather than the details, I was impressed by their fighting spirits.

Speaking personally, I love this kind of game.

To summarize the game, Chang took the lead with his aggressive strategy.

Later, Lee struggled in the top right with a ko, and finally reversed the game.

Q. What's the focus on this game?

Black took the lead with his fast opening and aggressive tactics.

After that, white tried incessantly to catch up, which was interesting.

The two rivals ran into each other again.

I heard that they're very close friends, off the board.

Chang often says he admires Lee Changho,

In particular, for his personality, rather than his performance.

Because of that, they often hang out together for meals.

However, when it comes to their head to head record,

It's too one sided to call them rivals, frankly.

During Lee's peak, he won many crucial games against Chang.

In another way, Lee was his natural enemy.

Previously, all of China's hopes were on Ma Xiaochun 9p.

But Ma didn't meet those expectations.

Subsequently, Chang took over Ma's role.

In the end, he couldn't surpass Lee, either.

In the last few years, Chang has managed to defeat Lee.

But time has passed, and Lee Sedol and Gu Li have emerged.

Let's have a look at the game.

Chang Hao plays black, Lee Changho plays white.

The Fujitsu Cup decided the winner with just one game.

There would have been a lot of tension over this game.

Many Chinese fans wished for Chang's victory.

Despite the previous record between these players, they trusted in Chang to perform.

Above all, it was only one game, which makes things quite unpredictable.

Leaving the bottom left, Chang approached again in the top left.

It seems hard to manage both the top and the bottom.

He tenukied again, what an unusual opening!

Black's opening was very speedy.

I looked over their head to head record.

Since Lee changed his style, Chang's winning rate has increased.

Chang's good at the middle game, but Lee used to reverse games at the end.

Chang has faired better since Lee began playing more aggressively.

I think there are more possible variations in fighting.

Chang's likes fighting games, based on thickness.

To create balance, white should jump like this.

Black left his stones on both sides, and spread out with the Chinese opening.

In China, top players gather and investigate openings together before a big match.

Chang and some other top players likely prepared this opening in advance. That doesn't happen in Korea.

Regardless of that, Lee was going about his own business.

When this stone is placed low, black usually extends.

But if black does so, white will pincer.

In this case, black has an effective move here.

But now it's different. Black should extend along the top side instead.

After white plays here, black can take sente.

White should make a tiger's mouth.

If black plays one point to the right, white should play differently.

In this case, white should invade here.

At this point, another special move appeared.

This approach looks peculiar.

Usually white plays here, but Lee improvised.

However, we rarely see this move in pro play now.

Usually, when a top player develops a new move, it becomes popular.

Let's analyze and see why this move vanished.

If black encloses the corner, white can easily stabilize his group on the bottom.

So Chang answered here.

And then Lee jumped lightly like this.

Chang jumped here, but he could've attacked like this.

After exposing white's weakness, cutting here is powerful.

Black's stones are well placed in this situation.

Chang chose the easiest way in the game.

Jumping instead of peeping would be too heavy and inefficient.

Black gets many points, while white gains nothing.

Because of that, Lee peeped and pushed here.

Up to here, this area became clear.

This move troubled white.

Lee played an empty triangle. How about this move?

Then black will hane and connect, gaining several points.

After that, white's weakness is still exposed.

Inevitably, he chose this move. But the shape doesn't look nice.

In addition, black can play forcing moves afterwards.

Therefore, Lee's experimental approach didn't receive good feedback.

That's why this move isn't played anymore.

After making a pleasurable forcing exchange, black defended his corner.

After that, an interesting variation turned up.

Lee also fortified his moyo.

Initially, we anticipated that Chang would move out directly.

This peep was a brilliant probe.

White blocked here, to prevent black from going into the corner.

Eventually, black's plan was successful, again.

Both players said after the game that playing here isn't good, since 3-3 is open.

White should stop black from living in the corner, and black will hane here next.

After that, black can attach and cut.

Let's see how these exchanges help black.

If white ataris, black will live in the top left.

Black's hane from earlier plays an important role in this case.

Instead, white should atari here.

After playing another atari, white connects.

Next black will attack this group, or extend on the right side.

Since white's area is flattened, Lee didn't like this variation.

On the other hand, black's framework looks wonderful.

So Lee resisted, but the result wasn't satisfactory.

I guess he'd be well aware of Chang's thickness oriented style.

This move looked flexible.

After black extended, some aji was created here.

Unable to just answer, Lee decided to attack black.

After the exchange, Chang played a knight's move.

Answering here is obvious and necessary.

However, Chang had a clever move up his sleeve.

At this point, there's a move in the corner.

This move, which seems to be suicidal, was Chang's aim!

White didn't seem to have any choices.

When black cut, white couldn't rescue his stone.

Because of those exchanges, this stone's in a ladder!

Therefore, white had to give up that stone.

By capturing the stone, black gained some profit here.

If white blocks here, this becomes a good forcing move for black.

After the atari, black can cut here.

This atari strengthens black and hinders white's connection.

Black's taken a stone and cut white.

This is no good for white.

Lee couldn't answer in the corner, so he connected like this.

Black ataried here and defended the top side.

After that, white captured the two stones and took control of the center.

But black lived safely, destroying white's territory in sente.

Overall, black was successful. Chang's move order here was highly acclaimed.

I'll show you the conclusion from the the post-game review.

Before playing on the left, white should've attached here first.

This sequence is expected.

These exchanges remove many weak points.

This was the conclusion.

Frankly, it would be hard for Lee to exchange such moves.

Because white can invade at 3-3, at anytime.

But I think those exchanges weaken the aji.

Now white can only make a ko at best.

A pro's instinct would be that these exchanges are unacceptable.

That's just an example.

Chang's acute tactical instincts led to a big success here.

After that, Lee didn't seem to have any other choices.

There's no time to answer here. It's too slow.

Because of the ladder, white can't rescue his stone.

Though it's not big, black succeeded in both contests.

Black enlarged his moyo, while simultaneously reducing white's potential.

Chang kept reducing white's area.

His lead would become clear after he erased white's moyo.

White can't invade. This attachment was the best Lee could manage.

But white has to reduct this area before it's too late.

Up to here, Chang had played well. But now Lee's chase began in earnest.

Lee invaded at 3-3. Surprisingly, he refused to live in the corner.

If white kosumis, he can easily live.

Lee played a strong move here.

White enticed black to start the ko, since he had many threats.

That's interesting.

It was an appropriate strategy in this situation.

In response, Chang let him live.

But Lee didn't play as Chang intended.

He refused to live again and cut here.

Black lacks ko threats. It's a nuisance.

Let's imagine black loses this ko fight.

It will affect the two stones and the surrounding area.

The ko is also heavy for black.

When black extended, Lee still didn't save his group.

This atari is always white's right.

Lee's well known for his superb endgame skills.

But he also learned how to complicate games by playing Cho Hunhyun [his teacher - the 'God of War'].

Lee played dozens of championship matches against Cho.

In this unfavorable situation, he was complicating the game effectively.

It looks hard for black to respond. Did black make a mistake earlier?

I think so. Black was clearly better before white invaded the corner.

Chang confessed that he regretted overlooking white's cut.

He should've let white live.

This area isn't as valuable as it looks.

Black can apply pressure to the corner with this extension.

Then black would've kept his lead.

However, Lee's flexible resistance was excellent.

Chang thought his moves would lead to a similar result.

But he didn't expect this cut.

After that, he had to fall back.

I didn't understand why black was in trouble. This move looked powerful.

There were some factors Chang might've overlooked.

It's a very unusual situation. This move is sente.

After that, black must connect his group.

So it can affect the fighting in the top right group.

If white cuts, the three stones will die.

Black had to connect, after that white blocked here.

White was compelling black to fight the ko.

Black was helpless, so he began the ko.

On the other hand, white has a number of ko threats in the top left.

Black also has some local threats here.

At this point, white played here.

It's an absolute threat, of course. But this move was a mistake.

This hane is a lot better.

I think black has to answer here, in order to connect.

Not only does white have many ko threats now, but this attachment also works.

Ah, black can't cut here!

This atari is no good. White will counter-atari.

If black bumps, white can break through, into black's area.

Isn't that a serious flaw in black's territory?

Lee's previous combination was great.

Black would've been in serious trouble if Lee had haned here too.

I asked Lee why he didn't play there.

He said the situation in the top right was too good to be true.

Lee thought black was in huge trouble anyway.

All he wanted was to win the ko.

But the result could've been much better.

He needed to play more aggressively,

While the situation was in his favor.

Anyway, Lee focused on the ko and he had plenty of threats.

He couldn't lose the ko fight.

Whereas black couldn't continue the ko.

Finally, the ko fight ended.

And white gained a thick wall on the outside.

Removing the aji in the lower right was a pity. Is this enough for white anyway?

If we compare this to the situation when white first invaded the top right,

White's gained a lot, by living in the corner and winning the ko.

In summary, Lee turned the tables.

His success surpassed Chang's previous successes.

Lee's judgment wasn't wrong.

But he could've finished the game with the hane in the bottom right.

Anyway, Lee successfully changed the tide.

Let's look at the middle game after the break.

Today's game is between two rivals: Lee Changho and Chang Hao.

The opening was very special, wasn't it?

Yes, Chang's adroit move order in the opening was fantastic.

But after his mistake in the top right, he almost got knocked out.

He got out of the trouble thanks to Lee's mercy.

Now's a good time to do some positional judgement.

Black's still ahead on territory.

But, because of white's moyo in the center, white will gain a lot more profit later.

Overall, white took control of the game.

These forcing moves are white's right.

When it comes to positional judgment here, Lee's neutral.

In the game, he'd been optimistic about the position.

He thought that he was leading by more than he really was.

Lee's opponents often overplay when he just plays calmly to keep his lead.

After these exchanges, Lee attached here to do something in black's moyo.

White still had many threats on the right, so black couldn't start a ko.

Black descended. It's getting more interesting.

White peeped here, which was sente.

If black tenukis, this group will die.

Before living, Chang took some profit, by playing here.

Because white's in black's area, moving out without making preparations is dangerous.

White struck at this point. It's the vital point.

Black needed to protect his weakness.

Chang exchanged the atari.

If black answers here, white can cut, or move out immediately.

Chang defended his moyo. Let's see how the game proceeded first.

Even though black exchanged a move, white attached here.

If black responds like this, white will block off the outside.

Then this area is too large.

So black resisted.

Cutting here now is well timed.

If black captures one stone, white will turn here.

If black ataris here, eventually, white's attachment works well.

Black can't follow this variation.

So Chang captured this stone instead.

How about playing here now?

In this case, black will save the two stones.

If black hanes, white can't go far.

Black will block off white's escape tightly.

This group is dead.

They made a compromise in the actual game.

When black ataried, white captured the three stones.

At first I thought white was successful.

Because Lee acquired some points, capturing black's stones.

However, white's left side moyo was reduced, and his center stone died.

Lee lost his framework, while he was capturing the three stones.

Are there any better moves?

I think white should've concentrated on the center.

During the review, lots of interesting moves appeared.

It was either Lee Sedol's or Choi Cheolhan's opinion,

That white should play here, before playing as in the actual game.

How should black answer now?

If black just connects here, white can cut immediately.

If black can't capture this stone, his group will be separated.

To prevent that, black should kosumi instead.

Interestingly, the ladder works again now.

The shape looks a bit awkward, but it's inevitable.

After that exchange, striking the vital point is good.

As in the actual game, black should attach here first.

Now black has to defend against white's cut again.

It's incomparable to the actual progression.

Thanks to this exchange, white has many more choices.

For example, black still can't play here because of this move.

He has to capture this stone.

White's earlier exchange plays a great role at this point.

With that exchange, the center stone can't be captured.

If black can't capture it, his group will suffer inside white's sphere of influence.

Without it, black can net the two stones.

There's no way to escape.

But if white exchanges this, the net doesn't work anymore.

Black's two stones are isolated. White will attack these stones severely.

If Lee had played there, Chang would've been in trouble.

Black can't let white cut here.

Up to here, black has no other choice.

When white attaches, black has to answer here.

However, that's one of the variations white wants.

White can enclose this area, and he'll be likely to win.

Lee's reading here lacked sophistication.

Frankly, capturing the three stones in black's position looks big.

But it turned out he needed to make an exchange first.

In conclusion, this move would've been the finishing blow.

Despite removing some aji, it would greatly affect the left side.

Because there's a lot of aji, a knight's move is the proper move.

Chang would've known it, but he couldn't play like this.

He wanted to make up for the failure in the previous battle.

In the end, Lee wasn't able to punish black effectively.

Locally, he gained many points.

But in this case, white's center potential was erased considerably.

The move order was excellent.

Black couldn't resist against white's plan.

The problem was that this stone was so huge.

The trade was carried out.

Chang resolved the ladder efficiently.

Taking white's stone is too slow now.

White's framework was reduced significantly.

The center is urgent, so Lee made a ponnuki first.

And then he saved these stones in sente.

These moves were timesujis [moves played to get more time to think in byo-yomi].

Around this time, both players would have reassessed the overall position.

Instead of defending, Lee played at tengen.

This move suggests how tight the game was.

How about cutting white?

After that, white can counter-attack like this.

The center is even bigger than white's dead group, so this is a failure for black.

Black might consider fighting ko.

But white is still thicker, which means he has more ko threats.

So this was an efficient way to reinforce.

Black attached and haned. The center was decided.

Since the fight at the bottom, the center had changed a lot.

Instead of the hane, how about erasing the left side?

Well, if white hanes here, some aji is exposed.

And white will gain some potential in the center.

For the sake of thickness, black should hane.

White was also fine, since he was able to secure the left side.

White gained many points on the left.

Black defended his moyo, aiming to cut white's group.

After that move, Lee kept replying as strongly as he could.

What if black cuts here immediately?

Let's see what would happen.

When white captures this stone, black has to defend here.

White can fight a ko, since he has lots of ko threats.

But, in fact, there's already half an eye in this area.

If black resists, white will choke black's liberties like this.

Then, black's three stones are dead.

Because of that, black can't kill this group.

Forcing moves are good enough for black.

After that, white connected his group.

That's the last big point left on the board.

The middle game was over.

The territorial outline was being completed.

It's time for positional judgment again.

White failed in the bottom left. As a result, it's a close game.

The outcome there allowed black to catch up.

Chang managed the center very well.

However, no one doubted in Lee's endgame skills at that time.

Even though Chang's chase was quite brisk,

Many people expected Lee's victory.

It's a good chance to watch Lee's endgame. Let's continue.

Lee's endgame used to be more reliable than anyone else's.

This game was played in 1998.

The 90's were when Lee was at his peak.

From the beginning, there were many brilliant variations.

The fighting wasn't very fierce.

But, from time to time, both players played very clever moves.

I think Chang's similar to Cho Hanseung 9p.

I find their faces to be alike.

They both usually speak with composure.

Though Chang likes fighting, he often focuses on shape, like Cho.

If his style was wilder, like Lee Sedol's,

Then he would've performed better on the international field.

Black didn't reinforce the center and turned above.

Capturing this stone is worth five points.

It'd be a hard decision to give up that stone at this stage.

Black's previous move aimed at follow-ups.

There aren't many places to play now.

Would both players know who was leading?

I doubt it, because this game was very close now.

They'd recognize that they had to fight for half a point though.

But accurate calculation would've been hard.

Black was threatening white's big group.

He was applying pressure to white here.

It seems like the half eye on the right would be a great help.

Yes, the group's safe because of that aji.

I think the 5 point endgame move seems quite big.

Chang was aiming for additional profits through attacking.

It's hard to measure the thickness exactly.

Chang made and instinctive choice.

He would've acquired a keen instinct from having played many games.

However, there's no notable benefit.

Black gained a few points in the upper center.

Both players were playing in the byo-yomi.

It'd be hard for them to play flawlessly.

Lee didn't answer black's atari.

Did Lee intend to start a huge ko?

Well... probably not.

However, white can do so if he wishes.

Of course, it's risky.

White fell back.

This group was alive, so he could tenuki.

Didn't black lose sente in vain?

Yes, that's true.

White made the seki, that's no big deal,

But black's atari on the right side wasn't profitable.

It's seki now.

In exchange, black can capture this stone in sente.

There's white's second eye.

After white lived, the game was nearly finished.

275 moves, white (Lee Changho 9p) wins by 1.5 points.

Q. How would you define an exquisite game?

The players should convey their fighting spirits to the spectators.

I'm very pleased to introduce my favorite game to you.

I hope you'll enjoy this program, thank you!

We saw many novel moves, created by both players.

By the way, Lee won by 1.5 points, which was unexpected.

There're two reasons why.

Chang lost sente here.

Without saving the three stones, black could've started the ko.

In that ko, if black wins, he'll capture white's corner.

If black takes first, white will capture these stones.

White's burden in the ko will be reduced.

In that case, this ko threat is good enough.

That's why Chang couldn't start that ko fight.

Eventually, he wasted almost one move there.

Black had to capture the two stones in gote.

And capturing black's stone was worth five points.

I think black should've protected that weakness.

Chang didn't want white to play here.

This move was better at that stage.

Even though black sacrificed a stone, he can get both points.

Let's look something both players mentioned.

The last spot they reviewed was here.

Chang stuck too hard at this group.

This hane is better.

When black ataris, white only has to take this stone.

Then black can make two points in sente.

Does that mean white can't capture that stone?

Right, so Chang shouldn't have rescued it.

White should play here, then black answers like this.

In this case, black can gain some points with the ataris.

In the actual game, he couldn't atari.

That's a big difference.

White also played here.

After investigating the variations around here,

They concluded that the hane was black's best response.

Then black would win by half a point.

There were many variations, but the game was so close.

That's what makes this an exquisite game.

Even though there were some mistakes,

Their sense in a close game was excellent.

However, Lee performed better in the endgame.

We're looking forward to reviewing more excellent games with you!

Thank you!

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