Baduk TV English: Lee Changho vs Hu Yaoyu – Searching for Exquisite Games: Episode 41

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 41 looks at game 12 of the 4th Nongshim Cup, played on January 22, 2003. Lee Changho plays black and Hu Yaoyu plays white.

Lee Changho vs Hu Yaoyu

Video: Lee Changho vs Hu Yaoyu

Watch Lee Changho play Hu Yaoyu on Baduk TV

You need a subscription to Baduk TV to watch this video.

Login now, or click here to learn more.

Game record


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Transcript of the video

Translated by Oh Chimin 7d for

Edited by David Ormerod 5d

Searching for Exquisite Games - Episode 41.

Today, we're going to look at a game from a team competition.

It was the 4th Nongshim Cup, played between Lee Changho 9p and Hu Yaoyu 7p (at the time).

Lee was the superstar of team competitions.

In the Jinro Cup, Cho Hunhyun 9p was normally the anchorman.

However, in the Nongshim Cup, Lee's performance has been superb.

This time, his opponent was Hu Yaoyu 7p.

Around this time, young players like Gu Li, Kong Jie, and Hu Yaoyu emerged.

During this tournament, Hu recorded five consecutive wins.

He reversed games against Cho Hunhyun 9p and Yoda Norimoto 9p.

In addition, his head to head record against Lee was 2-0, before this game.

Therefore, the Chinese team were more confident than ever.

Since Korea was dominant at the time, it was a good opportunity for the Chinese team.

Let's have a look at the game.

Lee Changho plays black, Hu Yaoyu plays white.

At this point in the tournament, China still had Hu and Luo Xihe 9p in play.

However, Lee was the only remaining player on the Korean team.

Lee's performance was outstanding.

But now he had to face Hu, who had won twice against Lee in the past.

Because of that, Chinese Go fans were anticipating Hu's win.

Cho played against Hu in the previous round, and it had looked like he was going to win.

But Hu reversed the game, so he was in high spirits.

This move at 3-3 looks special to me.

It's rarely been played recently.

In response, Lee immediately played a shoulder hit.

Can white jump like this? I've only seen the knight's move in this sort of situation.

Usually, if you want to go towards the east, you should push in the opposite direction.

After that, you can play here, and it's a joseki.

Previously, this jump was considered to be improper move.

According to joseki books, black's slightly better.

But, in my opinion, it's also playable for white.

It seems like Hu made up his own strategy.

Lee tenukied and approached the top left corner.

Then he extended here, speedily.

White approached another corner.

In response to the pincer, Hu pressed black.

I thought Lee would push here calmly.

However, he played a severe move.

What if black just plays like this?

This can be considered too, but the potential at the bottom is limited because of this white stone.

That's why Lee pushed and cut, even though both variations are possible.

After this, the game became complicated.

However, it was Hu who caused the complication.

Up to here, it's a normal sequence.

This jump is a common move, then black encloses here.

But, suddenly, Hu tried to separate black.

It looks like an aggressive move.

Lee had no choice but to play a severe move too.

This move was powerful, and the first serious battle began here.

As a result, this game became one of the most exciting games played in the Nongshim Cup.

Hu's move would be evaluated based on the outcome of the battle.

Lee couldn't just let his groups be separated.

He had to resist, with fighting spirit.

This cut was obvious.

White had a weakness here, so Hu defended.

Lee also had to answer here, for the same reason.

This push was sente.

If black attaches here, this white group isn't alive.

So Hu kosumied.

It wasn't possible to capture white's two stones like this.

After the kosumi, Hu pushed once more.

The fight was getting more complicated.

These moves are natural.

Hu played here, but he didn't intend to capture black's group.

Hu's plan was to decide how to defend the bottom, based on black's answer.

To continue the battle, white had to reinforce here somehow.

Therefore, it was a kind of an asking move.

Hu's moves were very aggressive in this game.

It was quite different from his usual style of play.

His usual style is calm, patient, and tenacious, just like Lee's.

Some people said Hu was a Chinese version of Lee Changho.

His moves here were tougher than usual, because this round could've been the last game.

And Hu's previous wins against Lee would have made him confident.

Lee wedged here.

By the way, China expected more from Hu than from the other remaining player, Luo Xihe 9p.

This wedge was so severe.

I think white had to connect somehow.

Hu played here. This tiger's mouth can be a tesuji in some cases.

But, in this case, black's attachment will be a powerful tesuji.

And now white can't capture this stone.

Since connecting here is impossible, white has to atari.

It looks awful for white.

He has to beg for life.

In the meantime, black makes life in sente. And now he can attack white like this.

The position looks nice, but it has a critical weakness on the first line.

If white plays here, this placement is a great tesuji!

If white captures this stone, black will capture white's stone in sente.

This move isn't good. If black saves his stone, the entire group will be in grave danger.

This sort of aji is unbearable for white.

So, inevitably, Hu connected here instead.

In response, Lee pushed.

If black's group becomes safe, he can still attack the corner.

Is it possible for black to capture white like this?

Yes indeed, white can't make two eyes.

That's why Lee didn't exchange this move immediately.

Hu extended first, then Lee attached here.

Hu couldn't leave this area anymore.

After that, Lee looked after his group.

White was able to rescue the group, but it was gote.

And if black moved out like this, white's aggressive strategy would clearly be unsuccessful.

Nevertheless, this move looks normal.

However, Hu had consistently played severe moves, right from the beginning.

If this worked, it would be the finishing blow.

However, it wasn't that easy.

The hane was the strongest move among white's choices.

Lee extended here.

It was a good tesuji.

To capture black's group, white has to play here.

Now this group has two liberties.

But how about cutting here?

The ladder favors black.

It's impossible for white.

Because of that, Hu had to push here instead.

This cut was the only move.

White successfully shut black in.

However, if white ataris here, black will capture these two stones, like this.

They're pivotal stones. It's no good.

And the corner isn't safe at the moment.

So Hu rescued his stones first.

But three cutting points were exposed during the attack.

This cut was severe.

White also had to prevent black from breaking through over here.

So, because of all the cutting points, this atari was inevitable.

The flow looks unnatural for white, somehow.

It speaks to the difficulty of white's predicament.

To prevent the ladder, Lee haned here.

This hane left a cutting point here.

Why didn't Hu extend like this instead?

That would be the normal response. But this was a special circumstance.

In this case, black will cut.

White has to enclose this area, but black can cut here again.

Now white's in trouble.

Black can capture white's stones in a net.

After the hane, the situation is different.

The hane prevents the net, and the ladder is favorable for white.

That was Hu's intention, but locally it wasn't a good move.

However, it was an inevitable choice.

By playing the hane, Hu protected his weakness.

Since Lee couldn't cut, he played a forcing move here instead.

White was in a difficult situation.

Hu wanted to capture this group.

But, after taking sente, Lee ataried here.

The battle looks really complicated.

Lee wedged here, to make two eyes.

If black just captures this stone, his group won't live.

Therefore, this exchange was essential.

Let's compare a variation with the actual progression of the game.

I'll show you something.

In my opinion, connecting here is an option.

Then black must live, like this.

Before capturing white's stone, black should exchange this push.

At this point, white can atari here.

Isn't this black group captured then?

Well, it doesn't have two eyes.

So it can't live.

But if black plays here, white's group can't escape.

Is it a trade then?

Well, there's some aji in the bottom right.

White's group isn't completely alive.

Because of that aji, white needs to play here once more.

I think this move is good enough.

I asked the players about this variation.

However, there's a cutting point here.

And white has no choice but to answer here.

So black can capture another group.

There was an exchange, and white has a weakness here.

It seems bad for white.

But white's territory here is considerable.

And even though this group has been captured, there's aji in the top right.

White can definitely make use of his dead group like this.

In contrast, black's group is completely dead.

In addition, there's some more aji here.

Considering this, this choice would be ok for white.

Let's compare this with the actual game.

In the variation, white gained many points by exploiting black's bad aji.

Let me show you the actual progression.

Hu didn't connect here in the game.

He saw that his group would die if he followed that path.

So he blocked here instead.

In response, Lee played here, to strengthen his group.

Well, not exactly. He was aiming at this white group.

Even if white plays here, he can't make two eyes.

Hu exchanged these moves first.

After that, he played a tiger's mouth.

Consequently, black captured the corner.

Even though Hu rescued this group, he couldn't look after his corner.

In terms of territory, white lost many points here.

In the previous variation, there was a trade.

But here, white's group was too big to sacrifice.

In other words, white didn't get enough compensation for his dead group.

I agree. The other variation looks better for white.

It wouldn't guarantee a lead, but Hu should've chosen that variation.

As a result of capturing the corner, Lee took a territorial lead.

Hu still had to manage this area.

To defend the cutting point, he ataried here.

Lee pushed, but Hu didn't answer.

Even if black breaks through, white's wall here is very solid.

If white ataris, he can capture several stones.

And if black plays here, white can still escape with a knight's move on the left.

It won't affect white's iron wall very much.

Since black had more liberties, Lee had time to block here.

After exchanging this cut, Lee descended.

White had to answer, then black defended his moyo.

This area looks nice.

Let's carry out a positional judgment. Black has 20 points in this area.

In total, black's secured approximately 55 points.

In contrast, white has slightly more than 30 points.

In terms of territory, black was leading by more than 20 points.

Therefore, white had rely on his thickness.

If he used it well, he'd be able gain more points.

However, it was clear that Lee had won the first battle.

It seems like he countered Hu's severe moves effectively.

Let's continue after the break.

Today we're looking at exquisite games from team tournaments.

Both players were playing very interesting moves.

This game was considered to be one of the most spectacular matches.

A fierce battle took over a quarter of the board.

It began with Hu's sudden attack.

However, his sacrifice strategy didn't work very well.

As a result, Lee was ahead on territory.

At this point, Hu had to work hard to catch up.

In order to maximize white's thickness, Hu separated black.

Lee looked after his corner first.

Capturing this stone was white's privilege.

In jumping out, Hu was aiming at black's entire center group.

Since white could capture these four stones in sente, this strategy was plausible.

Lee couldn't let white enclose this area.

In this situation, Hu played a knight's move.

In order to capture this group, pushing here is better.

These are all forcing moves.

If white plays here, he can capture the center group.

This move is sente too.

Isn't that big?

Normally yes, but black will push here and sacrifice his stones.

Black can also hane there later, but he'll play this knight's move first.

Black was leading by about 20 points.

White can gain more than 25 points in the center.

The problem is that black can also make many points at the top.

White pushed black along the fourth line.

The corner wasn't worth much earlier, because the 3-3 point was still open.

But in this case, black's made many points here, and he's can take sente.

Considering this, black is still leading on territory.

Because of that, Hu didn't capture black's group immediately.

That's why Hu stretched one point further.

So that white can attack black on a larger scale, if he moves his group out.

Lee tried to rescue his group anyway.

Hu played an asking move from a distance.

Apparently, this wasn't Hu's style.

His moves look different in this game.

Go players are sometimes affected by comments in the media.

At that time, Hu was depicted as a hero, who would beat Lee.

It makes sense. Hu had just won five games in a row.

Lee created an eye by capturing white's stone.

The center group was the only target at which white was aiming.

This eye gave black great relief.

Hu captured these four stones, which was his privilege.

That's why Hu was able to attack the center group.

However, to keep attacking, white needs to play like this.

But if black answers here, white's forced to prevent black's eye here.

Then black will gain many more options.

Since black already has one eye, continuing to attack seems to be hard for white.

Above all, there were flaws in white's position here.

So Hu stopped attacking, and decided to acquire some territory.

At this point, Lee made a small mistake.

This attachment looks normal, but it was problematic.

He intended to move into the center if white haned.

So his groups could be connected easily.

However, this attachment was a brilliant move.

What if black extends like this?

Normally, this sort of move isn't good. But this was a special circumstance.

The corner became more vulnerable.

And there are forcing moves at the top, so white can attack this group more effectively too.

It seems hard for black to resist.

The life and death in the center seems unclear, but this would be too adventurous for Lee, who was leading.

He should've tenukied instead.

As a result of the unnecessary exchange, the top side was enclosed.

After that, this group became more isolated.

Lee secured the corner.

Hu wanted to separate black and attack his group severely.

This move was necessary though.

If black comes out like this, white's group isn't alive.

Even if white captures this stone, he's only got one eye.

Anyway, Hu successfully isolated black.

And Lee chose the safest move.

It was like a declaration of a victory.

At the time, Lee hardly ever lost a game once he took the lead.

The observers never doubted Lee's victory at this point.

Nevertheless, there was a dramatic variation later.

Black's previous attachment was no good.

Because of that move, the top side was blocked off.

Was this move even possible?

Because of his weakness, black couldn't resist like this.

These forcing moves were a bit painful for black.

Hu also exchanged these moves.

Then he jumped into the corner.

Since Hu played here, he didn't gain much from the attack.

White got some points here, but black saved his two stones, capturing this one.

This move seems to be good enough.

Thanks to his earlier success, black would win.

Lee pushed here.

Lee was going to answer here if Hu connected.

But, since white was behind, Hu tried to complicate the game.

Eventually, this push gave white a chance.

After this wedge, Hu resisted again.

There was a dramatic change from here onwards.

This answer would've been the simplest option.

Black would live easily.

Instead of the wedge, this attachment would have been simpler too.

Isn't that too submissive?

If white connects, black exchanges this move.

This atari would be enough, but this attachment is a tesuji.

Does that work?

It isn't easy for white to respond. If white plays here, black can wedge.

This move is a bit tricky.

However, black can atari and connect like this.

Black has one more liberty.

White dies.

But Hu would've attached like this instead.

Well, it looks quite complicated.

If black connects here, the exchange is profitable for white.

We investigated several variations here.

Black should cut and atari.

It's a bit complex.

I don't think black really wants this sort of variation.

White has to answer here.

Black can rescue this group by pushing here.

White has to attack this group.

Let's continue a bit further.

It's a one step ko.

Originally, this area wasn't assessed as black's territory.

However, black made five to six points here.

Even though black's group is larger than white's, it's a one step ko.

Because of that, I don't think this ko is favorable for white.

Even if black loses the ko, he can play three moves elsewhere.

This variation would have been better, but Lee misread something here.

Let me show you what it was.

First of all, he thought this move wouldn't work.

Black couldn't let white connect like this, so he attached here.

In response to white's push, Lee cut here.

Black could cut here again, and it looks fine for him.

Lee saved his stone by taking advantage of white's shortage of liberties.

The corner looks big.

Wasn't the ko ok for black?

But unlike the previous variation, it was a direct ko.

Well, then it's a big difference.

Yes, it's huge.

This attachment doesn't work, because of this move.

Black has to capture white's two stones, but now he can't rescue this one.

The Chinese observers were about to finish their investigation.

When the ko appeared, they exclaimed in delight.

The game became more complicated.

This was a huge ko.

Lee failed to finish the game easily.

Now it was a matter of ko threats, but white's position was too solid.

I can't see black's possible threats.

There was one here.

The players made an exchange.

For Hu, it was hard to respond here.

He could've answered and used some threats in the center instead.

However, white also had aji in the top right.

If black answers like this, white can try to connect.

Well, then black isn't completely alive.

This wasn't in Lee's mind.

There was another ko here.

It looks like a big problem.

Hu made a threat here.

After sacrificing his big group, Lee couldn't allow white's lower left group to live.

He had to play here to capture the corner.

White captured this stone, and black connected.

But the ko went on.

It was a one step ko.

The exchange itself wasn't bad for white.

And he made a ko in the top right corner.

In addition, he had plenty of threats in the center.

There were a lot in this corner too.

Things were getting worse for black.

Because of a misread, the good mood changed suddenly.

After white's jump, Lee connected.

At this point, the tables turned on white.

But the ko wasn't finished.

Although white needed three moves to win the ko, he had many threats.

And it was hard for black to deal with them.

This push was Lee's choice.

This looked so strange in such an urgent situation.

Defending here would be a proper move.

So black can prevent white from making some threats in the center.

White would hane here before continuing the ko.

After that, he can gain some points by blocking here.

Is that a forcing move? I don't think so.

No, but this creates more threats around here.

And look at this area.

White has so many threats here.

There are six threats. It's a ko threat factory.

Although it was a one step ko, black couldn't stand it.

It's surprising that white had time to play there!

In addition, this move itself is quite big.

In contrast, black didn't have many ko threats.

This would be one way for white to reverse the game.

Lee faced a crisis, so he thought for a long time here.

This move was Lee's choice. It's an endgame play.

Does it mean that white has more threats in the center?

Right. However, Hu was nervous at this point.

He attached and complicated the game later.

Let me show you a simpler variation.

After the corner exchange, this attachment would trouble black greatly.

The ko hadn't been resolved yet.

Black needed two moves to be completely alive.

Since the center was becoming more dangerous, black wouldn't be able to answer here.

If black does so, there will be too many threats in the center.

If black answers here, you can easily figure out which move is better.

This hane is too painful for black.

Compared to this, this push looks too small.

Furthermore, this move would create more threats in this area.

Because of that, this move would've been a problem for black.

Lee thought he couldn't get out of trouble with ordinary moves.

So he didn't think about defending.

If Hu had been calm, he'd have been able to see this attachment.

However, Hu really wanted to win the ko.

Because of this, Hu played a very severe move.

It enlarged the scale of the ko fight.

But, when the stones are captured, white's loss will be large.

Can't white attack black's group like this?

Well, these moves are more like a preparation for the ko.

However, all the moves here were unprofitable for white.

Since Hu was in a byo-yomi, he had to rely on his instinct.

But these moves removed his ko threats at the same time.

White had already lost many points when he continued the ko.

This cut was an absolute threat.

Black had several local ko threats.

White made a threat here.

At this point, I don't think white had many threats.

Black made another local ko threat.

Hu used a threat here, which was a bad exchange locally.

Hu won the ko, as he'd wished to.

Lee captured white's stones, and a trade took place.

Black's groups were dead now.

Let's pause to assess the game here.

By winning the ko, white gained approximately 30 points in the top right.

On the other hand, he lost many points here.

Black got 15 points and took sente.

Black acquired 15 points by capturing white's stones.

And black gets to play twice in the corner, so he can compensate for the 30 point loss.

In the early stages of the middle game, black was leading by about 20 points.

This attachment would have been troublesome for black.

Lee wouldn't have been able to manage the center properly at that point.

But in the end, starting the ko didn't bring great profit to Hu.

Lee was still in a difficult situation.

But there were still places to change the flow.

We need to see how the center will be managed.

Big changes were taking place. Let's continue.

Lee decided to capture white's four stones.

This was the last big endgame play on the board.

Including the previous push, black played there twice.

Those moves were played throughout the ko fight.

During a ko fight, it's hard to assess the game.

But now that the ko had finished, both players had a chance to conduct their positional judgments.

During his five game winning streak, Hu had reversed many games.

His win against Cho Hunhyun 9p excited Chinese Go fans.

Many people said that God was helping him.

Hu left the top left corner to attack black.

He wanted to manage the center first.

The Chinese team still had Luo Xihe 9p in reserve.

Luo's very good at fighting.

However, his style of play was weak against Lee's calm style.

Therefore, the expectations for Luo weren't very high.

Instead, Chinese Go fans wanted Hu to defeat Lee in this round.

Hu's five consecutive wins made the Chinese team's order more successful.

In the past, players like Ma Xiaochun 9p and Nie Weiping 9p were at the top.

Later on, Gu Li 9p, Kong Jie 9p and Hu Yaoyu 9p took over their positions.

Since then, the general strength of Chinese players has risen.

Hu was the harbinger of the rise of China.

At the same time, Park Younghun 9p, Choi Cheolhan 9p, and Cho Hanseung 9p emerged in Korea.

At the moment, China is once again undergoing generational change.

The players in the top ten have changed a lot.

Their average age is lower than before.

Lee is well known for his great deeds in team tournaments.

He's overcome adversity many times.

He's beaten two, three, or even four players single handedly.

And he's done so repeatedly.

In this tournament, he faced two opponents.

Neither player had enough time to think at this point.

When Hu made the ko in the corner, he'd have felt something auspicious.

However, he wouldn't have had time to assess his overall position, because of byo-yomi.

The ko looked so big, so he'd have wanted to win it at all costs.

Eventually, white captured the whole corner.

Locally, the result was a huge success for white.

By the way, Lee's push in the top left corner was amazing.

It looked like nonsense.

I thought so too.

The ko was in progress, so removing ko threats seemed urgent.

But that move was just an endgame play.

Eventually, this confused Hu.

I'm wondering what would have happened if Lee had defended the center properly.

Hu would've answered precisely too, then Lee would have had no chance of winning.

Even though Hu won the ko, he lost too many points in the process.

This is why a ko fights are always difficult.

In addition, it's important not to be nervous about such a big match.

Hu was usually very calm in international tournaments, but he wasn't in this game.

278 moves, black (Lee Changho 9p) wins by 5.5 points

Despite the margin, Hu didn't resign.

It seems like Lee gained more points in the end.

It's surprising that Lee gave his opponent a chance, despite his early success.

Let's evaluate the game.

At the beginning, it can be seen that Hu's moves were more aggressive than usual.

However, Lee was a bit shaky in the middle game.

In response to white's jump, he should've just answered like this.

I guess he might've missed some moves there.

If he'd played here, white wouldn't have had any chance of winning this game.

Lee's mistakes changed the flow of the game.

Lee would've wanted to make a statement, since he'd lost two games in a row to Hu in the past.

I guess this was why Lee's moves were aggressive too.

Hu's moves here were bizarre.

In my opinion, this push was more mysterious.

I didn't hear anything from Lee, but I think that was an extraordinary do or die move.

If black had played here, white would've made many ko threats around here.

When Lee pushed here, Hu changed his mind.

This isn't a proper move. I guess this sort of idea was inspired by Cho Hunhyun 9p.

Lee's good at maintaining a lead, but he's also skilled in psychological warfare, when he's behind.

This strategy worked perfectly against Hu, who didn't have much experience in big tournaments at the time.

By winning this game, Lee broke his losing streak and eventually brought the trophy home for his country.

I think this is one of Lee's exquisite games.

This brings us to the end of today's game review.

Thank you!

Baduk TV English at