The first 4 games
Choi, as the defending title holder and also past title holder (2004-2005), arguably entered the title matches with a slight edge. However, Cho, who gained an early finish from military service based on his Go performance, was certainly a dark horse.
After the third match on October 25 Cho had a 2-1 lead over Choi and it seemed like victory was within reach. However Choi clawed his way back on November 14 to make a stand at 2-2.
Black wins all 5 games
On November 16 the final game took place. Interestingly in all 5 games, the player that held black emerged as the winner, which is most unusual.
The Kuksu is a domestic title tournament in Korea. The Korean word, Kuksu, corresponds to the Chinese characters (国手, guoshou), which literally mean ‘national hand’, but translate loosely to something more like ‘national treasure’.
A strange pattern…
Since its inception in 1956, the Kuksu has been characterised by long winning streaks by the dominant players of the time – Cho Namcheol 9p held the title from 1956 to 1964, Kim In 9p from 1965 to 1970, Cho Hunhyun from 1977 to 1985 and Lee Changho from 1993 to 1997.
Both Lee Changho and Cho Hunhyun also won the title in other non-consecutive years. More recently though, the title has not been held for more than two years in a row.
More photos from the 55th Kuksu title match
Game records from the 55th Kuksu
Game record: Cho Hanseung vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 1
Game record: Choi Cheolhan vs Cho Hanseung – Game 2
Game record: Cho Hanseung vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 3
Game record: Choi Cheolhan vs Cho Hanseung – Game 4
Game record: Cho Hanseung vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 5