Experience trumps youth at 17th Samsung Cup

On October 9 and 10, 2012, the knockout stages of the 17th Samsung Cup took place in Taejon, Korea.

First knockout round

Won Seongjin and Gu Li review a game together.

Go loving Gangnam fans were pleased to see that we were still on track for Won Seongjin 9p to celebrate his win by dancing Gangnam style.

Won defeated Tuo Jiaxi 3p in the round of 16.

Fellow Koreans joining Won in the quarter finals were Kang Dongyun 9p, Park Junghwan 9p, Lee Sedol 9p and Choi Cheolhan 9p.

Meanwhile Gu Li 9p, Chen Yaoye 9p and Fan Tingyu 3p were still in contention for China.

Komatsu Hideki (9 dan, left) plays Fan Tingyu (3 dan).

Japan’s last remaining representative, Komatsu Hideki 9p, was knocked out by Fan Tingyu.

Quarter finals

Sadly, Park ruined the hopes of Gangnam style fans by defeating Won in the quarter final.

In the other three matches, Gu defeated Kang, Lee was too strong for Chen and Choi prevailed over Fan.

Over qualified game recorder, Choi Jung (Korean Women’s Meijin), Fan Tingyu and Choi Cheolhan.

Perhaps due to the format of the Samsung Cup, this year’s semifinalists are more experienced overall than those we’ve seen in the lineup for other recent international tournaments.

The semifinalists

Clockwise from top left: Lee Sedol, Gu Li, Choi Cheolhan and Park Junghwan.

Gu was the runner-up last year, and won the tournament in 2010.

Choi hasn’t had much recent success in this tournament – the last time he progressed beyond the first knockout round was in 2006.

Park, the youngest of the four, reached the semis in 2010 and has been in excellent form since then.

Lee, the most accomplished of the remaining players at the Samsung Cup, has won the title three times.

All of China’s hopes are on Gu Li

Gu Li, the only remaining Chinese player, must be feeling a lot of pressure.

I’m sure he’s hoping to emulate Baek Hongseok’s determined win at this year’s BC Card Cup, where Baek was the sole Korean semifinalist.

The next round

The semifinals will be played over two days, starting on November 14, 2012. To progress to the final, players must win two of three matches.

From left: Choi Cheolhan, Lee Sedol, Gu Li and Park Junghwan. Semifinalists in the 17th Samsung Cup.

Go Game Guru readers guess well

Of the people who put in their guesses before the round of 16, Guesses and Hokusai scored 7/8, while David scored 6/8 :P.

What are your guesses for the semfinals and who do you think will win the Cup? Let me know by leaving your comment below.

The Samsung Cup

The Samsung Cup first started in 1996 and uses a rather convoluted draw. Though, arguably, it is fairer than a straight knockout format.

The 32 players in the main draw are split into 8 groups of 4. Players must win two games in order to proceed from the first stage; two players from each group will advance to the knockout stage.

In some ways it’s similar to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, except that only two wins are necessary to continue.

The round of 16 and the quarter finals are played as a straight knockout.

The semifinals and the final are played as a best of three matches.

Samsung is a well known Korean conglomerate.

17th Samsung Cup photos

Game records

Click here to download the game records from the round of 16. The quarter final games are displayed below.

Chen Yaoye vs Lee Sedol


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Gu Li vs Kang Dongyun


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Won Seongjin vs Park Junghwan


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Choi Cheolhan vs Fan Tingyu


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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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. Thank-you for the article and for adding the game collection file Jing, it’s very helpful.

  2. The Gu Li game was pretty amazing, you rarely see that sort of carnage in pro games.

  3. 80s generation is getting used to 90s generation. I am sure they were not sure what to make of 90s youngsters. But after all that fights through for a year, they are getting used to and acknowledge these youngsters and prepared themselves better.

    • Yes, and perhaps the older players are more consistent in tournaments where you have to play more games to make it through.

  4. Wow! Lee Sedol’s opening is pretty crazy.

  5. Lee’s games rarely fail to amaze – he comes up with stuff no one else can!