Go Commentary: Chen Yaoye vs Choi Cheolhan – 16th China Korea Tengen

This is a commentary of the second game of the 16th China Korea Tengen, between Choi Cheolhan 9p and Chen Yaoye 9p.

Choi Cheolhan (9 dan, left) and Chen Yaoye (9 dan) review their game together at the 16th China Korea Tengen match.

Chen Yaoye won the first game and this was a best of three match, so Choi had to win this game to stay in the competition.

Last year, these two played in the 15th China Korea Tengen together, and Chen defeated Choi 2-0, so this year was Choi’s revenge match.

At the time when this game was played, Chen Yaoye was ranked number 9 in China, and Choi Cheolhan was ranked number 3 in Korea.

Chen’s style of play is very solid and territorial. He’s good at erasing his opponents’ influence and moyo.

On the other hand, Choi’s style of play is thick and powerful. He’s very good at attacking and likes complicated fighting games.

Chen Yaoye (left) and Choi Cheolhan during the game.

Chen Yaoye is very strong against Korean players. Especially against Choi Cheolhan. The record between them is 8-1, and Chen has won the last 7 games in a row.

I think it’s because Chen’s style of play is very solid, and it makes it hard for Choi to lead the games towards his preferred dynamic fighting style.

The game was full of interesting tesuji, many of which you normally only find in tesuji books. It’s a great game to review to learn more about tesuji in practical play.

Commented game record

Chen Yaoye vs Choi Cheolhan


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

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


  1. Hi,

    First, thank you for review and all the explanations.
    I was looking var 2 at move 35, then var 1 at move 36. Then at move 42 there’s the commentary “This result is good for white, but “, but no more move, no more commentary. So I’m a little bit lost here ­čÖé

    • David Ormerod says:

      He meant that black shouldn’t atari under though. Black should cut from above instead with move 37 in the second variation.

  2. Perhaps my favorite commentary so far Mr. Younggil! For some reason this game reminds me of classical go, from the time of Dosaku & Jowa.

  3. Harlan Entler says:

    this was very interesting, thank you

  4. very interesting , thank you Mr younggil . I like Chen style very much.

  5. Thanks Mr Younggil, Very instructive, like always, you chose very intresting games to comment.

  6. Thanks Younggil! I always enjoy your commentary, especially because you include the circumstances before the game, and it makes the game all the more interesting.

    In the last variation for move 23, after “White can’t win this capturing race”, Does white cut at G3 work? Subsequently, BG4 WH2 BH3 WH1 BG3 WG5

    • Yep even though I am only a kyu I think Younggil made a mistake.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Sorry for this late reply.
      You’re right. I missed that ladder. -.-;
      You’ve got very keen eyes. ­čśÇ
      I added a variation for that. Please have a look.

  7. Really great game! Thank you so much for your comments. The fight at the bottom was incredible interesting and I wouldn’t have understand a thing, if you hadn’t explained it so well =)

    The Joseki variations are also appreciated! Always good to know how the different moves play out in the right context : )

  8. White 106 is like patting the raccoon’s belly in the centre. I’ve never seen a move like that before.

    Great game, great commentary.

  9. This was a really cool game and wonderful commentary. I also admire Chen’s style a lot.

  10. Can anyone explain 25? How can we compare this with other common opening moves?
    It’s the sort of move that seems so small to me that I question my fundamentals.

    • You will see that the next black moves are moving out the invasion stone at F3. It not only attempts to destroy a potential territory but more importantly unsettles the white stones to its left. Black 25 prepares for this unsettling move, because if it is unplayed, White can play there in sente (threatening to capture 2 stones) and create at least one eye.

      The move is relatively small and gote in itself but it has a severe follow-up.

      • Thanks Dieter.

        • Would it then be a good idea for W to play b2 before playing to upper left corner? It seems very sente and it would prevent B from playing there.

          • In fact if black doesn’t play there white’s move is not necessarily b2 in sente, it could be e2 which is also sente for b4. The effectiveness of the black invasion at h4 stems from the fact it separates white’s stones on e3 and j3. If white had e2 in sente then he could connect underneath so h4 would be much less powerful. If white played b2 before the upper left corner I’m not 100% sure black would answer it, but I probably would because it could be an aji keshi for white losing the option of e2 in sente, so black still can fight with h4 on the lower side later.

  11. Thanks for the comments!
    After replaying almost all the games in gogameguru and several others it seems to me that recent games have more “normal” fusekis than the games that were played 5-10 years ago. It seems that first fights begin after 50 moves or so and bit earlier pro players started to fight immediately, especially Korean players. Does anyone know what could be reason behind this or am I just imagining this?

  12. This is one of the most interesting games I’ve seen in a long time. Thank you for your clarity and the time you took to lay out the complications with explanations that were easy to understand. This is definitely a “tesuji game”. Thanks again!!!

  13. Edgar Leon says:

    Hola David, buenas tardes, perdona que no te traduzca esta informaci├│n al Ingles, La novedad es que estoy usando desde hace un mes, a nuestro amado juego Go como herramienta para tratar a 2 j├│venes con retardo mental y por ahora funciona excelente, el goban es de 9×9 y la modalidad Atari-Go, limitado a 30 fichas, gracias por la difusi├│n que que haces del Go, muchas gracias

  14. Hello,
    thank you for this great commentary!
    Unbelievable , imho Mr Younggils comments are getting better and better every time.:-)
    and he also selects very nice and interesting games .

  15. Nice game nice comments

  16. First of all, I love the commentaries and the site.

    If you, or someone has time, would you mind clarifying your comment on W38? You said: ”
    This jump is good. White should profit while attacking black’s marked stones”. Do you mean that W38 is going to show profit immediately? Do you mean, more like a Baduk proverb, ‘take profit while attacking’? Do you mean that it’s just a good jump? But I have NO IDEA where that move would show profit (take points, and by that I mean surrounding an area). So, if White doesn’t get some textbook result, building a a moyo while attacking, etc, I’m just not sure what sense profit is meant. Cheers.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Oh, good question.
      First, W38 is the right direction to attack black’s marked stones. Second, white should profit because black already got some points on the left side, so which means more like a proverb.
      In the actual game, white’s attacking wasn’t that successful, and in that case, white didn’t get enough profits as white wanted.