Go Commentary: Cho Chikun vs Cho Hunhyun – Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match

This game is from the Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match – an exhibition match to celebrate 70 years of modern Korean baduk.

Cho Chikun 9p played Cho Hunhyun 9p on July 11, 2015, in Seoul, Korea.

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match.

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the 70th Anniversary Exhibition Match.

Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match

Both Cho Hunhyun and Cho Chikun are two of the greatest Go players born in Korea, along with Lee Changho 9p and Lee Sedol 9p.

Korean baduk fans wanted to see a game between these two players for the Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match, and the players granted their wish with this game.

This exhibition match celebrated 70 years since a group of players, led by Cho Namcheol 9p, established a professional system for Go players in Korea.

Cho Hunhyun has been the most popular and strongest Go figure in Korea for a long time. He’s been credited with raising the level of modern Korean baduk to a higher level, and making Korea competitive with China and Japan.

The majority of Cho Chikun’s professional Go career has been spent in Japan, but he was born in Korea, and most of Korean Go fans are very proud of him.

That’s not only because what he’s achieved, but his way of playing, thinking and his passion for Go.

The head to head record between Cho Hunhyun and Cho Chikun before this game was 8-5 in Cho Hunhyun’s favor, including unofficial matches.

Cho Hunhyun

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the review after the match.

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan at the post-game review.

Cho Hunhyun 9p was born in 1953, in Korea. He became a pro when he was 9 years old, and he still holds the record as the youngest player to turn pro in Korea.

When he was 10, he went to Japan to learn and play Go, as the best option to further his Go career at the time.

He studied under Segoe Kensaku 9p, who was famous as the teacher of Go Seigen 9p and Hashimoto Utaro 9p.

In 1967, when he was 14, he became a pro in Japan. That was because the level of Korean baduk was far below that of Japan at the time, and Japan didn’t accept Korean pro qualifications.

In 1972, unluckily, he had to go back to Korea to complete his compulsory military service for two and a half years. After that, he won the 14th Chaegowi (the Top Position tournament), defeating Kim In 9p in 1974. It was his first career title.

On three occasions Cho won all the Korean titles in one year. In 1980, he won 9 out of 9 titles, and he repeated the feat in 1982 (with 10 titles) and 1986 (with 12 titles). He also became the first 9p in the history of Korean baduk in 1982.

In 1989, he won the 1st Ing Cup (an international title), defeating China’s Nie Weiping 9p in the final, and it was very sensational in Korea. The second big baduk boom in Korea occurred after Cho won the Ing Cup (we’ll come to the first boom below).

Just after the game finished with Lee Sedol 9 dan (middle).

Cho Chikun (left) and Cho Hunhyun just after the game finished, with Lee Sedol (center).

At the 1st Ing Cup, Cho was the only participant from Korea, because Korean baduk was still regarded as being inferior to Japanese and Chinese Go.

However, Cho defeated all the strong players at that time and became the world champion.

The 1st Ing Cup was the catalyst for the success of modern Korean baduk. Yu Changhyuk 9p and Lee Changho 9p emerged to compete against top Chinese and Japanese players on the international scene soon afterwards.

Cho also won the 7th Fujitsu Cup, defeating Yu Changhyuk 9p and the 5th Tongyang Cup, defeating Yoda Norimoto 9p, in 1994.

He won the 8th Tongyang Securities Cup, defeating Kobayashi Satoru 9p, in 1997, and he won the 1st Chunlan Cup, defeating Lee Changho 9p, in 1999.

Cho won the Fujitsu Cup twice more, in 2000 and 2001, and he also won the Samsung Cup twice, in 2001 and 2002. He won the Asian TV Cup in 2000 and 2001 as well.

All in all, he’s won 159 titles in his career, which makes him absolute #1 in terms of titles, and he’s won 10 international titles as well.

Cho Hunhyun only had one pupil in his lifetime, and that was Lee Changho 9p.

Cho Chikun

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan, in front of the poster background.

Cho Hunhyun 9 dan (left) and Cho Chikun 9 dan in front of a poster promoting the match.

Cho Chikun 9p was born in 1956, in Korea, and he went to Japan to study Go when he was 6 years old. Cho Namcheol 9p, the ‘father’ of modern Korean baduk, was Cho Chikun’s uncle.

When he was still young, Cho Chikun promised himself that he wouldn’t return to Korea until he’d won the Japanese Meijin title, and he achieved his dream after defeating Otake Hideo 9p, in 1980, in the 5th Meijin title match.

He’s won 74 titles in his career so far, and that’s a record in Japan. He recently added one more title to the list; the 5th Igo Masters Cup, defeating Takemiya Masaki 9p in the final.

Cho was regarded as a national hero in Korea after he won the Meijin title in Japan. The first big baduk boom began in Korea after that, and Lee Changho was one of the children who started to play Go during that boom.

In a post game interview, after this match, Cho said that he still studies hard, but the problem is that he soon forgets what he’s studied these days. However, he keeps studying because he doesn’t want to play a shameful game if he’s getting paid to play.

He still plays right down to the last byo-yomi in nearly every game he plays, and that’s long been his way of doing his best in Go.

Many fans at the live commentary of the matth in Hankuk Kiwon (Korean Baduk Association building).

Many fans watch a live commentary at the Hankuk Kiwon (Korean Baduk Association).

Unfortunately this game ended abruptly, because of a shortage of time, but the game was still interesting so we’re going to review it together anyway.

Let’s have a look at the Korean Baduk 70th Anniversary Match.

Commented game record

 Cho Chikun vs Cho Hunhyun


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. 22 at L4 – would you say that is a standard suji with the black stone at that distance from white’s shape, or is it a special move for this game?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s not a standard move, so we can say it’s kind of special move for that game.

      Probably Black might have a good move after White L4, but that’d still be better for White than in the actual game.

  2. How well can Cho Chikun speak Korean? Because he lived in Japan for a long time.

  3. He can speak Korean well enough to be funny:)

  4. He speaks Korean pretty well, but still I wonder if he could have loss by time because of that ?
    Being concentrated reading and the counting not done in the language he is used to could that be a reason ?
    I remember the first time I entered the byo-yomi in Korean I couldn’t think and follow the count at the same time, so I was just playing the moment they started counting…

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree to your opinion Valdor. Although Cho Chikun said, there was no problem about the Korean byoyomi, probably that might be one of the main reasons why he over the time.

      I haven’t heard that he lost any games by time, so that’s extremely unusual. He probably didn’t realize that the byoyomi was going to 10 quickly enough, because the language wasn’t Japanese, but Korean.

      Anyway, that was a sad ending for everyone…

  5. Greetings, At the end of your enlightening analysis you write that you hope we enjoyed the game more with your comments. Let me assure you that without your comments I would not be following the games at all. Why not? Because I can not play at anything near that level, and would not even understand them, would not learn from them, or even know who won. It’s a real joy to get your emails announcing a commented game. Thank you so much

    • So well put, Leon.

      I agree completely, always gives me something to look forward to when I see an email about a new commented game.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks leon and Hippo for your warm comments. I’m so please to hear that, and any feedback is helpful for me also. 🙂