Go Commentary: Kim Jiseok vs Xie He – 13th Nongshim Cup

This is the 12th game of the 13th Nongshim Cup, between Kim Jiseok 7p of Korea and Xie He 7p of China.

Kim Jiseok (7 dan, left) and Xie He (7 dan) after the game.

The Nongshim Cup is a win and continue tournament between China, Japan and Korea.

Four in a row

Kim Jiseok has won four games in a row at this point, defeating Tan Xiao 5p, Yamashita Keigo 9p, Piao Wenyao 9p and Gu Li 9p.

China’s last man standing

Xie He is the captain and final player for China in this event. He has to win three games in a row if China is to win the Nongshim Cup.

Just before this game Kim beat Gu Li and it was very good news for the Korean team. It was Kim Jiseok’s first win against Gu Li in their five games together so far. I commented that Kim Jiseok – Gu Li game earlier.

Kim Jiseok is currently ranked number 6 in Korea. Xie He is ranked number 1 in China, and he’s historically performed very well in the Nongshim Cup.

Let’s have a look at the game…

Commented game record

Kim Jiseok vs Xie He


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. Frederik says:

    Thanks for the great review!

  2. awesome review as always!!!

  3. Thanks for the review, very interesting game. I have one question, Could be a posible move black arround k16 in the move number 15 in order to separate white?

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      That’s a good question. The idea separating W is good, but it’s a bit too early. If W answers at 3.3 after B15, B can play at K17 to separate W, but without jump, it’s not easy to fight.

    • Ah, I see it now, thanks a lot Mr Younggil.

  4. Great review, as ever. I liked the late opening, early middle game at the right side starting with move 24 until move 62. And good to read about the changing opinion about a former joseki at the bottom left: I thought B 65 lacked fighting spirit, but the truth is that the old move is just not good enough. Thank you, I learned again, and will never be able to play well.

    Kind regards,

  5. Frederik says:

    I have one question, what happens if black plays move 23 at Q7 (instead of the move 23 at O4)?


    • An Younggil 8p says:

      IF B plays at Q7, W’d answer at P7. B would make some territory on the right hand side with Q6, P6, R5, but the outside of W’d become stronger and safe. That’s why pros don’t play Q7 in general.

  6. Thank you for an excellent review. I have a question. At move 100 you say that if Black played at A he would be in the lead. Did White make some mistake to fall behind?

    • Before I bow my head to An’s reply, I’ll give your question a try. Perhaps d6 was not a good move globally, as it provoked a 1-space-jump that allowed next to attack White’s right side group. Maybe instead, White should play s9 first – as some kind of forcing move – and then play c16 immediately, dealing with the lower left later.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Thank you for your answer, Dieter.
      I looked at the game carefully again, but I couldn’t find any serious mistake of W. The opening seems to be favorable for B, and B’s playing in this game was so wonderful up to 100. Sometimes, it’s very hard to say what was wrong.

  7. S9 would then provoke:

    R10 R11 S10 T10 S8 T9 R9

    W would not end up with an eye here, he would lose ko threats, and his shape is more vulnerable than in the game, where B had to pause in his attack to play S9. Now B is in a position to attack more directly.

    D6 seems big, putting pressure on B and working toward territory in the centre. This is all a matter of my opinion, of course but I would hesitate to call D6 bad.

    • White would not answer S10 I think, but I agree White makes no eyes here. Anyhow, Younggil has kindly denounced my suggestion, so let’s forget about it.

  8. I don’t understand many things about this game, but one point is at move 167 where you say that white can’t save the seven stones.
    It looks like if white played J6 the group would have 2 liberties (at J8 and K7) either of which could be used to connect to larger group of white stones (plus if B played at J8, W could capture at H8). What am I missing?

    • David Ormerod says:

      What you said is right. However, white is also concerned about the L7 group of stones.

      If white connects at J6 on move 168, black will atari again at K7. Next if white keeps saving those stones with J8, black can cut at L8 and captures the stones to the right. That way black would gain even more points, so it’s better for him to just let the seven stones die and not play J6.

      White was still able to make use of those stones later with G7. Actually, G7 was a game winning move that let white capture all black’s stones on the left side, so it didn’t matter that black captured some of white’s stones in the end.

  9. bakekoq says:

    Hello, Mr. An Younggil. I want to ask the moves at the #185th Moves. which is better one? kill seven stones of white stones or connect at F7? and later he can make bamboo joint at E8. or is it not enough coz white can cut at G4?Thanks a lot.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      Good question. B could play as you mentioned, and that’s better than the actual game. But, Kim already misread here, so he wouldn’t have thought about that. Your idea is better. 🙂

  10. bakekoq says:

    owh..thanks for the complement..Hopefully I can be better asap in my go.It’s too pity that I’m too busy with my work.btw, Thanks Mr. An Younggil.