Go Commentary: Lee Sedol vs Park Junghwan – 43rd Myeongin Final, Game 4

This game is from the 43rd Myeongin (Korean Meijin) final, game 4.
It was played between Lee Sedol 9p and Park Junghwan 9p on January 21, 2016, in Seoul, Korea.

Park Junghwan 9 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final.

Park Junghwan 9 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final.

Lee Sedol and Park Junghwan

Lee Sedol (#2 in Korea) to face Park Junghwan (#1 Korea) in the 43rd Myeongin.

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final, game 4.

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final, game 4.

Lee Sedol defeated Shin Jinseo 5p, Park Jinsol 7p and Park Younghun 9p respectively from the round of 16 to proceed to the final.

Meanwhile, Park Junghwan defeated Yun Junsang 9p, Kim Hyunchan 4p and Hong Seongji 9p to continue his run.

Lee Sedol won the Myeongin title in 2007, 2008 and 2012, and he was aiming for his 4th title in this final.

On the other hand, this was Park Junghwan’s first challenge of Myeongin in his career.

Lee and Park also played in the final of 34th KBS Cup in January 2016, between this Myeongin final, and Park defeated Lee by 2-1.

Nevertheless, their head to head record to date was 16-10 in Lee’s favor, and Park really wanted to overcome his natural enemy in this final.

Park Junghwan 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final, game 4.

Park Junghwan 9 dan at the 43rd Myeongin final, game 4.

In this final, Lee won first two games of the best five match, and Park won game 3.

The score was still 2-1 in Lee’s favor, but Park was aiming for the reverse sweep.

Let’s have a look at the 4th game of the 43rd Myeongin final.

Commented game record

Lee Sedol (Black) vs Park Junghwan


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. Thanks Ann for your commentary again. It is always nice to have a new Pro game analyzed by you, and a chance to learn some new sequences and techniques.

    I have two small questions.

    1. Regrading the final position, I think a W move at O19 is a bit tricky to answer. At first I thought I can not find the correct answer for black, until I found that N18 is working (then if W P19, B R19 WK18 and B N19, at which point its clear W lost).

    However if it happened in a real game, I might have easily made an error as B giving W a Ko or something ….

    Then I wondered why you said about Lee, that “he didn’t seem to be in good form after loosing to Ke Jie” . I got the impression that the match with Ke was very even as the deciding game that you’ve commented about have shown, And Ke Jie is clearly in amazing form right now. So I would not think Lee’s form was too shabby …

    • According to Ke Jie himself, he performed horribly (for the series, I’m not particularly sure what he thinks for that particular game)

      And no, he doesn’t always say that. They played again a few days ago in the CCTV HeSui Cup (just between ichiriki ryo, ke jie and lee sedol), and in the final between ke jie and lee sedol, he said he thinks he performed perfectly this game, and finally was able to recover from his recent slump.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Gil for your comment with a question, and thanks Bob for sharing the information about what Ke Jie said.

      White O19 or P19 will be tricky for Black to answer, but actually White didn’t have time to play there. That’s because Black can extend at N12 to capture White’s 14 stones in the center (you can see the variation from White 160).

      After Black 173, white had to return to the center, and Black will reinforce the upper side to remove bad aji.

      Oh, I think I wrote wrong. What I wanted to say was that Lee wasn’t fully recovered from the defeat of his won game at the MLily Cup. He was maybe in good form, but he must had been suffered when he was playing in this final.

  2. Thank you for great commentary. About move 141: do you think that Park did not see it coming or misread it or something like that? It just seems quite strange for game of this level that Lee could just wrap ut the game with one move.

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s an interesting question Juho.

      I think Park was kind of in panic after he misread in the center at around 126. It seems like Park played 140 as a probe, and he didn’t think Black could ignore like the actual game. That’s quite rare to be seen in top players’ games though.

  3. I agree with Gil and Bob. Lee was in great form after the MLily cup, beating Park 3:0 on a roll.

    I have to give Lee credit on being tough after the setback in MLily. He is clearly much stronger than Park J.

    • PJH came back with 3 straight wins against LSD afterwards though. LSD squeaks out a win 4-3. Right now KJ and PJH are playing Jubango online and PJH won twice 1st but KJ came back with 2 wins of his own, making the series 2-2. I think PJH has psychological issues as many have pointed out before. When he’s playing in the league and stuff he does better than anyone. However when he gets closer to tournament finals he gets weaker.. definitely not suitable characteristics for the best in the world.

  4. Great commentary. So many interesting variations.
    One language correction: “considerable” doesn’t mean what it seems to mean.
    Everybody knows what you’re trying to say, so nobody ever corrects it.
    It just means large, non-negligible. It doesn’t mean “natural to consider”.
    I know that’s not natural, but that’s the way it is. 😉

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Stefan so much for your correction.

      Yes, you’re right. I probably wanted to write ‘conceivable’, but it’s easy for me to mix up.

      I appreciate your correction, and I would appreciate if anyone corrects my mistakes, but I’m afraid they’re too many.


  6. In variation 3 at move 69, it is said that the result would be a ko after black places at A. However, it seems that instead of F black can simply descend to Q1, and because black’s surrounding stones are a space away on both sides, it’s impossible to kill. Am I missing something, or was the sequence marked incorrectly?

    • Younggil An says:

      Oh, you’re right that White can live with Q1. The sequence was incorrect, and that’s my mistake.

      Black should hane at Q1 instead of E, and White P1, Black E (S1) will follow. The result will be a ko.

      Thanks rikugo for your correction. 🙂

  7. Could someone tell me the time limits for players in the 3 phases of the Myeongin (qualifying tournament, league and final)? Thanks.

    Here are a few other small typos and corrections for the English. I don’t mean to nit-pick, but perhaps it may be helpful? None of these are really very important at all as the meaning is always clear.
    – “Black 57 was a sharp probe, and White 58 was calm but, correct.”→” Black 57 was a sharp probe, and White 58 was calm and correct.”
    – “ White 86 was the vital point of the game, and White started to lead.” →” White 86 was the vital point of the game, and White started to be in the lead.”
    – “White 106 was the well balanced move”→” White 106 was a well-balanced move”
    – “White 116 to Black 119 was sente exchanges”→” White 116 to Black 119 were sente exchanges”
    -“ The hane at White 56 was the fighting spirit” →” The hane at White 56 was fighting spirit”
    -“ Black 69 looks slack, but Black saved his power by this slow haengma.” →” Black 69 looks slack, but Black built up power with this slow haengma.”
    -You should write “splitting”, not “spliting” (at two separate places).
    -The comment at move 85: “ Black must have haned at A”→” Black should have haned at A”

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Malcolm so much for your correction.

      They’re really helpful for me, and I appreciate your time and effort. I’ll make sure not to make the same mistakes above. 🙂

  8. You’re very welcome Younggil, it’s a pleasure to help. Thanks so much for all you do to help weak players like myself appreciate the game more. 🙂