Go Commentary: Mi Yuting vs Chen Yaoye – 29th Tianyuan

This is game 2 of the 29th Tianyuan (Chinese Tengen) title match.

The game was played between Mi Yuting 9p and Chen Yaoye 9p on April 26, 2015, in Wujiang, China.

Chen Yaoye won the first game on April 24.

Mi Yuting 9 dan (left) and Chen Yaoye 9 dan at the 29th Tianyuan final.

Mi Yuting 9 dan (left) and Chen Yaoye 9 dan at the 29th Tianyuan final.

Chen Yaoye

Chen Yaoye is currently ranked #6 in China.

Chen Yaoye 9 dan was thinking at the 29th Tianyuan final.

Chen Yaoye 9 dan thinking: 29th Tianyuan final.

He’s held the Tianyuan title for six years in a row now, equaling Gu Li 9p’s record.

Gu held the Tianyuan title from 2003 to 2008, and Chen’s held it since 2009.

Chen defeated Gu Li (twice), Zhou Hexi 4p (twice), Gu Lingyi 5p, and Ke Jie 9p in the previous Tianyuan finals.

If Chen defends the title again, he’ll set a new record of seven consecutive years as Tianyuan.

Chen was also very strong in the China Korea Tengen matches, and he won the match four times (in 2009 and 2011-2013). He defeated Kang Dongyun 9p, Choi Cheolhan 9p (twice) and Park Younghun 9p.

Chen won the 9th Chunlan Cup in 2013, against Lee Sedol 9p, and it was his first major international title. He hasn’t won any international titles since then, but he’s still one of the top players in the world.

He likes to play thick and solid games, but he’s also a very good fighter. His reading is sharp and accurate, and his games are well balanced.

Mi Yuting

Mi Yuting 9 dan at the 29th Tianyuan final.

Mi Yuting 9 dan at the 29th Tianyuan final.

Mi Yuting was born in 1996, and is currently ranked #7 in China. This was Mi’s first Tianyuan final.

There was a very sensational event in December, 2013, when Mi Yuting defeated Gu Li in the 1st MLily Cup final with a 3-1 score.

In that tournament, Mi defeated Lee Sedol, Kang Dongyun, Kong Jie 9p, Dang Yifei 4p and Wang Xi 9p en route to the final.

Most Go fans didn’t doubt that Gu would win easily, because Mi was unknown at the time.

However, Mi showed his power and creativity in the final, and he became a new world champion.

His results in international tournaments since then haven’t been as impressive. However, he has a potential to become even more powerful in a few years, because he’s still quite young at 19 years old.

He used to play very tough fighting games, but he seems to prefer solid games recently.

Chen Yaoye played mirror Go as White, and I hope you’ll enjoy this interesting game.

Commented game record

Mi Yuting vs Chen Yaoye


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. Very nice game, thank you for the commentary. I don’t really see why the variation after White cuts at 64 and than takes the 3 stones with 5 is worse for him than the game. If after Black 6 he just takes the bottom. I don’t see a clean way for black to capture the 2 stones in the center.

    Also who are currently the top in Chinese go? I assume in Korea it’s still Park Junghwan and Kim Jiseok.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks EdIV for your opinion.

      Yes, that’s also possible to take the bottom, and White’s two stones won’t be easily captured. However, Black can also connect his group with D6 later, and Chen Yaoye didn’t like to see Black’s easy connection I think.

      For the Chinese Go, Shi Yue 9p is still the top, and Ke Jie 9p recently becomes #2.

      • Sorry, I asked before but cannot find the answer: where can I find a periodically updated list of the players ranked by current playing strength? Like, the top-20 of Korea, China and Japan. I promise, I will save your response, thank you!

        Kind regards,

        • Younggil An says:

          Here’s current top 10 players of Korea and China, and there’s no such rating (ranking) system in Japan yet.

          Top 10 of Korea

          1: Park Junghwan
          2: Kim Jiseok
          3: Lee Sedol
          4: Kang Dongyun
          5: Park Younghun
          6: Choi Cheolhan
          7: Lee Donghun
          8: Na Hyun
          9: Baek Hongseok
          10: Won Seongjin

          Top 10 of China

          1: Shi Yue
          2: Ke Jie
          3: Tuo Jiaxi
          4: Jiang Weijie
          5: Tang Weixing
          6: Chen Yaoye
          7: Mi Yuting
          8: Gu Li
          9: Lian Xiao
          10: Zhou Ruiyang

          • Guillermo Molano says:

            Thank you so much for this list. Like Paul i keep looking for a place on the web that keeps info about who are the top ranked players. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find that info in the english language.

            • Younggil An says:

              Yea, there doesn’t seem to be any information about the recent rankings in English.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff. It humbles me to realize that i play go at a much more superficial level. It’s not only about winning 🙂

    • To me, go is about winning. The question is, how to accomplish this. Define the best move: this is often impossible, and it may be substituted by the move that fits your style best, makes you feel comfortable, and the move that may disturb your opponent the most, tempts him to make a mistake, puts pressure on him. Within these frameworks the move must be correct of course, like supported by good positional judgement, good reading, good endgame calculation. Difficult!

      Kind regards,

  3. Variation 3 for move 106: instead of D16 at move 110 white can try B15. This seems to be ko after D16 E16 F15 B17. But black gets to squeeze at F17 and F18 and a ko threat at M17 seems to put black ahead – right?

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, you’re right. The variation you showed is already beneficial for Black, because Black will make some extra points with squeezing, and White should fill his stones inside of his area. 🙂

  4. Can white play C15 N15 C13 before playing G15 (move 166)?

    At that exact moment black cannot seem to counter as G17 is helpful to prevent the F15 connection being sente (D16 cut can be met with G18 so F15 allows white to kill with A17): so I am reading that white has to submit with B12 C13 A14. Or am I missing something?

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m sorry, but I don’t get exactly what you said.

      However, if you meant that White plays C15, B15 and C13, that’s not sente because Black’s corner is already alive.



        • Playing the above sequence out, I thought getting in A and B might be beneficial. And before G15 seemed the right time. What do you think?

        • Younggil An says:

          That’s conceivable, but Black will play like this…



  5. Nice game, the comments made it more accessible to me: I already wondered earlier what went wrong in the centre, you pointed it out, thank you!

    I replayed some very exciting games by Ke Jie lately, his go seems from a different planet. His game against Qiu Jun lately (Ke lost) is a high level example, I guess. Please, could you explain one of these heavy fighting games? Where is the thinking different, should in a few years time the books on go be rewritten?

    Kind regards,

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your note.

      Yes, Ke Jie’s games are something extraordinary, and this game isn’t what he normally plays. He’s already doing very well, and he has potential to become even more powerful in a couple of years since he’s still quite young.

      I’ll try to find another game of him soon as his fighting games are interesting. 🙂

      • Sorry that I have to ask, but you made me curious. What happened in the Qiu – Ke game that made Ke play in a different way? He got a big corner at the top left early-on, should that have resulted in an easy win? Qiu made it very complicated, using his thickness, I thought it to be to be very skillful, resulting in quite a wipe-out.

        Kind regards,

        • Younggil An says:

          The earlier result seems to be playable for White even if his corner in the top left was captured. That’s because White’s outside is very powerful and the game was wide.

          Qiu Jun is very good at complicated and messy combat, and he defended all of Ke Jie’s tricky counters in very complex fighting.

          Game Record – Ke Jie (Black) vs Qiu Jun



  6. Anonymous says:

    For move 100, is F15 sente ? As black i would have just played R12.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, that’s also possible for Black to do. However, coming out at G15 is big and sente for White.

      White can also attach at R 13 to break through the right side even after Black R12. Therefore, generally Black would answer at B.

  7. How would black respond if white simply pushed at E9 on move 46? Would black take the corner? If yes the how, by simply playing hane on B4 or extending on D3?

    • SimeonG says:

      Black can simply live in the corner as you suggested because the 2 stones (D10, D9) can be traited quite lightly.

      I think, but someone may correct me, the correct way to live is to play B4 for the shape and also to minimize the loss of the two stones (D10, D9)

      As result, White lost his corner for a small(er?) area.

      • Younggil An says:

        Thanks Filip for the good question, and thanks Simeon for your correct and detailed answer. 🙂

  8. SimeonG says:

    Watching moves up to 114 was like watching a thriller movie : you don’t get what is going on, but you know something is going on and you’re just waiting for the unexpected turnaround 🙂

    Although Chen played so many beautiful moves in the end of the game he “only” won by 4.5pts. That’s interesting.

    • Younggil An says:

      Your description of White’s strategy is vivid. 🙂

      Mi also played some beautiful moves, and the game was actually pretty even at around 105. Chen played very well afterwards, and 4.5 points was big enough to win comfortably for their level.

  9. Guillermo Molano says:

    Wow, what an interesting game. I sat in front of the goban with a friend and we went through the game with the help of Mr. Younggil’s review. We really enjoyed seeing a mirror opening in a title match.

    It’s interesting that black avoided to mirror white’s reponse to the probe in the corner with move 33, eventhough he played what looks like an inferior move. I wonder if Mi was annoyed by white’s mirroring and he didn’t want to mirror black. I wonder if the psychological factor was detrimental to black.

    Thank you for the review.

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed reviewing the game with your friend. 🙂

      I’m not sure what made Mi to choose 33, but that’d be interesting to know the reason why he played there.

  10. Zero Wave says:

    Hey An, excelent Review as always 🙂
    I ahve a question – in the variation you showed with black palying F13 at R12 (taking the right side instead of reinforcing the center), you said that B will have trouble managing the situation. Can you explain why? for example, what if B plays L12 and cuts the three white stones? the top group seems alive, and i don’t see the white stones surviving…
    Thank you very much again!

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for the question.

      White will survive like that in the variation. 🙂



  11. For move 77 variation 2 (black plays c7) you say it doesn’t work because white plays k11 and h10 leaves black vulnerable. aren’t there other options besides h10? (E.g. j10 or j11?)

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for a good question elias.

      There might be a way for Black to save that center group, but White’s stones will get stronger. And White can earn more points easily in the endgame because his stones will get strong and solid by attacking.

      Eventually, Black will lose more points than what he gained with C7, so taking care of his weak group with 77 was necessary. 🙂

  12. Stephen says:

    Thanks so much Younggil for your detailed comments.

    I counted the both black and white’s points several times. ther result is black’s points is 57 while white’s is 55. if the komi is 7.5, the result would be white wins by 5.5.

    Finally I realize the result must come from Chinese area rule.

    Normally if white plays the last move (dame), the result would be same by using both chinese and japanese rule. if black plays the last dame, the result could be different.

    does any one count the points of black and white in this game?

    • Younggil An says:

      You’re right Stephen. I counted and Black won by two points on the board. 🙂

      However, Black played the last neutral point, and he seemed to earn a point.

  13. Personally I don’t like when opponent plays mirror go, it’s some annoying and also boring… And as you An said, mirror go played throughout most of opening can be lossy for black because of white komi. So maybe it would be better if the game rules allowed the mirror go only to e.g. move 10 😛
    And how to deal with white playing mirror me on 9×9 board? It looks to me for almost impossible…