Go Commentary: Park Junghwan vs Iyama Yuta – 25th Asian TV Cup

This game is from the final of the 25th Asian TV Cup, played between Iyama Yuta 9p and Park Junghwan 9p.

Iyama Yuta

Iyama Yuta is arguably the best player from Japan at the moment, currently holding five of the seven major Japanese titles. He defeated Lee Changho 9p and Wang Xi 9p to reach the final.


Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 25th Asian TV Cup.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 25th Asian TV Cup.

Park Junghwan

Park Junghwan is #2 in Korea, next to Lee Sedol 9p, and he defeated Yuki Satoshi 9p in the semifinal.

Park Junghwan 9 dan met Iyama Yuta 9 dan in the Asian TV Cup final.

Park Junghwan 9 dan met Iyama Yuta 9 dan in the Asian TV Cup final.

2nd encounter

Iyama and Park have only played together once before, in theΒ semifinal of the 24th Fujitsu Cup. Iyama was leading the game from beginning to the middle game, but Park caught up and reversed the game at the end.

Park won the Fujitsu Cup, defeating Qiu Jun 8p at that time, and it was Park’s first international title to win.

Park Junghwan (left) plays Iyama Yuta play their second game together.

Park Junghwan (left) plays Iyama Yuta play their second game together.

Japanese Go shifts its focus

Japan has established a study group for the top players named ‘Go 璁 Japan’ (pronounced Go Go Japan) and it’s a nice start to re-establishing Japan’s competitiveness in international Go tournaments.

Japanese players already seem to be more motivated and have been showing better results in the international tournaments in just a short amount of time.

Iyama Yuta gives a post-game interview and commentary.

Iyama Yuta gives a post-game interview and commentary.

Commented game record

Park Junghwan vs Iyama Yuta


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. John Hardy says:

    Hi Younggil
    Iyama’s success breaks a long drought for Japan. What do you think are the important factors in his ability to win against international stars?

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m not sure, but I think Iyama is still quite young and very confident himself as he’s unbeatable in Japan. He’s not yet very highly regarded in China and Korea, so let’s see how far he can go in the international scene in the future.

      • Hi Mr. Younggil,

        What does it mean for someone to be highly regarded in the Chinese and Korean go community? Is it only (or primarily) based upon international results or are these two countries looking for more than this? Iyama does seem to have respectable results against some of the other top world players. Is there something in his play style that they don’t like?


        • Younggil An says:

          I meant Chinese and Korean pros are not very interested in Japanese domestic matches. Everyone agrees that Iyama is the absolute #1 in Japan, and his international results are remarkable. However, his opponents in his country are not as strong as top Chinese or Korean pros. Japanese top pros are doing very well in the international scene very recently, but you can see that their results weren’t that good for a while. Therefore, not many pros in China and Korea think Iyama is one of the best players in the world yet. If Iyama keeps doing very well in the international matches, their mind will be changed I guess. Thanks.

  2. Kanpai for Iyama Yuuta! ^___^)/

  3. thanks Younggil sensei, i want to ask a stupid question: while you could find out all vital points in the game why did Park make such mistakes when he ranks one level more than you?

    • the main reason is Time

    • I imagine he also has the assistance of Iyama sensei, too, whose subsequent play showed his analysis of where he felt Park’s play created weaknesses.

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question!
      It’s a very fast lightning game, and nobody can be perfect in 30 sec byo-yomi games. I study the game by myself to find mistakes or good moves, and it takes me quite a long time. Their ranks are far higher than mine, but they still make some mistakes in short limited time games. πŸ™‚

  4. Ko, ranks for professional players are very different from amateur ranks. For example, a newly minted 1p these days could easily be strong enough to compete with much higher ranked players, and it seems not unusual to see a 3p player beating a top pro in competition. Youngil is a strong pro, and given the time to analyze the game, he is certainly more than capable of providing a high quality commentary.

  5. Thanks Mr younggil. Your comments are wonderful.

  6. Ko Aiuro says:

    Well, i see. It must be due to time.

    • David Ormerod says:

      When you review your own games, after they’re finished, are you able to find your mistakes and see more clearly than you could during the game? Most players tend to be ‘stronger’ during a review.

      I’m sure that both Iyama Yuta and Park Junghwan would have been able to point out all their mistakes after the fact too.

  7. Thanks for the great commentary – you really helped some of the deeper moves make sense to me!

  8. Go Player says:

    I would love to see comment on final game of EGC 2013!

  9. Thanks Younggil for another great commentary!

  10. Wonderful commentary!
    Is white 22,24 combination common in this situation?
    White Q15 or P13 for 24 are the only moves I can think of,
    and I remember suffering, carrying two weak groups…

    • Let’s try this one. I guess 22 is the normal starting point to enter the top right. It is kind of flexible, depending on 23 there are many ways to develop. I wouldn’t find 24, would probably attach at M16 or even L17. But 24 is flexible too, looking at black’s weakness at K17, jumping to the centre, or what happened in the game. I think 24 is a great move, not letting the opponent get an easy target. What happens afterwards is all reading.

      Kind regards,

  11. Very nice commentary.Thank you Mr.

    Go Go Iyama

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks again for your amazing comments.
    Dear sensei, could you enlighten us, a little, about the korean names ? I understood that Cho, Kim, Lee and Park are very common family names, at least in go :). Why then the variations in the names such us :Park=Paek=Baek !, Seo=Su=Suh, Won=Weon, Lee=Yi, Cheong=Jung, Chang=Jang, Bong=Bung=Pong, Seong=Song=Seung, Yeoung=Yeong=Yuong etc
    By the way… How do friends call a man named Changho, Hunhyun, Jungwhan, Sedol or… Younggil ?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a very good question. Since I’m not a philologist, I can’t give you the right answer, but I can explain a little bit about that.
      ‘Park’ in Korean is λ°•, and Baek like Baek Hongseok 9p is λ°±. It’s not the same, and the sound is also different. But both have some consonant ‘ γ…‚’ and it sounds between B and P. Bong and Pong is the same case as this. Seo or Su is ‘μ„œ’ in Korean, and the S sound is different from English. It’s softer than S. Cheong or Jung is ‘μ •’, and the sound of ‘γ…ˆ’ is between J and C.
      Anyway, Cho Hunhyun is very respected and a bit old, so nobody calls his name, but we call him Cho Kuksu nim instead. Cho is his surname and Kuksu is the most honorable title in baduk world in Korea, and we put nim (λ‹˜) at the end of name or title to respect.
      I hope this explanation helps you a bit. πŸ™‚

  13. In one of the baduktv videos they mentioned that park junghwan sees Chen yaoye and iyama yuta as his rivals.. That seems like a strange thing to say about someone you only played once, and beat.

    • Younggil An says:

      I see your point, but I have a different opinion. Park is currently #1 in Korea, and Iyama Yuta is also #1 in Japan. Chen Yaoye is #2 in China, so even if Park only played once with Iyama, he can still regard them as his rivals. Park is a bit younger than Iyama and Chen though.

  14. Thanks alot^^

  15. Hello GoGameGuru!

    I would like to make a small request. I use SmartGo Kifu on my iPad and try to load as many of the commented games here as possible to view while commuting, but sometimes i miss days and don’t know what games i’m missing. Could you make a link/file where all commented games can be downloaded in one package? Or stagger them every 20-50 games?


    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Mark,

      Yes, that’s a good idea and I’ll do that soon, when I have some time.

  16. Hello Younggil and everyone else,

    Black31: Would playing the solid connection at, N15 be a better move for Black to deal with his weakness at, L15? Would White still have played the, J16 move?
    Going back to Black27, were there any alternatives to the two variations mentioned? The attachment in the game seems to be the reason why Black ends up with the, L15 weakness. Couldn’t Black start a crazy fight with, O16? Or instead could he play, M17 with the idea of, N16?

    Go Game Guru is awesome. Thanks everyone.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for good questions and greetings Sean,
      If black connected at N15 for 31, white would still play at 32, and it’ll be similar to the actual game. In that case, solid connection at N15 would be better.
      For black 27, O16 isn’t good enough, because it can’t seal white in. M17 could be possible instead, but pros don’t think about that sort of move at first, because it doesn’t look right. Park wouldn’t have thought about that move seriously in that very lightning game.

      • Thank you Younggil An,

        Forgive me, I know it’s a lighting game….
        It seems as though Black wasn’t able to settle the top right group, (with 27 onward) well enough to make use of the three stones on the right side. After White 38, the black stones were almost useless. How should Black have played to exploit the overplay of, White 26? Could you please show how play may have continued if, Black 27 was played at, O16? This move puts the three stones on the right to use, and makes the stone at K4 useful as well, because Black is playing to build up the centre with this move.

        Thank you for your time.

        • Younggil An says:

          Thanks for your question Sean,
          Black 33 was a time saving move, but white didn’t answer, and that move had become a mistake. Park wasn’t sure what was the best way to fight against W 32, but he’d lost his chance after cutting at 34. O16 was a bit passive way, so Park wouldn’t like to play. The game had become bad, but it wasn’t B 27’s fault.

  17. Hi Younggil An,

    Picking up where Sean left off, that is, the idea of, O16 for Black 27: If White answers at, N16 followed by White O15, Black N15, White O14 and so on, crawling down the right centre, is it not true that Black’s two stones at, H17 and L16, though weakened, will still be useful for fighting at the top? Also, was the Black33 hane at, B16 the reason why Park fell behind?

    Thank You

  18. **Correction on the previous post…. The first sentence should read: If White answers at N16, followed by, Black O15, White N15, Black O14…

    Sorry to confuse…

    • Younggil An says:

      Those are good questions. First, black could just play at O16 and go on as you mentioned, but then white will attack the top stones with J16. The variation looks a bit passive for black, so Park wouldn’t play like that.
      Second, yes, black 33 was the reason why Park fell behind. Park would have haned there for saving his byo-yomi, but white didn’t answer, and the game had become favorable for white.