Go Commentary: Park Junghwan vs Tang Weixing – 2014 Samsung Cup

This is the last game of the 2014 Samsung Cup semifinals.

This game was played between Park Junghwan 9p and Tang Weixing 9p, on November 7, 2014. The match was played at the Samsung training center in Daejeon, Korea.

Tang Weixing won the first game of this match, but Park tied the score in the second game, so this game would decide the finalist of 2014 Samsung Cup.

Park Junghwan


Park Junghwan 9 dan is currently ranked #1 in Korea.

Park Junghwan 9p is currently ranked #1 in Korea. Nobody else has taken the #1 position from Park over the last year.

His results in domestic matches are excellent, but he hasn’t been doing very well in international tournaments over the last couple of years.

He won the 24th Fujitsu Cup, defeating Qiu Jun 9p in 2011, but since then he hasn’t gained any other international titles.

Many Korean fans want to see him win another international title soon, because he’s the absolute #1 in Korea at the moment.

Tang Weixing


Tang Weixing 9 dan has become even stronger since winning the 2013 Samsung Cup.

On the other hand, Tang Weixing 9p is #9 in China and he’s the defending champion in this tournament.

He won the 2013 Samsung Cup last year, defeating Lee Sedol 9p with a 2-0 score. It was a sensational result at the time.

His career wasn’t that remarkable up until then, but since becoming a world champion, he’s become even stronger and his game is more stable.

Tang is very strong in second half of the game, especially when he’s losing. He plays even better when he’s behind.

His style of play is provocative and it’s very hard to deal with players like him when you’re winning and are trying to simplify the game.

The head to head record between these players stood at 3-1 in Park’s favor before this game.

Park defeated Tang in the 10th Chunlan Cup and the 19th LG Cup in 2014, and they’d shared one win each in this semifinal match.

Let’s have a look at the deciding game of this 2014 Samsung Cup semifinal match.

Commented game record

Park Junghwan vs Tang Weixing


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! Great review!

    Some variations on bottom right makes me wonder still – the one starting with n2 instead of m4 and continues with p2 What happens if b answers q5 at p6? Can b make another eye?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for the good question Ofer.

      If Black plays so, White will break out with R5. Black S5, W S6, B T4, W R6, B R7, W P2, B Q2, W N2, B P1, W O1 and it’ll be a ko. In this variation, White T6 is sente because of S9, so Black needs to play one more move in the corner later.

      It’s very complicated, but there’s still something White can do like the sequence I showed you above.

      By the way, your question was very sharp. I should have explained more clearly about that.

      • Sorry An, but I think there is a typo/misunderstanding in your sequence above. You say W P2 B Q2 , etc But Ofer’s question above is about the variation where B played already P2. I still do wonder though how W can reach a Ko after B P6 as Ofer suggested, it seems a sharp move indeed …

        • Thanks for the reply and the compliments
          I am just sharing an amateur’s thoughts about killing a group
          I didn’t read it all and I believe Park would’ve seen it if it worked.

          Yes – Gil is right about the misunderstanding.
          If I understand correctly An Sabomnim was talking about the variation starting with bN4 wQ4 bR3 and wQ5.
          Looking at it, I wonder what ko threats does w have – it seems L5 is no good, but if w just connects at o2 I think b has a problem – he has to add a move in the corner (or w will get either t6 or o1 in sente and make life) but then w can push at L5 and cut at K6 and make it complicated with 2 weak black groups

          About the variation I suggested (starting with bN2 wO2 bP2), I am still a bit curious
          I suppose there should be something for white with r2, but again no more than ko…

          • Younggil An says:

            I see. I’m sorry, but I misunderstood Ofer’s question. I thought the sequence begins M4 (the actual game).

            After Black P6, I can’t find any good move for White, so White should attach at P6 first instead of Q5.

            In that case, if Black answers at P7, White will come back at Q5 and it would be similar to the variation we saw. And if Black extends at Q5, White will play O6, B P7, W L5, B L6, W K6 to make a capturing race. This would still be complicated, but it doesn’t look easy for Black to capture White’s bottom group without any trouble.

            Anyway, Black P6 was very sharp and strong. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the review. This was greatly enlightening, as usual. What Tang achieved with the bottom right aji is quite frightening… Very nice game!

    The “high level haengma” to defend White’s right-side group was quite stunning. What happens if after Black pushes and White blocks, Black cuts ? White’s happy to take influence towards the top corner and Black can’t hope for much ?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Tim for your kind comment and I hope you enjoyed the commentary as you said.

      You’re right about the question from the right side. If Black cuts at O13 in the variation 3 of Black 41, White will push from behind, and jump into Black’s top area. As you mentioned, we can’t expect big potential in the center for Black, because White can approach towards the center easily from the left side, and there’s a open door at Q10 as well.

      In other cases, the cutting would be playable. That depends on the circumstance.

  3. Very nice review! I’d love to know at what point w worked out that the bottom group wasn’t dead yet and how he handled the knowledge that b had misread. I don’t think I could contain myself if I were in w’s position…

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Martin!

      I assume that Tang worked out in the opening after he exchanged White 28 for Black 29. Tang was very patient not to activate the ‘dead’ stones in the earlier stage, and actually it’s very hard to do so. It’s because you might worry that your opponent will reinforce one more move, and you’ll miss out the great chance.

      By the way, it’s still mystery that how Park missed the aji for a long time. His reading in Life and Death is exceptional, but somehow he didn’t doubt about the bad aji. Maybe it was Tang’s magic. 😀

      • Another question would be to what extent Tan’s strategy was influenced by his knowledge. Also, were there any tells for w that he hadn’t read out the L&D of the bottom group, e.g. the heavy moves in the top left?

        After writing my first comment, I remembered that something similar happened in this game:


        • Younggil An says:

          Thanks Martin for your question, but I can’t understand. Would you make your question easier please? Thanks.

          • What I was wondering was if any moves or strategic considerations by b indicated to w that b thought that the bottom group was dead

            The heavy moves in the top left might be an example of this

            • Younggil An says:

              I see. Thanks for the kind explanation.

              Yes, a couple of Black’s moves were relaxed like 41, 47, and 71. And tang must have felt that Park didn’t pay attention White’s bottom group from those moves I guess.

              If Park wouldn’t have played like those moves if he knew he needed spend one more move from the bottom.

  4. Excellent commentary, thanks a lot! 🙂

    I have two questions…

    Recently I’ve noticed pros omitting a move in the corner at 13 more often to play elsewhere (with suitable regard to the thickness white can then build of course). Is it possible in this game to tenuki to around J3? I like the idea as black gets a move ahead in the lower left (so C3 or C9 later for example) and gets sente for D15…

    One other thing, I thought 44 and 46 were part of the aim for living in the corner, as without these white cannot live. I wondered if white played 42 to make these moves more natural, as white has other ways to run out… or is 42 just the best way to run here anyway and I am being overly suspicious!?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for the questions.

      You’re right that J3 for Black 13 would also be possible for sure. I’ve played like that several times myself, but I felt that Black’s position is flat and thin even though I could develop rapidly in the opening. Park wouldn’t like that opening because of that. You can still play like that and there’s no problem at all though.

      You’re also right for the second question. White 44 and 46 were good moves to aim for living in the corner later. In this game, White chose to invade at the top though. White 42 was a nice way to reinforce his weak stones. As we can see, it’s hard for Black to find a vital point to attack this, which means the two space jump at White 42 was a nice defending move and it’s too light to attack efficiently.

      That’s a bit hard to explain, but I hope you understand the feeling. 🙂

  5. Who is playing black and who is white? The most basic is missing Where can it be found?????

    • If you click on the (i) icon at the top you get information including the players. Click on it to make it disappear (escape key would be more natural maybe?!). Took me a while to find too btw… 🙂

      • Josh Hoak says:

        Thanks for the comment — that’s a good suggestion. I just added this feature to Glift, so you should be able to use ‘escape’ key to exit the game-info window.

  6. Would it be correct to say that after white 28 Tang knowingly played sub-optimal moves with the that hope that Park would not realize the true nature of the bad aji?

    • Younggil An says:

      Hmm, I’m not sure if we can say so. Tang tried to play his best, and probably he thought that even if Park realize the bad aji, the game would still be playable for him. It’s because Park should have spent one move in the middle game, and White can play a free move.

      The game was already closer than Park might have thought because of the aji, and on the other hand, Tang knew that the game wasn’t that bad for him.

  7. Hello
    at move 174 wouldnt H1 be even better endgame for black than L3 immediately? White needs to play H2 then, then black plays the cut at L3, then white has to take and black can connect at O1 in sente?

    • hahaha nvm Im sorry he could play o1 in sente anyway I should look at the whole game before I make comment 🙂

      • Younggil An says:

        No worries. I also make this sort of mistakes when I don’t look at the situation carefully. 🙂

  8. You provide an alternative variation at move 8, where white plays c3 instead of p4. Now, this variation branches out at move 14, and I can’t see the (implied) reasoning behind why the 2nd variation (“extending with White 1 isn’t good. Black will invade at 2 immediately, and this White group will be floating up to Black 8”) is deemed bad for W while the 3rd variation (“the attachment at White 7 is a better idea, and the result up to White 19 is an even result”) is deemed even. Would you please explain this?

    White gets influence in both cases, and in the 3rd variation W takes gote, as opposed to the 2nd variation, where he takes sente. It looks to me like W is floating in both cases, except that in the 3rd variation he has a ko and an atari at n2, and he doesn’t need to worry about an o4 wedge later.

    Do you simply deem the 3rd variation better for W than the 2nd variation because B’s position has more weaknesses, thus making W’s group stronger?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for the question.

      I’m sorry that it confused you, and let me explain more about that.

      The White’s group in 2nd variation of White 14 is weak and it’s hard to make eye shapes later. IT’s because Black’s lower side group became stronger, and there’s no weakness in Black’s position.

      On the other hand, the 3rd variation is different. That White group is quite safe because of N2, and even if Black connects there, White’s wall is stronger with White 11. If White pushes at J4, he can get a better shape over the center as well. In addition, Black’s territory at the bottom is reduced a lot.

      Those differences are more valuable than sente, and you might feel the difference more when you put a White stone at Q7. That move can be strong approach in the 3rd variation, but in the 2nd var, Black will separate White to attack.

      I hope my explanation helps you.