Go Commentary: Shi Yue vs Park Younghun – 2015 Samsung Cup

This game is from the 2015 Samsung Cup, round of 32, group stage.
It was played by Shi Yue 9p and Park Younghun 9p on September 8, 2015, in Beijing, China.

Shi-Yue 9 dan (left) and Park Younghun 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Shi Yue

Shi Yue had been ranked #1 in China for more than a year, but Ke Jie 9p has been very powerful, and Shi Yue’s rank was down to #2 in September, 2015.

Shi Yue 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Shi Yue 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

His style of play is basically thick and solid, but he’s very tough and bold at fighting.

He doesn’t play aggressively when he is ahead, but when he is behind or a battle begins, he changes himself into a fighting mode to becomes a strong warrior.

Shi Yue isn’t only good at fighting, but also good second half of the game.

At an interview in 2013, Lee Sedol said  “Shi Yue is the toughest player to play against, because it’s hard to find his weaknesses”.

He won the 17th LG Cup, by defeating Won Seongjin 9p in the final, in February 2013, and he’s still one of the most powerful players in the world today.

In early November, he defeated Tang Weixing 9p in the semifinals of this Samsung Cup to proceed to the final.

Park Younghun

Park Younghun 9p is ranked #3 in Korea.

Park-Younghun-Samsung-CupPark won the 17th Fujitsu Cup in 2004 by defeating Yoda Norimoto 9p, and that was his first international title.

With the victory, he became the youngest 9p in history in Korea.

He also won the 1st Zhonghuan Cup by defeating O Rissei 9p in 2005, and he won the 20th Fujitsu Cup again by defeating Lee Changho 9p in 2007.

After winning the Fujitsu Cup, he’s added quite a few of domestic titles, but his results in the international tournaments haven’t been impressive.

His style of play is light and peaceful. He doesn’t rush, but tries to maintain the balance of the game.

Park is very specialized at endgame and counting, so his general strategy is to maintain the balance of territory and power until the end of middle game.

And then he can consolidate his winning games or try to reverse losing games in the endgame stage.

He’s been struggling against fighting oriented style players for a while, but he’s been playing quite well in the middle game lately, and his rank has been going up to #3 in Korea just after Park Junghwan 9p and Lee Sedol 9p.

Very recently, he proceeded to the final of the 20th LG Cup by defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9p.

Anyway, their style of play is completely different, and let’s have a look at their game.

Reviewing just after the game.

Reviewing just after the game.

Commented game record

Shi Yue vs Park Younghun


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. Thank you very much ^^ , i started to study park yeonghun in my dojang so its a perfect timing ^^

  2. This looks like a good example of Park Younghun’s style. It’s amazing how he keeps the balance against such an opponent. Thanks for reviewing it!

  3. For me, white 46 is the most aesthetic move of the game. Very simple, seems not quite necessary, but after this, the harmony of of the white stones is never disrupted

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, that sort of move is very difficult to play because it doesn’t look that important nor big.

      However, White could fight comfortably after White 46 as you mentioned.

  4. Park plays a lot like Lee Changho does he not An-sensei? Park’s style is verydifferent from korean aggressive fighting style! Park shows the depth of go you don’t need to win by knockout everytime, I enjoy long drawn out go games but it is really difficult to understand espescially games of pro level. Thanks An-sensei for the review!

    • Younggil An says:

      Thank Sabaki for your kind note.

      Park’s style of play is similar to Lee Changho’s, when he was a teenager.

      Lee Changho’s style (when he was invincible) was more flexible and less territorial compared to Park’s I think.

  5. The calm style is actually more difficult imo, because you can’t afford setbacks. When it’s an end to end success, like here, it looks superior. But it’s actually hard to get a good winning percentage.

  6. Interesting idea Stefan…

    I’d suspect in general (not talking about these players) that:

    – with an aggressive fighting style your wining percentage might be more variable. You can unexpectedly beat some players that are stronger than you, but you also lose against some that are weaker than you because of setbacks and unpredictability in the fighting.

    -with a calm, solid style you have a very solid percentage at a more consistent level, and are difficult to beat by players that are weaker than you, but you don’t have as many unexpected wins against stronger players.

    But I don’t know how it works in practice 🙂

    • Younggil An says:

      Interesting ideas Stefan and Stuart.

      I agree with you that aggressive fighting style might have more variable winning percentage, especially for kyu level players.

  7. Igo_Shougi_Fan says:

    Park’s style of play reminds me in some points play of Takagawa Kaku 9 dan.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I agree that Park Younghun’s style of play is similar to Takagawa Kaku 9 dan. Park’s style might be upgraded version of Takagawa.

  8. I have few questions. Move 31, is it bad to play B16 since you didn’t show the variation.

    On move 62, isn’t G3 better?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Krama for your questions.

      For Black 31, playing at B16 used to be a standard continuation, but that’s not anymore. It’s because as we can see in the game after Black 47, White will play the same as he did in the actual game, and Black’s left side isn’t secured after White 50.

      Extending at G3 for White 62 is also possible, but that’s not as good as it look. It’s because there’s a bad aji in the corner with Black E3, White E2, B D2, W F2, B A4, W A3, B A7 to capture White’s four stones.

      If White plays C2 instead of F2 during the sequence, Black will squeeze White from the outside. That’s why White 62 was the proper move in that variation.

      I hope my answer is helpful for you to understand more about those moves.