Go Commentary: Xie Yimin vs Li He – 2nd Huading Cup

This game was played between Xie Yimin 6p and Li He 5p, in the final round of the 2nd Huading Cup.

Xie Yimin


Xie Yimin 6 dan, team captain for Japan.

Xie Yimin 6p was the captain of Team Japan.

Xie was born in 1989 in Taiwan, but became a pro in 2004, in Japan.

She’s undisputedly the best female professional in Japan, holding all three major titles and the record for most female professional titles, with 15 to her name.

Li He

Li He 5p was the captain of Team China.Β Li was born in 1992, and became a pro in 2005.


Li He 5 dan, China’s team captain.

She won the Female Xinren Wang (Rookies’ Cup) three times, the 2nd Huang Longshi Cup (Female Mingren) in 2011, and the 3rd Qionglong Cup in 2012.

Team China beat Team Korea and Team Taiwan in the earlier rounds, and Team Japan beat Team Taiwan, but lost to Team Korea before the final round.

Let’s have a look at the captains’ match from the final round of the 2nd Huading Cup!


Xie Yimin and Li He play the captains match in the final round of the 2nd Huading Cup.

Commented game record

Xie Yimin vs Li He


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


I hope you’ll enjoy this interesting game more with the commentary, and please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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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 a lot. Like very much all the Xie Yimin matches!

  2. martinlinp says:

    Thanks Younggil!
    Great commentary as always.
    Particularly, it was very helpful that you pointed out some general principles and exceptions to the rule: empty triangle, bad peep helping opponents to connect, and pushing from behind.
    Great learning points!

  3. This is the most thorough explanation I’ve seen yet about the recent developments in the 1 space low pincer variation of the 5-4 approach to a 3-4 stone. Very useful and clear!

  4. I wish I could post the board position, but here goes…

    In the variation shown for move 14, there’s White’s push-and-cut answer where Black ataris and makes a ladder. So the variation-in-the-variation. Then White cuts, Black descends.

    If White then ataris at E10, doesn’t she get a good result?

    Just nit-picking, but I really want to know your thoughts on this variation. =)

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      That’s a good question. If white ataris at E10 in that position, black would just give up the stone and went into the left side with atari under. And the result would be good enough for black. πŸ™‚

      • I see. I was wondering if the ponnuki would be a bit much, but it doesn’t look that strong if Black plays this way.

        Thank you very much! =)

  5. badduck says:

    Thank you very much Mr.Younggil!
    Excellent commentary! You manage to improve in that somehow:-)

  6. Michael says:

    Another great commentary from Mr. An Younggil!

  7. Zak Smith says:

    Very nice game, and the commentary was both deep and insightful. The variations you are starting to explore are so long and complicated, and yet the concepts so simple. It seems the main answer to “How do I get better at go??” is “Read more deeply!!!”

  8. jangalf says:

    Thanks Mr younggil. As the others guys say, you are a wonderful teacher for all of us.

  9. Nice game and nice review thanks a lot!

  10. thx a lot for the comments, I admire the fighting spirit of both players!

  11. What an extremely detailed commentary full of insight. Thank you so much!

  12. Thank you again for this (as always) very good and understandable commentary πŸ™‚

    On question: At move 95, can’t white try to fight back with M11, trying to fix the center weakness while aiming at a cut around L13?

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      That’s a really good question. White could also play as what you said.
      It seems as if Li He might haven’t seriously thought about black’s counter attack with 97 and 99.

  13. at the variation beginning on move 118, you say black’s cut at k8 works . . . but it seems like black gets caught in a ladder?

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      You’re right, that’s a ladder. But, if white plays at M5 instead of 118, you can see a good variation for black after the cut. πŸ™‚

  14. Li He played well, I was kinda routing for her, she hanged in there really well. I kind of felted her emotion at move N1. The defeat was pretty sad but the game was well played. I want to see more of Li He games.
    How you guys explain the game made it so exciting at every turn, I’m like, OK it’s time to bring out the popcorn.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, she played well indeed. Actually, Li He is the #1 woman player in the world. I also want to see more of her games in the new year.
      Thanks for your warm words.