Gu Li back on top, wins 10th Chunlan Cup

On June 3, 2015, Gu Li 9p defeated Zhou Ruiyang 9p 2-0 to win the 10th Chunlan Cup in Zhangjiajie, China.

Zhou Ruiyang 9 dan takes on Gu Li 9 dan in the final of the 10th Chunlan Cup.

Zhou Ruiyang 9 dan takes on Gu Li 9 dan in the final of the 10th Chunlan Cup.

Gu and Zhou earned their places in the final by defeating Kim Jiseok 9p and Chen Yaoye 9p respectively, in the semifinals.

Gu ends a long drought

Gu Li 9 dan digs deep to win the 10th Chunlan Cup.

Gu Li 9 dan digs deep to win the 10th Chunlan Cup.

After two nail biting games, Gu finally ended a long drought of international titles.

While Gu has long been a regular in the finals of international Go tournaments, this is his first international title since the 15th Samsung Cup in 2010!

In 2014, Gu focused his energies on his historic jubango against Lee Sedol 9p.

However, despite being a hard fought match, Gu eventually lost 6-2 and didn’t play through to the end of the 10 game match.

This must have been a disappointing outcome for Gu.

Nevertheless, Gu’s die hard fans hope that this win will mark the start Gu’s resurgence in 2015.

Third place playoff

Defending champion Chen Yaoye defeated Kim Jiseok to win the third place playoff, which was also played on June 1, 2015.

Kim Jiseok 9 dan couldn't overcome Chen Yaoye 9 dan to take third place at the 10th Chunlan Cup.

Kim Jiseok 9 dan couldn’t overcome Chen Yaoye 9 dan to take third place at the 10th Chunlan Cup.

Chen, now 26, was a child prodigy who won the 2005 Chinese National Weiqi Individual Championship when he was just 16 and was the runner up in the 10th LG Cup (where he lost to Gu Li) that same year.

He finally made his long anticipated international breakthrough in 2013, when he won the 9th Chunlan Cup against Lee Sedol. However, he hasn’t won any other international titles since then.

The Chunlan Cup

The Chunlan Cup is an invitational Go tournament for 24 top players from around the world. In addition to players from China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, a European and a North American representative are also invited. The tournament started out being held annually, but is now biennial.

The top 8 seeded players proceed directly to round two, while the remaining 16 play a single elimination round, knocking out 8 players. After the first round, the remaining 16 players compete in a knockout tournament, culminating in a best of three final.

The tournament is sponsored by Chunlan Group, a Chinese conglomerate with interests in the air conditioning, domestic appliance, automotive, finance and alternative energy industries.

The Chunlan Cup uses Chinese rules, with a komi of 7.5 points, and offers a prize of $150,000 USD to the winner.

Game records

Zhou Ruiyang vs Gu Li – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Gu Li vs Zhou Ruiyang – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Jing

Jing likes writing, and can occasionally be convinced to play a game of Go. Even though she doesn't play Go as often as she once did, she still enjoys following the professional Go scene and writing about it on Go Game Guru.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    game 1 and game 2 are identical sgf …

  2. lichigo says:

    Super good news. I like gu li ^^ , hope a comment for the game 2 . Can we say his opening in the game 2 is gu li ‘s opening ^^ ?

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m going to comment of game 2, and yes, I can way that was Gu Li’s opening. 🙂

      • Uberdude says:

        I’ve noticed Gu Li playing the san ren sei a few times now, though usually with some approaches first rather than directly. Is he going to bring it back into fashion?

        • Younggil An says:

          I’m not sure for that. He seems to like that opening, but that’s quite hard to manage the game afterwards.

          Gu is very sharp at fighting, and he has a special sense in the center. However, that’d be quite hard for other top players to mimic, so not many players can try and succeed with that I think.

        • Anonymous says:

          Gu Li’s san ren sei is different from the traditional san ren sei since he would not sacrifice lots of territory for developing his outside. Mostly it is only a setup to invite the other party to invade such that he can start fighting, which is always his bread and butter over years. Another thing is using san ren sei he can avoid the popular openings and potential traps on which younger players have done a lot of group research. Older players like Gu Li have families and generally have to spend less time with the younger guys on new variations.

          • Younggil An says:

            I agree with you, and I thought your opinion is very reasonable. Thanks for sharing your opinion with us.

      • I really really enjoyed the second game. I look forward to your commentary!

  3. Just when I thought Gu Li was fading due to age, he comes roaring back! May we see more of him in top form!

    • Seeing as Gu Li is the same age as me, I certainly hope he’s not fading due to age! 😛

  4. It feels like Gu Li worked very hard on the end game. His style is the same but seems somehow more mature and accurate. What do you think about it ?

    • Younggil An says:

      I also felt that Gu Li’s endgame was fine in game 2 of the final.

      Probably, Gu’s been very strong against Zhou, and he was more confident and calm compared to other games which he lost in the endgame.

      • Game 1 was a strategic win and Game 2 was a tactic win. Both were very interesting and I am looking forward to Mr. An’s detailed comments.

  5. I also liked game 1. Gu’s opening seems unusual, but seems to maintain a balance, and the game continues with some interesting exchanges and tesuji, with a nice climax (for Gu! 🙂 )

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, that was a peaceful game for Gu and Zhou. You’re right that there were still quite a few nice tesuji and trades in game 1.

  6. Gil Dogon says:

    I have a question about the first game.
    Gu won quite convincingly in the end, and I was wondering where were B mistake(s) made.
    I do not understand B 99 S4 defending the bottom corner.
    Why did he not play at S16 instead ? Does not S16 eliminate most
    of the aji in the corner ? I guess the answer is not, but I can not see it.

    Also, although S4 is very big endgame, I fail to see its strategic importance, as I do not see how W will attack B strongly without it.

    Well now I can see that S16 does not eliminate the aji as W T17 threatens to connect with S13 …

    Thinking about it Gu played quite nice tesujis on the second line to win this game. W82 at S13 is one of them, but I was most impressed by W76 at E2 …

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, you found the reason why Black didn’t respond directly against W 98.

      Gu played some nice moves on the second line as you mentioned, and furthermore he succeeded to manage the whole game in good balance.

  7. 83 for 84 in game 1 is a reminder that these guys are playing a different game than mere mortals. What in the world was the threat 83 made, and how did 84 defend against it?