The round 2 of the 17th Nongshim Cup was played from November 27 to December 1, 2015, in Busan, Korea.
Choi Cheolhan wins two games
Choi Cheolhan 9p, the 3rd player from team Korea, faced to Guangya 6p, who stopped Ichiriki Ryo’s winning streak at the end of round 1.
The game was relatively calm and well balanced up to the middle game.
However, Choi’s attack was gentle but powerful, and he captured White’s center group to finish the game.
Ida (Black) played very well and he was leading through the middle game with his fighting spirit.
However, Black played several slack moves on the right side area, and White built a big territory at the bottom to reverse the game.
Gu Li wins three games
Gu Li 9p, the 3rd player from team China, didn’t let Choi Cheolhan to win three constructive games.
Gu (White) took the early lead just after the opening with his powerful cut, and he managed the game very smoothly afterwards.
Choi tried to complicate the game with tricky moves, but Gu’s defense was excellent.
Gu Li’s next opponent was team Japan’s 3rd player Kono Rin 9p.
Kono (Black) was leading the game with his active and thick moves and he maintained his lead in the beginning of the endgame.
However, he made a crucial mistake when Gu probed on the right side, and the game was suddenly reversed and decided.
You can also watch a video commentary between Gu Li and Kono Rin by Kim Myungwan 9p here.
Park Junghwan 9p was team Korea’s 4th player, who’s ranked #1 in Korea.
However, he didn’t stop Gu’s winning streak, and Gu became a hero for team China at the 17th Nongshim Cup, round 2.
You can watch a video commentary between Gu Li and Park Junghwan by Kim Myungwan 9p here.
The final round will be played in Shanghai, China, when play resumes on March 1, 2016.
The next game will be between Gu Li and Murakawa Daisuke, and I’m looking forward to watching the final round in March next year!
The Nongshim Cup
The Nongshim Cup is a team event between China, Japan and Korea.
The sponsor, Nongshim, is a Korean instant noodles company.
The tournament uses a win and continue format, which is common in these team events.
Korea has dominated this event, winning it 11 times. In contrast, Japan has won it only once, while China is slowly catching up with four wins.
The prize money for the Nongshim Cup was greatly increased in 2015.
The previous winner’s purse was 200 million Korean Won (about $173,000 USD at the time of writing), but starting with the 17th Nongshim Cup, the prize for the winning team is 500 million Korean Won (approximately $430,000 USD).
Choi Cheolhan vs Wu Guangya – Game 5
The opening up to White 26 was well balanced.
White’s sequence from 40 to 48 was exquisite, and the game became favorable for White up to 50.
White 68 should have extended at Black 69, and the game became complicated up to Black 81.
Black 91 was a good move, and White’s three stones were captured up to 95.
White 96 was sharp, but Black 97 and 99 formed a fierce attack.
White 104 was the losing move, and that should have been at 106.
Since Black 105 was sente for Black, there was no way for White to save his center group after Black 107.
Ida Atsushi vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 6
Black 33 to 39 were nice to develop over the center, and the opening was slightly better for Black.
Peeping at Black 51 was sharp, and the trade up to Black 65 was favorable for Black.
White 66 to Black 73 was beneficial exchanges for White, and White controlled the center with 74.
Black 75 to 79 were well timed invasion, and Black took the lead.
However, Black 95 and 97 were slack (should be cut at 99), and the game was reversed with White 96 to 100.
White 116 should have been at Black 117. Black 117 was sharp resistance, and Black cauught up with the trade up to Black 135.
Black attacked White’s center stones from 147 to Black 159, but White’s responses were excellent to save all of his stones to win.
Choi Cheolhan vs Gu Li – Game 7
Black 11, 13 and 19 were new style of play, but White didn’t complain with 12 and 18.
Black 31 would have wedged at White 32.
After White became thick in the bottom left, cutting at White 44 to 46 was very powerful.
Black started to attack White’s center group with 63, but White 72 was a skillful tesuji to capture Black’s key stones.
White 82 and 84 were a strong attack, and it was difficult for Black to mange, because of the ko at White 90.
While Black was eliminating the ko with Black 109, White captured Black’s left side group through to 110, and White was satisfied.
Black 111, 113, 131, 141 and Black 145 were tricky moves to answer, but Gu’s responses were solid and correct to maintain his lead until the end of the game.
Kono Rin vs Gu Li – Game 8
The opening up to White 34 was peaceful.
Black 37 to 41 was creative, and the trade up to Black 45 was favorable for Black.
White 62 was indirect reinforcement, and White lived completely up to 68.
White 76 to Black 81 helped Black, and Black’s play from 83 was flawless to take the lead.
Black 103 was thick, and Black 115 was big to maintain his lead.
White 134 and 136 were tricky probes, and Black 137 was a crucial mistake.
White 138 to Black 149 was one way street, and White 152 was the winning shot.
Black lost nearly 15 points up to Black 167, and the game was decided.
Park Jungwhan vs Gu Li – Game 9
Black 33 and 35 were gentle attack, and the result up to Black 59 was good for Black, because White’s right side is a ko.
White started to attack with 60, but Black 61 to 71 were exquisite, and Black 79 was a strong counter.
Black’s sequence from 95 to 107 was sophisticated, and Black was still ahead
White 110 to 114 were exquisite sequence, and White caught up a bit with 116.
Black 127 was a serious overplay, and that should be at White 130.
Black 151 was the prepared tesuji, but the trade up to White 170 was good for White, and the game was reversed.
Black played aggressively with 185, 193, 207, and 223 to catch up, but Gu’s endgame was perfect enough to save a small margin.