Ichiriki Ryo wins first three games at 17th Nongshim Cup

The first round of the 17th Nongshim Cup was played from October 20 to 23, 2015, in Chongqing, China.

Ichiriki Ryo 7p, the first player from team Japan, won three games in the first round.

Ichiriki Ryo

Ichiriki Ryo 7p, the hero of the first round from the 17th Nongshim Cup.

Ichiriki Ryo 7p, the hero of the first round of the 17th Nongshim Cup.

Ichiriki Ryo defeated Baek Chanhee 1p, Fan Yunruo 4p and Min Sangyoun 4p consecutively, and it was impressive and hopeful news for team Japan.

Even though Ichiriki lost to Wu Guangya 6p in the fourth game, he’s already done very well for Japan.

Ichiriki was also the first player to step up to the plate at the 16th Nongshim Cup in 2014, where he defeated Byun Sangil 4p and lost to Tuo Jiaxi 9p.

Over the last decade or so, Team Japan sometimes struggled in the Nongshim Cup. However, they’re off to an excellent start this year, due to Ichiriki’s excellent performance.

Interview with Lee Sedol 9 dan, Gu Li 9 dan and Kono Rin 9 dan, at the opening ceremony.

An interview with Lee Sedol 9 dan, Gu Li 9 dan and Kono Rin 9 dan, at the opening ceremony.

17th Nongshim Cup Teams

Team China

Gu Li 9p (1oth Chunlan Cup) and Ke Jie 9p (2nd Bailing Cup) were selected as current world champions, and Lian Xiao 7p was also selected as the last man standing in last year’s Nongshim Cup.

Wu Guangya 6p and Fan Yunruo 4p are making their debut on China’s Nongshim Cup team, along with Ke Jie.

Team Japan

Iyama Yuta 9p, Kono Rin 9p, Ida Atsushi 8p, Murakawa Daisuke 7p and Ichiriki Ryo 7p are representing Japan.

The team is exactly the same as the last year, when they survived until the final round.

In 2014, Ichiriki Ryo won one game, and Iyama Yuta won two games as the anchorman for Japan, but they’ve already notched up three wins this year.

Team Korea

Park Junghwan 9p was selected for Team Korea as the current #1 (based on domestic ratings), and Lee Sedol 9p was selected as a wildcard.

Choi Cheolhan 9p, Min Sangyoun 4p and Baek Chanhee 1p qualified through the preliminaries, but many Korean fans are worried that the two younger players (Min and Baek) aren’t strong enough to compete with the top players from the other teams.

Because of this, there’s currently a debate in Korea about changing the domestic qualification system for the Nongshim Cup (within Korea).

As you can see, Team Japan has selected their strongest players, which is more strategic, and Korean fans were disappointed when Baek and Min were knocked out.

Game records

Baek Chanhee vs Ichiriki Ryo – Game 1

Black 43 was questionable, and White 44 was painful for Black.

Black 49 was the result of a misread, and White took the early lead up to 58.

White 68 was an overplay, and the game became complicated up to Black 95.

Black 109 was slack, and the position became better for White again with 110.

White 126 and 128 were a brilliant combination, and White’s continuation up to 144 was flawless.

White was winning up to 154, and the game was decided by White 162.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Baek Chanhee 1 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan, reviewing just after the game.

Baek Chanhee 1 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan, reviewing just after the game.

Ichiriki Ryo vs Fan Yunruo – Game 2

White 24 was questionable, and Black 25 was a sharp jab.

The result up to Black 39 was slightly favorable for Black.

Black 55 to 57 were a nice tesuji combination to connect underneath, and the game was still playable for Black up to 67.

Black 69 to 77 were skillful followups, and Black 79 was appropriate reduction.

Black 91 was too greedy; it should have been at Black 117.

White 96 to 100 were sharp, and White 104 to 124 were also severe and powerful.

However, Black 143 to 147 were a good decision, and Black 157 was the winning move.

Black 171 hit White’s vital point, and Black’s responses afterwards were perfect.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan (left) and Fan Yunruo 4 dan with Kono Rin 9 dan (middle right).

Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan (left) and Fan Yunruo 4 dan with Kono Rin 9 dan (middle right).

Ichiriki Ryo vs Min Sangyoun – Game 3

White 32 and 34 were a well timed invasion, and defending with White 36 and 38 was a good decision.

Black 39 was slack, and White was happy to settle comfortably from 40 to 46.

White 50 was too gentle, and it would have been better at Q17.

White 80 was a gentle attack, and the game up to White 94 was slightly better for White.

White 128 was a mistake, and playing at White 130 would have been preferable.

After Black 129, White 130 and Black 131 became miai, and White was in trouble.

Black 133 to 147 comprised an excellent technique for escaping, and the game was reversed up to Black 157.

White 190 was the last losing move. White should have attacked at Black 191 instead.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Min Sangyoun 4 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan from the 17th Nongshim Cup.

Min Sangyoun 4 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan from the 17th Nongshim Cup.

Ichiriki Ryo vs Wu Guangya – Game 4

White 30 and Black 31 showed fighting spirit.

Black 33 was questionable, and White 34 was a strong counter.

White Black 47 to Black 51 were a tesuji combination, and the game became more exciting.

White 76 was slack, and Black 77 was a strong response.

White 88 was safe but passive, and the result up to Black 89 was satisfactory for Black.

White 118 and 120 formed a light sabaki sequence, but Black 123 resisted strongly.

Black 125 was the losing move. Black F9, White E10 and Black G11 would have been correct.

White’s sequence from 130 to 142 was exquisite and, all of a sudden, Black resigned.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Wu Guangya 6 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan, last game of the first round.

Wu Guangya 6 dan (left) and Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan, last game of the first round.

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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. Wow this seems the best line-up team Japan can offer. Hope they do great.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I think so too. Yamashita Keigo and Takao Shinji aren’t included, but the line-up is quite young and competitive.

  2. Hi Younggil! Can you describe the playing style of Ichiriki Ryo? Quite interested about him. Thank you!

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m not quite sure, but I feel like Ichiriki Ryo’s style of play seems to be creative and powerful.

      He showed his fighting spirits throughout his games in this Nongshim Cup, and he is also good at close combat which Japanese players are relatively not good at.

      He’s still quite young (18 years old), and he has a potential to become post Iyama Yuta I think.

      • Charles Adamson says:

        One of the things that I have noticed about his games that I see on Japanese TV and cable is that he frequently has four or five actions taking place at the same time. He jumps around from area to area, moving on before finishing the sequence of moves in each area. This allows him to coordinate the moves as they happen, rather than finishing one area and then moving on to another area.

  3. 126 to 144 in Baek Chanhee vs Ichiriki Ryo was indeed brilliant! What happens if black 127 just connects at h10?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question.

      If Black connects at H10 for 127, White will push at E9, and either Black’s left side group or the center group will be in trouble.

      Black tried to avoid that situation in the actual game, but White’s followups were powerful and accurate.

  4. Ha, I recognize the lower left corner in the game Baek Chanhee vs. Ichiriki Ryo as the hard problem from week 107. It seems both players studied it well 🙂

  5. Hi there,

    Please in the future, can you please add and the color of each of the players? if is there IR vs NM first is black and 2nd is white?


    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your suggestion.

      Yes, first player is Black and the latter one is White.

      If you click the ‘i’ icon at the top right of the game record, you can see the information of the game as well. 🙂

  6. Guillermo says:

    Yes, I’m waiting for Japan to make a come back in the international scene, that would make tournaments even more interesting. These are great news.

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree, and many Go fans seem to think so too.

      • Have there any changes been made in Japan, such as studying more cooperatively, or is this more of a singular event of a talented player just happening to come along?

        • I don’t know if they’ve made any changes, but if you’re looking for talented young Japanese players, there’s also Shibano Toramaru. He only just became pro recently, last year I think? so he doesn’t have any international achievements yet, but he’s win/loss ratio and tournament results in Japan is really promising.

        • Younggil An says:

          Yes, they established a group studying system called ‘Go Go Japan’ in around 2013, and it’s helped their young talented players quite well since then.

          I haven’t heard of Shibano Toramaru, but I hope he will become stronger to compete other top players as you wish.

  7. In game 3, I thought 190 would be a nice move as you say.

    Black has lots of tries like the ko in the corner with B1 and B8, as well a nose tesuji at H7 and aji at K2. Or even trying to attack the left group’s eyes? But putting them together to make an escape without getting cut at L8 and M9 looks hard. Does any of it work? It would have made for good viewing anyway! 🙂

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Hippo for your comment. You mentioned lots of Black’s options and White didn’t play because of those.

      However, White didn’t get any chances to catch up after White 190 in the actual game, so he should have tried the extreme way.

  8. Lazystone says:

    I think Ichiriki is very good at reading and close combat.There were many game that when his opponent misread something then he gave them a sudden penalty. It surprised me a lot when he can beat Lian Xiao at the first Globis cup,to me that is the champion match.I wish he will become even stronger in the future.

  9. It’s indeed a sad commentary on the current state of Japanese Go that a three-game winning streak by a Japanese player elicits surprise and merits a mention. If a Chinese player or Korean player had won three games in a row, no one would have batted an eyelid.

  10. Ichiriki Ryo and Wu Guangya look like brothers. Some high-IQ, go-geeky, and very good looking brothers. In german we say (somewhat passive-aggressively) “Schwiegermuttertraum” – a mother-in-laws dream. (as in: just the right one for her little darling)

    • Thanks for your comment and telling us the German phrase “Schwiegermuttertraum”.
      These 2 Asian geeky guys may be the mother in law’s dream, but white women usually much prefer athletic guys, not Asian nerds 😉

      Are you in Deutschland? this is generally the case in America. How about in Germany?

  11. In the first game, Black covers at 43 and doesn’t seem to mind the result compared to if white moved around 43; did white play at 42 because living on the top side was better than moving he upper stone, and black played 43 in the belief 49 would have a better effect than it did?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question Elom.

      White 42 was a probe, and Black 43 would have cut at O17.

      Pushing up directly at Black 43 intead of White 42 would be a bit too heavy, so White played at 42 first.