Japan all out at 15th Nongshim Cup

The second round of the 15th Nongshim Cup finished on December 7, 2013 with Team Japan being eliminated. The previous round was played in late October.

Giant noodle cups

In honour of Nongshim’s best known product, Wang Runan 8p, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9p and Kim In 9p pulled scrolls out of giant noodle cups, to determine the order of play.


From left: Wang Runan, Yamashiro Hiroshi and Kim In.

Kim selected the odd scroll, which gave Korea a bye in the first round.

15th Nongshim Cup Teams

Team China

China’s Chen Yaoye 9p, Zhou Ruiyang 9p and Tan Xiao 7p are playing for the third time in this tournament.

Their team mates are Shi Yue 9p and Fan Tingyu 9p, who are making their debut on China’s Nongshim Cup team.


Team China, clockwise from top left: Tan Xiao, Zhou Ruiyang, Chen Yaoye, Shi Yue and Fan Tingyu (center).

Team Japan

Japan sent Yuki Satoshi 9p, Kono Rin 9p, Cho U 9p, Anzai Nobuaki 6p and young gun Yao Zhiteng 2p (1p at the time of play).

Yao won the right to be promoted to 1p in Taiwan, at the age of 11 in 2009, but refused his promotion to become an insei in Japan instead.

Three years later, in 2012, he became a professional with the Nihon Kiin.


Team Japan, from top left: Yuki Satoshi, Cho U, Kono Rin, Yao Zhiteng and Anzai Nobuaki.

Team Korea

Korea’s Kang Dongyun 9p and Choi Kihoon 4p are joined by three members from last year’s winning team, Kim Jiseok 9p, Park Junghwan 9p and Choi Cheolhan 9p.


Team Korea, clockwise from top left: Park Junghwan, Kang Dongyun, Choi Kihoon, Kim Jiseok and Choi Cheolhan (center).

China’s running start in round one

Round one was played from October 22-25, 2013. Fan Tingyu got China off on a roll, quickly dispatching Japan’s Yao Zhiteng and Anzai Nobuaki, as well as Choi Kihoon from Korea.

Fan’s run was cut short by Korea’s Kang Dongyun at the end of round one.

Round two

When play resumed on December 2, 2013, Kang only managed one more win, over Kono Rin, before succumbing to Team China’s Chen Yaoye.

Chen also had a pretty good run, with three straight wins. He defeated Yuki Satoshi after his win over Kang.


Choi Cheolhan 9 dan (left) faces his nemesis, Chen Yaoye 9 dan.

By now, no doubt Choi Cheolhan (the next man on the Korean bench) was wondering if the universe was having a joke at his expense.

We’ve written before about Chen’s remarkable record against Choi.

Choi actually played Chen in this tournament last year and broke his losing streak against Chen.

Unfortunately Choi couldn’t repeat that feat this year.

Japan’s last man


Japan’s anchorman, Cho U 9 dan, ended Chen Yaoye’s run before being knocked out by Kim Jiseok.

Cho U, Japan’s anchorman, was up next.

Cho ended Chen’s run, but his momentum was cut short by Kim Jiseok, the dangerous infighter from Team Korea.

The final round

With Korea’s Park Junghwan (and Kim Jiseok) and China’s Zhou Ruiyang, Tan Xiao and Shi Yue still in play, Kim will have to wait until play resumes in February 2014 for his next opponent.

As always, we’ll keep you updated as China and Korea battle it out for the title.

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, China has won the tournament twice and Japan only once.

15th Nongshim Cup photos

Game records

Kono Rin vs Kang Dongyun – Game 5


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Chen Yaoye vs Kang Dongyun – Game 6


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Chen Yaoye vs Yuki Satoshi – Game 7


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Chen Yaoye vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 8


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Cho U vs Chen Yaoye – Game 9


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Cho U vs Kim Jiseok – Game 10


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. Just love the prepubescent hairstyles of the Japanese and Korean players. Bowl cut = sinister.

    • Hehe – I have to admit I spent a few years as a child with one of those bowl cuts. Maybe if I’d kept it, I’d be stronger now? 😛

      • Wait, you meant to tell me that the bowl cuts of the Japanese and Korean players are actually little girl hairstyles?

        Oh wow… They need to get some manly haircut asap. Hairstyles, believe or not, do impact personality and mentality.

  2. the last two games use a similar strange joseki, i wonder what was that about?

    • Younggil An says:

      I haven’t seen that joseki for a long time either. It doesn’t look good for black, but Cho U might have researched, and thought it’s playable for black I guess.

  3. Japan all out of the Nongshim cup, but Korean players all out of individual international titles this year, for the first time since Lee Changho won his first over two decades ago!


    Is this a blip, or the year that marks the end of Korea’s (waning) dominance of Go and the beginning of Chinese hegemony.

    • Even more fascinating is that although Korea is all out of individual titles, Japan is not! Maybe a (slight) Japanese comeback isn’t impossible? And of course by “Japanese”, I mean “Iyama Yuta”. 😉

      • Yes, very interesting! Especially since Asian TV Cup (which Iyama holds) is a blitz tournament and we’ve been speculating that the shorter time limits in international tournaments (relative to Japanese domestic tournaments) are not ideal for Japanese pros.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, it looks like it’s the beginning of Chinese hegemony and they’ve started to dominate the Go world. However, Japanese and Korean players will try to find a way to compete with them. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to catch up Chinese though. I hope it won’t be long.

  4. Not sure, some guys are just one hit wonder. At such high level, 50-50 chance since everybody is same. Anything can happen, matter of luck, pressure handle, performance. The conclusion is that Korea is not getting weaker nor china is getting stronger. It is matter of same skill level, nobody is dominating.

    • There is very little chance or luck in Go, and no, at such a high level, NOT everybody is the same.

  5. In game 6, it seems to me that white is winning by 1.5pts. Why did Kang Dongyun resign? Did I miscounted?

    • Younggil An says:

      Good question. White needs to reinforce one more move in the lower left corner, and white can’t win the small ko at the very bottom either. Eventually, black would win by 0.5 point, but Kang resigned. It’s because he knew there was no way to reverse the game.

      • Being such an amateur, if the margin would be so small, I would play it out and count, because I could miscount, the opponent could make a mistake, and just for the fun of it. Why take the chance of losing a game that you could have won? Especially if you have nothing to lose as you counted yourself as losing. To me, a mistake of the opponent at the very end of the game is not less valuable than at the beginning or in the middle of the game.

        Kind regards,

        • Younggil An says:

          Yes, count is normal even for pros. Some pros resign in that position, maybe because they’re 100% sure for the result, and they don’t think they need to count.
          However, it’s better to count a game when it’s close. 🙂

  6. Trong Cuong Le says:

    Hi Younggil An.
    If Shusaku or Goseigen (the greatest player of Japan) fight with Pro 9dan such as Lee Changho,Lee Sedol,Gu Li….Who will win?

    • Younggil An says:

      Hmm, that’s hard to answer, because it’s not fair to compare between the greatest legend players and the best players today.
      If there would be a game, present top players would win because the techniques and skills in Go have been improved a lot last 30 years.

      • But is it still okay to study Go Seigen and Shusaku games, can I still learn some good skill from looking at old games?

        • Younggil An says:

          Yes, it’s still worthwhile to study their games. When I was an insei, I liked Go Seigen’s games most, and I learned so much from his games. Their games were very different from the games today, but you can still enjoy and learn a lot from their classical games.

      • I once read the interesting remark: In their time, Shusaku and Go Seigen would have won, in our time the geniusses like Lee Sedol and the young Chinese. Perhaps doing justice to the geniusses of their era’s, but also taking into account the circumstances of study, play, like time and komi, seniority, like opportunity to play. Maybe indicating that the one best accustomed to circumstances wins, it not being a matter of talent alone. If in chess: compare Morphy and Carlsen, think about it.

        Kind regards,

  7. About the game Cho U vs Chen Yaoy: what’s the point of move 130? W seens to have more liberties and he can even get more by jumping out. And I can either see what b could do inside w’s group.

    • Younggil An says:

      Good question.
      If white doesn’t play there, black will attach at S8, W S8, B Q10, W P11, B R10, and black will get more liberties. White thought reinforcing at 130 was better than jumping to the center, because white may need fill more moves inside of his territory. Actually, there’s no problem to jump at the center instead, but Chen might have thought the actual game was clearer and good enough. White was leading the game at that moment.

  8. Ok, I see. Thank you for your answer!