Japan strikes back! The 18th LG Cup

The main tournament of the 18th LG Cup started on June 10 at the Lakai Sandpine resort in Kangnung, Kangwon Do, Korea.

32 players competed in this round, and there were many sensational games, especially those of Japanese players.

A Japanese resurgence?


Iyama Yuta 9 dan progressed to the round of 16 at the 18th LG Cup.

There were only four players from Japan in the main tournament, but three of them won their first round games.

In recent years, it’s been quite rare to see Japanese players in the second round of the main tournament, so I’m happy to see more of Japanese players appearing again now.

If they can continue to do better in international tournaments, and become more competitive with China and Korea again, the Go world will surely become more interesting and fun to watch.

Go 碁 Japan

I recently heard that a study group named ‘Go 碁 Japan’ was established by top Japanese players, and I hope that it will give them more motivation to study together and share their knowledge with one another.

Iyama Yuta 9p and Takao Shinji 9p beat Zhang Tao 3p and Hong Seongji 8p respectively.

Meanwhile, Kono Rin 9p beat Fan Tingyu 9p, which was very sensational because Fan was the winner of the most recent Ing Cup.


Team Japan (from left): Yamashiro Hiroshi 9 dan, Iyama Yuta 9 dan and Kono Rin 9 dan.

Hane Naoki 9p was also winning his game; against Mok Jinseok 9p; right up until the endgame, but he lost by half a point in the end.

Lee Sedol carries the banner for Korea

Many top ranked Korean players were eliminated in this round, including: Park Junghwan 9p (#2 in Korea), Kim Jiseok 9p (#3), Choi Cheolhan 9p (#4), Kang Dongyun 9p (#5), Cho Hanseung 9p (#6) and Park Younghun 9p (#9).


Lee Sedol checks out Gu Li’s game during the lunch break.

Lee Sedol 9p is the only remaining player who ranks among Korea’s top 10, and many Korean Go fans are in a panic about these results.

Both Park Junghwan and Kim Jiseok are expected to lead Korean Baduk in the future, but they didn’t make it this time.


China’s top 3 still in play

Gu Li 9p was defeated by Kim Seongjin 2p, and Shi Yue 9p, who was the defending champion from the 17th LG Cup, lost to Ahn Hyoungjun 4p.

However, other top Chinese players remain in contention. In particular, Tuo Jiaxi 3p (#1 in China), Chen Yaoye 9p (#2), Zhou Ruiyang 9p (#3) are still in play (note: these ranks are based on the rankings released in May 2013).


China’s #1, Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan (right), defeated Lee Changho 9 dan to progress to the round of 16.

Notable absences and appearances

Won Seongjin 9p, the runner up from the 17th LG Cup, can’t participate this time because he’s currently in the navy for the compulsory military service (as is Baek Hongseok 9p, who won the 4th BC Card Cup).

Lee Younggu 9p replaced Won Seongjin and defeated Xiao Zhenghao 8p, who was the only representative from Taiwan in the round of 32.

It also seems that Li Zhe 6p is back on the international scene and is in good form.

Li was one of China’s top players in recent years, but hasn’t been seen as often lately because he’s been studying philosophy at Beijing University.


Li Zhe 6 dan, back in the international arena.

The round of 16

This leaves us with seven players from China, six from Korea and three from Japan in the upcoming round of 16.


Pairings for the round of 16 at the 18th LG Cup.

Lee Sedol and Tuo Jiaxi have been paired for the round of 16 and are both currently the #1 ranked players in their countries.

[Correction: based on the most recently released rankings, Tuo Jiaxi is #3 in China at the moment. He held the #1 spot in May 2013.]

Their game promises to be among the most interesting in the next round, but let’s also watch out for the emerging new stars and team Japan in this tournament (see the full results and pairings for the round of 16 below).

Watch the round of 16 live on Baduk TV

The live broadcast for the round of 16 will start at:

  • 1:00pm, June 12, 2013 (Korean Standard Time)
  • 4:00am, June 12 (GMT/UTC)
  • 12:00am, June 12 (US Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

You can watch it on live on Baduk TV. Check the Baduk TV Guide for full details.

The LG Cup

The LG Cup is a major international Go tournament. It started in 1996 and the prize money is currently 250 million Won (approx $220,000 USD at the time of writing).

The main draw of 32 players is part invitational, comprising of 5 Korean players, 5 Chinese players, 4 Japanese players, 1 Taiwanese player and including the previous year’s winner and runner up.

The rest of the main draw is determined through a preliminary tournament. The format is single knockout, with the final played as a best of 3 games.

The tournament is sponsored by LG Electronics, a multinational consumer electronics company whose headquarters are in South Korea.

18th LG Cup results and pairings

Round of 32 results

Here are the full results for the round of 32 and the players’ head to head records against one another (including these games).

  • Kim Seongjin 2p (Kor) defeated Gu Li 9p (Chn) (Kim 1-0)
  • Li Zhe 6p (Chn) defeated Kang Dongyun 9p (Kor) (1-1)
  • Iyama Yuta 9p (Jpn) defeated Zhang Tao 3p (Chn) (Iyama 1-0)
  • Zhou Ruiyang 9p (Chn) defeated Choi Cheolhan 9p (Kor) (Choi 6-2)
  • Takao Shinji 9p (Jpn) defeated Hong Seongji 8p (Kor) (Takao 1-0)
  • Kono Rin 9p (Jpn) defeated Fan Tingyu 9p (Chn) (Kono 1-0)
  • Mok Jinseok 9p (Kor) defeated Hane Naoki 9p (Jpn) (Mok 3-0)
  • Lee Sedol 9p (Kor) defeated Xie Erhao 1p (Chn) (Lee 1-0)
  • Li Qincheng 1p (Chn) defeated Park Younghun 9p (Kor) (Li 2-0)
  • Guo Yuzheng 3p (Chn) defeated Cho Hanseung 9p (Kor) (Guo 1-0)
  • Xia Chenkun 2p (Chn) defeated Kim Jiseok 9p (Kor) (Xia 1-0)
  • Tuo Jiaxi 3p (Chn) defeated Lee Changho 9p (Kor) (Lee 2-1)
  • Lee Younggu 9p (Kor) defeated Xiao Zhenghao 8p (Tpe) (Lee 2-0)
  • Ahn Hyoungjun 4p (Kor) defeated Shi Yue 9p (Chn) (Ahn 1-0)
  • Ahn Joyoung 9p (Kor) defeated Han Yizhou 2p (Chn) (Ahn 1-0)
  • Chen Yaoye 9p (Chn) defeated Park Junghwan 9p (Kor) (Chen 9-4)

Round of 16 pairings

Here are the pairings for the next round:

  • Chen Yaoye 9p (Chn) vs Kono Rin 9p (Jpn)
  • Guo Yuzheng 3p (Chn) vs Takao Shinji 9p (Jpn)
  • Li Qincheng 1p (Chn) vs Mok Jinseok 9p (Kor)
  • Li Zhe 6p (Chn) vs Ahn Hyoungjun 4p (Kor)
  • Tuo Jiaxi 3p (Chn) vs Lee Sedol 9p (Kor)
  • Zhou Ruiyang 9p (Chn) vs Ahn Joyoung 9p (Kor)
  • Lee Younggu 9p (Kor) vs Iyama Yuta 9p (Jpn)
  • Xia Chenkun 2p (Chn) vs Kim Seongjin 2p (Kor)

18th LG Cup round of 32 photos

Game records

Kono Rin vs Fan Tingyu


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Tuo Jiaxi vs Lee Changho


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol vs Xie Erhao


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Takao Shinji vs Hong Seongji


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Related Articles

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. Nice article and games. There seems to be some excitement in the air.

    The Takao Shinji vs Hong Seongji was dynamic. Maybe we can get a commentary of that game.

    Some of my Chinese go friends have been telling me that Shi Yue is now considered #1 in China.

    • Shi Yue has gained a new nickname recently among some Chinese fans: “One-Dragon-A-Game”, referring to his recent dragon-killing exploits in league play against the likes of Chen Yaoye and Na Hyun.

    • An Younggil 8p says:

      You’re right. Shi Yue became #1 in June, and Tuo Jiaxi went back to #3. Thank you for your correction.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was surprised to see Japan do so well. Except for a half point loss by Hane Naoki to Mok Jinseok, they all could have won their first round.

  3. Awesome tournament – I’ll have to get a day pass for Baduk TV tonight and watch the second round! 🙂

  4. Beware of drawing conclusions from such a small sample. If 4 Japanese players participate 10 years in a row, a 3/4 in the first round can be expected some year.

  5. Tomasz Kwiatkowski says:

    second round ended, Takao and Yuuta went to next round, and its china-japan LG cup

  6. Round of 16 results :

    -Chen Yaoye 9p (Chn) defeated Kono Rin 9p (Jpn) by R
    -Takao Shinji 9p (Jpn) defeated Guo Yuzheng 3p (Chn) by R
    -Li Qincheng 1p (or 2p?) (Chn) defeated Mok Jinseok 9p (Kor) by R
    -Li Zhe 6p (Chn) defeated Ahn Hyoungjun 4p (Kor) by R
    -Tuo Jiaxi 3p (Chn) defeated Lee Sedol 9p (Kor) by R
    -Zhou Ruiyang 9p (Chn) defeated Ahn Joyoung 9p (Kor) by 2.5
    -Iyama Yuta 9p (Jpn) defeated Lee Younggu 9p (Kor) by 1.5
    -Xia Chenkun 2p (Chn) defeated Kim Seongjin 2p (Kor) by 2.5

    No more Korean players and 2 Japanese players remain !
    Waiting for next round 😀