Ke Jie and Shi Yue proceed to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup

The Semifinals of the 2015 Samsung Cup took place on November 3 to 5, 2015. The venue was the Samsung Global Research and Development Center in Gyeonggi, Korea.

Lee Sedol 9p was faced to Ke Jie 9p, and Shi Yue 9p was played against Tang Weixing 9p in the semifinals.


Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Shi Yue 9 dan proceeded to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Shi Yue 9 dan proceeded to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup.


Players of the Semifinals

Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Ke Jie 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Lee Sedol 9 dan (left) and Ke Jie 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Ke Jie became the new #1 in China two months ago, and he’s ranked #2 in the world according to Dr Bai Taeil’s rating system, which is used by the Korean Baduk Association.

He won the 2nd Bailing Cup in January this year, and he is regarded as the post Gu Li in China.

Unbelievably he’s undefeated as White in official games in 2015, and he is the most powerful player in the world at the moment.

Lee Sedol is ranked #2 in Korea, and he’s ranked #3 in the world.

He won the 27th Asian TV Cup in August this year, and he’s been in good form this year.

Tang Weixing 9 dan (left) and Shi Yue 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Tang Weixing 9 dan (left) and Shi Yue 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

On the other hand, Shi Yue is #2 in China. He’s held #1 for more than a year, but he went down two months ago.

He won the 17th LG Cup in 2013, and he is still one of the most powerful players in the world.

Tang Weixing is ranked #10 in China, but he’s done very well in this Samsung Cup last two years.

He won the 2013 Samsung Cup defeating Lee Sedol, and he was the runner up last year. He proceeded to the semifinals this year as well.

Ke Jie’s excellent performance

Ke Jie 9 dan in the semifinals of the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Ke Jie 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Lee Sedol and Ke Jie’s semifinal is regarded as the most spectacular match in 2015 by many Go fans.

They have never played each other, and that’s one of the reason why this match was highly regarded.

However, unfortunately, it wasn’t that interesting as anticipated.

Ke Jie showed his ingenious potential in the semifinals, and he defeated Lee Sedol smoothly.

In game 1, Ke (White) overwhelmed Lee from the opening, and he managed his weak group from the right side with excellent technique.

Lee invaded White’s the top area, but Ke’s moves were accurate and bold, and the game was decided.

I couldn’t find any of Ke Jie’s mistakes in that game, and his play was flawless.

In game 2, Lee made a big mistake on the right side, and Black took the early lead by Black 37.

White 42 was slack, and Black’s sequence at the top was natural and efficient.

Black 57 was a sharp invasion, and Ke took the clear lead.

Once Ke was ahead, he played solidly and safely, and he didn’t give Lee any chances to catch up until the end.

Many of his fans were disappointed that he didn’t show his typical dynamic and powerful moves in those games.

Throughout the semifinals, Ke showed his special power and strength, and the most impressive thing is that he didn’t play any clear mistakes in those games against Lee Sedol.

Lee Sedol is very talented at provoking his opponent’s mistakes by his tricky moves based on his powerful and accurate reading, but it didn’t work against Ke Jie.

Hopefully, Lee will soon come back with his typical style of play.

Shi Yue showed his power

Shi Yue 9 dan in the semifinals of the 2015 Samsung Cup.

Shi Yue 9 dan at the 2015 Samsung Cup.

On the other hand, Tang Weixing had a nice start with his victory of first game of the best three match.

In game 1, there was a huge ko at the top, and Tang took the lead with the big trade up to Black 105.

Complicated fighting was continued after that, and eventually Tang captured White’s big dragon in the center, and the game was decided.

However, Shi quickly changed the mood in game 2. Tang invaded Black’s formation at White 18, and Shi started to capture that stone immediately.

The game became very tense and complex with a huge real life and death problem at the bottom.

Tang made a ko with White 70 with his skillful moves, but Shi didn’t retreat, but kept on going to kill White’s bottom group.

Black eliminated the ko, and White started to capture Black’s bottom group from White 88, but Black’s sequence from Black 89 to Black 109 was exquisite, and the game was finished at the same time.

In game 3, the game was very difficult with fierce fighting from the beginning. White started fighting from White 40, and the following fighting was endless.

Tang tried to capture Black’s center group severely from White 122 and the center group became in great danger.

However, White missed to exchange G6 for Black G5, and Black 163 to Black 167 formed a brilliant counter and the game was suddenly decided up to Black 173.

The Samsung Cup

The Samsung Cup first started in 1996 and uses a rather convoluted draw. Though, arguably, it is fairer than a straight knockout format.
The 32 players in the main draw are split into 8 groups of 4. Players must win two games in order to proceed from the first stage; two players from each group will advance to the knockout stage.
In some ways it’s similar to the group stage of the FIFA World Cup, except that only two wins are necessary to continue.
The round of 16 and the quarter finals are played as a straight knockout.
The semifinals and the final are played as best of three matches.
The time limit for games is 2 hours and 5 x 1 minute byo-yomi.
Samsung is a well known Korean conglomerate.

Game records

Lee Sedol vs Ke Jie – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Tang Weixing vs Shi Yue – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie vs Lee Sedol – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Shi Yue vs Tang Weixing – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Shi Yue vs Tang Weixing – Game 3


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. Roland USA says:

    Thank you, Younggil, for the very nice postings.

    Ke’s performances were some of the most spectacular that I have ever seen.
    To me, both games were decided in a very early stage, after only about 30 moves. In game 2, after black 27, I felt that Lee was in deep trouble. He seemed to be facing the risks of getting the stones captured, or let Ke build large territories, or both.

    Lee then spent 30 min to consider 1 move to respond to Ke.
    This might be 30 min well spent. Lee did not get any group captured.

    In the 3 games between Shi and Tang, 3 huge dragons were captured. Some people thought Lee was too cautious. But Lee’s caution is likely due to the very real risk of losing a dragon.

    Ke is very special. His moves spectacular!

    • Warren Dew says:

      It seems to my unpracticed eye like Tang provokes big dragon fights in the center. Certainly it makes for spectacular games!

    • Roland USA says:

      The decisive game between Ke Jie and Park is about to start today.
      In the 1st game, Park played very solidly and for awhile looked like Ke was quite behind.

      But miraculously, Ke was able to build a huge territory in the middle and blocked all 4 invasion routes by black. That was very impressive.

      Ke will play as black in the 2nd game. I think he will invade early to disrupt Park from building solid areas. He will try to do what he did in the 2nd game vs Lee and take the lead earlier this time.
      Let’s see 🙂

      • Ah, you are talking about the MLily Cup? I see Park won game 2, so the decisive decisive game is still to come! Park is looking very strong these days… already in the LG final.

        Meanwhile, after losing a few games recently, Lee Shishi has bounced back and fought his way impressively to the final today!

  2. What a magnificent games, all of them, thank you for showing! I don’t quite get the disappointment about the Ke – Lee games: Ke was superior, and for a fight like the Shi – Tang games you need two players. I wonder what went into the psycology of both, whether the kind of game played was prepared. One question: what was Lee’s big mistake in the opening of game 2?

    Kind regards,

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your comment with a question Paul.

      Lee’s big mistakes in the opening of game 2 were White 24 and 30 I think.

      White 24 should have been at C7, and White 30 should have connected at Black 37.

      Black took the lead with 37, and Ke Jie managed rest of the game excellently.

  3. In the first Lee-Ke game, move 15, if black plays the other connection, at D14, is this playable too? Can white B12 immediately, and if he does, how would black continue? (I know there is a nice & useful discussion of this shape in the excellent Shuko book “The Only Move”, but of course the surrounding stones are different here).

    I ask because if white plays at the top, it seems black gets nice shape with F11, so I am wondering if black is worried about that aji to play the C13 reply.

    • White 14 is an asking move to secure territory on the top in sente. If black answers with D14, white plays another move at the top and black has to move again, usually with the jump at E11. In the case of the game: This connection leaves some aji that stops black from invading the top easily.

      • kil, yes that gives a nice background explanation of the plan. The D14 G16 E11 sequence seems nice for black to me (and Shuko I think), but maybe that is fine for both and just another game.

        But I was interested in the specifics of whether white has a good sequence after an immediate B12 after D14 omitting a move at the top (eg black seems at first sight OK after B11 C13 B14? Or B11 B13 D12) but is there anything else or is B12 too early and an overplay? This kind of shape crops up a lot, so is of general interest I think…

        • Ah, sorry. I missunderstood the question.
          The usual ways to cut the two-point extension after the peep are the keima (B12) or just extending down (C13). In both cases white can cut. But, it feels to me that without answering at the top, the corner could get weak. If so, the cut might not be that good anymore. It has a slight feeling of being too early.

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question.

      Connecting at D14 for Black 15 is playable for sure, and White would defend the top with G16.

      If White plays B12 immediately, Black would block at B11. If White B13 next, Black will play either D12 or C13.

      Or playing at F16 to reduce White’s top would be also a good idea for Black after White B12.

      • Thanks. Yes, I see, white doesnt really have time for B12 immediately. By the bye, I noticed in a recent pro game black played the jump at E11 instead of E14. Just to confuse me I suppose! 🙂

        • Younggil An says:

          Jumping at E11 instead of E14 is also a good idea.

          If Black doesn’t want White to reinforce at the top to consolidate the territory, Black can choose E11.

  4. Seems like Park JungHwan is struggling this year, how come he is not playing for any world titles?! For a player as talented as he is that’s a tad bit disappointing. I hope to see him more and have him play with Ke!

    • from chinese commentary on weiqitv, the chinese pros overwhelmingly think Kim Jiseok is the hardest korean player to beat, even though park has the highest rating.

      • Younggil An says:

        Oh I see, I didn’t know that.

        Kim Jiseok was doing great last year, but he didn’t do well this year after he lost to Park Junghwan at the LG Cup final in February 2015.

        I agree that when Kim Jiseok is in his good form, it would be pretty tough for anyone to defeat him.

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you Sabaki.

      Park Junghwan has been in slump, and his games weren’t impressive in the international tournaments this year. Hopefully he will come back next year.

  5. Hi there,

    Thanks for the postings! Is nice to read news about Go in English.


  6. Any idea what Lee did wrong in the opening of game 2? It was called a “big mistake”.

    Kind regards,

  7. Paul, the result to 37 is clearly bad for Black as white cuts through in the centre and solidifies territory top and bottom right.

    White would like to play O10 for move 36, but Q10 seems to be a problem for him (I think). My guess is that Lee misread this and thought he could cope with being split here in one of the variations, but changed his mind and had to backtrack painfully after move 35. Which seems to mean the idea of R6 and S7 was wrong.

    • I should stress that with my amateur reading I am only guessing, but not sure if our resident pro is away at the moment, so thought I’d give it a shot 🙂

      When Lee was playing R6 I was not even imagining the problems of Q10 later. These pros look so far ahead, but where there are a lot of branches to read, it must be easy even for them to underestimate the severity of one particular line out of dozens several moves on. Kibitzing after the event is a lot easier…

      • Younggil An says:

        Thanks Hippo for your nice explanation. You’re right that Lee misread something in that area somehow, and the result up to Black 37 was already bad for White.

  8. And then Kang Dongyun just went and knocked out both these finalists in the LG cup!