The final of the 2015 Samsung Cup was held on December 8 and 9, in Shanghai, China.
Ke Jie’s 2nd international title in 2015
This is Ke Jie’s second international title.
Until Ke’s win, all the younger (born after 1990) Chinese world champions have been one-hit-wonders.
In this Samsung Cup, Ke proved that he has the potential and strength to become a new leader of the Go world.
His games in the semifinals against Lee Sedol, and this final against Shi Yue were wonderful and faultless.
So far, he has been practically undefeated as white throughout 2015.
The year is nearly over and I can’t recall any other player who has set such an amazing record.
Ke Jie aims for triple crown
This will be a crucial milestone for both players. If Ke wins, he will be the triple crown winner as a teenager, and undoubtedly, he will dominate the Go world.
However, if Lee Sedol wins, it will mark his resurgence after he won the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango in 2014.
Runner up, Shi Yue
On the other hand, this final wasn’t particularly memorable for Shi Yue.
He was also aiming for a second international title after his breakthrough win back in 2013 at the 17th LG Cup.
He is specialized at complicated fighting, but he didn’t find opportunities to show his power and strength either game.
That’s because Ke Jie used his sharp play to ensure neither game became too complicated.
During an interview after game 2, he said “I found quite a few problems. I thought I’d played pretty well but there were obviously some mistakes. This final was a priceless experience for me.”
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.
Ke Jie vs Shi Yue – Game 1
It appears that Ke Jie likes the opening up to Black 23.
White 24 was unusual, but Shi Yue didn’t want to follow Ke’s plan. If White attaches at E3, Black at K3, White at F4, and Black will approach in the top left corner.
Black settled the bottom left group from Black 25 to 29, and White developed the left side with White 28 to 30.
Black hit White’s vital point at 35, and White 36 was necessary.
Black 37 was the right direction, because of White 30, and White 38 was questionable.
White 38 would have been better at E16, because Black 41 was well timed invasion, and that was hard to attack.
Black 45 was the proper move, and Black 53 was a good technique for sabaki. If White extends at B8, Black will cut at E11, White 42, Black at C12 to live on the left side.
The result up to Black 59 was satisfactory for Black.
White 60 was big, but Black 65 and 67 were efficient moves to neutralize White’s influence over the center.
White 74 was necessary to live, and Black took the lead up to 79.
White caught up in terms of territory from 82 to 94, but Black was still ahead with 97.
White 112 to 118 resisted well, but Black threatened White’s bottom group with 119.
White saved his bottom group with 146, but Black kept playing solidly and safely with 145 to 147.
White 166 was big, but Black started to harass White’s top from 169 to 185.
White 192 was a sharp endgame tesuji, but Black maintained his small lead up to 205. If White blocks at N11 instead of 196, Black at L12 makes miai of L11 and M13.
Ke Jie’s endgame was excellent, and White didn’t have any chance to catch up afterwards.
Shi Yue vs Ke Jie – Game 2
Entering the corner with White 12 is still quite popular these days.
When Black jumped out at 25, White 26 and 28 were the right sequence.
Black 29 was a probe, and the result to White 40 was playable for both.
White 46 was in a good place, and White 50 was a strong followup.
White 56 was sharp and the game became favorable for White up to 58.
White 68 to 70 were the correct move order, and Black’s bottom group was under attack by White 88.
Black 91 was a subtle tesuji, and White chose a safe way with 92 and 94.
Black 97 was a nice place to reduce White’s left side, but White 106 and 110 formed a strong counter attack.
Black’s sequence from 111 to 119 was good, and Black managed successfully up to 123.
White 124 to 132 were necessary to live, but Black 135 was the losing move. Black should have reinforced the top right corner.
White 138 to 146 were flawless, and there were no ways to capture that White group.
Black started to attack the top left corner with 157, but White’s sequence up to 176 was exquisite, and the game was practically over, simply because White was too far ahead on territory.
This was another excellent game by Ke Jie and he became the winner of the 2015 Samsung Cup.