The qualifying tournament for the 24th Fujitsu Cup is currently taking place in South Korea. On 9 February 2011, Lee Younggu beat Cho Hanseung and in a surprise upset, Won Seongjin beat Lee Changho. This is the first time in 18 years (since the 7th Fujitsu Cup) that “The Stone Buddha” (Lee Changho) will not appear at the international phase of the Fujitsu Cup. Many fans will be sorely disappointed.
The 24th Fujitsu Cup
The Fujitsu Cup is the oldest international Go tournament and has been held every year since 1988. Each year, the top 3 players from the previous year’s tournament, along with 7 players from Japan, 5 players from both China and South Korea, and 1 player from each of Taiwan, North America, South America and Europe compete in the Fujitsu Cup. All 24 players play through preliminary matches and the top 8 players receive a bye into the second round. The other 16 players take part in a knockout round and the winners compete with the 8 seeds in subsequent knock out rounds until only 1 player is left.
A dramatic finish
Lee’s (black’s) resignation occurred at a dramatic point, with long dragons on both sides thrashing for life. The audience conceded that Lee must have read out all the variations. Journalists at the time did not fully understand the situation. Some argued that white (Won) did not have enough liberties. The game was later analysed with other professionals at the Ricoh Cup, where no one could find the coup de grâce for white.
Did Lee still have a chance? This is not yet clear. The variations are certainly very complex and it was not certain that black had run out of chances at match’s conclusion.
Update: Younggil has commented the game here.
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Lee Changho and Won Seongjin during the match
Lee Changho vs Won Seongjin game record, what do you think?