Lee Hobum stops Tan Xiao’s repeat run: 14th Nongshim Cup

On October 16-19, 2012, the first four games of the 14th Nongshim Cup took place in Busan, Korea.

Three runs on the board for China

Tan Xiao 7 dan gets Team China off to a strong start.

First up for China was Tan Xiao 7p, who won four consecutive games at the previous Nongshim Cup.

Tan quickly dispatched Takao Shinji 9p, Lee Donghoon 1p and Ida Atsushi 3p.

It looked like Tan was well on his way to repeating his previous run.

At an interview after his third win, he seemed relaxed and even talked about his favorite Korean dish, beef bulgogi.


Enter Lee Hobum

Next up was Korea’s Lee Hobum 3p. Tan was wary because, despite Lee’s lower rank, he plays in the same team as Lee Sedol and Baek Hongseok in the Korean Baduk League.

It turned out that Tan’s instincts were on the money, and his run was stopped short by the talented young Korean.

Lee will face the next player in line for Japan when the tournament resumes in November 2012.

Lee Hobum 3 dan chalks up Team Korea’s first win.

China brings the heavyweights

China’s brought some of their strongest players to the Nongshim Cup.

Playing along with Tan, who until recently was ranked #1 in China, are Xie He 9p, Wang Xi 9p, Chen Yaoye (9p – currently ranked #1 in China, on points) and Jiang Weijie 9p.

Some readers will recall Xie’s remarkable wins against Kim Jiseok, Won Seongjin and Lee Changho as China’s last man standing at the 13th Nongshim Cup.

Training up the newbies

Korea and Japan have both included some younger and relatively inexperienced players in their teams.

Tan Xiao (left) plays Lee Donghoon (1 dan).

Lee Hobum 3p and Lee Donghoon 1p are on the Korean team and Ida Atsushi 3p and Fujita Akihiko 3p are on the Japanese team.

Tan Xiao (left) and Ida Atsushi (3 dan).

This is a good chance for them to gain international experience and play some top players from other countries.

Where’s the Buddha?

Lee Changho 9 dan’s 19-3 winning record in the Nongshim Cup is unparalleled.

For the first time in this tournament’s history, Lee Changho won’t participate.

Lee, the Stone Buddha, hasn’t played evey year because he’s generally the last to play – the ‘goalkeeper’ – but he’s been the consistent anchorman for the Korean team.

Lee’s career record in the Nongshim Cup is amazing – 19 wins and 3 losses.

This year, Lee felt he wasn’t in top form and he recommended that Park Junghwan 9p take the spot that had been reserved for him on the team.

For some Go fans, this might represent the end of an era.

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 10 times. In contrast, China has won the tournament twice and Japan only once.

The next round

The second round of matches will start on 26 November, 2012, and the tournament will conclude in 2013.

14th Nongshim Cup photos

Game records

Tan Xiao vs Takao Shinji


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Donghoon vs Tan Xiao


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ida Atsushi vs Tan Xiao


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Hobum vs Tan Xiao


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. frédéric says:

    Thank you jing, this is a very good article; I really want to see the next game and i hope lee changho will can play in the next nongshim cup.

  2. Hi Frédéric,
    I’m glad you enjoyed the games and the article. Without Lee Changho there this year, it seems like the end of an era but I’m sure the younger players are keen to make their mark as well.