Lee Sedol and Tang Weixing to meet in 2013 Samsung Cup final

The semifinals of the 2013 Samsung Cup were played on November 4, 6, and 7, at the Samsung Training Institute, in Daejeon, Korea.

Lee Sedol 9p defeated Wu Guangya 6p by resignation, after 152 moves, and proceeded to the final after winning 2-1.

Meanwhile, Tang Weixing 3p defeated Shi Yue 9p by 2.5 points, after a grueling 368 moves. He also progressed to the final with a 2-1 result.

Defending Champion: Lee Sedol

Lee Sedol 9p at the 2013 Samsung Cup.

Lee Sedol 9p at the 2013 Samsung Cup.

Lee Sedol lost his first game, in the best of three match, and many of his fans were worried about that.

Lee misread in the opening, and he couldn’t find any chances to catch up again.

However, he won next two games without any significant trouble and made it to the final.

In the second game, Lee built a huge territory at the top, and won the game smoothly.

In the deciding game, the opening was good for Wu Guangya, but Lee caught up in the middle game. Once he captured a big black group in the center, the game was over.

Lee won the 2012 Samsung Cup, after defeating Gu Li 9p 2-1 in the final, so he’s going to play in the final as defending champion.

Rising Star: Tang Weixing

Tang Weixing defeated Shi Yue to reach the final.

Most Go fans expected that Shi would proceed to the final, but Tang showed his skill and won the semifinal match.

Shi Yue 9 dan (left) and Tang Weixing 3 dan.

Shi Yue 9 dan (left) and Tang Weixing 3 dan.

Shi won the first game, but Tang made it tie in the second game. Tang was behind, but he didn’t give up, trying very hard to catch up.

Shi made a small mistake in the middle game and Tang didn’t miss it. He grasped the opportunity and captured Shi’s big group on the right side.

In the final game, the opening was good for Tang, but Shi reversed the game and took the lead during the middle game.

There could have been a draw, with a potential triple ko in the center and in the lower left corner, but Shi avoided it because he was in the lead anyway.

However, the second half of Tang’s game was excellent, and he was able to catch up.

After endless ko fights, Tang eventually reversed the game near the end, and proceeded through to the final for the first time.

Don’t miss the 2013 Samsung Cup Final

Tang Weixing 3 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan.

Tang Weixing 3 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan.

Lee Sedol has won the Samsung Cup four times, but he still wants to win it again.

Chinese players have won all the major international tournaments this year, and this Samsung Cup is the last big tournament in 2013.

Korean Baduk fans really want Lee to win this final and take the title to back to Korea.

On the other hand, it’s a very good opportunity for Tang Weixing to win an international tournament.

Tang made it to the semifinals of the 1st Bailing Cup in 2012, but he was defeated by Chen Yaoye 9p. Therefore, this Tang’s debut in an international final.

Earlier this year, Tang won the men’s individual division of the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games, and he’s quickly become one of the strongest players in the world.

Lee and Tang have never played one other, so the final is going to be very interesting.

The final will be played from December 9-12, 2013, in Suzhou, China – and will be broadcast live on Baduk TV. See the Professional Go Calendar for more details.

Interviews with the players

There were interviews with the players after the semifinals finished.

Lee Sedol

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the interview.

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the interview.

How was the final game?

The opening was bad for me, but the game went smoothly in the middle game. It seems like Wu was nervous.

What do you think of Wu Guangya’s style of play?

Wu’s style is similar to Gu Li’s. He plays solidly, and fights afterwards.

What do you think about the final against Tang Weixing?

It’s going to be our first game together. I shouldn’t misread again, like I did in the first game against Wu Guangya.

Korean players haven’t done so well lately, but I’ll try to do my best to win the final for Korea.

Tang Weixing

Tang Weixing 3 dan at the interview.

Tang Weixing 3 dan at the interview.

How do you feel right now?

I feel great to have reached the final. Actually, I’d been losing my confidence against Shi Yue, but I was able to defeat him dramatically and I’m so happy now.

How do you feel about this Samsung Cup?

I’m so lucky to be here. Every game was difficult, but I was very lucky and managed to defeat strong players.

How would you describe your own style of play?

Maybe well balanced…

What are your thoughts about the final against Lee Sedol?

It’s going to be a tough series. Lee’s a veteran, who’s won many international titles.

I’ve admired Lee’s style of play since I was young, and I’ll do my best prepare for the final.

There’s not much else I can do at this stage, except study his games.

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 a 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.

2013 Samsung Cup photos

Game records

Wu Guangya vs Lee Sedol


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Tang Weixing vs Shi Yue


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Download all six games from the 2013 Samsung Cup Semifinals

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. Hi Younggil

    I just discovered this website in the past few weeks and I’ve been surprised at how diverse and valuable the content is, especially your contributions.

    I discovered go three years ago, but have been away from it for two years – but after following your commented go matches, and reading just simple go news like this post, I have played dozens of games in the past couple of weeks and find that I still love this game.

    So thanks for your efforts – I will buy some items to support the site.

    • Younggil An says:

      I’m very happy to hear that GGG helps you to love Go. Thanks for your nice words. I hope you to enjoy playing games more and more. 🙂

  2. There is possible error in Sedol’s interview. He says that he misread against Shi Yue. Should it be Wu Guangya?

  3. schwartzseer says:

    Small matter, but I only find the first game record from each match in the SmartGo java windows above–how do I show the other games? Thanks in advance!

  4. About the game Tang Weixing vs Shi Yue: What’s the point of w80? It must be an important move since otherwise w would kill b, but I can’t see the point. Can you Mr Younggil explain this move, please?

    • Younggil An says:

      Good question. Actually, white 80 was an efficient reinforcing move. If white doesn’t play there, Black can clamp at D13, white C13, and then cut at E12. Since black’s center wall is very strong and solid, white can’t fight properly. Therefore W80 was necessary, and black had to play at G18 to save the corner.
      I hope my explanation is clear to understand.

  5. About previous comment: Is it because then B would play d13, then W c13 and B e12?

  6. Very interesting games, thank you!

    I always find it interesting to know how much time the players get. Here the players get some decent time, 2 hours + byo-yomi each: I always think even a serious game should be played on a full afternoon, like from 13:00 to 18:00, not shorter and not much longer, without a pause.

    Some other point: what is the use of the dan system nowadays, when youngsters reach the top in their late teens, and some 3P’s are stronger than most 9P’s. Why not replace it by an Elo-like system for all professionals, that is updated like every quarter, more or less showing the actual strengths of the players, where also the strengths of the players of different countries can be compared. Then, you also would have a more or less objective indication who is the strongest player in the world. In chess, but also in tennis, this is interesting and useful, it would make go much more a world game.

    Kind regards,

    • The reason is probably because of tradition. And there are people who do something similar to an elo system; but I don’t agree with doing away with the dan rankings. It has been around for a long time, besides, it does measure to a certain extent one’s achievements in go. Even if a 9d past his prime is weaker than an upcoming 3d, it’s likely that in his prime he has made some impressive achievements to get reach 9d. Anyone who cares about the pro scene would know roughtly who are the current top players anyway, why do you feel the need to take away the achievements of older players?

      • Thank you for your answer. To me, top sport is foremost about the here and now, the actual ability and strength. The past belongs to history books. Stating that Anand (chess) or Federer (tennis) are around spot 7 on the latest rating lists doesn’t take away any achievement in the past, that they were on spot 1 for a long time: the respect for these achievements is obviously high. The same can be stated about Lee Changho, Nie Weiping or Ishida Yoshio. About every top sport ranks their players or teams (football) on an up-to-date world list, go should do the same.

        The dan system is about the same as the grandmaster system in chess. When these systems started, a grandmaster title, or a 9 dan, were supposed to indicate a top rank player. By inflation there are so many grandmasters and 9 dans right now, that these titles really indicate about nothing in terms of top sport. As a saying in Japan goes: throw a stone and you hit a 9 dan.

        Kind regards,

  7. Paul, I think the dan system has a lot to do with the culture of go and its history. For one thing, “dan” means something like “step”, and dan rankings seem less concerned with performance and are more concerned with how a person’s mastery is recognized, hence dan rankings are “awarded” or “recognized”. The ranks also connote respect and to some extent senority. If you consider that people are award “honorary” dan rankings, you can appreciate that dan rankings are more than just a measure of performance.

    When people want to rank purely according to current strength, they simply use different systems, like a modified ELO system. But the dan system is not *only* concerned with performance. I think that this fact make Go ranks more attractive, because it has a cultural aspect as well and doesn’t collapse a person into a 4-digit number.

    Think about a young shodan martial artist vs. an elderly 9-dan sensei… sure, the young one might be able to topple the elderly, but that’s not to say that the dan rank is “meaningless”, it just means that the 9-dan was at one point recognized as a 9-dan master, and the young one will also someday walk the “steps” toward becoming one too.

    Also the kyu/dan rating system is also tied with handicapping.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks all for the opinions. I also thought that dan doesn’t mean their strength for pros, but it’s hard to change to the new system. This dan ranking system’s been for a long time, and we can’t easily change the system only because it’s not very practical. However, it can be changed if more and more people think it’s meaningless one day.