Lee Sedol to face Ke Jie in the 2nd MLily Cup final

Lee Sedol 9p to face Ke Jie 9p in the final of the 2nd MLily Cup.

The semifinals of the 2nd MLily Cup were played on November 22 to 25, 2015, in Hefei, China.

Lee Sedol 9p was faced to Ahn Seongjun 6p, and Ke Jie 9p was played against Park Younghun 9p.

Ke Jie vs Park Younghun

Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Park Younghun 9 dan at the semifinals from the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke Jie 9 dan (left) and Park Younghun 9 dan at the semifinals from the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke Jie and Park Younghun’s semifinals was one of the most interesting matches in 2015.

Ke Jie is ranked #1 in China, and he proceeded to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup in early November by defeating Lee Sedol.

He is officially undefeated as White in 2015, and that’s really unbelievable.

Ke lost to Kang Dongyun at the semifinals of the LG Cup about a week ago, and that was his first defeat in international tournaments in this year. He defeated Wang Zejin 3p and Rong Yi 4p respectively to proceed to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, Park Younghun is in his second heyday in 2015. He’s ranked #3 in Korea, and he proceeded to the final of 20th LG Cup by defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9p about only a week ago.

In this Mlily Cup, he defeated Chang Hao 9p and Zhou Ruiyang 9p before this semifinals.

In game 1, Ke Jie took White and he played smoothly and thickly. The game was peaceful and territorial, which was Park’s pace, but Ke’s thickness built a huge territory in the center at the end.

In game 2, Park played smoothly in the opening, and he didn’t avoid fighting after Ke made an overplay at the bottom. Park managed the game neatly, and Ke didn’t gain any chances afterwards.

In game 3, the game started with a peaceful opening again, which is Park’s favorite. However, Ke’s reduction in the center was exquisite and his endgame was excellent again. There was nowhere for Park to show his special technique in the endgame.

Lee Sedol vs Ahn Seongjun

Ahn Seongjun 6 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan at the semifinals from the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ahn Seongjun 6 dan (left) and Lee Sedol 9 dan at the semifinals from the 2nd MLily Cup.

Lee Sedol is currently ranked #2 in Korea, and Ahn Seongjun is ranked #7.

Lee defeated Ding Hao 2p and Tang Weixing 9p to the semifinals, and Ahn won against Tuo Jiaxi 9p and Xie Ke 1p to face Lee.

Lee Sedol has been in bad form lately. He lost to Ke Jie at the semifinals of the 2015 Samsung Cup by 2-0 in early November, and he’s lost several domestic games too.

However, Lee was still too superior for Ahn Seongjun to overcome, and Lee won the series pretty easily with a 2-0 score.

Lee showed his power and strength in two games, and his moves were strong and sharp as he did when he was unbeatable.

Lee Sedol vs Ke Jie – Final

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 2nd MLily Cup.

Lee Sedol 9 dan at the 2nd MLily Cup.

The final of the 2nd Mlily Cup will be started from December 30, 2015.

Lee and Ke have only played two games so far (at the semifinals of the 2015 Samsung Cup), and Ke won both.

At an interview after the MLily Gu vs Lee Jubango in 2014, Lee said “I’ll try my best to win another international title in 2015”, and this final will be a great chance for him to do so.


He won the Asian TV Cup in 2014 and 2015, and he’s still very powerful and destructive when he is in good form.

Ke Jie 9 dan at the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke Jie 9 dan at the 2nd MLily Cup.

Ke Jie won the 2nd Bailing Cup at the beginning of this year, and he is in the final of 2015 Samsung Cup and this MLily Cup.

If he wins one of these or both, he will soon become the most powerful player in the world after Lee Sedol and Gu Li.

Let’s look forward to the final between Lee Sedol and Ke jie!

MLily Cup

The MLily Cup is a biennial international Go tournament, which started in 2013 and is sponsored by MLily Meng Baihe – a mattress and bedding company.

It’s intended that it will alternate with the (also biennial) Bailing Cup, every other year.

The draw consists of 16 seeded players from China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan and 48 players from preliminary rounds, including 4 women and 4 amateurs.

Each player receives 2 hours thinking time and 5 x 1 minute byo-yomi. The main time is increased to 3 hours each for the final. The semifinals are played as best of three matches and the final is a best of five match.

The winner receives 1.8 million RMB (about $290,000 USD at the time of writing) and the runner up receives 600,000 RMB. This puts the tournament in the same league as the Bailing Cup and Samsung Cup, in terms of prize money.

The official name, ‘MLily Meng Baihe Cup World Go Open Tournament’ (try saying that 10 times) uses the sponsor’s double barrel English and Chinese names.

The Chinese name, 梦百合 Meng (=dream) Baihe (=lilies), translates literally to ‘dream of lilies’. A looser, but more natural translation would be something like ‘sweet dreams’. This explains the somewhat cryptic ‘MLily’ moniker.

Game records

Park Younghun vs Ke Jie  – Game 1

Black 15 was interesting, but Black 27 would have been better at M17.

White 30 was big, and the game up to White 42 was smooth for White.

White 46 to 56 was a sophisticated sequence to make his group stronger.

White 70 was bold, and Black 81 wasn’t big enough for a ko threat. Black should have played C7, White 82, B6, D6, B4.

White consolidated his lead up to 94, and his sequence from 112 to 122 was exquisite.

When White built a huge territory in the center, the game was decided.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ahn Seongjun vs Lee Sedol – Game 1

Black 39 was slack, and White took the early lead with a sharp combination at 42 to 44.

White 68 was big, and 72 to 76 was a good decision to develop the upper side.

Black tried to reduce White’s top, but White’s responses from 80 to 96 was accurate.

Black started to attack from 99, but White’s sacrifice strategy was excellent up to Black 117, and White maintained his lead with 118.

Black 149 was a brilliant tesuji, but it was too hard to change the flow of the game.

White 160 was correct, and the game was over up to White 166.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie vs Park Younghun – Game 2

Black 17 was an interesting probe, and the opening up to White 22 was even.

White 30 was a well timed invasion, and the result up to White 44 was still playable for both.

White 50 and 52 were Park’s style of play, and Black 53 wasn’t as good as it looks.

Black 57 was an overplay, and White 58 to 60 formed a strong counter.

Black started to attack White’s left side group, but White’s sabaki up to 76 was flawless.

White 88 and 96 were strong, and White took the solid lead up to 102.

White 108 and 110 were a safe way, and there was nowhere for Black to catch up afterwards.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol vs Ahn Seongjun – Game 2

The opening up to Black 17 was the same as the 2015 Samsung Cup semifinals game 1. (Lee Sedol played White at the time)

Black 23 was sharp, and Black took the control of the game through to 35.

Black 41 and 47 were vital points to attack White, and White was in trouble up to Black 57.

White won the ko in top right corner with 72, but Black was satisfied with 73.

Black 87 and 93 were accurate responses, and White didn’t gain anything up to Black 111.

Black 117 was strong attack, and 123 was the vital point.

The game was practically finished with 135.


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Ke Jie vs Park Younghun – Game 3

The opening up to White 26 was well balanced.

Black 43 showed a good sense, and White 44 was to take sente.

White 46 was thick, but slow. Invading at N17 would have been better.

Black 51 was a nice attachment, and Black 55 to 57 were brilliant followups.

White 58 was well timed probe, but the game became favorable for Black up to 81.

Black 87 to 93 were bold and subtle, and Black was still ahead up to 103.

Black 107 and 117 were sharp, and it wasn’t easy for Park to catch up in the endgame.

Ke Jie’s endgame was excellent, so that Park Younghun couldn’t catch up.


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. I decided to have a look at Ke Jie’s games as white in 2015 and I found two losses:
    – [2015-07-17] Tang Weixing 9p (Black) vs. Ke Jie 9p (White) – 2015 Jinli Smartphone Cup, round 1. B+1.5 (7.5 komi) (http://www.go4go.net/go/games/sgfview/48079)
    – [2015-06-17] Shin Minjun 3p (Black) vs. Ke Jie 9p (White) – 2015 Baojiashi Cup, round 1. B+R (6.5 komi) (http://www.go4go.net/go/games/sgfview/50685)

    Are these games not official?

    • Roland USA says:

      Looks like Ke’s winning rate with white is about 48/50 or 96%.

      The math pro’s calculation for the 5 game series is in the comment below: 95% winning chance for him to win 3/5.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Miguel for sharing the information.

      I heard that the game against Shin Minjoon wasn’t officially regarded in China, but I don’t know about the game against Tang Weixing.

      I searched for the ‘Jinli Smartphone Cup’, but I couldn’t find any useful information about the tournament, so it might not be official game, I’m not sure though.

  2. I hope Lee’s victory will let him regain his confidence so that he will be able to showcase his power in the final. He’ll need all the confidence he can get after the drubbing Cho Hanseung gave him in the Kuksu.
    No more calm opening, time for some old-school Lee Sedol all-out brawling.
    Do you happen to know the date of the final games?

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you EdiV.

      Hopefully, Lee will play differently in the final, and it’ll be a exciting match.

      The first game of the final will be played on December 30, so it’s only a month for waiting.

  3. Interview with Ke Jie about tihs final:
    “- How do you expect the final against Lee SeDol 9P?
    Lee SeDol 9P said his winning rate is 50%, but I think it is just 5%. His time is gone.”


    • That’s a rather unnuanced translation, see http://www.lifein19x19.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&p=195759#p195759

    • Roland USA says:

      I heard that Ke Jie’s comment was more like:
      “Lee said his winning chance was 5 out 10. I think it is more like 5 out of 100. The legend is about to walk into the sunset.”

      Some math pro calculated the probability:
      Assuming Ke’s winning chance per game as black is 60%, and winning as white is 96%.
      Then for him winning the 5 game series (3 wins out of 5) is about 95%.

      So Ke’s math is just about right 🙂

      • I think Ke has the bigger chance to win too. Though Ke may be right, I think it is not smart to state this so openly: Lee might draw some inspiration out of this kind of youthful lack of respect, him being extra motivated by it. Whether this will be enough to upset I doubt, though, Ke’s play is fantastic!

        Kind regards,

  4. Shi Yue said his wining change was 20% against Ke Jie for Samsung Cup. Even the chinese number 2 fear him.

    • Younggil An says:

      I felt that it was Shi Yue’s humble way of saying, and I don’t think he really meant that his winning chance will be that low.

      Shi Yue likes to read Chinese classic books such as ‘the Analects of Confucius’, and his way of behavior and saying is rather humble and modest.

      That’s quite opposite personality from to Ke Jie, but anyway, Shi Yue would still be confident at the Samsung Cup final I guess.

  5. Is Ke’s style similar to Gu Li?
    The combination of extreme power plus accuracy in picking up points in the early and mid-game remind me of Li.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, we can say their style is similar, but a bit different.

      I feel like Gu Li is more solid and thick, while Ke Jie is rather smooth and speedy compared to Gu.

  6. This will be very important for Lee Sedol. He doesn’t have to win. But he certainly can’t afford onesided loses like the last time against Ke Jie.

  7. Hi,
    I don’t understand w46 in game 2 beetween ke and park, what is the meaning of this move?

    • I will be very interested by what will tell Younggil. Here’s what I think : w46 make more point than playing W48 immediatly but give black more influence. It’s not early stage of the game anymore and so white can afford to give influence in order to get more point. I wonder if white can play R7 after instead of w48 R6.

    • Let’s give it a try. Normally W46 is not considered good because Black can play perfect K3 with B49, for a good and solid position. But I think that, first, the black position is not that strong as players might have thought in the past, like 20 years ago, second, the white position at the left is very solid, which helps to attack that black position, and third, White gets quite an indestructtible, significant corner after W52. I personally didn’t like B53, although it is a way to start an attack against the only weak group on the board, and really liked W54, which both makes territory and weakens the black group at its right. B-G3 instead of B53 would maybe be better, or? It really is slow, attacks nothing, but it might be the patient move.

      Kind regards,

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks catass for your question, and I appreciate Philigo and Paul for your detailed answers.

      Both of you are exactly correct, and there’s nothing I can say more. 🙂

      By the way, playing at R7 instead of White 48 is also possible, but that’s a bit thin in the corner, so Park played solidly with 48.

  8. Hi, thanks for this article, it’s always a great plaesure to read.
    I think in a first photo, Park Younghun is in right not left?

  9. Hi, I found these 2 minutes video clips of Lee vs Ke in Samsung Cup. It was video recording of players in game situation, not just the game records. Very impressive!


    These are 2 minutes. Can anyone share the links for 1 or 2 hours version of these by Samsung? Thank you very much!

    • Thank you very much, fantastic to see our heroes in action! Can anything be derived about their personality from these short fragments? Lee seems a humble, friendly man, maybe a bit nervous, Ke seems quite self assured, him sitting so straight. It says nothing about their ability, but maybe about their state of mind.

      Kind regards,

      • Here’s Ke Jie’s weibo blog (http://weibo.com/u/2865101843); he is pretty interesting but may be different that what one may expect. His oldest post said that he won’t blog again until he reaches #1 and his latest post is on the anime DragonBall. 🙂

  10. What happen in the final game? Why Lee Sedol play at r12? I can’t understand. Please, someone help me. Thanks.