Lee Sedol’s Olleh KT Cup hat trick

On November 23, 2012, Lee Sedol 9p proved, once again, that he’s still got it, by defeating Choi Cheolhan 9p 3-1 in the final of the 3rd Olleh KT Cup.

Lee Sedol (9 dan, left) defeated Choi Cheolhan (9 dan) in the final of the 3rd Olleh KT Cup.

Lee Sedol’s hat trick

This year is Lee’s Olleh KT Cup hat trick, and his three consecutive Olleh KT wins make him the tournament’s only winner so far!

Lee defeated Kang Dongyun 9p in 2010 and overcame Lee Changho 9p in the much anticipated 2011 final.

Fun for all

Olleh KT always makes an occasion of the tournament, ensuring that fans also get a taste of the excitement.

There are cute mascots and simultaneous games with pros.

The 3rd Olleh KT Cup mascot. Is it a robot or a phone?

Best of all, young fans get to take part in the children’s tournament and rub shoulders with their favourite pros.

Getting started early: Young children playing Go at the 3rd Olleh KT Cup in Korea.

The Olleh KT Cup

The Olleh KT Cup is a domestic Korean Go tournament sponsored by a Korean telecommunications company called Olleh KT.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, ‘olleh’ is ‘hello’ spelt backwards!

There are several preliminary rounds, leading to a final knockout tournament with a best of 5 final.

The preliminary rounds are somewhat convoluted and unique, as with some other Korean tournaments (like the Samsung Cup).

How the Olleh KT Cup works

  1. The top 100 players are seeded, based on their current ranking.
  2. The bottom 48 players are paired in a knockout round. 24 players progress and the losers are eliminated.
  3. The 24 winners from the first round are paired against the next 24 lowest seeded players. Once again, only 24 proceed.
  4. The draw is folded, pitting the 24 players who’ve survived so far against one another. 12 players will progress. The top 28 players haven’t played any games so far.
  5. The 12 players who’ve made it through are paired against the next 12 players (from the group of 28), once again in a knockout. The top 16 players still haven’t played.
  6. Seeds 5 to 16 enter the knockout to compete with the 12 players who won the last round. The 12 who win progress to the round of 16.
  7. Round of 16: The top 4 seeds enter the pool, along with the remaining 12 from the last round. 8 players progress to the quarter finals.
  8. Quarter finals.
  9. Semi finals.
  10. Final – best of 5 games.

3rd Olleh KT Cup photos

Game records

Choi Cheolhan vs Lee Sedol – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Choi Cheolhan vs Lee Sedol – Game 3


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Sedol vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 4


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.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Lee Sedol was in slump in first half of this year and now seems recovered from it. He took rank 1 spot back and is in the final at Samsung cup and Myoungin also. Choi had 8 games against Lee Sedol and lost both series. Now Choi is in slump.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Thanks Trout,

      It’s good to see that Lee is back in form, but I hope Choi recovers soon too as his games are always interesting. When I got married, someone joked that I’d lose two stones :). Maybe Choi needs some time to adjust to married life?

  2. Frédéric says:

    Thank you. Excellent article as always with many details.
    My favorite game is the first, so many beautiful move and you ?

  3. Wow. I’d love to see that 4th game annotated. So much of that was too deep for me!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Ok, I’ll mention it to Younggil and he’ll have a look. He usually chooses games based on his own criteria, as well as reader suggestions.

  4. “Seeds 5 to 16 enter the knockout to compete with the 12 players who won the last round. The 12 who win progress to the round of 16.”

    what does it mean, i just don’t get it?

    • David Ormerod says:

      To simplify it a bit, all the players are given a number in order based on how strong the tournament organizer thinks they are.

      The ‘strongest’ player is number 1. The ‘weakest’ player (of the top 100) is number 100. Those numbers are called ‘seeds’ in English and they’re used in other sports, like tennis. If you’re given number 3, then you’re called the 3rd seed.

      Basically players numbered 17 to 100 play each other in a series of knockout rounds until there are only 12 of them left, then the next 12 players (numbered 5-16) play the 12 who’ve survived so far.

      I hope that makes it clearer?