Mok Jinseok wins 1st title in 15 years – 20th GS Caltex Cup

Mok Jinseok 9p won the 20th Caltex Cup on April 2, 2015, defeating Choi Cheolhan 9p with a 3-1 score.

The final was played from March 30 to April 2 in Seoul, Korea.

Mok Jinseok 9 dan (left) and Choi Cheolhan 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

Mok Jinseok 9 dan (left) and Choi Cheolhan 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

This was Mok Jinseok’s 2nd career title. He also won the 19th KBS Cup in the year 2000, defeating Lee Changho 9p.

Choi Cheolhan won game 1, but Mok won the next three games to take the best of five match.

Mok Jinseok’s 2nd title

Mok Jinseok 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

Mok Jinseok 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

Mok’s nickname is boy wonder, because he defeated Nie Weiping in the 2nd China Korea Lotte Cup in 1995 when he was just 15 years old.

His fans still like to call him by that name even though he’s in his mid 30s now.

In the late 90s, he was a rising star and many Korean baduk fans thought that he would take the torch from Lee Changho.

As many people expected, he won the 19th KBS Cup when he was 20, but he never took another title afterwards, until now.

Mok won 2nd place at the 13th Asian TV Cup in 2001, and he was in the final of 8th LG Cup, but he was defeated by Lee Changho in 2004.

In 2007, he broke two Korean records for the most games played and the most won. He had 93 wins and 29 loses, and it seemed like that would be his career high for sure.

However, most of his games were played in the preliminary matches and main draws of tournaments, so he didn’t earn any titles even though his record was extraordinary.

The eternal runner up

In 2008, Mok played in the final of three domestic tournaments, since he’d done very well in 2007.

However, he was defeated by Park Younghun 9p in the 9th Maxim Cup final, and he also lost to Lee Changho in the 3rd Siptan (Korean Judan) and the 5th Electric Land Cup, so he didn’t win any titles.

In 2009, he was in the 52nd Kuksu final, but was defeated by Lee Sedol 9p. He also reached the final of the 4th Olleh KT Cup, but was defeated by Kim Jiseok 9p in 2013.

In 2015, he became the new coach of the Korean national team, and he started to study Go very hard again with other top pros.

And eventually, he took his second title 15 years later. A feat which is rarely seen in the Go world.

Choi Cheolhan’s defeat

Choi Cheolhan 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

Choi Cheolhan 9 dan at the 20th GS Caltex Cup.

On the other hand, Choi Cheolhan has now taken 2nd place in the GS Caltex Cup two years running.

He was defeated 3-0 by Kim Jiseok last year and he lost to Mok this year. Choi’s games in this final weren’t in keeping with his typical style of play.

His play was neither as strong nor powerful as it normally is. His game in the semifinals against Kim Jiseok was excellent, but somehow he didn’t show his strength in the final.

The head to head record between Mok and Choi before this final was 19-7 in Choi’s favor, and even their last 10 games together were 9-1 for Choi.

Because of that, most Korean fans expected that Choi would win the title fairly easily, but Mok showed his wonderful power in this match.

Mok maintained his concentration in this lightning tournament (10 minutes, with 3 x 40 seconds byo-yomi) and he defeated his natural enemy.

Mok at the post game interview

Mok Jinseok 9 dan busted into tears after winning the final game.

Mok Jinseok 9 dan busted into tears after winning the final game.

When the last game was over, Mok burst into tears as his emotions got the better of him.

It took him some time to calm down and give a post game interview.

In the interview, he said that he tried to empty his mind and only focus on the games, and not to worry about winning or losing.

He couldn’t describe how happy he was, and he thanked his family and everyone who rooted for him.

I was so moved when I was watching the interview, and I feel proud of him and so happy for him too.

Game records

Mok Jinseok vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 1


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Choi Cheolhan vs Mok Jinseok – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Mok Jinseok vs Choi Cheolhan – Game 3


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Choi Cheolhan vs Mok Jinseok – Game 4


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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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. Mok is such a great model player. If I remember correctly he was for a while ranked #2 in Korea.

    He is also well-known in the Chinese Weiqi community for his impeccable spoken Mandarin. And he gives Go commentaries in Chinese in such a nice and gentle style.

    I am really happy for him!

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks ZJ for your additional information about Mok.

      In early 00s. there wasn’t proper rating or ranking system in Korea, but I’m sure he must have been very highly ranked at the time.

      He was the first Korean pro, who participate the Chinese Weiqi A League, and other top pros started to participate it a few years later.

      His nickname in Chinese is Mumu, though I don’t know the meaning. Mok is pronounced as Mu, so they call him like that I guess.

      Yes, he’s very good at Mandarin, and he used to teach Mandarin to other Korean young pros as well.

      • A quick internet search for mumu in Chinese turns up some references to one ancient poem. In that poem mumu means close(as in friends and family), and down-to-earth and kind. I guess the Chinese didn’t look up a Chinese poem to come up with the nickname. I guess it’s more like they think of Mok as a close friend and gives him a more intimate nickname. To me this indicates that Mok is well-liked by the Chinese players.

        • Younggil An says:

          Thank you for the detailed information about Mok Jinseok’s nickname. I agree with you that he’s well-liked by the Chinese players, because he’s well-liked by many Korean fans. 🙂

  2. lichigo says:

    Hi ,
    Great article ^^ , i personally met Mok jinseok sabomnim at kiwon because last year ,he’s a good friend of my sabomnim (Yu jesang sabomnim ) and he ‘s a really nice personn . He was commenting a game of the baduk league and he invited me to study with his team and asked many times what i think of the game .
    Congratulations Mok sabomnim , keep styding and win an another title soon 🙂

  3. Younggil An says:

    Oh, you went to Korea for studying Go last year. I hope you had a great time studying go over there. 🙂

  4. memolano says:

    Thank you for posting news about the Go world (maybe I should say baduk), I love reading them and keeping track of the players and tournaments. I read every article that you guys post… thanks.

    • Younggil An says:

      You’re welcome memolano.

      That’s what we want to do and I hope the Go world is more interesting to you with reading articles and news etc.