Rising young Go players at 25th Tianyuan Tournament

The 25th Tianyuan tournament is currently underway in Beijing, China.

Rising star: Zhou He Xi (4 dan) (left)

Rising stars

Zhou Hexi 4p, Li Haojie 4p and Shi Yue 4p have reached the semi final of this year’s Tianyuan. The three players are part of a group of rising young Go professionals that the Chinese media has affectionately dubbed “the tiger cubs generation”. The three cubs will be joined in the semi final by stalwart, Yu Bin 9p.

The tiger cubs sharpen their claws

Yu, who has been the Chinese National Coach since 2009, is extremely pleased with the progress of the younger players. He says that the time is ripe for some of these younger players to make their break through. According to Yu, these young guns are very adept in the game, especially in the middlegame and endgame where they typically make fewer mistakes than their older counterparts.

Stalwart, Yu Bin (9 dan) - Chinese National Weiqi Coach

Yu says the young players can sometimes lack experience in direction of play and vision during the opening, and can sometimes have trouble adjusting psychologically to the intense competition. However, he goes on to say that the best way to combat these challenges is to play in more high profile games such as the upcoming semi finals.

Veterans get knocked out

This tournament has been full of surprises, with some of the favourites, Gu Li, Kong Jie and Chang Hao all eliminated in the first round.

Tianyuan tournament is one of the major Go tournaments on the Chinese domestic circuit. It is similar to the Chunwon tournament in Korea and Tengen tournament in Japan. All three tournaments use the same characters in their name, which can be roughly translated to “the origin of heaven”. Tianyuan is also the name of the centre point of the Go board in Chinese.

The semi finals are being played this morning Beijing. Stay tuned for who will play in the final!

Results from the semi-final

Update: In the semi final, Zhou Hexi prevailed over Li Haojie. Shi Yue couldn’t overcome old hand, Yu Bin. This sets us up for a final between Yu Bin and Zhou Hexi. The winner will become the challenger for the Tianyuan title. Can the student defeat the master?

Zhou Hexi wins the final and becomes the challenger

Another update: In the final, Zhou Hexi defeated teacher Yu Bin. Yu (black) was winning for the first half of the game, but there was a reversal after black made an oversight in the top left corner. Zhou (white) held on to the lead to win by 2.5 points. With this tournament win, Zhou becomes the challenger for the Tianyuan title and will take on Chen Yaoye in a three game match. Chen, another young Chinese star who just turned 21 in December, has already proven himself in top tournament play. In 2009 he took the Tianyuan title from Gu Li and he held it successfully (against Gu) in 2010. Can he make it three in a row?

Game record from the final:


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Photos of China’s tiger cubs

Rising star: Shi Yue (4 dan) (left)

Rising star: Li Hao Jie (4 dan) (left)

A new wave?

Is this the next generation of top Chinese professionals breaking through? Or is the Chinese weiqi media making too much of this? Your thoughts are welcome.

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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. I have no doubt that in some time Chinese players will rule the world of Go