Rui Naiwei surprises everyone at the 2014 Samsung Cup

On August 26-28, players from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the USA gathered in Qingdao, China for the group stage of the 2014 Samsung Cup.

I hope the tournament schedule also allowed time for everyone to sample the local specialty – Tsingtao pilsner!

Rui surprises everyone

Rui Naiwei 9p of China caused quite a stir by progressing through to the knockout stage by defeating Taiwan’s Xiao Zhenghao 8p twice.

The Samsung Cup group stage uses a convoluted draw where players must win twice to proceed. Rui defeated Xiao in round 1, then lost to Lian Xiao 4p in round 2. Rui faced Xiao (who’d defeated Lian’s round 1 victim in round 2) again in round 3.

Xiao Zhenghao and Rui Naiwei

Xiao Zhenghao and Rui Naiwei

Rui is one of only two women who have ever made it to the knockout phase of the Samsung Cup. The other is Korea’s Park Jiyeon 6p.

Rui has appeared in the knockout stage in the 2nd, 5th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 11th and 13th Samsung Cups. Her best results were in the 5th and 6th iterations of the tournament where she appeared in the quarter-finals.

This year’s other female representative,ย Korea’s Kim Yunyoung 4p lost to China’sย Liao Xingwen 5p and Murakawa Daisuke 7p of Japan during the group stage.

Kim Yunyoung and Murakawa Daisuke

Kim Yunyoung and Murakawa Daisuke

Rui will be joined by 15 other players who progressed through the group stage. This includes 7 players from China, 7 players from Korea and 1 Japanese player.

Proceeding to the knockout stage: 15 of the players who progressed to the round of 16 at the 2013 Samsung Cup.

Proceeding to the knockout stage: 15 of the players who progressed to the round of 16 at the 2013 Samsung Cup.

Knockout phase

The next two rounds of the 2014 Samsung Cup will be in Daejeon, Korea on October 14-16, 2014. The pairings are:

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 itโ€™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.

Game Records

Xiao Zhenghao vs Rui Naiwei


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Lee Changho vs Park Junghwan


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Murakawa Daisuke vs Fan Yunruo


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)



Related Articles

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. About the new diagrams:
    – Why is the first move already on the board? The game of go starts on an empty board.
    – Why are the buttons so far below the board? The white space is quite useless, and on the iPad the board becomes quite small.

    About the rest:
    Interesting report. Of course Lee Sedol had to leave early for his match with Gu, so he is not on the picture.

    Kind regards,

    • David Ormerod says:

      That’s something that’s in the SGF file. Sometimes it’s hard to get the games and normally I would fix these, but I was too busy getting Younggil’s Gu vs Lee commentary published Jing did this article completely by herself, so that you guys would still have news. It’s late here, I’ll fix them tomorrow morning.

      • Thank you all for the explanations, I guess there is a lot of work to do. I am not into software, more into go, I don’t know why you needed different software in the first place, I was happy with what was there. Please, don’t put the blame on Jing, she quite probably is not responsible for the software glitches or her lack of knowledge on how to handle them. Good luck!

        Kind regards,

        • Josh Hoak says:

          As David said, this isn’t a bug in Glift, but the nature of game data. Check out the game file (the SGF) in CGoban3 (KGS) for example.

        • Hello Paul. Thanks for your concern but don’t worry, David wasn’t blaming me. He does actually help out a lot with the technical side of posting articles but I’ve been learning to do it myself recently. It’s been a bit hectic around here on GGG and with my normal full-time job so some minor glitches sometimes slip through.

      • I don’t know anything about glift but is there a way to get the move numbers displayed? Makes it tricky to talk about the game without them.

    • Josh Hoak says:

      The buttons are so far below the board to make space for the comment box. We could definitely disable the comment box for games without commentary. Thanks for the feedback.

      • The buttons should go on the left when viewing the board on a phone in landscape. It’s where there is a lot of empty space. That would allow for a board as large as the screen can fit.

  2. Not to mention that it is not shown which player held wich colour and what is the final score.

  3. As well as being the only women, at 50 years old I would assume she is also the oldest of the 16 by quite a long way, could be some of the players’ mother ;-). I wonder who the oldest to play in the group stages is, maybe Cho Hunhyun? Well done Rui Naiwei!

    • Edit: I meant knockout not group

    • Hi Uberdude

      Now that you’ve mentioned it, I looked up the ages of the players in the next round. The second oldest is actually Lee Sedol, who is 31. That’s quite a big gap even between the two oldest players!

      (The last time Cho played in the Samsung Cup was in 2009 at the age of 56, when he was awarded a wildcard. But the tournament format has changed a few times in its history and at that time, the group stage was more like a mini knockout stage rather than its current format.)

  4. Thanks for the games.

    Glift seems really quite close to the finished article. Already like it more than the old format in various ways (background is now great, love the clean interface).

    I agree with the comments above e.g. re: who is black/white. Resizeable or intelligent comment space would be nice (it is irritating to have to scroll in the old program), and I personally find the pure white stones a bit dazzling – some grey shadow or clam lines would be nice. Tooltips and the ability to play from a position would be nice too (I am using latest firefox if that is relevant).

    Cheers for all the work.

    • Josh Hoak says:

      > Glift seems really quite close to the finished article.


      > . re: who is black/white

      Good point. Thanks for the feedback.

      > Resizeable or intelligent comment space would be nice

      Hm. This is a little tricky. I tried this out and for games with lots of comments, it’s annoying having the icons jump around all the time. Also, it makes the widget more sluggish due to all the dom-redrawing. It may be best for these sorts of games without comments to just remove the comment box and add in a title bar. This is more work than adding a preamble before the game, so I’ll probably add comment-box preamble first and figure out the title bar later.

      > Tooltips

      These exist on desktop but not for mobile yet. They’re just slow to pop up (2s). I have a bug out for reducing the timeout and generally improving the tooltip UX.

  5. Hey great people from gogameguru!

    I live in Daejeon as a language student and wonder if I can watch the next games. Google gave me no results (and I can’t speak Korean yet, so can’t google in Korean). Do you know where it is exactly, and if I can watch it live?


    • Hello Pancake!

      The next games are at the Samsung Training Institute (Samsung’s R&D Centre) in Yuseong district.

      I’m not sure if the public will be allowed in. However, I have often seen photos of western Go players at major tournaments on Asian websites with the caption of something like ‘foreign Go enthusiast’. So perhaps you could try your luck since you’re already in Daejeon?

  6. Very interesting. I hope she will teach young pro of that Samsung Cup how to play Go ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Kim Jiseok might be able to teach her something too! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Anonymous says:

        That is disrespectful for what she is achieved for the past been the best female go player all time i am sure she got the respect from everyone

  7. Glift is fantastic but i prefer more the black and white version. You have choosed to use the colored version isn’t it? Is it possible make this setttings locally, on my web browser so i may visualize the B&W diagrams?

    • I must say that I like some mild contrast bestween board and stones. The previous board and stones were perfect, there really was no need to try and improve on this. As for the scrolling in the comment box, that was a bit of a nuisance, I am glad this has been taken care of. What I also like is the jump forward and foremost the jump back button to the next/previous moment of choice of moves, that makes following the elaborate and very much appreciated comments a far more joyful experience. Keep up the good work, the whole endeavour is appreciated very much!

      Kind regards,

    • Hi Stek,

      > You have choosed to use the colored version isnโ€™t it? Is it possible make this setttings locally, on my web browser so i may visualize the B&W diagrams?

      Yeah, we’ve decided to go with the theme you see above. Providing a way to enable user-specific themes is definitely possible. It will probably coincide with releasing the Glift title bar. See:

      • Thanks a lot Josh. I see the first time B&W Glift version on my smartphone and i have exlaimed: “wow, it is what i want to see games on my little screen!!!!” I am waiting to see.

      • Stek Turku says:

        Thanks a lot Josh. I see the first time B&W Glift version on my smartphone and i have exlaimed: “wow, it is what i want to see games on my little screen!!!!” I am waiting to see.

  8. Just some other question and observation:
    – In the group phase, I assume the four players meet each other once, everybody playing three games. What happens if the end score is 2-2-2-0 or 3-1-1-1, is there some kind of play-off?
    – According to the picture, dark gray is the favourite colour for the player’s outfit. Only Rui escapes this colour scheme, only just.

    Kind regards,

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Paul for your question.

      The system of the group stage is called double elimination (In Korea at least), and if a player lose two games, he or she will be eliminated. If you win first two games in a row, you’ll proceed to the next round, and you’re not going to play the final game of the group stage.

      Therefore it’s different from other group stage like FIFA World Cup.


  9. Hello Paul

    The group stage is not played as a round robin.

    Round one is usually paired at random.

    Round two, the winners of round one will play each other and the losers will also play each other. At the end of round two, the player who has won two games is through to the next round. The player who has lost two games is eliminated.

    The two remaining players will face each other in round three and the winner goes through to the next round while the loser is eliminated.

    If there’s a draw, the game is replayed until a decisive result is reached. Believe it or not, this actually happened two years ago!

    Also, you’re definitely right about the grey. It’s a safe colour but it’s a bit bland. As someone who has played in a tournament dressed as a koala, I’m looking forward to the day someone turns in an Elvis suit! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you for your explanation, Jing. It took me a while to see the diffrerence with the round robin, until I noticed that round 3 could be a rematch from round 1, making the system used quite a perfect one, allowing a player to lose a game without being eliminated right away.

      I would like to see a picture of you in your koala-outfit!!

      Kind regards,

      • Here you go – it was at last year’s International Amateur Pair Go Championship.

        The event includes an afternoon of friendship matches where all the participants dress in their national costume.

        • Oh, wow, I missed it the first time, this looks quite great, you two must have felt like winning the first prize in the embarrasment department! But I quess you had a lot of fun too. Thank you for showing this again!

          Kind regards,

  10. Flagellator1974 says:

    Lee Changho vs Park Junghwan: black plays on A4. But why?

  11. Anonymous2 says:

    Group stages in the Samsung Cup use a double elimination system (it’s called double elimination in English too), but because there are only four players in each group, it behaves identically to a swiss where 2 wins mean you automatically advance ๐Ÿ™‚ (and two losses mean you don’t :O ) if it helps you understand whats going on ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I like the fact the while eidogo makes the games looks somewhat bulky and separated from the page, GLift makes the game look part of the page and doesn’t strain the eye because of the natural feel.

    “Rui Naiwei Surprises Everyone”

    Huh? Don’t underestimate the power of Rui Naiwei ๐Ÿ˜€