[This is a guest article by Michael J. Simon, from go9dan]
On April 29, 2013, Shi Yue 9p won the three month long World Go League at go9dan.
The World Go League is an invitational tournament for five players from South Korea and five players from China, which kicked off this year.
The organizers heralded it as the ultimate pro top 10.
10 top players
Shi Yue tops the league
Ironically go9dan co-founder, Lee Sedol, finished last with a 2-7 record.
The World Go League (WGL) is unique in pitting the top 10 players against one another, without any preliminaries.
45 games between top Go players
A total of 45 games were played between the world’s strongest Go players.
In a post match interview, Shi said, “I’m very happy that I could participate. I gained self-confidence and am proud of myself. I was really happy that I managed to top all these very strong players.”
One thing to note about the WGL is that 100% of the games were played online, which created some very interesting issues.
These included some players running out of time or making misclicks (unintended moves).
An Interview with Shi Yue
Congratulations on winning the World Go League. How do you feel?
I’m very happy that I could participate. I gained self-confidence and am proud of myself. I was really happy that I managed to top all these very strong players.
Your game against Park Younghun ended up being the championship match. How did you prepare for it?
I made no special preparations apart from reviewing a few of Park’s games. Perhaps due to WGL games being fast, I felt no significant tension and I was able to play the game light-heartedly.
Can you comment on the game against Park Younghun?
The exchange early in the game was good for me. Once I invaded and lived in the upper left corner, I felt good about the game. I managed to maintain my lead until the end.
What’s your secret? In recent years, you’ve won the LG Cup and the go9dan WGL. Does that show that you’ve improved? Or do you study mind control? Do you have a special secret?
Secret? Not particularly. I should say that the secret is to maintain sound health and an active mind. I don’t seem to be improving in terms of skill (laughs).
I gained a lot of self-confidence and won the LG Cup. In Go, confidence is very important. Nowadays luck seems to matter a lot, too.
What are your thoughts on the future of Go in China, Korea, and Japan?
Recently, Japan’s been falling behind in international championships, and the competition is strongest between China and Korea.
Personally, I want to see Japan recover quickly and compete at the top of the world stage again. And I also wish to see top players from Europe and other countries competing at the highest levels.
Who do you think are the most notable up and coming players in China and South Korea?
The young players in Korea and China all have potential. They have a long, long way to go yet. Because they’re still developing, it’s difficult to say who’s strongest. They’re mostly similar in strength, I think.
Could you say something about Go in general?
I started studying Go at the age of 6 and have now played Go for 15-16 years. Go is a very attractive and free flowing game. It can be played on a grid of any size and isn’t restrictive. Human wisdom, talent, and many mysteries are to be found on the board.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I’d like to thank my teacher, who shows continued interest and support, and thank my fans sincerely. I’ll try hard to live up to their expectations.
Lee Sedol vs Shi Yue
Xie He vs Shi Yue
Park Junghwan vs Shi Yue
Shi Yue vs Kim Jiseok
This is a guest article by Michael J. Simon at go9dan. It’s been edited by Go Game Guru.
Go Game Guru is in no way affiliated with the go9dan project, and is publishing this article as a courtesy.
go9dan is a global online Go site co-founded by Lee Sedol and former US Champion John J. Lee. It is directly involved in the establishment and planning of projects to foster Go.
Unexpected network problems and defects in the application took longer to cure than expected so its beta period was extended. go9dan anticipates launching its full-fledged service very soon.
Full results and game records from the World Go League are available at go9dan (these links have been removed because they didn’t work anymore).