Tale of three Meijins continues – Amateur player wins pro status

The three Meijin tournaments (Meijin, Mingren and Myeongin) have been underway in Asia – let’s see how they’ve been going as of September 25, 2011.

The Japanese Meijin

Iyama Yuta 9p answered Yamashita Keigo 9p by winning game two on September 14-15, 2011, bringing the series to one all.

However, Yamashita won the third game played on September 21-22, 2011 to take a 2-1 lead over Iyama.

Yamashita Keigo (9 dan) plays his first move against Iyama Yuta (9 dan) in game 3 of the 36th Meijin title match.


The Chinese Mingren

On September 21, Li Zhe 6p defeated Kong Jie 9p in the second Mingren challenger decider.

This makes it one win each and the third and deciding match will be played on September 27, 2011.

Kong Jie (9 dan, left) battles Li Zhe (6 dan) for the right to challenge Chinese Mingren title holder, Jiang Weijie (5 dan).


The Korean Myeongin

The Korean Myongin tournament is still in the knockout phase of the main draw. On September 20, 2011, a very notable game was played.

Cho Insun, an amateur turned pro!

Cho Insun (7d amateur) defeated Park Jeonggeun 4p in round one of the Myeongin main draw.

An amateur player is awarded pro status mid-tournament

By winning this game, Cho accumulated over 100 points under the Korean Baduk Association’s new points system for amateurs.

This allowed him to become a pro under the new rules!

Under this system amateur players accumulate points by winning games in the professional tournaments that allow amateurs to qualify.

The LG Cup and Samsung Cup are two examples of these.

Cho is the first player to turn pro under this system. We’ll write more about Cho Insun, the new system and how it works soon.

Congratulations Cho Insun!

Game records

Game record: Cho Insun vs Park Jeonggeun


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Game record: Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 2


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Game record: Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 3


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Game record: Li Zhe vs Kong Jie


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. Wow Cho Insun played really well. I feel kind of sorry for Park Jeonggeun though, it must be a pretty embarrassing for him to lose to an amateur player in a major tournament.

    • I know what you mean, but Cho Insun is really strong, as you saw from the game. Park isn’t the only pro he’s beaten though, and that’s why Cho has been allowed to go professional. It was well known before the game that if Cho won he’d become pro, so Park would’ve already known how good he was.

  2. Do you have any information on the new Korean professional qualification system? I haven’t heard anything about it since John Fairbairn reported that changes were being discussed.

  3. yeah finally something published! was coming to check the site every day o.o

  4. was this amateur an insei?

    • He was a Korean insei (yeongusaeng) previously, but he’d already passed the age limit (18) to become pro via that route. Korean people call a baby 1 year old at birth, by the way. These new rules mean that people like Cho Insun still have a way to become pro if they are strong enough.

  5. Just a suggestion. Gogameguru has reported a lot of Go news, but there are very nice articles in CJK that discussing Go with philosophy smell, If Gogameguru picks and translates some of them, it will help people to have a better understanding about Go.

    • Hi jswm, David really wants to write more about things like that, but at the moment he’s very busy. He’s also spent a lot of time recently fixing things on this website and setting up the Go shop so that we can pay to keep this site running and start promoting Go more widely. Unless you talk to David, it’s not obvious how much work has gone on behind the scenes. Once that’s finished I’m sure you’ll see more articles about strategy and philosophy of Go.

      In the meantime, if you’d like to translate some articles like that and send them to us, we would really appreciate it of course. If anyone has any topics they’d like to write about, please let us know. Here’s our contact page: http://gogameguru.com/contact/ – Japanese Go news is another topic where we could use a helping hand.

  6. Embarrassing? Cho Insun is no longer an amateur!

    He played well. I might just like this new system 😉

    • I like the new system. As long as they don’t make it too easy to win points, we can hope that it will help make sure the strongest players become pro. 🙂

  7. Cool play from Cho Insun, very korean style: run away with a weak group and end up killing the thickness next to it! Really nice use of the m4 aji to get the cut there, though I can’t help feeling white e6 was a mistake: it ended up rather heavy as Cho naturaly resisted living in gote so broke out making thickness to set up L7. The only cost I can see to this was giving white d11 which makes white c17 a hopeful sente, but as showed with his skillful settling of the c14 group after white cut at c11, it wasn’t so sente afterall.

    • Also k18 and k17 were really nice fighting spirit. He didn’t get intimidated by his pro opponent and was confident in his reading that they worked. Seems Park was taken aback by k18 and played the t4 time tesuji to read that k18 really was sente and he couldn’t kill at a16. I’d like to see his face at that time 😉

    • It did feel like white was outplayed several times didn’t it? 😉

    • David Ormerod says:

      White E6 in Cho Insun’s game does seem really questionable. The sequence starting with L7 was artistry :).

  8. Cho Insun is really the first who turned pro on the new system? In the qualifying stage 39th Myeongin Yaeyoung Whang was an amateur, but became a pro in the main stage.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Well, the preliminaries go over several months and this isn’t the only way to qualify as a pro. I don’t have the exact details about how he qualified, but it could have been as a yeongusaeng and there is also a public qualification tournament for top amateurs. The Korean and Chinese media have all said Cho Insun is the first.

  9. Is the Myeongin opened for amateur players now? Or only some strong amateurs invited by the Korea Association/sponsors?

    • David Ormerod says:

      Hi Biondy, only two amateurs competed in the preliminary round with pros. They were either invited, based on recent performance or qualified through an amateur tournament. I don’t know which one right now. Either way, the Myeongin’s only open to amateurs in the sense that there’s a very small possibility of playing in it for amateurs :).

  10. The next game of myeongin tournament is against lee chang ho, I can’t wait ^^.