From September 8-10, players from China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the USA gathered in Beijing, China for the group stage of the 2015 Samsung Cup.
Yu’s impressive play earned her a spot in the upcoming round of 16, as the only woman remaining at this stage of the tournament.
Yu was born on November 23, 1997 and first came to the Go world’s attention in 2009.
At the tender age of just 11, she scooped up two gold medals at the 1st Chinese National Mind Games, in the amateur division.
Since turning pro, she’s become quite a formidable opponent among female professionals.
2014 was her most successful year (until now), because she won the 21st Xinren Wang (Rookies’ Cup).
(Note: the Samsung Cup is a bit different to other Go tournaments, click here to learn how it works.)
Yu Zhiying defeated Mok Jinseok 9p on the first day of play. That caused quite a stir, because Mok is the current GS Caltex Cup title holder in Korea and has been a consistent performer for over a decade.
Japan’s Yoda Norimoto 9p was the oldest player in the group stage and he almost defeated Park Junghwan 9p. Yoda was ahead, but he couldn’t maintain his lead until the very end, and eventually lost by half a point.
Gan is well known for his unconventional openings. In his game with Lockhart (below) he played a 6-4, 6-4 opening, which is fairly tame by Gan’s standards, but was still interesting!
Choi Jung 6p lost to Japan’s Ida Atsushi 8p and was knocked out. Choi’s elimination left Yu Zhiying as the only woman remaining in play.
Yoda and Lockhart faced one another and Lockhart was eliminated.
The third and final day of the group stage was the last chance for players with one win and one loss to stay in contention.
Chinese representatives Shi Yue 9p, Yu Zhiying 5p, Zhou Hexi 5p, Zhang Tao 4p and Gan Siyang 4p survived the round.
Unfortunately, none of the players from Japan, Taiwan or the USA were able to run the gauntlet of the group stage, leaving only Chinese and Korean representatives in the next round.
The knockout phase
When the Samsung Cup resumes, from October 6-8, 2015, Yu Zhiying will come up against her toughest opponent yet – none other than Lee Sedol 9p!
The next two rounds of the 2015 Samsung Cup will be in Gyeonggi-do, Korea. Here are the full pairings for the round of 16:
- Na Hyun 6p vs Ke Jie 9p
- Kim Jiseok 9p vs Shi Yue 9p
- Kim Dongho 4p vs Jiang Weijie 9p
- Lee Changho 9p vs Tang Weixing 9p
- Park Junghwan 9p vs Zhou Hexi 5p
- Byun Sangil 4p vs Gan Siyang 4p
- Lee Sedol 9p vs Yu Zhiying 5p
- Park Younghun 9p vs Zhang Tao 4p.
Will Yu Zhiying’s dream run continue?
I’m excited to see Yu’s success in this tournament so far and hope that she can continue her run in the next round.
Go Game Guru readers have been following her career for several years now, and the 17 year old is approaching the age where many top players win their first major tournament.
Can she do it?
Lee Sedol is an incredibly formidable player, but he’s not invincible.
I’ll be back next month to pick up where we left off with the round of 16!
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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 it’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 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.
Yu Zhiying vs Choi Cheolhan
Shi Yue vs Park Younghun
Yoda Norimoto vs Park Junghwan
Lee Sedol vs Ida Atsushi
Benjamin Lockhart vs Gan Siyang
Ke Jie vs Peng Liyao