No longer underdogs: Zhou Ruiyang and Tuo Jiaxi fight their way to 18th LG Cup final

The semifinals of the 18th LG Cup were played on November 13, 2013, at the Paradise Hotel in Incheon, Korea.

Zhou Ruiyang 9p defeated Chen Yaoye 9p by 4.5 points, after 251 moves, and Tuo Jiaxi 3p defeated Li Zhe 6p by resignation, in 239 moves.

Zhou Ruiyang: 1st Bailing Cup Winner

En route to the final, Zhou Ruiyang defeated Choi Cheolhan 9p and Ahn Joyoung 9p, in the round of 32  and the round of 16 respectively.

Zhou also defeated Li Qincheng 2p in the quarter finals – which were played on November 11.

Zhou Ruiyang won the 1st Bailing Cup in January this year, defeating Chen Yaoye 3-0 in the final.

The result was sensational at the time, because the majority of Go fans expected Chen to win, due to his excellent form.

Zhou was ranked #1 in China at the end of 2010, and he maintained the top ranking for a year.

Back then, many people thought there was something wrong with the ranking system, because Zhou’s results in international matches had been relatively average.

However, his results improved throughout 2012, and now he’s on track to win his 2nd international title!

His recent results have been amazing. He’s already won three titles this year; the 1st Bailing Cup, the 13th Ricoh Cup and the 1st Qisheng (the newly established Chinese Kisei tournament).

Tuo Jiaxi: First international final

Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan defeated Li Zhe 6 dan

Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan defeated Li Zhe 6 dan.

Tuo Jiaxi navigated his way to the final in impressive style – defeating Lee Changho 9p and Lee Sedol 9p in the rounds of 32 and 16 respectively.

His game against Lee Sedol was very impressive.

Tuo took the lead in the early stages of the middle game, and he maintained it until the end without significant trouble.

Lee Sedol couldn’t find any good chances to reverse the game, and many Go fans were astonished by Tuo’s powerful style of play.

Tuo defeated Takao Shinji 9p in the quarter finals, on November 11, and defeated Li Zhe in the semifinals.

Tuo was ranked #1 in China from April~May 2013. He also didn’t do very well in international tournaments at the time, but his results in domestic matches were remarkable.

Many people also questioned Tuo’s #1 rank, but he’s proved himself at this LG Cup.

The LG Cup Final


Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan (left) and Zhou Ruiyang 9 dan.

Zhou Ruiyang and Tuo Jiaxi already played in the final of the 1st Luoyang Longmen Qisheng (Chinese Kisei) earlier this year.

It was a brand new tournament, with the largest prize money of the domestic Chinese titles (600,000 RMB).

In the best of five final of the Qisheng, Tuo won the first two games, but Zhou won the next three games to take the title in a reverse sweep.

It must have been a painful moment for Tuo, but this final is a good chance for him to take his revenge.

Tuo Jiaxi is currently ranked #5 in China, and Zhou Ruiyang is #7. They were both born in 1991, and they’re good rivals.

Both of them are in very good form these days, so it’s hard to predict who will have the advantage in the final.

The finals will be played on February 10, 12 and 13, 2014, and the venue is yet to be decided.

The Quarter Finals

Li Zhe 6 dan (left), Tuo Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan, Zhou Ruiyang 9 dan and Chen Yaoye 9 dan

18th LG Cup semifinalists, from left: Li Zhe 6 dan, Tuo Jiaxi 3 dan, Zhou Ruiyang 9 dan and Chen Yaoye 9 dan.

The quarter finals were played on November 11.

There were six players from China and two from Japan. None of the Korean players survived the round of 16.

The two Japanese were Iyama Yuta 9p and Takao Shinji 9p.

Their study group, named ‘Go 碁 Japan’, was established by top Japanese players just before the main tournament of this year’s LG Cup, and their improved results in the round of 32 and the round of 16 were noticeable.

Iyama Yuta meets Chen Yaoye

In the quarter finals, Iyama Yuta and Chen Yaoye’s game was the most exciting match. Iyama currently holds six of the seven major titles in Japan, and Chen is currently ranked #2 in China.

The opening of the game was interesting. The players created a brand new pattern in the bottom right corner, and the result was favorable for black (Chen).

White 82 was a mistake, and Chen’s 87 and 89 were a very good combination. Iyama was in trouble, and he chose to make a big trade, but the result was good for black and Iyama couldn’t catch up again after that.

In the end, black won by resignation after 209 moves. Chen showed his solid and powerful style throughout the game.

Meanwhile, Takao Shinji was defeated by Tuo Jiaxi, who won by 4.5 points after 275 moves.

Even if they didn’t proceed further this time, their results are good enough to motivate Japanese players to perform better on the international Go scene in the future.

In another game, Li Zhe 6p defeated Xia Chenkun 2p by resignation, in 286 moves.

Quarter Final Results

Here are the full results from the quarter finals:

  • Chen Yaoye 9p defeated Iyama Yuta 9p
  • Tuo Jiaxi 3p defeated Takao Shinji 9p
  • Li Zhe 6p defeated Xia Chenkun 2p
  • and Zhou Ruiyang 9p defeated Li Qincheng 2p.

The LG Cup

The LG Cup is a major international Go tournament. It started in 1996 and the prize money is currently 250 million Won (approx $235,000 USD at the time of writing).

The main draw of 32 players is part invitational, comprising of 5 Korean players, 5 Chinese players, 4 Japanese players, 1 Taiwanese player and including the previous year’s winner and runner up.

The rest of the main draw is determined through a preliminary tournament. The format is single knockout, with the final played as a best of 3 games.

The tournament is sponsored by LG Electronics, a multinational consumer electronics company whose headquarters are in South Korea.

18th LG Cup photos

Game records

Zhou Ruiyang vs Chen Yaoye


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Tuo Jiaxi vs Li Zhe


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Chen Yaoye vs Iyama Yuta


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Tuo Jiaxi vs Takao Shinji


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


Download all 18th LG Cup games from the quarter finals and semifinals

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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Hello Mr. Younggil,

    In Chen Yaoye vs. Iyama Yuta game, what was the point of move 4? I thought this one is the wrong direction. And its mostly used to stop your opponent from finishing the Chinese opening.

    Thank you very much for this article, very interesting!

    • Younggil An says:

      Hello Honza,
      Thanks for your comment with a question.
      The opening is symmetry, so if black encloses a corner like Chen did in the game, white can also make an enclosure. If black approaches to the corner, white will do the same to the top right corner. In the early opening, mostly every move is possible, so you can play wherever you want. 🙂

    • It seems like to me it is the standard 4 3-4 point opening, very popular for a long time. All the corners are symmetrical to each other, making no approach or shimari the most important point on the board.

  2. Greetings Mr. Younggil,

    I was wondering if you could do a game review of Chen Yaoye vs Iyama Yuta match. I am still a beginner in Go but I really like game reviews of stronger players and strong games. Also what kind of a tip would you give to someone like me who just opened the endless doors of this game?

    • Younggil An says:

      Hi Tasmania,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, I could do the game review.
      If you’re a beginner in Go, I recommend you to play some games first. If you can review your own games with your opponents, that’d be the best.