Korean comeback at the 19th LG Cup

The quarter and semifinals of the 19th LG Cup were played on November 17 and 19, 2014, in Gangwon, Korea.

And then there were four

When we last reported on the LG Cup, Korea and China were evenly pegged – with four players each in the quarter finals.

Korean fans were quietly optimistic after last year’s disastrous 18th LG Cup and the Korean players more than redeemed themselves!

Park Junghwan 9p dispatched Chen Yaoye 9p without too much fuss.

Chen Yaoye Park Junghwan 19 LG Cup1 550x366 picture

Chen Yaoye 9 dan (left) couldn’t overcome Park Junghwan 9 dan at the 19th LG Cup.

 

Meanwhile, Choi Cheolhan 9p proved too strong for Fan Tingyu 9p.

Fan Tingyu Choi Cheolhan 19 LG Cup1 picture

Fan Tingyu 9 dan and (left) Choi Cheolhan 9 dan nigiri at the 19th LG Cup.

 

Park Younghun 9p taught youngster Xie Erhao 2p a lesson or two.

Park Younghun Xie Erhao 19 LG Cup1 picture

Park Younghun 9 dan (left) in his 19th LG Cup quarter final match against Xie Erhao 2 dan.

 

And Kim Jiseok 9p knocked out the defending champion, Tuo Jiaxi 9p.

Tuo Jiaxi Kim Jiseok 19 LG Cup1 picture

Defending champion Tuo Jiaxi 9 dan (left) and Kim Jiseok 9 dan at the 19th LG Cup.

Two friends in the finals

While Korean fans were celebrating prematurely, with the title secured for Korea, there was more work to be done for the Korean players.

But first things first – reviewing their wins from the quarter finals!

Park Junghwan Kim Jiseok Choi Cheolhan Park Younghun19 LG Cup1 550x366 picture

19th LG Cup semifinalists, from left: Park Junghwan 9 dan, Kim Jiseok 9 dan, Choi Cheolhan 9 dan and Park Younghun 9 dan.

 

Kim’s sharp reading and perfect endgame secured his second international final appearance.

Choi Cheolhan Kim Jiseok 19 LG Cup1 picture

Kim Jiseok 9 dan (right) on his way to a second international final after defeating Choi Cheolhan 9p.

Kim will be joined by his good friend, Park Junghwan, who outlasted Park Younghun.

The finals

Park Younghun Park Junghwan 19 LG Cup1 300x450 picture

Two Parks – Park Younghun 9 dan (left) and Park Junghwan 9 dan at the 19th LG Cup.

The finals will be played at Seoul National University, from February 9 to 12, 2015.

Park Junghwan and Kim Jiseok will face one another in a best of three match.

The LG Cup

The LG Cup is a major international Go tournament. It started in 1996 and the prize money is currently 300 million Won (approximately $270,00 USD at the time of writing). The runner up receives 100 million Won.

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 three games.

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

The time limit is 3 hours and 5 x 40 sec byo-yomi for each player.

Game records

Park Junghwan vs Chen Yaoye

Brief comments by An Younggil 8p:

White 36 was slack, and the fighting on the right side wasn’t favorable for Chen.

Black 55 was a brilliant move, which allowed Black to take a clear lead in the game.

Black 61 to 67 were very creative and Black was satisfied up to move 77.

In a desperate attempt to reverse the game, White went all out with 136 and 138, but Black 139 and 141 were excellent responses and the game was decided at move 149.

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Tuo Jiaxi vs Kim Jiseok

Brief comments by An Younggil 8p:

The opening of this game was unusual, but the result up to White 32 was even.

Black 59 and 61 were good moves, which resulted in Black taking the lead up to move 81.

Black 101 was the wrong direction of play which allowed White to catch up through to White 112.

White 136 was very brave, because it forced Black to attack White’s center group.

White 144 to 148 were clever moves to make eye-shape, and White 162 was the finishing blow.

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Park Younghun vs Park Junghwan

Brief comments by An Younggil 8p:

White 36 to 40 were interesting, and the result up to Black 57 was even.

Black 99 was a mistake and White 100 was a very good response.

White 106 to 120 was a wonderful sequence to reduce Black’s territory, which allowed White to reverse the game.

White 156 was very sharp and Black was in trouble.

Black went all out with 177, but White’s responses were flawless.

Black 207 and 209 were very strong, but sadly for Black there weren’t enough ko threats.

White was leading by a small margin by move 226, after which there were no more chances for Black.

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Kim Jiseok vs Choi Cheolhan

Brief comments by An Younggil 8p:

The first fight at the bottom, up to White 44, ended with Black slightly ahead.

White 74 was a nice move and the game became very complicated.

White 92 was the vital point, which allowed White to live on the right side up to White 106. However, Black 107 and 109 were also very strong.

There was a seemingly endless ko fight on the right side, with excellent ko threats made by both players.

But Black had more ko threats so White had to capture Black’s left side group.

Unfortunately, it didn’t provide enough compensation, and Kim wrapped up the game with some flawless endgame play.

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