Ke Jie wins his first world title at the 2nd Bailing Cup

Ke Jie 4p defeated Qiu Jun 9p to win the 2nd Bailing Cup final, and become a new world champion, on January 14, 2014.

No early lead in November

The first two games of the final were held on November 27 and 29 in Hefei, Anhui, China. Ke Jie won game 1, but Qiu won game 2 by half a point to tie the score at 1-1.

Ke Jie Qiu Jun 2nd Bailing Cup 1 550x366 picture

Ke Jie 4 dan (left) and Qiu Jun 9 dan at the final of the 2nd Bailing Cup.

The match resumed in January

After a long break, games 3 to 5 of the final were played on January 11, 13 and 14, in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China.

Qiu Jun won game 3, taking the lead in the series. In the opening of game 3, Ke made a crucial mistake in the bottom left and Qiu didn’t give Ke any chances afterwards.

However, Ke Jie won games 4 and 5 to win his first career title and promotion to 9p. In doing so, Ke Jie also became the youngest current world champion (though he didn’t break any records – Lee Changho 9p’s record still stands).

Ke Jie Wang Runan 2nd Bailing Cup 550x420 picture

Ke Jie receives prize money from Wang Runan (President of the Chinese Go Association).

Ke Jie

Ke Jie was born in 1997 and became a pro in 2008. His performance wasn’t especially notable until 2013, but somehow he became very strong and powerful in 2014.

He defeated Choi Cheolhan 9p and Park Junghwan 9p in the quarter finals and semifinals of this tournament respectively. Many Korean Go fans were shocked when Park Junghwan was defeated 2-0 by Ke Jie.

Ke and Park were team mates (with Team Dalian) in the Chinese A League. Team Dalian won the 2014 A League with the help of these two powerful players.

Hua Xueming Ke Jie 2nd Bailing Cup 300x200 picture

Ke Jie reviews game 3 of the match with Hua Xueming.

Ke is four years younger than Park and wasn’t yet well known when he reached the semifinals last year.

He was ranked #8 in China at the time, while Park was #1 in Korea. However, Ke became stronger and more competitive throughout 2014.

Ke won 12 consecutive games in the 2014 Chinese A League, and was finally recognized as one of the rising stars in China.

After this final, Ke Jie was promoted directly from 4p to 9p, because he won an international title.

Ke is 17 years and 4 months old, making him the 3rd youngest world champion ever, after Lee Changho 9p (16 years and 6 months) and Fan Tingyu 9p (16 years and 7 months).

Qiu Jun

On the other hand, Qiu Jun missed another good opportunity to win an international title.

Qiu Jun 2nd Bailing Cup 550x548 picture

Qiu Jun’s patented look of concentration.

He reached the final of the 14th Samsung Cup in 2009, but he was defeated by Kong Jie 9p.

Qiu also proceeded to the final of the 24th Fujitsu Cup, in 2011, but Park Junghwan won.

This Bailing Cup final was Qiu’s third loss in an international final. Qiu defeated Kim Jiseok 9p and Ahn Kukhyun 5p en route to the final, but he couldn’t make it all the way.

The Bailing Cup

The Bailing Cup is a biennial international Go tournament (not to be confused with a now defunct Chinese women’s tournament of the same name), which started in 2012.

It’s sponsored by the Guizhou Bailing Pharmaceutical Group.

The winner receives 1.8 million RMB (about $290,000 USD at the time of writing) and the runner up receives 600,000 RMB. This puts the tournament in the same league as the Samsung Cup in terms of prize money.

The format is a straight knockout of 64 players, with the final played as a best of five match.

Brief commentary of game 5

(Comments are below)

Qiu Jun (black) vs Ke Jie

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There was an interesting new pattern in the bottom right, and the result up to White 60 was slightly better for Black.

Black 89 was a mistake, and the result up to White 114 was successful for White. White 120 was a strong move, and White 134 and 142 were nice, strong moves too.

Black 161 was a mistake, and White 162 and 164 were very sharp. White took a clear lead at this point.

There was a big ko fight starting with Black 181. It was Black’s only hope, but Black didn’t have enough ko threats to win.

When White eliminated the ko with White 258, the game was practically over.

This was a very nice game and congratulations Ke Jie!

Download all five game records

If you’d like to review all five games from the 2nd Bailing Cup final, you can click here to download them.

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the games, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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