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August 15th, 2005

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Zhonghuan Cup kicks off; Jie Li performs well at US Go Congress

With the prelims for the Samsung Cup starting soon in Korea, the pro scene has fallen quiet in Korea, China, Japan and Taiwan. However, this week will see the 2nd Zhonghuan Cup played out, featuring top players from Japan, Korea and Taiwan. This is a simple 16-player knockout tournament, with the first round completed yesterday. The final is on Saturday. The defending champion, Korean Kisung and 9-dan, Pak Yeong-hun, was eliminated by resignation taking White in the first round by Japanese 9-dan O Rissei, who seems to be in top form at the moment.

O Meien caused an upset in the tournament by eliminating Yi Ch’ang-ho, who currently holds 4 Korean titles, as well as the Chunlan Cup international title, by a mere half-point. Besides the two O’s (who are also the only remaining Taiwanese in the tournament), Kim Seongryong (kr) defeated Rin Kaiho (tw) (both 9-dans), to claim the only other place in the final 8 not occupied by a title-holder. The remaining 5 players share 11 international and domestic titles between them. They are Yamashito Keigo Tengen, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han Kuksu (who eliminated Cho Chikun), Hane Naoki Kisei (defeating Cho U Meijin), Yoda Norimoto Gosei (who eliminated rising Taiwanese star, 3 dan Chen Shien), and Yi Se-tol (who currently holds 3 other international titles, including the prestigious Samsung and Fujitsu Cups).

The only country with notable domestic pro news this weekend is Japan, and there the new results are delayed broadcasts of the televised tournaments. In the 14th Ryusei tournament, broadcast of the final 16-player knockout stage has started, with Cho U and Hane Naoki claiming victories over the weekend. Hane also progressed to the 3rd round of the NHK Cup final knockout phase, after being seeded directly into the second round.

During the lull in pro activity in the last few weeks, a number of pro’s have grabbed the opportunity to visit the recently completed European Go Congress, and the United States Go Congress, which took place last week. A notable player at the US Go Congress this year is the 9-dan AGA amateur Jie Li (not the pro with the same name). Li, who qualifies to become a US Citizen in 2008, has stated that it is his aim to be the first American to win the World Amateur Go Championships, and is definitely a pro strength player, having already taken a number of strong professional scalps. At this year’s US Go Congress, he won the US Masters’ tournament, as well as the Ing Cup championship. However, it seems a 1-dan professional, Xuefen Lin, is the favourite for the US Open. Final results for these tournaments have not yet been released. For more details on the US Go Congress, visit the AGA’s congress website.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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