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December 2nd, 2005

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Cho defends Oza; Ch’oe claims GS Caltex Cup from behind

International reports that a new team tournament between Korea and China will kick off in Februry 2006. The tournament will use the same format as the old Japan-China Supergo tournaments. The Korean team has already been finalised through a preliminary tournament, and consists of Yi Ch’ang-ho, Yi Se-tol, Cho Hun-hyeon, Kim Tong-yeop (8d), An Cho-yeong (9d) and Hong Seong-chi (4d).


Cho U successfully completed a 3-0 defence of his Oza title against Yamashita Keigo yesterday, his second successive defence against Yamashita. Cho took the title from O Meien in 2003, and both years since Yamashita has tried unsuccessfully to wrestle the title from him. Cho, who held 5 titles at the beginning of this year, must be satisfied with such a dominant performance, considering that he has been eliminated from the NHK and NEC Cups already, lost his Honinbo title defence against Takao Shinji earlier this year, and struggled to hold off Kobayashi Satoru’s comeback in his Meijin title defence, snatching a last-minute 4-3 win.

While Cho was busy despatching Yamashita, the prelims for the 54th Oza got underway: Yoda Norimoto and Cho Chikun are already both out of the running. Competing for the 12 available slots in the final preliminary stage, Yoda was eliminated by Rin Kaiho, while Cho fell to Kobayashi Satoru (both games were decided by resignation).


Things were all square at 2-2 in the GS Caltex Cup final on Tuesday, with Ch’oe Ch’eol-han and Yi Ch’ang-ho’s career record also evenly balanced at 13-13. Yesterday, however, Ch’oe claimed the upper-hand in their rivalry as well as victory in the GS Caltex Cup when he forced Yi to resign. Ch’oe also became the first Korean player of the “post-Yi Ch’ang-ho generation” to claim victory from a 2-0 deficit in a 5-game final or title match.

Today’s focus on the Korean pro scene will probably be the second game of the best-of-5 final of the Ch’eonweon between Ko Keun-t’ae (3d) and Pak Jeong-geun.


The second round of the 5th Ricoh Cup was played on Wednesday, reducing the 32 remaining players to 16: Shi Yue, the 2-dan who beat Nie Weiping in the first round, continued his good form by beating Ding Wei (8d), China’s #20 player; Hu Yaoyu (8d), one of China’s top 5 players, was eliminated by Chinese #25, 5-dan Li Kang. The remaining 16 are otherwise very much a who’s-who in the Chinese pro world: 12 of China’s top 13 players are still competing, with only Hu eliminated: that’s Gu Li, Kong Jie, Zhou Heyang, Wang Lei (8d), Yu Bin, Chang Hao, Qiu Jun, Xie He, Wang Xi, Peng Quan, Luo Xihe, and Liu Xing. The 2 “surprises” mentioned leave 2 more spots, and those are occupied by Chinese #16 Ma Xiaochun and #18 Liu Shizhen.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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