Thursday, November 12, 2009

14th LG Cup Final

Two players have claimed their seats as the finalist in the 14th LG Cup by winning the semi-final in November 9.

The first player in the final is the world champion Lee Changho from Korea. He beat Piao Wenyao from China in the semi-final to win his seat. An interesting fact about Lee this time, is the fact that he managed to the semi-final by beating Qiu Jun who beat him the previous 4 days in the smi-final of 14th Samsung Cup.

Lee Changho (left), Pio Wenyao (right)

Lee played as white and Piao played as black. The opening was territory oriented. Lee chose to play for territory in the right side, instead of playing for moyo in the bottom by playing nadare.

At move 99, black tried to get some territories in the middle, by attacking white's stone. Black did get about 14 points (9 points + 5 captured white stones), but in exchange for some of his territories in the left side, so the trade is about equal.

Lee Changho (white) vs. Piao Wenyao (black), board position up to move 84.

The endgame was close for both players, but it seems that Piao was in time trouble, while Lee was calmer. Piao resigned the game at move 246. He was behind about 2-3 points including komi.

The second player to claim his seat was Kong Jie from China.

Kong Jie (who played black) met Park Yeonghun from Korea. While Lee vs. Piao game was calm, the game between these two players was very agressive.

Kong Jie

Up to move 22 the game was still calm, black's move at 23 was natural, but it led to a complicated fight. A diificult semeai started and it took about 40 moves to finish, with both managed to live. But no rest for both of them, because another violence fight started after that. Black tried to use the weakness in white's formation in the center.

Kong Jie played a beautiful tesuji at move 99. White can not captured the stone directly, since it was exactly what black wanted. If white played white 100 at 1 (diagram below) black will counter with the following sequence and will get the upper hand.

White could also connect with 1 (below), but I think the outcome is still better for black.

White resigned at move 149. The position was hopeless for him.

The final will be played in February 20, 22, and 23. Kong Jie is in super shape at the moment. After his promotion to 9 dan this year, he managed to the final of LG and Samsung Cup consecutively. I wonder if Kong can seize the momentum and make himself as a world champ.