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International  tournaments | korea-china tengen, 8th edition, 2004  
Picture overview
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Location - The 2004 Tengen China-Korea play-off takes place in wonderful surroundings: The KyongJu Valley is the cradle of Silla civilisation (668-935 AD). Its many temples, tumuli, and fortress ruins, tell about this golden age of Korean history.

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Location - Before the best-of-3 match starts, Choi CheolHan (center) and Gu Li (right) enjoy a philosophical talk with a local religious.

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Round 1 - 2003 Tianyuan holder Gu Li 7p (right) just had to defeat challenger Xi e He to keep his title. The Korean Chunwon seat is less cosy, its occupant being back to a round of 16 the following year. Choi CheolHan 8p (left) beat Won SeongJin in the final to succeed Song TaeKon.

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Round 1 - Korea leads 5-2 in the play-off, thanks to Lee ChangHo's 4 initial victories in this annual event. Gu Li has his work cut for him to redeem China's honour.

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Round 1 - Gu Li's clean 2-0 win over Song TaeKon last year made him look a more serious threat to the hegemony of Korean go. The match is given full press coverage, especially with young star Choi CheolHan as his opponent.

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Round 1 - The game resumes with Choi to play White 104, but his position seems already beyond hope.

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Round 1 - The post-mortem discussion focuses on the South side fight. Choi lost too much there, after Gu's cool nobi on Black 61.

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Round 1 - Is it reasonable for White to save his group's tail with this alternative to White 66 ?

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Round 1 - The players are joined by onlooking pros in analyzing intricate variations. A ko with the neighbouring black group seems to have been involved in this one.

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Day off - The games were scheduled on August 10th, 12th and 13th; the 11th is then at the players'leisure. Gu Li chose to have a merry day at the sea and share a picnic with Chinese friends and Korean delegates.

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Day off - ... A not too sober picnic.

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Day off - With a good meal and the sun, the whole party is happily exuberant.

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Day off - Gu turned 21 this year, is at the top of Chinese go, and succeeds in making dents in the Korean domination - every reason to be joyous and confident.

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Round 2 - The smiles have disappeared - Gu Li led for most of the 2nd game, but only to stumble in the endgame.

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Round 2 - At 19, Choi CheolHan is already acknowledged as a genius, all the more because he's become Lee's main rival on the Korean go scene. He's having trouble coping with Gu Li's style, but didn't miss the opportunity to cause an upset.

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Round 3 - Just before lunch, it turned out the life of a white group in the North-East would depend on a ko. Back, Choi plays his first threat at Black 93.

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Round 3 - Gu Li doesn't answer directly, but plays White 94 to create threats of his own on the West side.

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Round 3 - Here is the crux of this great fighting game: Choi weighs Gu's threats in the West against the ko, worth 40+ points. He answers White 94, but not its follow-up at 98, buying the group instead - and Gu Li starts a ferocious, and successful, splitting attack.

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Round 3 - There may have been a better way for Black, in more direct center action.

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Results - China only trails 5-3 now in the annual Tengen play-off, with two wins in a row for Gu Li. He receives a price of $10,000 from the sponsors - the "Xinmin Wanbo" (Chinese) and "Sports Korea" newspapers.

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Results - Today the China/Korea Tengen, tomorrow the world!

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