“We will put our lives on the line for the final.”
This is the entry form that Shin Dong-seo 9 sent to the JoongAng Ilbo. Shin is a journalist who rarely avoids interviews. This was not the case in the lead-up to the first final. He said he was politely declining media interviews. When I asked him to reveal his intentions through Korean origins, he sent me two letters: ‘Sasil’ (死活). Death and life. The motto “risking one’s life” was originally from the 9th Dan of Chung Hoon. Like the legendary wheelchair player, Shin Shin-seo put his life on the line in the face of the world.
The ninth edition of the world’s most prestigious go tournament, the Ng Cee Bae (“Ying Chang Chi Bae” in Chinese, here following the Korean origin of the tournament), will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 21 in Shanghai, China. Nine Korean shinsei players will face off against nine Chinese shokers for the title of world champion.
In total, eight champions have been crowned in the Ng Si-bae. In particular, Korea dominated the championship for 16 years from the first to the fourth round. Cho Hun-hyun in the first, Seo Bong-soo in the second, Yoo Chang-hyuk in the third, and Lee Chang-ho in the fourth. Korean go masters, who were once called the “Sacheon Kings,” took turns winning the trophy. There have been five Korean champions since the Sacheon King, including 9-dan Choi Cheol-han, who won the sixth edition of the tournament in 2009, but unfortunately there hasn’t been a winner since then.
On schedule, the winner of the 9th Ng Sibae should have been crowned in the fall of three years ago. The coronavirus disrupted the tournament schedule. The semi-finals were played online, but the organizers insisted that the final must be played in person. After a three-month wait, the final will take place in late August 2023. 먹튀검증
Shin and Shaker are the same age, born in 2000. Shin joined the organization a year earlier. Both knights prefer to play offensive go. They are quick to recognize moves and strong in reading moves, and they are not afraid to fight. Park Jung-sang, 9th dan, who commentated on the Ng Si-bae final on Go TV, said of Shaker’s style, “He rides the momentum. This means that once he is in a strong position, it is not easy to escape. However, when it comes to judgment and finishing, Shin is said to have the upper hand.
Shin and Shaker have only met once in an official competition. They met in the round of 16 of the 2017 Lee Min-bae World Newcomer Go Championship, which Shaker won. However, this record shouldn’t matter too much. It’s a long time ago, and Park, a 9-dan, has a funny anecdote to share.
“When Shaker was a rookie, he studied go in Korea. He studied Go at Chungam Dojo, and Shin Dong-seo was also studying at Chungam Dojo. It is said that Shaker was reluctant to play practice matches with Shin Dong-seo because he lost to him so many times. Psychologically, Shin Dong-seo had the advantage.”
While most experts are in favor of Xinxia, it’s not without its misgivings. Recently, the team has suffered a string of defeats in international competitions. “There’s no need to worry,” says national team coach Mok Jin-seok. “I wouldn’t say Shin is in the best shape, but it’s nothing to worry about. We can’t reveal our strategy because it could be exposed, but we’ve identified his shortcomings. Some people are concerned about his recent international performance, but it’s not abnormal at all, because all of his opponents were top-ranked knights, so it’s not a strange result that he lost once or twice.”
We asked Yang Jae-ho, secretary general of the Korean Kiwon, to predict the outcome of the Ng Si-bae final. “Two wins in a row,” he replied.
Would Korea regain the title after 14 years? Will Shin Shin-seo finally become the world champion? The interest of go fans is heating up.