It’s Shin Dong-seo. The world No. 1 has fully regained his form. For the 44th consecutive month, South Korea’s No. 1 player, Shin Shin-seo (23), is just one win away from reviving the Ying-Chi Go tradition.

In the third game of the final round of the 9th Ying Changqi World Professional Go Championship, which kicked off today at the Sunker Villa in Shanghai, China, South Korea’s No. 1 Shin Shin-seo defeated his countryman Shaker, ranked 21st in the world, in 253 moves to return to the black side of the board.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing. After holding the lead until around the 90th move, Shin Shin-seo lost his first lead when he made a mistake with his right-side black pieces. However, Shaker seemed to be in an optimistic mood and made three or four complete moves, and Shin took advantage of the opportunity to regain the lead.

After the victory, Shin said, “It was a difficult game, but I was able to win because my opponent played loose.” He also said, “I recently lost two games in a row after winning one in the Lanker Cup final. Tomorrow, I will take a good rest and control my condition.”

Shin also explained why he chose Blackburn, a team with relatively low odds. “I thought that if I lost the first move, I could still play the second move with white,” he said. The Ying-Chi Rule gives Black an eight-point advantage (Black wins in a draw).

Shin, who has already won four major championships, outplayed Shaker in terms of experience and situational awareness. The one-time major runner-up was the highest-ranked Shaker at the Fourth Mong Baek Hap Bae last year, and he was stonewalled as his house was increasingly under fire. Shin avenged a loss at the 2019 Lee Min-Bae (Rookie World Championship) to even their head-to-head record at 1-1.

With the victory, Shin needs to win just one more match in the final two or three, which are scheduled for March 23 and 24, to claim his fifth major crown. So far, he has won the LG Bae Chosun Ilbo Kiwangjeon twice and the Chunran Bae and Samsung Hwajaejae once each. Shin Shin-seo, the current holder of the Samsung Hwa-jae, will become the only active double crown winner if he also catches Ying Shi-bae.

The possibility of restoring the relationship between the Ying-Shibae and Korean go has also been raised. South Korea’s first four titles were won by Seo Bong-soo, Yoo Chang-hyuk, and Lee Chang-ho, led by 1988 champion Cho Hoon-hyun. Since then, Choi Chul-han has won six championships in Changhao, China, but has dropped the last two to the Chinese (Fan Tingyu-Tang Weixing). Shin Shin-seo needs one more win and Ying will be back on a plane to South Korea.

This is the first major to feature a final between players born in the 2000s. There are only two major champions from the 2000s, Shin and Ding Hao (who won the LG title).

The event has been nicknamed the “Go Olympics”. It’s a nickname that has stuck, as the tournament is held every four years, although the coronavirus pandemic has caused the cycle to be jagged. Shin is also South Korea’s flagship member at the Real Asian Games next month. The prize money is $400,000 (about $530 million). 바카라

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