Kevin Yang and Alexander Qi participate in the 5th MLILY Cup

From August 2nd to 6th, the 5th “MLILY Dream Lily Cup” World Go Open Tournament concluded the first stage of the competition in Zhengzhou, China. After three rounds of competition, China occupied all eight spots in the quarterfinals. The next stage of the tournament is set to be in May, 2024.

The tournament had a total of 64 players, including top players from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and North America. Representing North America, two players took part: Kevin Yang 1P and Alexander Qi 1P, both of whom became professional Go players just last year. Yang, from California, recently played in the 2023 Globis Cup with a record of 1-2. In the pairings drawing, Kevin Yang faced off against emerging Chinese player Liu Yuhang 6P in the first round.

Kevin Yang 1P, at 2023 MLily Cup

The opening of this game led to highly complex variations in the upper left corner. Yang, playing as Black, made a well-studied move at move 37, creating a slightly advantageous local battle for Black. White’s move 50 ignored a solitary stone on the upper side and initiated an attack on Black’s left side, displaying strategic insight. In the battle for the left side, Black’s move 71 was too passive, and White’s move 74 not only pressured Black but also reinforced the surrounding positions, giving White the lead. Black’s move 97 hoped to attack and kill White’s upper side stones, but Liu’s precise calculation and calm play secured life for Black’s stones. From there, Liu maintained control of the game. Yang’s move 135 was a desperate attempt on the upper side, and White’s move 136 was a clear mistake, giving Black a chance to capture White’s stones. However, due to the weak surrounding positions, White’s attack was successful. After move 154, Black’s position fell apart, leading to a resignation. “It’s my first time participating in an international tournament in person, and it’s eye-opening to see how far I still have to go,” Yang lamented.

Alexander Qi 1P, at 2023 MLily Cup

Alexander Qi, from New Jersey, drew the renowned Chinese world champion Ke Jie 9P. Qi, playing as White, put up a great fight in the opening. However, Ke’s strength was evident, gradually widening the gap with clever moves to skillfully address weaknesses. White’s move 92, ignoring the life and death of a central group, attempted to seize territory but faced a counterattack at move 95 from Black, making White’s situation even more difficult. Move 118 marked Qi’s final effort, but Ke’s responses were precise, leaving the young player with no chances. By move 181, Black emerged victorious.

The MLILY Cup, one of the largest-scale world Go championships in terms of participant numbers, was founded in 2013 and is held every two years. It’s heartening and inspiring to see North American Go players going head to head with top players from around the world, and it will be exciting to see what the future holds for North American Go.