Cho Chikun

    Keywords: People
Cho Chikun winning his 1400th game 2012-09-27

Cho Chikun (Japanese: 趙 治勲 Chō Chikun, Korean: 조치훈, 趙 治勲, RR: Jo Chi-hun, MC-R: Cho Ch'i-hun, born June 20, 1956) is a professional go player. He is sometimes referred to by his honorific title "the 25th Honinbo", that he gained by winning the Honinbo title 10-times in a row. He currently holds the record as the Japanese professional with the most number of titles and most number of career wins at over eighty and over 1,400 respectively. He is a force of great longevity in modern Japanese go, winning titles for over 35-years.

Early Life

Cho was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1956. His uncle Cho Nam-ch'eol was one of the leaders of professional go in South Korea in the post-war period. He was brought to Japan at the age of six by his older brother Cho Shoen (who was a young professional go player in Japan) to become a student at the Kitani dojo. He qualified as a professional shodan at the age of 11, and was the youngest person to do so in Japan (Fujisawa Rina became the youngest in 2010).

Professional Accomplishments

In 1975, he became the then youngest player to win a Japanese open professional title by beating Kato Masao in the Pro Best Ten (a record since broken).

Cho has been the champion of the two-day matches. Between 1980 and 2000 he won nearly 50% of the big three Japanese titles (Kisei, Meijin and Hon'inbo). He is the first person to have held all three of these titles simultaneously.

In December 2003, Cho, at the age of 47, won the 8th Samsung Cup. His victory marked the end of a fifteen straight, international title streak by Korean professionals.

Cho has shown great longevity as a professional, winning titles for over 35-years. He won the 8th Samsung Cup at age 47 and the 45th Judan at 51. In 2011, he continued to place in the top ten in tournament winnings among Japanese professionals. In 2012 he reached the finals of the NEC Cup, the Daiwa Shoken Cup, and the Igo Masters Cup, but lost to Takao Shinji, Iyama Yuta, and O Meien respectively.

On 2012-09-27, he became the first Japanese professional to win 1,400 professional games and currently holds the record for the most number of career wins. Starting with his first professional win in 1968, he averaged 31-wins a year for 44-years to reach this milestone.


Cho Chikun is a model territorial player, whose confidence is built on deep and thorough reading, his ability to switch between different territorial styles, and a joy for experimenting with new positions. Up to the early 1980s he would try to develop rapidly even at the expense of creating thin positions. He usually became involved in running fights with a number of weak groups under attack. As such he became a master of shinogi (rescuing weak groups). As his career progressed his territorial style grew to encompass a more steady, slow-paced game; and as he learned to split the game up into a number of smaller fights and skillfully coordinate them his play developed new depth.

He is well known for his flexible and amorphous style. When Cho won the Meijin title in 1980 he said: "I try to match strength with strength, lightness with lightness. My ideal is to play in such a way that no one can tell who the player was."[1]

Cho is a player who tries to read everything out, thus often finds most of his time used in the first fifty moves. Yet Cho rarely falters once in byo-yomi. Abe Yoshiteru, who often played fast games with Cho, once commented "By the time I work out that the position looks like a ko, Cho has already finished calculating all the ko threats."[2]


  • 1973: 5th Shin-Ei
  • 1974: 6th Shin-Ei
  • 1975: 12th Pro Best Ten
  • 1976: 1st Eight Strongest?
  • 1976: 24th Oza
  • 1977: 8th Shin-Ei
  • 1979: 4th Gosei
  • 1979: High Dans Oteai
  • 1980: 5th Meijin
  • 1981: 36th Honinbo
  • 1981: 6th Meijin
  • 1982: 37th Honinbo
  • 1982: 20th Judan
  • 1982: 4th Kakusei
  • 1982: 7th Meijin
  • 1982: 1st Shusai Cup?
  • 1983: 7th Kakusei
  • 1983: 7th Kisei
  • 1983: 8th Meijin
  • 1983: 30th NHK Cup
  • 1984: 8th Kisei
  • 1984: 9th Meijin
  • 1984: 3rd NEC Cup
  • 1985: 9th Kisei
  • 1985: 4th NEC Cup
  • 1986: 11th Gosei
  • 1986: 18th Hayago Championship
  • 1986: 19th Hayago Championship
  • 1987: 13th Tengen
  • 1988: 1st China-Japan Tengen?
  • 1988: 26th Judan
  • 1988: 14th Tengen
  • 1989: 2nd China-Japan Tengen
  • 1989: 44th Honinbo
  • 1989: 27th Judan
  • 1990: 23rd Hayago Championship
  • 1990: 45th Honinbo
  • 1991: 4th Fujitsu Cup
  • 1991: 24th Hayago Championship
  • 1991: 46th Honinbo
  • 1991: 1st Ryusei
  • 1992: 25th Hayago Championship
  • 1992: 47th Honinbo
  • 1992: 39th NHK Cup
  • 1993: 48th Honinbo
  • 1993: 3rd Ryusei
  • 1994: 49th Honinbo
  • 1994: 18th Kisei
  • 1994: 42nd Oza
  • 1995: 50th Honinbo
  • 1996: 29th Hayago Championship
  • 1996: 51st Honinbo
  • 1996: 2nd JT Cup?
  • 1996: 20th Kisei
  • 1996: 21st Meijin
  • 1996: 43rd NHK Cup
  • 1997: 52nd Honinbo
  • 1997: 21st Kisei
  • 1997: 22nd Meijin
  • 1998: 53rd Honinbo
  • 1998: 22nd Kisei
  • 1998: 23rd Meijin
  • 1999: 23rd Kisei
  • 1999: 24th Meijin
  • 2000: 19th NEC Cup
  • 2001: 34th Hayago Championship
  • 2001: 20th NEC Cup
  • 2001: 49th Oza
  • 2002: 9th Agon Cup
  • 2002: 4th China-Japan Agon Cup
  • 2002: 35th Hayago Championship
  • 2002: 8th Ricoh Cup
  • 2003: 9th Ricoh Cup
  • 2003: 8th Samsung Cup
  • 2004: 2nd JAL Super Hayago
  • 2005: 43rd Judan
  • 2006: 44th Judan
  • 2007: 45th Judan
  • 2007: 54th NHK Cup
  • 2008: 14th Ricoh Cup



Encyclopedia of Life and Death



[1]Go World Iss. 50, pp. 24.

[2]Go World Iss. 31, pp. 30.

  • In 2010, Cho won the 3rd Yugen Cup, an unofficial tournament.

Cho Chikun last edited by tapir on August 24, 2014 - 10:51
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