Amateurs versus Professionals

    Keywords: Culture & History, Tournament

This page gives an incomplete list of instances in which amateur players played against professionals and won.

It should be noted that in several cases (the European or US tournaments) the professional opponent was away from active tournament play with other professionals. And in several cases the notable amateur player was an insei and/or later turned professional.

4th Xinren Wang 1997

1997-02-25: Liu Jun wins the 4th Xinren Wang Cup against Wang Hui.

By winning the tournament Liu Jun is the only amateur to win a professional tournament in China. On the way to the final he defeated Ding Bo 5p, Chang Hao 7p and Qiu Jun 2p as well.

1st Toyota Denso Cup World Go Oza

2002-03-19: Fernando Aguilar beat Hasegawa Sunao 9p in the 1st round

2002-09-02: Fernando Aguilar defeats Yo Kagen 9p in the 2nd round thus reaching the quarterfinals, where he lost by resignation against Lee Changho (2002-09-04).

Fujitsu Cup 2003

2003-01-19: John Lee defeats Jimmy Cha 4p, North American Preliminary of the 16th Fujitsu Cup. Earlier in the preliminary he defeated Huiren Yang 1p.

2003-04-12: John Lee defeats Catalin Taranu 5p, 16th Fujitsu Cup

International representative against 5th Women's Saikyo

2004-11-28: Jie Li taking black defeats Women's Saikyo (and thereby winner of the 5th Tokyo Seimitsu Cup) Suzuki Ayumi 3p by resignation in a no komi match

1st Pandanet Open Internet World Rapid Championship (IGS)

2005-03-12: Victor Chow defeats Yahata Koichi 6p

2005-03-19: Victor Chow defeats Sasaki Tsuyoshi 5p

Victor Chow was the only amateur to reach the 6th round, where he lost to Kono Rin 9p.

Other professional players, including Wang Haijun 7p, Imamura Yoshiaki 8p, Yamada Kimio 8p, Han Zenki 7p, Nishimura Keiji 7p, lost to unidentified - supposedly amateur - players in earlier rounds.

US Masters Tournament 2005

2005-06-09: Thomas Hsiang defeats Feng Yun 9p

2005-06-13: Jie Li defeats Feng Yun 9p

2005-10-07: Jie Li defeats Huiren Yang 1p

US Masters Tournament 2006

2006-10-08: Jie Li defeats Mingjiu Jiang 7p

2006-10-15: Jie Li defeats Yilun Yang 7p

2006-10-18: Jie Li defeats Lin Xuefen 1p

2006-12-18 and 2006-12-19: Jie Li defeats Feng Yun 9p in the final of the 2006 US Masters Tournament with a score of 2-1.

LG Cup Preliminaries 2007

2007-04-24: Kim Jonghae? 6d defeats Lee Minjin 5p

2007-04-26: Kim Jonghae defeats Yoo Jaeho 2p

2007-04-27: Kim Jonghae defeats Lee Daehyeoi 3p (but loses the final against Lee Heesung 7p thus not qualifying for main tournament)

Samsung Cup Preliminaries 2007

2007-07-20: Kong Haan? 6d defeats Yun Ki-hyeon 9p (but loses in the next round against Mochizuki Kenichi 6p from Japan)

2007-07-27: Kang Changbae 6d defeats Ko Geuntae 6p

2007-07-31: Kang Changbae 6d defeats O Joosung 2p (but loses in the semifinals against So Yokoku 8p)

BCcard Cup World Baduk Championship 2009

2009-02-23/24/25: The 20 (Korean) amateurs chosen by several preliminaries played in the mixed preliminaries with 236 professional players. With 0,9 (18/20) wins per player, 54,5% (18/33) winning rate and 25% (5/20) qualification rate they played (slightly) better than the professional players on average.

The last remaining amateur player in the main tournament was Lee Jihyun, he defeated Shi Yue 4p in the first round, but lost to Piao Wenyao in the second.

Preliminaries of 16th Agon-Kiriyama Cup

2009-02 and 2009-03: Amateur players won 20 games against professional participants. However, no amateur reached the last preliminaries, though some were quite close. ([ext] results (japanese)) Amateur players had 17 wins in 2008 and only 8 in 2007.

North American Ing Masters 2009

2009-08: Andy Liu wins the tournament with a clean sweep of wins, defeating the resident professionals Yilun Yang, Feng Yun and Mingjiu Jiang in the process. ([ext] reults)

2009-08-14: Andy Liu defeats [ext] Ko Juyeon 2p in a late night friendly match at the New York Go Center, [ext] broadcast on KGS for fans.

Samsung Cup Preliminaries 2009

2009-08 Many Korean amateurs, including Yeonguseng compete in the preliminaries, scoring several wins against professionals. Lee Wonyoung defeats Kwon Omin 5p, Han Sanghoon 4p, Kang Jisung? 8p, and Han Wonggyu 2p, qualifying for the 32 player final tournament. The American representative Dae Hyuk Ko won his first game against Kim Jinwoo 4p.

2nd BCcard Cup World Baduk Championship 2010

2010-01: The 20 (Korean) amateurs chosen by several preliminaries played in the mixed final preliminaries winning 23 games. Five of them qualified for the main tournament. (Na Hyun, Choi Hyunjae, Park Yeongrong 박영롱, Lee Juhyung, Han Taehee). Han Taehee, a yeonguseng, defeated Lee Changho by resignation after only 96 moves in the first round!

Thus they were on average more successful than the professional players in the preliminaries. (And even more successful than last year.).

Preliminaries of 17th Agon-Kiriyama Cup

A bad year for amateurs, who won only ten games compared to 20, 17 and 8 in 2009, 2008 and 2007 respectively. (More [ext] here)

Samsung Cup Preliminaries 2010

2010-08 12 korean amateurs (including Yeonguseng) compete in the preliminaries, winning eight games against professional players. Min Sangyoun won three games straight, among others against Mok Jinseok, thereby qualifying for the main tournament.

Myeongin 2011

Cho Insun beats Yun Jungsang? and Seo Gunwoo to make the main tournament, then beats Park Jeonggeun in the main tournament. Wang Jaeyung? qualifies for the main tournament as an amateur, is made professional before the first round (possibly by coincidence).

valerio: both are made professionals, by reaching the main tournament.

Professionals residing in Europe or the United States

Several professionals reside outside Asia and participate regularly in go events there. Therefore they play against amateur players more often and sometimes lose to the strongest of them. (See also here and here)


  • The Agon Cup allows both amateur and professional entrants, and sometimes the amateurs win their games. A few game records are available [ext] at Go4Go.
  • Jimmy Cha also lost to Ted Ning and Thomas Ko in Fujitsu competitions. It is interesting to note that Michael Redmond only lost to fellow pros when he participated in the N.A. Fujitsu Qualifier - several times to Jimmy Cha, and once to James Kerwin.

Amateurs versus Professionals last edited by OscarBear on May 15, 2015 - 09:46
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