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Young U.S. pros Yang & Qi run into tough competition at MLILY Dream Lily Cup

Chris Garlock | Published on 8/27/2023

Newly-minted U.S. professionals Kevin Yang 1P and Alexander Qi 1P – both became pros in 2022 – have been knocked out of the MLILY Dream Lily Cup World Go Open Tournament, Qi defeated by Ke Jie 9P and Yang by Liu Yuhang 6P. 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.

The first stage of the fifth edition of the MLILY Dream Lily Cup World Go Open Tournament was held in Zhengzhou, China from August 2-6. After three rounds of competition, China occupied all eight spots in the quarterfinals. The next stage of the tournament is set to be held in May, 2024.

The tournament had a total of 64 players, including top players from China, Japan, Korea, Europe, and North America. Yang, from California, recently played in the 2023 Globis Cup with a record of 1-2.

The opening of the Yang-Liu game led to highly complex variations in the upper left corner. Yang, playing 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, from New Jersey, drew renowned Chinese world champion Ke Jie 9P. Qi, playing White, put up a great fight in the opening. However, Ke’s strength was evident, gradually widening the gap with clever moves to skilfully 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.

Report by Hajin Lee. photos: (top right) Kevin Yang 1P draws number thirty (Liu Yuhang 6P); (top left) Kevin Yang 1P (left) vs. Liu Yuhang 6P (right); (bottom left) Alex Qi 1P draws number four (Ke Jie 9P); (bottom right) Alex Qi 1P (left) vs. Ke Jie 9P (right)

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