The Qingdao Publishing Cup is one of the many new tournaments that have sprung up in the 21st century to accommodate the flood of strong amateur (and professional) players emerging from China’s go schools. The sponsor is a large state-owned publishing house located in Qingdao, facing the Yellow Sea. First held last year, the tournament is organized as a ten-round Swiss system divided into upper and lower sections. The 178 contestants in the upper section included China’s three top rated amateurs: Ma Tianfang, age 19, who had just scored an undefeated triumph in the inaugural China Software Cup; last year’s world amateur champion Bai Baoxiang, likewise 19, who was coming off a first-place finish in the Fengcheng Cup in May and a second-place finish in the China Software Cup; and China’s highest-rated amateur Hu Yuqing, age 30, world amateur champion in 2005 and 2009 and a well known go commentator on Chinese television.
Bai Baoxiang stormed through the first two days of play (June 22 and 23) with seven straight wins to take an undisputed lead. In the morning rounds on June 24, however, he lost twice: first to Hu Yuqing and then to Cao Jundi, a pupil of Nie Weiping. That left four players in contention, and they were paired against each other on the top two boards in the final round in the afternoon. The winners of these crucial games were Hu Yuqing and 12-year old Huang Jingyuan. Both ended with nine wins and one loss, but Hu had better SOS points and took the cup, while Huang took second. Third to sixth places fell, in order, to teenagers Bai Baoxiang, Ma Qiao (14), Wang Zejin (13), and Sui Zexiang (19). Seventh place went to 2009 World Student Oza winner Zhao Wei. Cao Jundi came tenth and Ma Tianfang ended in a tie for twentieth.
Runner-up Huang Jingyuan had already created a double sensation by winning the first Spaceflight Cup at age 11 last September and then beating eight straight opponents in the first eight rounds of the prestigious Evening News Cup in January. But while earning a degree from the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and working at China Mobile, Hu Yuqin has been winning major amateur go tournaments for nearly a decade and has just proved that he can still hold his own against the rising generation.