1977-1980: the road to the top.

The road to the top is difficult. Cho loses the only title he has late 1977 (the Oza). That will be the content of this chapter, until his first win of a 'big one', the Meijin title in 1980.


No, it was not such a good year.

  • In 1976, won his way through the preliminaries into the 2nd Meijin league. Scores (3-5) only in the league and has to follow the same route through the preliminaries next year.
  • Sakata stops him in the 15th Judan preliminary (early 1977) and in the Tengen preliminary. Also in the 16th Judan he is soon eliminated in the preliminaries.
  • Loses the Oza title to Kudo in november (0-2).
  • Wins the 8th Shin-Ei Quick Go TV tournament (for players up to 7d), but the Kido does not give any games.
  • Loses the 2nd Shin-jin O title match to Kobayashi Koichi.

Games: [1977]


  • Wins the 7-dan section of the 3rd Kisei.
  • Promotion to 8 dan (around the Summer).
  • (5-3) in the 3rd Meijin league, shares 3rd place with Sakata.
  • Does not yet pass the Honinbo Preliminaries.
  • Some games from the Judan, Tengen and Oza preliminaries, but no spectacular results in any of them.
  • Good overall score for the year though.

Games: [1978]


  • (4-4) in the 4th Meijin League.
  • Gets through the Honinbo preliminaries.
  • Some games from the Judan and the Tengen, but does not get very far in them.
  • Wins the Gosei league (4-0), then takes the Gosei title (3-0) from Otake Hideo in August.
  • Best Oteai score of the year.

Games: [1979]


1980 is the peak of the first phase of Cho's career . Even though he loses the Gosei to Otake, he finally achieves his ambition to win a big title, in this case the Meijin (against Otake again). 'Finally' may seem a strange word for a 24 year old, but the story goes that after coming to Japan as a six year old, Cho made a vow that he would not make a trip home to Korea until he had won the Meijin title. That may or may not be true, but he did make his first trip home at the New Year of 1980/81, where he was greeted as a national hero. During the visit he played two games with the Korean champion Cho Hun Hyen. One was a serious two-day game (nine hours each), the other was a TV quick Go. Cho Chikun won both.

Games: [1980]


The January 1981 Kido Magazine featured an in-depth review of Cho's career, including some impressive statistics. In fact, there is a complete list in that issue of all the professional games he played until Nov. 30, 1980. The following table summarizes the results per year.

Year Tournament Oteai Total
1968 4-3 8-4 12-7
1969 18-6 9-3 27-9
1970 14-5 9-0-1 23-5-1
1971 20-5 9-0-1 29-5-1
1972 22-6 8-0 30-6
1973 23-10 7-1 30-11
1974 28-7 5-2 33-9
1975 33-14-1 6-2 39-16-1
1976 41-15 5-3 46-18
1977 28-20 5-3 33-23
1978 29-13 7-1 36-14
1979 34-12 5-1 39-13
1980 38-19 - 38-19
total 332-135-1 83-20-2 415-155-3



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