- O ties score in Honinbo title match
- Cho Chikun starts Kisei league with a win
- 6th LG Cup starts
- China wins 23rd World Amateur Go Championship
- Taiwan wins first quarterfinal place in Fujitsu Cup
- Cho U takes lead in Honinbo title match
- Cho Chikun and Rin tied in Meijin league
- Kisei league
- Catalin Taranu wins promotion to 5-dan
- Japan vs. China in Chunlan final
- 26th Kisei League gets under way
- Western players
O ties score in Honinbo title match0
The fourth game of the 56th Honinbo title match was held at the Grand Hotel Koyo in Yu-no-yama Hot Spring in the town of Komono, Mie Prefecture on 18 & 19 June. Playing black, O Meien scored a convincing win, forcing the challenger, Cho U 7-dan, to resignaiton after 169 moves. This leveled the series at 2-all, so the match is now down to a best-of-three.
The game finished at 5:37 pm on the Thursday. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, O had 31 minutes left and Cho 57.
In this game, O played very positively from the start and always held the initiative. A new pattern appeared in the lower left corner, and O ended the first day with a small advantage. On the second day, he maintained a solid lead. Cho made an all-out invasion and did score a local success, but he didn't dent O's lead. Cho later played some do-or-die moves, but when they failed to come off, he had to resignaiton.
So far, Black has won every game in this series.
The fifth game is scheduled to be played in Sapporo on 27 & 28 June.
Cho Chikun starts Kisei league with a win
Cho Chikun, ex-Kisei, played his first game in the Kisei B League on 21 June. Taking black against Ishida Atsushi 8-dan, he won by 5.5 points, thus making a good start.
6th LG Cup starts
The play-off for the 5th LG Cup, a Korean-sponsored international tournament, ended only last month, the result being a 3-2 victory for Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan over Yi Se-tol 3-dan, both of Korea.
On 12 and 14 June, the first two rounds of the 6th LG Cup were held in Seoul, and both the above players have made the best eight, so we could well see a rematch. They are joined by one player from Japan, two from China and another two from Korea.
Below are the detailed results of the first two rounds. (Komi is 6.5; time allowance is three hours each; first prize is 250 million won, equivalent to 25 million yen or $225,000; the main sponsor is the Lucky Goldstar group, an electronics manufacturer.)
Round 1 (Seoul, 12 June).
Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) (B) beat Chang Hao 9-dan (China) by resignation; O Meien 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Ch'oe Myung-hun 7-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (Japan) (W) beat Pak Song-su 2-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Ryu Shikun 7-dan (Japan) by resig.; Mok Chin-seok 5-dan (Korea) (B) beat Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yang Chae-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Yu Bin 9-dan (China) by resig.; Luo Xihe 8-dan (China) (B) beat Zhou Junxun 9-dan (Taiwan) by 2.5 points; Michael Redmond 9-dan (USA) (W) beat Alexander Dinerstein 7-dan (amateur) (Europe) by resig.
Round 2 (Seoul, 14 June).
Yamashita (Japan) (W) beat Seo Pong-su 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yu (Korea) (B) beat O Rissei 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yi Se-tol 3-dan (Korea) (B) beat O Meien (Japan) by resig.; Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Redmond (USA) by resig.; Mok (Korea) (B) beat Ma Xiaochun 9-dan (China) by resig.; Luo (China) (W) beat Rui Naiwei 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) (W) beat Yang (Korea) by 2.5 points.
There will be a long break before the quarterfinals, which are scheduled to be held in Guilin in China on 26 October. The pairings are:
Yamashita Keigo vs. Cho Hun-hyeon
Luo Xihe vs. Yi Ch'ang-ho
Zhou Heyang vs. Yu Ch'ang-hyeok
Mok vs. Yi Se-tol.
China wins 23rd World Amateur Go Championship
In the 23rd World Amateur Go Championship, held from 10 to 14 June in Hyuga, Li Daichun of China swept to victory with a perfect score of eight wins. Taking second place was Kanazawa Moriei with 7-1. Heading a group of seven players with six wins was Dong Ming Liu of Australia; his third place was the best result yet by a player from the southern hemisphere.
This year's tournament was held in the city of Hyuga, in Miyazaki Prefecture. This city has a strong connection with go, being the only place in the world to manufacture clam-shell go stones; it has seven factories active, although nowadays the local supply has been largely exhausted, so the stones are imported from Mexico. It is also a leading manufacturer of kaya go boards, which are another luxury item. Every year the city holds a Clam Shell Go Stones Festival, which was moved up from its usual timing in November to coincide with the tournament.
This year most of the attention was focused on the 14-year-old Korean representative, Ko Keun-tae; Ko is the current Korean amateur champion and has hopes of becoming a professional. His cheerful, self-confident manner showed that he was not overawed by the occasion, but he stumbled in the fourth round, losing to Wang Yee Hsun of Hong Kong China; because of that, he was not even matched against Kanazawa. He did play Li in the final round, but the latter was already assured of first place even if he lost, as he had the top SOS. Ko lost and had to be content with fourth place.
In retrospect, the key game of the tournament came in the sixth round, when the only undefeated players, Kanazawa and Li, were matched. Li's win opened up the path to victory.
The other prizes went as follows:
5th: Alexei Lazarev (Russia)
6th: Zhiqi Yu (Canada)
7th: Wang Yee Hsun (Hong Kong China)
8th: Lin Yu Hsiang (Chinese Taipei).
This year 56 countries competed, just one more than last year and a new record. The number would have been higher, but Cuba and DPR Korea pulled out at the last minute. There was an innovation in the tournament schedule. Instead of eight games spread over four days, one game each was played on the first and fifth day, with two games each on the intervening day. This made the tournament a little less fatiguing.
Taiwan wins first quarterfinal place in Fujitsu Cup
The quarterfinals of the 14th Fujitsu Cup were held in Shenzhen, China, on 2 June. The result was that one Taiwanese, one Japanese and two Korean representatives won their way to the semifinals, scheduled to be held in Osaka on 7 July.
Most notable was the success of Zhou Junxun of Chinese Taipei, who became the first-ever Taiwanese player to reach the semifinals. Playing black, he defeated Japan's giant-killer Kono Rin 6-dan by half a point.
Kobayashi Koichi, Kono's teacher, lost to Cho Hun-hyeon of Korea, who is his nemesis. Playing black, Cho won by resignation to score his seventh win in ten encounters with Kobayashi. Another Korean player, Choi Myung-hun, joined Cho in the semifinals thanks to an 8.5-point win over Cho Chikun of Japan (Choi had black). The fourth game was won by Rin Kaiho (B), playing for Japan, who defeated Yu Bin 9-dan of China by 1.5 points.
Semifinal pairings are Cho vs. Rin and Zhou vs. Choi.
Cho U takes lead in Honinbo title match
The third game of the 56th Honinbo title match was held on 6 & 7 June at the Amakusa Kokusai Hotel Allegria on the island of Amakusa off the western coast of Kyushu (nearest large city is Kumamoto). This is the first time that the island has hosted a Honinbo title game.
Playing black, the challenger, Cho U 7-dan, defeated O Meien by 2.5 points after 212 moves. This gives him the lead in the title match for the second time.
In this game O made a move in the opening that he regretted and later made a miscalculation in the middle-game fighting. The game became close because he made a really valiant effort to catch up. Although he played with great tenacity, he couldn't quite make it. Cho won because he kept his cool.
Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho has one hour and 53 minutes left, while O was down to his last minute. The fourth game will be held at the Grand Hotel in Yu-no-yama Hot Spring in the town of Komono in Mie Prefecture on 18 & 19 June.
Cho Chikun and Rin tied in Meijin league
Two games were played in the 26th Meijin league last week, on 7 June. In one of them, Cho Chikun (B) defeated Hane Naoki 8-dan by resignation. In the other, Ryu Shikun (B) defeated O Rissei by 1.5 points. As a result, Cho has drawn level with Rin on 4-2, while O has dropped back to 3-3. However, there are still eight players who still have a chance of becoming the challenger.
The second game in the Kisei A league was played on 7 June and resulted in a victory for the veteran player Miyazawa Goro 9-dan over league newcomer Yamada Takuji 6-dan. Playing black, Miyazawa forced Yamada to resignaiton.
Catalin Taranu wins promotion to 5-dan
On 6 June, Catalin Taranu of Romania defeated Tsutsui Katsumi 4-dan (black) by resignation in the Oteai or rating tournament and so earned the points for promotion to 5-dan. He has accomplished this in just slightly over 4 years as a professional, so he clearly has a lot of talent. He is the second-highest ranked Western player after Michael Redmond 9-dan.
Japan vs. China in Chunlan final
The semifinals of the 3rd Chunlan Cup were held in Xian, China, on 25 May. The result was that two perennial world-championship contenders, O Rissei and Yu Ch'ang-hyeok, reached the final, so it will be Japan vs. Korea (O is Taiwanese, of course, but he represents Japan). Once again, China will miss out in the only China-sponsored international title.
Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Wang Lei 8-dan (China) by resignation; O Rissei 9-dan (Japan) (B) beat Cho Hun-hyun 9-dan (Korea) by resignation.
The best-of-three final is scheduled to be held in Beijing on 22, 24 & 26 June.
26th Kisei League gets under way
The first game in the A League of the 26th Kisei league was played on the last day of May. Ironically, it was a pairing that would be more suitable to a play-off than to the opening round. The players were Cho Sonjin, the previous Kisei challenger and ex-Honinbo, and Cho U, who is currently challenging O Meien, Cho's successor as Honinbo.
There is no doubt that the 21-year-old Cho U is the most watched player on the Japanese go scene at present. In their game, holding white, he defeated Cho Sonjin by resignation. On paper, Cho Sonjin looks like his toughest opponent in the A League, so he has got off to a promising start.
Cho Sonjin is ranked number 1 in the league; Cho U is number 3. The other members of the A League (rankings in parentheses) are Ryu Shikun Tengen (2), Miyazawa Goro 9-dan (4) , Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan (5), and Yamada Takuji 6-dan (5).
The members of the B League are: Awaji Shuzo 9-dan (1), Ishida Yoshio 9-dan (2), Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo (3), Ishida Atsushi 8-dan (4), Hane Naoki 8-dan (5), and Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan (5).
Other players will have their first games in June and the leagues will run until October.
One player earned promotion last week: Cho Riyu, a disciple of O Rissei, earned the points to make 5-dan. Holding white, he defeated Osawa Narumi 2-dan by resignation on 30 May (the actual promotion is dated 1 June).
Only one Western professional had a game last week. That was Hans Pietsch 4-dan. Hans has been having a sub-par year, but he made no mistake in his game with Sato Machiko 2-dan in the Oteai (rating tournament). Holding white, he won by 7 points.