- Yoda scores second win in hometown in Meijin title match
- Kisei B league: Ishida suffers a setback
- Yamashita's good start in Shinjin-O
- Women's Honinbo challenger: Kobayashi Izumi
- 26th Kisei leagues
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- Top winners
- Defending champion wins first Meijin game
- 6th Samsung Cup opening rounds: triumph for Korea
- Yamashita reaches Judan winners' section final
- Kobayashi Satoru suspension lifted
- Western players
Yoda scores second win in hometown in Meijin title match
Yoda Norimoto has made a great start in his quest to defend his Meijin title, having taken a 2-0 lead over the challenger, Rin Kaiho. In the second game, which was held in the Mitsui Greenland Hotel Sun Plaza in his hometown of Iwamizawa in Hokkaido on 19 & 20 September, Yoda, playing white, defeated Rin by the narrow margin of half a point. The score is not really indicative, however, as this was a better game for Yoda than the first one, which he won by 2.5 points. In contrast to that game, Yoda had the edge on Rin for most of the game, but squandered much of his lead in the endgame.
The game lasted 237 moves and finished at 7:34 pm on the second day. Each player was down to his final two minutes.
Rin's challenge is now in trouble. He will have to go all out in the third game, before which there is only a short break. It will be played on the island of In-no-shima (Shusaku's birthplace) in Hiroshima Prefecture on 26 & 27 September.
Kisei B league: Ishida suffers a setback
Last year Ishida Yoshio had the equal top score (4-1) in the B league of the Kisei tournament, but missed out because Cho Sonjin was ranked higher: there are no play-offs for tied scores. Awaji Shuzo had the equal top score in the A league, also 4-1, but prevailed over Ryu Shikun because he was ranked higher.
This year the two are in the same league, the B league, as lots are drawn each time to decide the composition of the leagues. Their results have been a marked contrast. Ishida seemed to be in the running for top place once again, while Awaji was doing terribly, losing three games in a row. However, he came good in the fourth round: playing black, he beat Ishida by 4.5 points.
This is a setback for Ishida, but, ironically, it makes no difference to his rival Cho Chikun's chances of winning the league. Regardless of whether or not he beat Awaji, Ishida would top Cho if he won their final-round game (both would end up with 3-2 in that case, but Ishida is ranked higher). There is another player whose path might be opened up if Ishida defeats Cho: that is Hane Naoki, who, like Cho, is on 3-1. The condition is that he would have to win his final-round game against Mizokami Tomochika.
Yamashita's good start in Shinjin-O
Yamashita Keigo 7-dan has made a good start in the 26th Shinjin-O (King of the new stars) title match. The first game of this best-of-three was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on 19 September. Playing white, Yamashita forced Kubo Hideo 5-dan to resignaiton after 144 moves.
The next game will be played on the 26th, also at the Nihon Ki-in. Yamashita already holds the record for successive terms in this title, at three, but he now has a good chance of extending it.
Women's Honinbo challenger: Kobayashi Izumi
Kobayashi Izumi 5-dan has secured the chance to have another crack at the Women's Honinbo title, for which she unsuccessfully challenged two years ago. The play-off to decide the challenger for the 20th Women's Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in on 5 September. Playing white, Kobayashi defeated Yashiro Kumiko 4-dan by resignation.
Kobayashi will challenge a fellow disciple of her father, Inori Yoko 5-dan. Her title challenge in 1999 was rebuffed 3-1 by Chinen Kaori; Inori then took the title from Chinen last year, winning the title match 3-2.
The first game will be played in Toyama City on 11 October.
26th Kisei leagues
Four games have been played in the Kisei leagues so far this month, and the shake-out of contenders is well under way. Even so, nearly half of the players are still in contention to become the Kisei challenger.
First, two games were played on 6 September. In the A league, Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan (W) defeated Cho Sonjin 9-dan by 1.5 points. That secured Mimura, now on 3-1, the sole lead at least temporarily In the B league, Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan (W) defeated Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by half a point. This was Cho's first loss in the league: his score is now 3-1.
Three more games were played on 13 September. In two games in the A league, Ryu Shikun 7-dan (B) defeated Yamada Takuji 6-dan by resignation and Cho U 7-dan ((W) beat Miyazawa Goro 9-dan by resignation. The other game was in the B league: Hane Naoki 8-dan (W) defeated Ishida Atsushi 9-dan by 3.5 points.
The standings in the two leagues are as follows.
In the A league, Ryu and Mimura, both on 3-1, share the lead, but Ryu has the advantage, as he is ranked higher. No one else can catch up with Ryu.
In the B league, Cho Chikun (ranked number 3) and Hane Naoki (#5) share the lead on 3-1. The only other player in the running is Ishida Yoshio (#2), who is on 2-1. Cho Chikun's final game is with Ishida; if Cho wins it he will win the league regardless of other results.
So far this month only two players have won promotions in the Oteai (rating tournament).
To 8-dan: Kato Atsushi
To 5-dan: Nakazawa Ayako
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
Below are the results of the games played by Western professionals in the first half of September.
||Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) lost by resignation to Komatsu Hideki 9-dan (3rd prelim. section, 27th Meijin tournament).
||Hans Pietsch 4-dan (B) lost by 4.5 points to Yashiro Kumiko 4-dan (1st prelim. section, 1st Toyota & Denso Cup).
||Catalin Taranu 5-dan (W) lost to Noguchi Hitoshi 5-dan by 3 points (Oteai).
||Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) defeated Kosugi Kiyoshi 8-dan by 4.5 points ((2nd preliminary section, 41st Judan tournament).
There have been a number of changes since our previous listing of the top game winners six weeks ago. This listing is as of 14 September.
5-dan and up
1. Hane Naoki 8-dan 41-17
2. Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo: 37-15
3. Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan: 31-14
4. Takao Shinji 8-dan: 30-7-1 jigo
5. Kobayashi Izumi 5-dan: 29-9; Kato Masao 9-dan: 29-12
7. Kono Rin 6-dan, Cho Riyu 5-dan 28-10; Yamashita Keigo 7-dan 28-14; Cho U 7-dan 28-16
11. Kim Shujun 6-dan: 26-12; O Rissei 26-19.
Defending champion wins first Meijin game
The first game of the 26th Meijin title match was held at the Hotel Lotte in Seoul on 4 and 5 September. The challenger is the 59-year-old Rin Kaiho, who won his first Meijin title before the defending title holder, Yoda Norimoto (aged 35), was born. Rin lost the nigiri, but played an excellent game with white. Towards the end of the middle game, he had the lead, but because of this declined to make an aggressive cut that would have almost certainly clinched the game. Under the pressure of byo-yomi, he then made two crucial mistakes in the endgame and so permitted Yoda to stage an upset. After 273 moves, the latter won by 2.5 points.
By the end of the game, both players were down to the last minute of byo-yomi (the final ten minutes of the eight-hour time allowance is allotted to byo-yomi).
The second game will be played in Iwamizawa City, Hokkaido, on 19 and 20 September.
6th Samsung Cup opening rounds: triumph for Korea
The opening two rounds of the 6th Samsung Cup were held in Seoul on 29 and 31 August. As usual, the tournament was a triumph for players from the host country, which placed six representatives in the quarterfinals. They are joined by two Chinese players. Japan had its worst international tournament for some time, with no players surviving the opening rounds.
Perhaps the most notable result from Japan's point of view was the second-round clash between Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, and Rui Naiwei 9-dan. Cho had beaten Rui in this year's Fujitsu Cup, but Rui took her revenge in this game.
Another auspicious sign for the future of Korean go was the success of another young Korean star, Pak Cheong-sang 2-dan, who turned 17 on 23 August, in reaching the quarterfinals. The 18-year-old Yi Se-tol 3-dan also made; the luck of the draw pits him against the older Yi, Ch'ang-ho, who scored an come-from-behind victory against him in the final of the 5th LG Cup.
Pak Cheong-sang 2-dan (Korea) (B) defeated O Meien 9-dan (Japan) by resignation; Rui Naiwei 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Cho Chikun (Japan) by resig.; Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea (B) d. Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yamada Kimio 8-dan (Japan) d. Ch'oe Kyu-pyeong 9-dan (Korea) by 3.5 points; Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Ryu Shikun 7-dan (Japan) by resig.; An Tal-hun 4-dan (Korea) (B) d. Takao Shinji 7-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (W) d. Kono Rin 6-dan (Japan) by resig.; Han Zenki 5-dan (Japan) (B) d. Seo Pong-su 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Ma Xiaochun 9-dan (China) (B) d. Yang Chae-ho 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yi Se-tol 3-dan (Korea) (W) d. Yu Bin 9-dan (China) by 14.5; Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (B) beat Song T'ae-kon 2-dan (Korea) by resig.; Liu Jing 8-dan (China) (B) d. An Cho-yeong 6-dan (Korea) by 4.5; Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (B) d. Yi Sang-hun 3-dan (Korea) by resig.; Wang Yuhui 7-dan (China) (B) d. Pak Seung-hyeon 2-dan (Korea) by resig.; Gu Li 5-dan (China) (W) d. Mok Chin-seok 5-dan (Korea) by resig.; Cho Han-seung 4-dan (Korea) (B) d. Wang Yao 4-dan (China) by resig.
Ma (W) d. Yu; Chang Hao (W) d. Cho 4-dan; Yi Ch'ang-ho (W) d. Wang Lei; Cho Hun-hyeon (W) d. Han; Rui Naiwei (B) d. Yamada; An (B) d. Liu Jing by half a point; Yi Se-tol (B) d. Wang Yuhui; Pak 2-dan (W) d. Gu Li.
The quarterfinals are scheduled for 10 October.
Chang Hao vs. Rui; Ma vs. Pak; Cho Hun-hyeon vs. An; Yi Ch'ang-ho vs. Yi Se-tol.
Yamashita reaches Judan winners' section final
In a game played at the Nihon Ki-in on 30 August, Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (W) defeated Hashimoto Yujiro 9-dan by resignation. He thus secured a place in the final of the winners' section of the 40th Judan tournament. His opponent will be the winner of the other semifinal between Kato Masao and Takemiya Masaki (a nostalgic pairing). The winner of the final will then meet the winner of the losers' section in a play-off to decide the challenger to O Rissei Judan.
Kobayashi Satoru suspension lifted
The suspension imposed on Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan for causing an injury to Ryu Shikun in China last December has been lifted after eight months, a reduction from the original term of one year. Kobayashi was granted permission to resume professional play as of 1 September. The reason cited by the Nihon Ki-in Board of Directors in reaching this decisiion was that the Kobayashi and Ryu had 'achieved a reconciliation'. We do not have any more details, however.
Western members of the Nihon Ki-in played two games this week. In the third preliminary section of the 27th Meijin tournament, Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) lost by resignation to Komatsu Hideki 9-dan. In the first preliminary section of the 58th Honinbo tournament, Catalin Taranu 5-dan (W) defeated Hane Shigeko 1-dan by resignation.