- O Rissei's good start in Meijin league
- Aoki wins Strongest Woman Player title
- 1st Haojue Cup
- 27th Meijin league
- Kato stumbles in Honinbo league
- Hane takes first title
- Former champions make good start in Meijin league
- Third round starts in Honinbo league
- Japan eliminated from Nong Shim Cup
- Korea wins Asian Championship
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
O Rissei's good start in Meijin league
O Rissei Kisei has been in a slump recently, but there are signs that he may be recovering form. Last week he played his first game in the new Meijin league and got off to a good start. Taking black, he earned a resignation from Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan.
Aoki wins Strongest Woman Player title
Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan has made a comeback to the ranks of the title-holders just nine months after losing the Women's Meijin title. In the final of the 3rd Strongest Woman Player title, held at the Nihon Ki-in on -- December, Aoki defeated Yoshida Mika 7-dan of the Kansai Ki-in to win this title for the first time. Playing black, Aoki forced a resignation after 175 moves.
This is Aoki's eighth women's title: she has won the Women's Meijin three times and the Women's Kakusei four times.
1st Haojue Cup
A couple of weeks ago it was announced that the Hung Chang Women's World Championship had been suspended, but fortunately a new tournament, with a Chinese sponsor this time, has emerged to take its place. The newcomer is the Haojue Cup World Women's Professional Go Championship and the opening rounds will start in Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province on 29 January.
The tournament will be a knockout, leading to a best-of-three final. There will be 16 players participating, distributed as follows:
China: 5; Japan: 3; Korea: 3; USA, Europe, Russia, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong: 1 each.
The Japanese representatives will be Kobayashi Izumi, Women's Meijin & Honinbo, Kato Tomoko, Women's Kakusei, and Inori Yoko 5-dan.
27th Meijin league
The third game in the first round of the 27th Meijin league was played on 13 December. Taking black, Ryu Shikun 7-dan defeated Cho Sonjin 9-dan by resignation, which seems to indicate that Ryu has recovered quickly from the shock of his loss of the Tengen title the previous week.
The top-three-ranked players have started off with wins, with Rin Kaiho beating Kato Masao, Cho Chikun beating O Meien and Ryu beating Cho Sonjin. The three losers are the next three players in the league ranking.
Kato stumbles in Honinbo league
Kato Masao didn't keep his sole lead in the 57th Honinbo league for long. Two games were played on 13 December. In one, Kato (B) lost by resignation to Miyazawa Goro 9-dan. In the other, Cho Chikun Oza (W) defeated Hane Naoki Tengen, also by resignation.
The result is that Cho Chikun, Yamada Kimio 8-dan, Cho Sonjin 9-dan and Kato all share the lead on 2-1. The other players -- Hane, Cho U, Otake Hideo 9-dan and Miyazawa -- are all on 1-2. That means that everyone is still in the running.
Hane takes first title
Hane Naoki 8-dan, one of the most popular players of the younger generation in Japan, has won his first title. In the fourth game of the 27th Tengen title match, played in Kobe City on 5 November, Hane defeated Ryu Shikun by 1.5 points. Hane had white and the game took 244 moves. This victory gave him the title match by a score of 3 wins to 1 loss.
Hane's father, Yasumasa 9-dan, won the 38th Oza title in 1990. They are the first father and son both to win a top-seven title. They are both members of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in.
Former champions make good start in Meijin league
Two former Meijins have got off to a good start in the 27th Meijin league, the first two games of which were played on 6 December. Bouncing back from his loss in the title match, Rin Kaiho 9-dan (B) defeated another former Meijin, Kato Masao 9-dan, by 13.5 points. Also making a good start was Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, who defeated the current Honinbo, O Meien; playing black, Cho secured a resignation.
Third round starts in Honinbo league
The second round of the new Honinbo league ended with Kato Masao in the undisputed lead on 2-0. The first two games of the third round were played on 6 December. In one game, Cho Sonjin 9-dan (B) defeated this year's unsuccessful challenger, Cho U 7-dan, by resignation. In the other, Yamada Kimio 8-dan (W) defeated Otake Hideo 9-dan, also by resignation.
Both Cho Sonjin and Yamada go to 2-1 and both the losers drop back to 1-2. Considering his poor start, it seems unlikely we'll see a repeat challenge next year by Cho U, so Ishida Yoshio's record for the youngest big-three title holder looks safe.
Japan eliminated from Nong Shim Cup
The second round of the 3rd Nong Shim Cup, held in Seoul, ended in disaster for Japan, with all its players being eliminated. The Japanese team was able to pick up only one win (Nakano over Luo, given in our report of 30 November), its worst result ever in this international team tournament.
At the end of the round, China had a slight advantage, with three players left to Korea's two.
Game 9 (30 November). Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (B) beat Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) by half a point.
Game 10 (1 December). Yu Bin (W) beat Kato Masao 9-dan (Japan) by 5.5 points.
The remaining games are scheduled for 6 to 9 February in Shanghai.
China) Yu Bin, Chang Hao, Zhou Heyang
Korea) Cho Hun-hyeon, Yi Ch'ang-ho
Korea wins Asian Championship
The 3rd Asian Championship, an amateur competition organized by the Korean Amateur Go Association, with generous support from the Korean government (a subsidy of 100 million won), was held in Seoul from 12 to 16 November.
The competition is divided into two parts: a team tournament for ten three-players teams from Asia and Russia and an individual championship. In the team championship, Korea took first place, China 2nd, Taiwan 3rd, Russia 4th, Japan 5th, Hong Kong 6th, Singapore 7th, Thailand 8th, Malaysia 9th, and Vietnam 10th.
Russia did very well, but we don't have any details. According to Go Weekly, Japan beat Korea 2-1 in the first round and Russia 3-0 in the second, but then lost to China and Taiwan.
In the individual championship, Li Daichun of China, this year's WAGC champion, took first place. Another Chinese player, Liu Ii, came second, and Japan's Hiraoka Satoshi was third.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
There was only one game played by a Western professional last week. In the second preliminary section of the Honinbo tournament, Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) lost by 1.5 points to Kono Takashi 7-dan.