- Kato's upset win levels Honinbo series
- Hane wins Japan-China Tengen play-off
- Yuki to challenge for 27th Gosei title
- Kisei A League launched
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- Obituary: Inagaki Koichi
- Fujitsu cup quarterfinals
- Kato scores first win in Honinbo title match
- China's 1th victory in WAGC
- Yamashita grabs share of Meijin-league lead
- O wins second game of Honinbo title match
Kato's upset win levels Honinbo series
In the fourth game of the 57th Honinbo title match, Kato Masao scored an upset win late in the game to even the series at 2-all. This was a crucial win for Kato, as it made the different between pulling even and going down 1-3.
The fourth game was played at Yu-no-yama hot spring in the town of Komono, Mie Prefecture, on 12 and 13 June. The game ended after 237 moves at 5:22 p.m. on the second day. Playing white, Kato edged O Meien by a margin of 1.5 points. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Kato had two hours five minutes left, while O was down to his final minute of byo-yomi.
Kato started the second day's play with an effective double attack that secured him the lead. Up to White 96, he secured a large territory in the bottom right corner that included three captured stones and he seemed to have a definite lead. However, he then played a dubious move and White 114 ended up as a mochikomi (a capture without compensation), so the game became promising for O Meien. However, O later made a miscalculation and Kato's 170 turned the lead around again. After this second upset, Kato made no mistake and safely converted his lead into a one-and-a-half-point win.
There will now be a two-week break before the fifth game, which will be played in Tomakomai City in Hokkaido on 26 and 27 June.
Hane wins Japan-China Tengen play-off
The 15th play-off between the holders of the Japanese Tengen and Chinese Tianyuan titles was held at the Hotel Okura Fukuoka in Fukuoka City in Kyushu at the end of May. Both representatives were making their debut in this match. Competing for Japan was the new Tengen, Hane Naoki, who is aged 25. His opponent was the 20-year-old Huang Yizhong 5-dan, who more or less came out of nowhere to take the Tianyuan title from Chang Hao 9-dan, who had held it for five years in a row (beating Japan in the annual play-offs four times during that period).
Huang failed to display the skills he showed in defeating Chang. He was outplayed by Hane, who won the first game (29 May) by resignation, holding black. In the second game, Hane scored a 15.5-point win to take the match and to notch Japan's sixth victory in the series. This is Hane's first notable success in international play.
Yuki to challenge for 27th Gosei title
Yuki Satoshi 9-dan won the right to make his second challenge for the Gosei title by defeating his fellow Kansai Ki-in player Sonoda Yuichi in the play-off, held at the Kansai Ki-in on 30 May. Yuki's previous challenge, for the 22nd title in 1997, was rebuffed by Yoda Norimoto 3-1; he will be hoping to do better against the current title holder, Kobayashi Koichi.
Playing white, Yuki won after just 102 moves after a surprise resignation by Sonoda. Apparently the latter had been pessimistic about his position, so he launched a sudden attack; when this was safely parried, he resigned, though the observers felt that there was still a lot of play left in the game.
The first game of the title match is scheduled for 3 July.
Kisei A League launched
The first two games in the Kisei A league were played at the Nihon Ki-in on 6 June. In one of them, Ryu Shikun 7-dan demonstrated his determination to secure a return match with O Rissei by defeating the player who is probably his most dangerous rival in the A League, Yoda Norimoto. Playing black, Ryu forced a resignation. In the other game, Hane Naoki Tengen (B) bested league newcomer Nakaonoda Tomomi 8-dan, likewise by resignation.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
(29 May) Rin Kanketsu 3-dan (B) defeated Hans Pietsch 4-dan by resig. (Oteai).
(30 May) Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) defeated Hisajima Kunio 9-dan by resig. (2nd preliminary round, Meijin tournament); Catalin Taranu 5-dan (W) defeated Takamure Tetsuro 4-dan by 1 point (Oteai).
(5 June). Oka Nobumitsu 6-dan (B) defeated Pietsch 4-dan by resig. (2nd prelim. round, Oza tournament).
(6 June). Taranu 5-dan (B) defeated Nabeshima Akira 7-dan by resig. (prelim. round, Oza tournament).
The following players have won promotions during the last two weeks in the spring session of the Oteai (rating tournament):
9-dan: Enda Hideki
To 8-dan: Akiyama Jiro
To 7-dan: Oki Keiji, Miyagawa Fumihiko
To 6-dan: Kanno Masashi
Obituary: Inagaki Koichi
Inagaki Koichi 9-dan died on 21 May 2002. Inagaki had retired on 31 May 2001 and subsequently been promoted to 9-dan. He was born on 20 June 1936, became 1-dan in 1953 and reached 8-dan in 1983. Yo 3-dan, is also a professional player.
Fujitsu Cup quarterfinals
The quarterfinals of the 15th Fujitsu Cup were held on the Korean resort island of Cheju on 1 June. They were another triumph for Korea, which had three players advance to the semifinals. They are joined by O Meien Honinbo, playing for Japan.
O defeated the new young Korean star Pak Yeong-hyeon 3-dan, current holder of the Bacchus Cup-Chunweon title; playing black, O forced a resignation. The other Japanese representative still in the tournament, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan, suffered his first loss this year when Yi Ch'ang-ho of Korea, playing white, forced him to resignaiton. The other Yi, Se-tol 3-dan, defeated Zhou Junxun of Chinese Taipei by 7.5 points playing black. In the fourth game, Yu Ch'ang-hyeok of Korea (B) beat Kong Jie of China by 6.5 points.
The semifinals will be held in Osaka on 6 July and the pairings are O vs. Yu and Yi vs. Yi.
Kato scores first win in Honinbo title match
Kato Masao, the 55-year-old challenger for the 57th Honinbo title, made a bad start when he lost the first two games of the match, but he has come good in the third game, played at the Aoshima Palm Beach Hotel in Miyazaki City on 6 & 7 June. Taking black, he forced O Meien to resignaiton after 195 moves. Despite a cold and a high temperature, O Meien, the defending champion, had made a good start on the first day, playing an adventurous fuseki, but on the second day a dubious strategic decision let Kato take the lead. Kato played quickly, using only four hours 36 minutes of his eight-hour time allowance, so the game finished unusually early, at 3:59 p.m. on the second day. (O was down to his last two minutes.)
The fourth game will be played in Yu-no-yama Hot Spring in Mie Prefecture on 12 & 13 June.
China's 14th victory in WAGC
For the second year in a row and the 14th time overall, China has won the World Amateur Go Championship. Fu Li 6-dan, a 28-year-old go coach, swept through the tournament with eight wins in a row, making SOS and SOSOS calculations irrelevant. The key games game in the fifth and sixth rounds, when he defeated his main rivals, Hong Mal Eun Saem of Korea and Kikuchi Yasuro of Japan, who finished second and third respectively. He then rounded off the tournament by besting the fourth-place-getter, Ri Pong-il of North Korea, in the final round.
This year a record total of 61 countries took part in the tournament, which was held in the city of Hida Takayama in Gifu Prefecture from 2~6 June. The eight prize winners are listed below.
1st: Fu Li 6-dan (China) 8-0
2nd: Hong Mal Eun Saem 7-dan (Korea) 7-1
3rd: Kikuchi Yasuro 8-dan (Japan) 6-2
4th: Ri Pong-il 7-dan (DPR Korea) 6-2
5th: Victor Guang Chow 7-dan (South Africa) 6-2
6th: Cristian Pop 6-dan (Romania) 6-2
7th: Yu Cheng-juei 7-dan (Chinese Taipei) 5-3
8th: Yiming Guo 7-dan (Australia) 5-3
The Asada Shizuo Fighting Spirit Prize was won by Alexis Hernandez of Venezuela, who scored four wins and took 37th place, an improvement of 21 places on his country's performance last year.
Yamashita grabs share of Meijin-league lead
In a crucial sixth-round game in the 27th Meijin league, played at the Nihon Ki-in on 6 June, Yamashita Keigo 7-dan defeated Cho Chikun Oza and so drew level with him on 5-1. Playing white, Yamashita earned a resignation from Cho.
One other game was played on the same day. Rin Kaiho (B) defeated Cho Sonjin 9-dan by resignation. Rin goes to 3-3 while Cho drops to 1-6, making demotion from the league unavoidable.
At this stage, the other players still in the running if Cho Chikun or Yamashita falter are O Meien Honinbo (4-2), Ryu Shikun 7-dan (3-2), and, with an outside chance, Rin.
O wins second game of Honinbo title match
The second game of the 57th Honinbo best-of-seven title match (sponsored by the Manichi Newspaper) was held at the Clayton Bay Hotel in Kure City, Hiroshima Prefecture, on 24 & 25 May. Playing black, O Meien scored a decisive win, beating Kato Masao by 13.5 points. That gives the Honinbo a 2-0 lead, so he has made a good start in defending his title.
Kato is going to have to rethink his strategy in the third game, scheduled for 6 & 7 June.