- Birth of a new world champion
- Yoda wins first Kisei-league game
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- Honorary titles
- Japanese players all eliminated in 7th Samsung qualifying tournament
- Cho Chikun to challenge for Meijin title
Birth of a new world champion
The 15th Fujitsu Cup final, held in Tokyo on 3 August,witnessed the birth of the second teenaged world champion,a Korean, of course. The final paired the multi-world-title winner Yu Ch'ang-hyeok against the 19-year-old Yi Se-tol 3-dan (mentioning his dan is a little meaningless, perhaps). Playing white, Yi beat Yu by half a point and so succeeded in winning a world championship on his second appearance in a final. In the play-off for third place, O Meien (B) beat Yi Ch'ang-ho by half a point.
Yoda wins first Kisei-league game
Yoda Norimoto made a bad start in the 27th Kisei A league, losing his first two games. On 1 August, the same day that the challenger for Yoda's Meijin title was decided, he finally won his first game. Playing white, he defeated Nakaonoda Tomomi 8-dan by resignation. However, whatever happens in the league, Yoda cannot win it, as either Ryu Shikun or Yamashita Keigo is guaranteed to finish above him, thanks to their higher rankings.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
(29 July) Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (W) beat Michael Redmond 9-dan by 4.5 points (2nd prelim. section, Oza tournament).
Both Rin Kaiho and Otake Hideo have turned 60 (on 6 and 12 May respectively), so they have qualified for honorary titles. Rin is Honorary Tengen and Otake is Honorary Gosei. Rin qualified by winning the Tengen title five years in a row and Otake the Gosei six years in a row.
Japanese players all eliminated in 7th Samsung qualifying tournament
The qualifying tournament for the 7th Samsung Cup was held in Seoul from 25 to 29 July. A number of players from the main go-playing countries or areas are seeded in the main tournament, but, unlike other international titles, participation in the qualifying tournament is open to all professionals.
This year a record 72 players from the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in made the trip to Seoul to take part, but unfortunately not one made it through to the main tournament. Eight players, including Sakai Hideyuki, former WAGC champion, made it to the final round of the qualifying tournament, but they all lost. That means that only the seeded Japanese players will compete for the Samsung cup this year (they are Hane Naoki, Kobayashi Satoru, Takemiya Masaki, O Meien, and Yamada Kimio). Just for reference, six Korean players and ten Chinese players won places through the qualifying tournament.
Cho Chikun to challenge for Meijin title
The final round of the 27th Meijin league was held at the Nihon Ki-in on 1 August. Only three players were still in the running: Cho Chikun, Ryu Shikun and Yamashita Keigo, but Cho was one point ahead of the other two. Ryu needed Cho to lose his final game and, of course, he had to win his. Yamashita was in a more difficult position: he needed both Cho and Ryu to lose, in which case he would have qualified for a play-off with Cho.
As it turned out, Cho won his final game, so he won the league outright with a 7-1 score. His opponent was Cho Sonjin; playing white, Cho forced a resignation. Ryu and Yamashita also both won their games. Playing black, Ryu beat Rin Kaiho by resignation; likewise playing black, Yamashita beat O Rissei by the same margin. In the fourth game, O Meien (black) beat Kato Honinbo by 1.5 points.
The finals placings in the league are as follows:
2nd: Ryu 6-2
3rd: Yamashita 6-2
4th: O Meien 5-3
5th: Rin Kaiho 4-4
6th: tie between O Rissei and Hikosaka Naoto, both on 3-5, who will have a play-off.
8th: Kato and Cho Sonjin, on 1-7.
The first game of the title match between Cho and Yoda Norimoto will be held in Beijing on 11 & 12 September.Ominous historical note for Yoda: Cho has never lost a best-of-seven challenge.