- Hane reaches semifinals of 4th Chunlan Cup
- Okada Yumiko wins first title
- 28th Meijin league
- 58th Honinbo league: Cho and O Meien share lead
- Redmond's winning streak ends
- Name change
- Cho U makes good start in Meijin league
- Rin picks up first win in Honinbo league
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- O Meien wins first Oza title
- Amateur tournaments adopt new komi
- Cho Chikun wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off
- Cho U takes lead in Honinbo league
- Meijin league
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- New Meijin league gets under way
- 58th Honinbo league
- 41st Judan tournament
- Western professionals
Hane reaches semifinals of 4th Chunlan Cup
After a half-year gap (the second round was held in Beijing on 20 May), the quarterfinals of this Chinese-sponsored international tournament were held on 26 December, with the following results.
Hane Naoki 9-dan (B) beat Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) by resignation.
Luo Xihe 9-dan (China) (B) beat Yuki Satoshi by 1.5 points.
Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea)(B) beat Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) by resig.
Chang Hao 9-dan (China)(B) beat Cho U 7-dan (Japan) by resig.
Despite the large komi of 7.5 points, Black won all games. As befitting a Chinese-sponsored tournament, China got two players into the semifinals to Japan's one and Korea's one. Japan will be encouraged by the success of Hane Naoki, who has scored his best result so far in an international tournament.
Pairings for the semifinals, being held on 28 December, are Hane vs. Luo and Chang vs. Yi.
Okada Yumiko wins first title
Okada Yumiko 5-dan, who is the daughter of Abe Yoshiteru 9-dan, won her first title when she defeated Umezawa Yukari 5-dan in the final of the 4th Strongest Woman Player title. The final was held at the Ryusei Studio in Ichigaya in Tokyo on 16 December. Playing white, Okada won by 8.5 points. Okada followed the well-established precedent in women's go in Japan of pregnant players winning titles ? she is due to have her third child next May. Umezawa failed in her bid for her first title.
The time allowance in this tournament is usually three hours per player, with the final five minutes going for byo-yomi, but this game was televised, so the allowance was changed to one hour each, followed by 30-second byo-yomi.
28th Meijin league
On 19 December, Rin Kaiho (W) defeated Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan by 1.5 points (komi was 6.5) in their first-round game in the league. Mizokami has got off to a bad start in his league debut.
58th Honinbo league: Cho and O Meien share lead
One game in the 58th Honinbo league was played on Boxing Day. Taking white, O Meien Oza defeated Cho Sonjin 9-dan by resignation. That took O to 3-0, so he shares the lead in the league with Cho U. Cho Sonjin has dropped back to 1-2 and will have to worry about keeping his league place.
Redmond's winning streak ends
Michael Redmond had had a good winning streak over six games that included wins over Cho U 7-dan and Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan. Unfortunately, it came to an end last week when he lost a game in the 2nd preliminary section of the 42nd Judan tournament to Suzuki Yoshimichi 6-dan. Playing black, he lost by 1.5 points.
That was the only game played by a Western professional last week, and none were played this week.
To 7-dan: Mizuma Toshifumi
Koyama Mitsuru has changed her name a second time. Born Nishida Terumi, she played under that name until late 1999, even after marrying Koyama Ryugo 6-dan. At that point, her legal name would have changed to Koyama Terumi, and she has now adopted it as her professional name as well (as of 7 December).
Cho U makes good start in Meijin league
The third game in the first round of the 28th Meijin league was held at the Nihon Ki-in on 12 December. It matched two players who are both expected to do well in the league: O Rissei, who is the only player to hold two of the top seven titles (Kisei and Judan), and Cho U 7-dan, who has been enjoying marvellous form recently.
The game started with a very unusual variation of a standard joseki, initiated by Cho U, who was playing black. Both players were dissatisfied with the result, which meant that they both played all-out thereafter. The lead switched back and forth; finally the players in the pressroom concluded that O had the lead, but actually it was the other way round. O resigned after 231 moves, so Cho, playing in his first Meijin league, has got off to a good start.
In the other games played so far, Yamashita Keigo has defeated Takemiya Masaki and O Meien has defeated Ryu Shikun.
With this win, Cho further extended the new record he has set for most wins in one year. He is up to 67 wins, with two weeks to go (the old record was 63 wins).
Rin picks up first win in Honinbo league
One game in the third round of the 58th Honinbo league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 12 December. Taking black, Rin Kaiho 9-dan defeated Ryu Shikun 7-dan by resignation. Both Rin and Ryu are now on 1-2. The current leaders are Cho U 7-dan on 3-0 and O Meien on 2-0.
Two players won promotions last week. They are Cho Riyu, a disciple of O Rissei, who has made 6-dan, and Ms. Hosaka Mayu, a disciple of Kobayashi Koichi, who is now 3-dan.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
Michael Redmond scored a good win over a former title holder last week. In the main section of the Gosei tournament, he defeated Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan; playing black, Michael won by 3.5 points. Four more wins and he will be the challenger. In the next round, he will face Ishii Kunio 9-dan. The game was played on 12 December.
In an Oteai game played on 11 December, Hans Pietsch 4-dan (W) lost to Shudo Shun 3-dan by resignation.
O Meien wins first Oza title
Once again the Oza title has changed hands: after just one year in the custody of Cho Chikun, it has been transferred to O Meien. This will be some consolation for O for losing his Honinbo title earlier in the year.
The fifth game was held in the town of Toi in Shizuoka Prefecture on 12 November. It ended at 9:20 p.m., after 174 moves, with O Meien (white) earning a resignation from Cho Chikun. O had 18 minutes of his five-hour time allowance left, while Cho was back to usual, being down to his last minute of byo-yomi. This win gave O the title with a 3-2 score.
This is O's first Oza title and only his fifth title overall. Once again, Cho Chikun finds himself in the unfamiliar position of not having a title to his name.
Amateur tournaments adopt new komi
The Nihon Ki-in has announced that it will adopt the new komi of 6.5 points for all tournaments it organizes, beginning on 1 January 2003. It will be interesting to see if the International Go Federation follows suit for the World Amateur Go Championship.
Cho Chikun wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off
Japan has maintained its perfect record in the Japan-China Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off. In the 4th play-off, held in Tokyo on 5 December, Cho Chikun (B) defeated Yu Bin 9-dan of China by 5.5 points.
On the same day, an unofficial game was held between the youngest players at the Japanese and Chinese Ki-ins. This ended in a victory for Chen Yaoye 3-dan of China, who forced Iyama Yuta 2-dan to resignaiton after 214 moves. Chen was born on 16 December 1989; Iyama on 24 May of the same year.
Cho U takes lead in Honinbo league
The first game in the third round of the 58th Honinbo league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 2 December. Cho U 7-dan (W) defeated Cho Chikun Oza by resignation, so, for a while at least, Cho U, who is on 3-0, has the sole lead. The only other unbeaten player is O Meien 9-dan, who is on 2-0. Cho Chikun drops back to 1-2.
Another third-round game was played on 5 December. Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (W) defeated Kobayashi Koichi Gosei by 4.5 points. That gave Yamashita his first win in the league; Kobayashi is on the same score, 1-2.
The second game in the opening round of the 28th Meijin league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 5 December. O Meien 9-dan (W) defeated Ryu Shikun 7-dan by resignation.
To 7-dan: Iguchi Hideichiro
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
||Hans Pietsch 4-dan (B) defeated Kanno Masashi 6-dan by resig. (Oteai).
||Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) defeated Cho U 7-dan by 1.5 points (2nd preliminary section, Tengen tournament).
New Meijin league gets under way
The first game in the 28th Meijin league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 28 November. There were two noteworthy points about the game. First, the Meijin league usually gets underway in December, but this game was brought forward a little. The reason was the busy schedule of one of the players, who has become the Kisei challenger. The other point is that it was played with a 6.5-point komi. We expected the komi to be introduced when a completely new term of the Meijin tournament started, but it has been adopted immediately in the league, even though the qualifying rounds preceding the league used the old komi.
The opening game featured a clash between Yamashita Keigo 7-dan and Takemiya Masaki 9-dan. Takemiya, who had white, made a costly slip in the middle game, after which Yamashita took a firm grip on the lead. The game finished quite early, at 5:04 pm, with Takemiya resigning.
58th Honinbo league
Cho Chikun showed that he is only human in his second-round game in the Honinbo league. He hallucinated about the life and death of a group and had to resignaiton after just 144 moves. Apparently he had had a promising position before this mistake. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 25 November and Ryu had white. Both players are now 1-1.
41st Judan tournament
Takao Shinji 7-dan has secured a place in the final of the Losers'Section of the 41st Judan tournament. He did this by defeating Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan in the semifinal, played on 28 November. Playing black, he forced a resignation.
The final will be held in January, and his opponent will be Cho Chikun. The winner will then meet the winner of the winners' section, Yamashita Keigo 7-dan, in the play-off to decide the challenger to O Rissei.
To 6-dan: Takano Hideki
To 2-dan: Mitani Tetsuya
As of 30 November, Morishima Kaoru 7-dan, a member of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in, retired from active play.
Western members of the Nihon Ki-in had mixed success last week.
||Kono Rin 6-dan (B) defeated Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resignation(Kisei preliminary).
||Ikezaki Tokinori 4-dan (B) defeated Taranu 5-dan by forfeit(Oteai).
||Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) defeated Nakamura Hidehito 9-dan by half a point (2nd prelim. section, Judan).