- Cho takes lead in Honinbo title match
- 28th Kisei leagues
- Korea and China do well in LG Cup 2nd round
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- Cho evens score in Honinbo title match
- Opening rounds of 8th LG Cup
- Both Kisei leagues under way
- Meijin league
- Korea triumphs in Fujitsu quarterfinals, but Yoda survives
- Yamashita keeps lead in Meijin league
- 8th LG Cup on
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-inw
- Yoda is Gosei challenger
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
Cho takes lead in Honinbo title match
With black having won the first four games in the 58th Honinbo title matches, go writers have been speculating that the first player to win with the 'reverse colour', that is, white, would gain a huge advantage. The first player to make this breakthrough is the challenger, Cho U 8-dan. In the fifth game, played in Gero Hot Spring in Gifu Prefecture on 25 and 26 June, Cho played very skilfully and, after 260 moves, secured a win by 5.5 points. This gives him a lead of 3-2 and puts him just one win away from taking his first big title. The crucial sixth game will be played in Hita City in Oita Prefecture on 10 and 11 July.
The game ended at 5:37 p.m. on the second day.
28th Kisei leagues
One game was played in each Kisei league on 26 June. In the A league, the deposed title holder made a good start on the comeback trail: O Rissei 9-dan (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan by resignation. In the B league, the 2002 challenger Ryu Shikun 9-dan got off to a bad start; taking white, he lost to Awaji Shuzo 9-dan by resig.
These games complete the first round in both leagues.
Korea and China do well in LG Cup 2nd round
It was business as usual in the second round of the 8th LG Cup, held in Seoul on 19 June, with six Korean players winning their way through to the quarterfinal round, scheduled to be held in Shanghai on 28 October. However, two top Chinese players also won, so China has improved on its poor performance in this year's Fujitsu Cup, where its last players were eliminated in the second round. This time it was Japan that met with this dismal fate.
Unfortunately for Western go fans, the two Western players who won in the first round, were eliminated in the second.
Incidentally, there's yet another Korean teenager who has emerged in this tournament: the 18-year-old Kim Chu-ho, who has beaten strong opponents in Ryu Shikun 9-dan of Japan in the first round and Zhou Heyang 9-dan of China in the second. There seems to be no limit to the supply of young talent in Korea.
The results:Round 2 (19 June, Seoul)
Yi Se-tol 7-dan (Korea) (W) d. Yu Bin 9-dan (China) by 2.5.; Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (W) d. Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) by 5.5; Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (B) d. Song T'ae-kon 4-dan (Korea) by half a point;Kim Chu-ho 3-dan (B) d. Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) by resig.; Mok (B) d. Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Cho Chikun by resig.; Cho Han-seung 6-dan (Korea) (W) d. Dinerchtein by resig.; Weon Seong-chin 5-dan (Korea) (B) d. Redmond by resig.
Quarterfinal pairings (28 October, Shanghai)
Yi Ch'ang-ho vs. Kim; Yi Se-tol vs. Cho; Chang Hao vs. Weon; Wang Lei vs. Mok.
To 3-dan: Kim Hyon-jon
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
With all the action taking place in international tournaments, we have only one result to report from Japanese domestic tournaments.
(12 June) Kim Hyon-jon 2-dan (W) defeated Catalin Taranu by resignation (Kisei Preliminary C).
Cho evens score in Honinbo title match
The 58th Honinbo best-of-seven title match is turning into a very tight race, with neither side giving any ground. So far, Black has won every game, and observers have been commenting that the first player to win a game with white will gain an enormous advantage. That in turn puts a lot of pressure on the players to make doubly sure that they win when they have black. So far, neither player has wilted under this pressure, so we may get a repeat of this year's Judan title match, in which Black won every game.
The fourth game of the title match was played at the Biwa Lake Hotel in Otsu City (not far from Kyoto) on 16 & 17 June. Cho U 8-dan, the challenger, had black and he forced a resignation after 223 moves. Actually, although Black has won all the games so far, that's not to say that he's had an easy time of it. Just like the preceding games, this one was a fiercely fought affair, with White doing everything he could to undermine Black's advantage from having the first move. Cho had to keep his cool and play with precision to handle the pressure generated by Kato. Around move 78, after successfully invading Black's moyo, Kato managed to draw level with Cho; later, after surviving an attack by Cho on a large group, Kato even seemed to have the lead. However, Cho took advantage of a dubious move by Kato and secured the lead. The gap widened during the endgame, so Kato had to resignaiton.
The game ended at 5:24 p.m. on the 17th. Cho had 9 minutes left and Kato one hour 51 minutes. The fifth game will be played at Gero Hot Spring in Gifu Prefecture on 25 & 26 June.
Opening rounds of 8th LG Cup
After a delay because of the SARS epidemic, the opening round of the 8th LG Cup were held in Seoul on 17 June. There was one spectacular upset, with the European representative defeating one of the world's top players. Alexandr Dinerchtein, playing white, managed to edge O Rissei 9-dan by 1.5 points after 270 moves. As a win by the underdog, this rivals the victory by the late Hans Pietsch over Yoda Norimoto in another international tournament a few years ago in Seoul.
Michael Redmond, representing the US, also won a second-round place with a good win over O Meien. Of the Far Eastern countries, China did best with three wins, followed by Korea with two and Japan with just one. However, all the eight seeded players are Koreans, so there will be ten Koreans in the second round, being played on 19 June.
Round 1 (17 June, Seoul)
Mok Chin-seok 6-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Hane Naoki 9-dan (Japan) by resig.;
Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (W) d. Zhou Junxun (Chinese Taipei) by 5.5;
A. Dinerchtein 1-dan (Europe) (W) d. O Rissei 9-dan (Japan) by 1.5;
Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) (W) d. An Cho-yeong 7-dan by resig.;
Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (B) d. Hong Chang-sik 4-dan (Korea) by resig.;
Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (W) d. An Yeong-kil 5-dan (Korea) by resig.;
Michael Redmond 9-dan (USA) (W) d. O Meien 9-dan (Japan) by resig.;
Kim Chu-ho 3-dan (Korea) d. Ryu Shikun 9-dan (Japan) by 2.5 points.
Both Kisei leagues under way
The first games in the 28th Kisei A league were played on 12 June plus the second game in the B league.
In the A league, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (W) beat Ishida Yoshio by resignation and Hane Naoki Tengen (B) beat Imamura Yoshiaki, also by resignation. In the B league, Cho U 8-dan (W) beat Yoda Norimoto Meijin by resignation. The last is a significant result, as naturally Yoda had started out as one of the favourites to become the challenger.
Two games were played in the 28th Meijin league on 12 June. In one, O Rissei Judan (B) beat Cho Chikun 9-dan by 6.5 points. In the other, O Meien Oza (W) beat Takemiya Masaki 9-dan by resignation. The first three players are now all on 3-3, which means they have a good chance of keeping their league places, though they are all out of the running for first place. In sad contrast is the dismal form of Takemiya, who seems to have forgotten how to win.
Korea triumphs in Fujitsu quarterfinals, but Yoda survives
The quarterfinals of the 16th Fujitsu Cup, held in Tokyo on 7 June, were yet another triumph for Korea, which won three out of four games, but there is a ray of hope for Japan: Yoda Norimoto made the semifinals and his superb form in this tournament continues.
Yoda Norimoto 9-dan (Japan) (W) defeated Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) by reisg.
Yi Se-tol 7-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (Japan) by 6.5 points.
Yi Ch'ang-ho (Korea) (B) defeated O Rissei by 4.5 points.
Song T'ae-kon 4-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Takao Shinji 8-dan (Japan) by half a point.
The semifinals are scheduled to be played at the Nihon Ki-in on 5 July, and the pairings are: Yoda vs. Yi Se-tol and Yi Ch'ang-ho vs. Song.
Yamashita keeps lead in Meijin league
Yamashita Keigo Kisei is making a strong bid to become the Meijin challenger. Two games in the 28th Meijin league were played at the Nihon Ki-in on 5 June. In one, playing white, Yamashita defeated Mizokami Tomochika 8-dan by 7.5 points. As a result, he extended his unbroken record to 6-0. Mizokami now faces certain demotion from the league on a 1-6 score.
In the other game, Rin Kaiho kept alive his outside chance - admittedly looking slimmer and slimmer - of becoming challenger by defeating Ryu Shikun 9-dan; Rin had black and won by 1.5 points. On 5-2 now, Rin needs to win his remaining game (against Cho Chikun) and Yamashita to lose his last two games to draw even. However, in this eventuality they would both have to watch out for the player currently in second place, Cho U, who is on 5-1. Cho and Yamashita still have to play each other.
Rin's opponent Ryu dropped to 2-4, so he is also faced with the prospect of demotion from the league.
8th LG Cup on
The opening rounds of the 8th LG Cup had been postponed because of the SARS epidemic, but they are now scheduled to be held in Seoul on 17 and 19 June. Unfortunately for Japan, two top players, Yamashita Kisei and Kato Honinbo, who had been scheduled to take part, have now had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. Their places will be taken by Cho Chikun and Ryu Shikun.
The other Japanese participants are O Rissei, Hane Naoki, and O Meien. They join 12 Korean players (four of them seeded as the 1st to 4th place-getters last year), four Chinese players, one from Taiwan, Michael Redmond representing North America and Alexandr Dinerchtein playing for Europe.
The following players have earned promotions by the transitional Oteai system.
To 7-dan: Tsurumaru Keiichi, Kono Rin
To 3-dan: Ohashi Hirofumi, Iyama Yuta
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
(5 June) Sakai Eio 6-dan (B) beat Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resig. (Preliminary C, Gosei tournament).
Yoda is Gosei challenger
The play-off to decide the 28th Gosei challenger was held at the Nihon Ki-in on 29 May. Playing white, Yoda Norimoto Meijin defeated Akiyama Jiro 8-dan by 2.5 points, so he earned the right to challenge Kobayashi Koichi for the title.
The first game of the title match will be played in Nagano City on 1 July 2003.
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
(22 May) Ogaki Yusaku 8-dan (W) defeated Michael Redmond 9-dan by resignation (3rd preliminary section, Honinbo tournament).
(29 May) Yamamori Tadanao 4-dan (W) defeated Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resig. (B Preliminary, Okan tournament).
To 5-dan: Rin Kanketsu
To 4-dan: Katsura Atsushi