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History of Topics 2004

January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Yamada makes good start in Gosei challenge
  • Yi Ch'ang-ho wins Teda Cup
  • Yoda survives first kadoban in Honinbo title match
  • Kobayashi Satoru makes good start in Kisei league
  • Mizokami and Sakai to make international debut
  • A loss for Michael Redmond
  • Kudo elected Vice Chairman
  • Death of Kamimura Kunio
  • Cho one win away from defending Honinbo title
  • Chunlan Cup final: Korea vs. China
  • Cho U loses sole lead in the Meijin league
  • Kisei leagues
  • Kato elected Chairman of Board of Directors
  • Korean representative wins 25th JAL Cup World Amateur Go Championship
  • 29th Kisei leagues start
  • Meijin league
  • 17th Fujitsu Cup: Three Koreans and Yoda make the semifinals
  • 5th Chunlan Cup
  • Yoda scores first win in Honinbo title match
  • First four selections for the Go Hall of Fame

30 June

Yamada makes good start in Gosei challenge

  Yamada Kimio 8-dan has made a good start in his challenge for the 29th Gosei title, winning the opening game of the title match by half a point. Yamada,aged 31, is playing in what is only his third title match -- he won the Oza title in 1997, but lost it the following year -- but he took 2nd place in the 5th Samsung Cup in 2000.
  The first game of the title match was played at the Sansuien Inn in Kochi City on 29 June. The game took an unusual turn very early in the middle game when Yamada (white) deserted a group of six stones in the centre; while Yoda was capturing them, Yamada played three moves around a black corner stone. This unusual trade set the tone for the game, which was full of unusual fighting featuring more surprising tenukis and trades. As often happens with hectic games like this, the final margin could not have been more narrow.
  This win takes Yamada's career record against Yoda to 7-2. He must like his chances now of taking his second big-seven title.

28 June

Yi Ch'ang-ho wins Teda Cup

On the 12 and 13 June, a special invitational tournament, called the Teda Cup, was held in the city of Tianjin (formerly known as Tientsin), with one top player from each of China, Korea and Japan participating. Organized by the Chinese Weiqi Association and the Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the latter. It was sponsored by the Tianjin Teda Company. (The tournament actually has a very long name, which goes something like the Teda Cup Sino-Japanese-Korean World Weiqi Super Star Championship.)
  Invited to participate were Kong Jie from China, Yi Ch'ang-ho from Korea, and Yoda Norimoto from Japan. First prize was $20,000, second $15,000 and third $10,000.
  Lots were drawn to decide who would start out in the first round. This turned out to be Yi and Kong, while Yoda went straight to the final. Conditions for the first-round game were the same as in the NHK Cup (that is, 30 seconds a move, with ten minutes' thinking time to be used at will in one-minute units). According to Go Weekly, Yi scored an easy win over Kong, but the details of the game were not given.
  The final was played according to standard international rules, that is, with three hours per player. Here, too, Yi scored a convincing win; playing white, he won by 6.5 points. Yi thus took revenge for his loss to Yoda in the Fujitsu Cup in the previous week. This win evens the score between the two at 8-8 (their first game was played in 1991).
  This is the second such invitational tournament. In 1996, two Korean sponsors organized the China-Japan-Korea Meijin Play-off, which was also won by Yi Ch'ang-ho (he scored 4-0, Takemiya Masaki 2-2, and Ma Xiaochun 0-4). Yi has now won 19 regular international tournaments and these two limited-participation invitational tournaments.
  It is planned to hold the tournament again next year.

Yoda survives first kadoban in Honinbo title match

  With his back to the wall, Yoda Norimoto Meijin is offering stout resistance in the 59th Honinbo title match and has survived his first kadoban. In the fifth game, played in Hiratsuka City on 24 and 25 June, Yoda (black) scored a convincing win, forcing a resignation after 203 moves. One more win and the match will be even.
  The sixth game will be played on 8 & 9 July.

Kobayashi Satoru makes good start in Kisei league

  First, a correction to previous reports. Go Weekly mixed up the names of the leagues initially, calling the A League the B League and vice versa. The league headed by Yamashita Keigo is the A League and the one by Cho Chikun the B League.
  The final first-round game in the B League was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 21 June. Taking white, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan beat Cho U Honinbo by resignation.
  In the A League, Mimura Tomoyasu, Yoda Norimoto, and Ryu Shikun have started with wins and Yamashita Keigo, O Meien, and Miyazawa Goro have started with losses. In the B League, Cho Chikun, O Rissei and Kobayashi Satoru have started well, as the expense of Cho U, Imamura Yoshiaki, and Yuki Satoshi.

Mizokami and Sakai to make international debut

  he first two of the seven nonseeded Japanese places in the 2nd Toyota & Denso Cup were decided on 24 June. In one final, Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan (B) defeated Takemiya Masaki 9-dan by 5.5 points. In the other, former WAGC champion Sakai Hideyuki 6-dan defeated Ogata Masaki 9-dan by resignation.
  Both players will be representing their country for the first time. Sakai will be the first Japanese player to play in both an amateur and a professional world championship.
  The following players are seeded: Yoda Meijin, Cho Honinbo, and Yamashita Keigo 9-dan. The opening rounds are scheduled for 23 and 25 August.

A loss for Michael Redmond

  June has not been a good month for Michael Redmond. He was scheduled to play only one game and the result went against him by the narrowest margin. On 24 June, Kubo Hideo 5-dan (B) him by half a point in Preliminary A of the Meijin tournament.

Kudo elected Vice Chairman

  At a meeting of the Nihon Ki-in Board of Directors held last week, Kudo Norio 9-dan was elected Vice Chairman. He filled the post vacated by Kato Masao 9-dan, who had been elevated to Chairman. Kudo became a director of the Nihon Ki-in two years ago as a member of the new board chosen to reform its administration. He remains the director in charge of the Liaison Division, which, among other duties, organizes professional tournaments and to which the Overseas Department is attached.

Death of Kamimura Kunio

  We regret to have to report the death of Kamimura Kunio 9-dan, aged 58, on 25 June from a lymphatic tumour.
  Born on 18 March 1946, Kamimura was a disciple of Kitani Minoru. Just a little older than the famous Kitani trio of Kato Masao, Ishida Yoshio and Takemiya Masaki, he never achieved their success, but he was widely respected for his ability and his insight. He was a superb game commentator, and a number of his commentaries have been published in Go World in recent years. His main success was entering the 14th Meijin league. His wife was the former women's amateur champion Tsutsumi Kayoko.

22 June

Cho one win away from defending Honinbo title

  The fourth game of the 59th Honinbo title match was played in the town of Koya in Wakayama Prefecture (this town is located on Mt. Koya and is a centre of the Buddhist Shingon sect founded by Kobo Daishi). The usual party on the eve of the game was held in a hall of the Mt. Koya University (a Buddhist university) and it started with an impressive performance of chanting by Buddhist monks.
  The game itself was played in the Sojiin, a temple where Iwamoto Kaoru and Hashimoto Utaro had played the deciding best-of-three match after the 3rd Honinbo title match ended in a 3-3 draw (it was the second game of the original match that was being played in a suburb of Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city).
  Both Yoda and Cho have been extremely busy recently, with overseas trips crowding their schedules. It seemed to be having more effect on Cho, who had just lost five games in a row, including important games in the Fujitsu and Chunlan Cups. However, he recovered form in this game, negotiating his way through some very difficult middle-game fighting. Yoda played well, making some surprising tenukis to develop rapidly, but he made a miscalculation in the late middle game. He played a couple of moves in the centre that seemed to threaten an enemy group, but Cho ignored him and later skilfully settled his group when Yoda attacked it. That decided the game.
  Cho (B) won by 7.5 points and so took a 3-1 lead in the series. Yoda has not been playing badly, but luck has not been on his side. He now faces his first kadoban when the fifth game is played on 24 and 25 June.

Chunlan Cup final: Korea vs. China

  The semifinals of the 5th Chunlan Cup, the Chinese-sponsored international tournament, were held in Ningbo in China on 10 June. There were three Chinese semifinalists to one Korean, but the pairing in the final is Korea vs. China. Actually, this is an improvement for China, as it failed to make the final in the third and fourth cups.
  The Korean player is Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan, of course, who won the 4th Cup. Playing black, he defeated Hu Yaoyu 7-dan by 1.5 points. In the other semifinal, Zhou Heyang (W) 9-dan defeated Peng Chuan 5-dan by 8.5 points.
  The dates for the best-of-three final have not yet been decided. Zhou has done quite well against Yi in the past, so perhaps China will finally win its own tournament.

Cho U loses sole lead in the Meijin league

  Yamashita Keigo may have no title to his name now, but he has shown that he is still a force to be reckoned with by sabotaging the sole leader of the 29th Meijin league. In a game played at the Nihon Ki-in on 14 June, Yamashita (B) defeated Cho U by resignation, improving his own score to 4-3 and dragging Cho U down into a tie for first place on 5-2. Even happier at this result than Yamashita would be Kobayashi Satoru, the other player on 5-2.
  In another league game, played at the Nihon Ki-in on 17 June, Imamura Toshiya 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in (W) defeated O Rissei Judan by resignation in what some players hailed as a masterpiece for Imamura.
  As a result of the above games, the league has been thrown wide open. Cho U is slated to play Cho Chikun in his final game and Kobayashi Satoru will be matched against O Meien. If both players lose, there are five players who will suddenly find themselves in contention: Yamashita on 4-3 and, all on 3-3, O Rissei, O Meien, Imamura and Yamada Kimio.
  There could be an interesting finish to the league. Incidentally, only the top two players in a multiple tie qualify for the play-off. Cho U is guaranteed a place, but Kobayashi Satoru could be supplanted by O Rissei or O Meien.

Kisei leagues

  One game was played in each Kisei league on 17 June. In the A league, Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, (W) beat Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan by resignation. Cho is thus already doing better in this league than in the almost-completed Meijin league.
  In the B league, Ryu Shikun 9-dan (W) defeated O Meien, also by resignation.

Kato elected Chairman of Board of Directors

  At a meeting of the Nihon Ki-in Board of Directors held on 8 June, Kato Masao 9-dan, who had been serving as the Acting Chairman following the resignations for health reasons of Toshimitsu Matsuo and Imanaka Akio, was elected as Chairman.
  Kato is the fifth active go player to serve in this post, following Segoe Kensaku, Iwamoto Kaoru, Hasegawa Akira, and Sakata Eio. Unlike the others, though, who were essentially in the pre-retirement stages of their playing careers, Kato is still a top contender who until less than a year ago held a big-three title. We hope that he can successfully juggle his dual roles at the Nihon Ki-in.
  At the General Meeting of the International Go Federation, held before the 25th World Amateur Go Championship in Kurashiki, Kato was also elected as President of the IGF.

11 June

Korean representative wins 25th JAL Cup World Amateur Go Championship

  The 25th JAL Cup World Amateur Go Championship was held in the city of Kurashiki in western Honshu from 6 to 10 June. The tournament resumed after a one-year gap, as it was cancelled last year because of the SARS epidemic.
  Lee Kang Wook of Korea has scored his country's third WAGC victory, without dropping a game, moreover. Lee is a go instructor from Seoul who was making his debut in this tournament. He clinched victory in the final round with a win over the previous champion, Fu Li of China, who had to be content with third place this time. Second place was taken by Lai Yu-cheng of Chinese Taipei, who had been the joint leader of the tournament after five rounds with Lee but had lost to the latter in the sixth round. Lai's excellent performance included wins over Fu Li in the fifth round and Nakazono Seizo of Japan in the seventh.
  Bernard Helmstetter of France posted the most outstanding performance by a Western player, taking fourth place with a 6-2 score, although he was listed in the program as just a 5-dan. His losses came at the hands of Korea and Chinese Taipei.

The top places:
  1st) LEE Kang Wook 7-dan (Korea): 8-0.
  2nd) LAI Yu-chang 7-dan (Chinese Taipei): 7-1.
  3rd) FU Li 8-dan (China): 6-2.
  4th) Bernhard HELMSTETTER 5-dan (France) 6-2.
  5th) NAKAZONO Seizo 8-dan (Japan): 6-2.
  6th) Xianyu LI 6-dan (Canada): 6-2.
  7th) TONG Ling Ying 5-DAN (Hong Kong China): 6-2.
  8th) Ted NING 7-dan (USA): 6-2
  9th) Laurent HEISER 6-dan (Luxembourg): 6-2.
  10th) Radek Nechanicky 6-dan Czechia: 5-3.

29th Kisei leagues start

  The race to decide the challenger to Hane Naoki for the 29th Kisei title has begun. The A League was the first to get started, with a game played on 3 June. Former Kisei O Rissei Judan (B) defeated the newcomer from the Kansai Ki-in, Yuki Satoshi 9-dan, by half a point to make a good start in his bid to retake his title.
  The B League started a week later, with two games. Yoda Norimoto Meijin maintained his recent dominance over immediate past Kisei, Yamashita Keigo 9-dan, though just by a half-point-margin; Yoda had black. In the other game, Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan (B) beat Miyazawa Goro 9-dan by resignation.

29th Kisei A League (3 June to Autumn 2004)
Place Player/Opponent CC OR CU IY KS YS Score
1 Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo -            
2 O Rissei Judan   -       1 1 - 0
3 Cho U Honinbo     -        
4 Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan       -      
5 Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan         -    
5 Yuki Satoshi 8-dan   0       - 0 - 1

29th Kisei B League (10 June to Autumn 2004)
Place Player/Opponent YK OM MT YN MG RS Score
1 Yamashita Keigo 9-dan -     0     0 - 1
2 O Meien 9-dan   -          
3 Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan     -   1   1 - 0
4 Yoda Norimoto Meijin 1     -     1 - 0
5 Miyazawa Goro 9-dan     0   -   0 - 1
5 Ryu Shikun 9-dan           -  

Meijin league

  Three games in the Meijin league were played recently.
  On 3 June, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (W) defeated Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by resignation, and Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (W) defeated Rin Kaiho 9-dan by resignation. Kobayashi goes to 5-2 and is still very much in the running for first place; he just needs Cho U to make one slip. Cho Chikun worsens his score to a truly dismal 0-6, which is almost unimaginable for a player of his stature. Perhaps he has just written off the league; in any case, his formerly infinitesimal chance of keeping his place has now dropped to zero. At this point, Yamashita was 3-2 and Rin was 3-4.   On 10 June, O Meien 9-dan (W) defeated Yamada Kimio 8-dan by 2.5 points. Both these players are now on 3-3; that means that Yamada has pretty well dropped out of the running for the challengership.

29th Meijin league (4 December 2003 to summer 2004)
Rank Player/opponent YK RK CU OR CC OM KS
1 Yamashita Keigo - 1   0 1 1 0
2 Rin Kaiho 0 - 0 0 1   1
3 Cho U   1 - 1   0 1
4 O Rissei 1 1 0 -   1 0
5 Cho Chikun 0 0     - 0 0
6 O Meien 0   1 0 1 -  
7 Kobayashi Satoru 1 0 0 1 1   -
7 Imamura Toshiya   0 0   1 1 0
7 Yamada Kimio 1 1 0   1 0 0

09 June

17th Fujitsu Cup: Three Koreans and Yoda make the semifinals

  The quarterfinals of the 17th Fujitsu Cup were held at the Nihon Ki-in on 5 June. The good news for Japan is that Yoda Norimoto defeated his big rival Yi Ch'ang-ho, who had been regarded as the favourite. Yoda is joined in the semifinals by two Korean teenagers, Song T'ae-kon and Pak Yeong-hun, the the veteran player Yu Ch'ang-hyeok.
  The semifinals will be played on 3 July and the final and the play-off for third place on 5 July, all at the Nihon Ki-in.

The results:
  Yoda Norimoto 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) by 3.5 points.
  Song T'ae-kon 6-dan (Korea) (B) beat Zhou Junxun 9-dan (Chinese Taipei) by 2.5 points.
  Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 7-dan (Korea) by resignation.
  Pak Yeong-hun 5-dan (Korea) (W) beat Cho U 9-dan (Japan) by resignation.

5th Chunlan Cup

  Just three days after the Fujitsu Cup quarterfinals, two of the participants also competed in the quarterfinals of the Chunlan Cup, which were held in Ningbo in China, and one of them had a better result despite his busy schedule. In contrast to its poor showing in the Fujitsu Cup, China has done well in its own tournament, securing three of the semifinal places. However, the fourth went to the always-dangerous Yi Ch'ang-ho, who is, of course, the favourite.

The results:
  Hu Yaoyu 7-dan (China) ((W) beat Cho U 9-dan (Japan) by resignation.
  Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Chang Hao 9-dan (China) by resignation.
  Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) (W) beat Gu Li 7-dan (China) by resignation.
  Peng Quan 5-dan (China) (W) beat Wang Lei 8-dan (China) by resignation.

02 June

Yoda scores first win in Honinbo title match

  The third game of the 59th Honinbo title match was played in the Toba Seaside Hotel in Toba City, Mie Prefecture, on 31 May & 1 June. Playing black, Yoda Norimoto Meijin picked up his first win, adding greatly to the dramatic interest of the series. The game ended at 18:02 on the 1st, with Cho resigning after 247 moves. Yoda had 11 minutes of his time allowance of eight hours left and Cho 51 minutes.
  The fourth game will be played on 17 & 18 June.

First four selections for the Go Hall of Fame

  As one of the events to celebrate its 80th anniversary, the Nihon Ki-in has founded a Go Hall of Fame, based on the baseball Hall of Fame. The first four selections were announced on 28 May. They are Honinbo Sansa, the founder of the Honinbo house and the first Meijin; Honinbo Dosaku, the 4th Honinbo head, who was responsible for great advances in go theory; Honinbo Shusaku, the greatest player of the golden age of go in the mid-19th century, who compiled a unique record of 19 successive wins, no losses, in his Castle Games; and Tokugawa Ieyasu, the warlord who unified Japan and set the foundation for the Edo-period prosperity of go by extending government patronage to top go players, including Honinbo Sansa.

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