- Cho evens score in 29th Meijin title match
- Debut of the 1st Zhonghuan Cup
- Agon Kiriyama Cup final: Hane vs. Kobayashi Koichi
- Sakai makes good start in King of New Stars
- Yoda wins an important game in Kisei league
- The Redmond report
- Death of Naganuma Makoto 8-dan
- Yoda makes good start in Meijin defence
- 5th Ing Cup final: Chang vs. Ch'oe
- 29th Kisei leagues
- Yamashita to challenge for Oza title
- Cho U one win away from winning Kisei B League
- Two new faces in 60th Honinbo league
- China and Korea do well in 9th Samsung Cup
- Chinen to challenge for Women's Honinbo
- The Redmond report
Cho evens score in 29th Meijin title match
The second game of the 29th Meijin title match was held at the Seahawk Hotel & Resort in Fukuoka City on 22 and 23 September. Playing black, Cho U Honinbo won by 3.5 points and so leveled the match at 1-1. The game finished at 5:10 p.m after 240 moves; Yoda was down to his last minute of byo-yomi, but Cho had 94 minutes left.
This was a very difficult game, and the professionals following it in the pressroom had trouble identifying the losing move. In general, Cho had gone for territory and Yoda had staked the game on the centre. He followed a bold sacrifice strategy at one stage and later executed another bold strategy. Awaji 9-dan commented on TV that this loss would probably not bother Yoda, as he played experimentally, but that he would be in earnest from the third game on. That is scheduled to be played in Nagoya on 29 and 30 September.
Debut of the 1st Zhonghuan Cup
With the founding of the Zhonghuan World Go Championship, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) has launched yet another sponsor an international tournament. This one is a 16-player knockout open to the four Far Eastern go powers, China, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei. The announcement before the tournament was that the host country would field five players and the other three countries three players each. However, no Chinese players showed up, for what reason we do not know, so the number of players from the other countries was increased by one each.
The above tally gives a total of 14 players. From the second cup on, the remaining two places will go to the winners of first and second place in the previous cup; for the inaugural tournament, the sponsors invited two players: Cho U, a Taiwanese player who holds the Japanese Honinbo title, and Pak Chi-eun, a Korean player who won the 2nd Cheongkwanjang Cup, a woman's international title. Actually, four of the local seats went to Taiwanese players active in Japan, so half the players in the tournament were members of the Nihon Ki-in.
The first round, played on 16 September, was a triumph for the local side, which scored four wins. In the second round, played on 18 September, both surviving Korean players won their games and Japan and Chinese Taipei won one each.
Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) b. Rin Kaiho 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) by resig.; Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (Japan) (W) b. Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 8-dan (Korea) by resig.; Pak Yeong-hun 9-dan (Korea) (W) b. Zhou Junxun 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) by 41/2; Lin Zhihan 5-dan (Ch. Taipei) (B) b. Song T'ae-kon 7-dan (Korea) by resig.; Cho U 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) (W) b. Pak Chi-eun 5-dan (Korea) by resig.; O Rissei 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) (B) b. Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) by 11/2; Kato Masao 9-dan (Japan) (W) b. Zhou Heping 3-dan (Ch. Taipei) by resig.; O Meien 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) (W) b. Hane Naoki 9-dan (Japan) by 21/2.
O Rissei b. Kato; Yi b. Cho U; Yamashita b. Rin; Pak b. O Meien (details not yet available).
Agon Kiriyama Cup final: Hane vs. Kobayashi Koichi
The second semifinal of the 11th Agon Kiriyama Cup was played at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in on 9 September. Hane Naoki Kisei (W) beat Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan by 5.5 points. The other semifinal had already been played on 16 August, with Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan beating Yamashita Keigo, so Hane and Kobayashi will meet in the final, scheduled to be played at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Buddhist sect on 9 October.
Sakai makes good start in King of New Stars
Sakai Hideyuki 6-dan, a former WAGC champion who forwent his career as a doctor to become a professional go player, has made a good start in the King of the New Stars (Shinjin-O) title match. In the first game, played at the Nihon Ki-in on 15 September, he defeated Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan by 5.5 points. Sakai had white.
The second game will be played at the Kansai Ki-in on 30 September.
Yoda wins an important game in Kisei league
An important game was played between two of the main contenders in the 29th Kisei A League on 16 September, They were Yoda Norimoto Meijin and Ryu Shikun 9-dan, two of the three players who still had only one loss. Playing black, Yoda defeated Ryu by resignation. Yoda goes to 3-1, which gives him the best chance of winning the league if Yamashita Keigo 9-dan loses his final game. Yamashita is also on 3-1, but has an edge over Yoda, as he is more highly ranked (that is, if both finish on 4-1, Yamashita will win the league).
Yamashita will play Ryu in his final game and Yoda Miyazawa. Since he has dropped to 2-2, it's now impossible for Ryu to win the league.
The Redmond report
Playing white, Michael Redmond 9-dan suffered a loss by resignation to Kojima Takaho in Preliminary A of the 31st Tengen tournament.
On 16 September, Michael, playing black, lost by 8.5 points to Omori Yasushi 8-dan in Preliminary A of the 53rd Oza tournament.
Noguchi Hitoshi was promoted to 6-dan last week.
Death of Naganuma Makoto 8-dan
We regret to have to report the death of Naganuma Makoto, a retired member of the Nihon Ki-in, on 8 September at the age of 70. A disciple of Seo Hisashi 9-dan, Naganuma became a professional in 1950 and reached 7-dan in 1988. He retired in 2001 and was promoted to 8-dan.
Yoda makes good start in Meijin defence
The first game of the 29th Meijin title match, a best-of-seven, was played at the Ritz Carlton Osaka Hotel on 9 and 10 September. Playing black, Yoda Norimoto Meijin made a good start to his defence, defeating Cho U Honinbo by half a point. This gave him revenge for two half-point losses, in the first and sixth games, that helped sink his Honinbo challenge earlier this year.
The game finished at 6:40 p.m. on the 10th. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Yoda had two minutes left and Cho just one.
The second game will be played in Fukuoka City on 22 and 23 September.
5th Ing Cup final: Chang vs. Ch'oe
The semifinals of the 5th Ing Cup were held in Guiyang in China on 6 to 10 September. Chang Hao 9-dan of China beat Song T'ae-kon (Korea) 2-1 and advances to the final for the second time in a row. He will be seeking his first international title. In the other semifinal, Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 8-dan (Korea) defeated Peng Quan 5-dan of China, also 2-1. Ch'oe will be making his first appearance in an international final.
We do not yet have the schedule of the best-of-five final.
29th Kisei leagues
Thee games were played in the 29th Kisei leagues on 9 September at the Nihon Ki-in. In the A League, Yamashita Keigo 9-dan improved his position, going to 3-1; playing black, he defeated Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan by resignation. If he wins his final game, he will win the league. His main rivals at present are Yoda Norimoto and Ryu Shikun, who are both on 2-1. Mimura drops to 2-2.
In another game in the A League, O Meien 9-dan (W) defeated Miyazawa Goro 9-dan by resignation and improved his score to 2-2. Miyazawa drops to 0-4 and faces certain elimination from the league.
In the B League, Yuki Satoshi 9-dan (B) defeated Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by resignation. Yuki is now 3-1 and Cho is 1-3. Yuki shares a three-way tie for first with Cho U Honinbo and Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan, but Cho has an advantage over the other two, as he is higher ranked.
Yamashita to challenge for Oza title
Yamashita Keigo 9-dan will challenge Cho U for the 52nd Oza title. In the play-off, held at the Nihon Ki-in on 30 August, Yamashita (W) defeated Yoda Norimoto Meijin by resignation after 254 moves. This will be his first challenge for the Oza title and the first title match between him and Cho. The first game will be played on 29 October.
Cho U one win away from winning Kisei B League
Two important games were played in the 29th Kisei B League on 2 September. In one of them, Cho U Honinbo (B) defeated O Rissei Judan by resignation. In the other, Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (B) defeated Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan by 3.5 points.
Cho U and Kobayashi Satoru now share the lead on 3-1. However, Cho will win the league if he wins his final game regardless of Kobayashi's result, as he is ranked higher. Cho's fifth-round opponent is Yuki Satoshi 9-dan, who is on 2-1. Yuki has the same rank as his fellow newcomer to the league, Kobayashi; they both need Cho to lose his last game to have a chance of winning the league.
O Rissei is now 2-2; Imamura is 0-4, so he has no chance of retaining his league place.
Two new faces in 60th Honinbo league
The remaining two places in the upcoming Honinbo league were decided on 2 September, and both have gone to players who will be making their debut in a league. Han Zenki 6-dan (B) defeated Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan by 3.5 points, and So Yokoku 7-dan (W) beat Kono Rin 7-dan by 2.5 points.
Han is a 26-year-old disciple of Oeda Yusuke 9-dan; he was born in Taiwan, and this is the first big success of his career. Incidentally, this win also earned him promotion to 7-dan. So Yokoku is also Chinese, but he was born on the mainland, in Guangzhou, on 11 September 1979. He won the King of the New Stars title last year.
This was a bad day for the Kobayashi school (Kono is a disciple).
China and Korea do well in 9th Samsung Cup
The first two rounds of the 9th Samsung Cup were played in the city of Taejon in Korea on 1 and 3 September. There were only three Japanese representatives among the 32 participants and only one survived the first round. That was Cho Chikun, winner of the 8th Samsung Cup, but he was eliminated in the second round.
The first round was actually a triumph for China, which scored nine wins to six for Korea. One of the losses was suffered by Yi Ch'ang-ho, and it came at the hands of Hu Yaoyu 7-dan of China. However, things evened out in the second round, with both China and Korea scoring four wins.
Once again Yi Ch'ang-ho has been eliminated from a tournament at an early stage. At present, he holds four of the seven international titles (Ing, Toyota & Denso, Chunlan, and LG), but he has already lost in the 2004 terms of the first two, so he won't be able to maintain this record.
Below are the full results in the opening rounds.
Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) (B) beat Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) by 1.5; Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 8-dan (Korea) (B) beat Hane Naoki 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Pak Yeong-hun 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yi Se-tol 9-dan (Korea) (B) b. Cao Dayuan 9-dan (China) by resig.; Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Wang Yuhui 7-dan (China) by 2.5; Song T'ae-kon 7-dan (Korea) (B) beat Nie Weiping 9-dan (China) by resig.; Hu Yaoyu 7-dan (China) (B) beat Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Ma Xiaochun 9-dan (China) (W) beat Yi Yeong-ku 3-dan (Korea) by resig.; Gu Li 7-dan (China) (B) beat Hong Min-pyo 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; An Tal-hun 6-dan (Korea) (B) beat Xie He 5-dan (China) by resig.; Luo Xihe 9-dan (China) (B) beat Kim Kwang-sik 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (W) beat Yun Hyeok 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) (B) beat Mok Chin-seok 8-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yang Yi 5-dan (China) (B) beat Cho Han-seung 7-dan (Korea) by resig,; Kong Jie 7-dan (China) (B) beat Ch'oe Kyu-peong 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Wang Xi 5-dan (China) (B) beat Yun Seong-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) by resig.
Wang (China) (B) beat Cho (Japan) by resig.; Gu (China) (W) beat Cho (Korea) by resig.; Zhou (China) (B) beat An (Korea) by resig.; Wang (China) (B) beat Yang (China) by resig.; Ch'oe (Korea) (B) beat Luo (China) by resig.; Pak (Korea) (B) beat Ma (China) by resig.; Yi Se-tol (Korea) (B) beat Hu (China) by resig.; Song (Korea) (B) beat Kong (China) by resig.
It may be observed from the above results that black won 20 out of 24 games. The key factor in winning seems to be drawing black in the nigiri.
Chinen to challenge for Women's Honinbo
The play-off to decide the challenger to Kobayashi Izumi for the 23rd Women's Honinbo title was held on 3 September. Playing white, Chinen Kaori 3-dan defeated Izawa Akino 3-dan by resignation.
Chen held this title for three years in a row from 1996 to 1998; she also challenged unsuccessfully for it two years ago, so she will be looking for revenge.
The Redmond report
Michael Redmond 9-dan played his first game for quite a while on 2 September, but without success. Taking white, he lost by 6.5 points to Ishida Akira 9-dan in Preliminary A of the Gosei tournament.