- Takao defends Honinbo title
- Cho U takes Gosei title from Yoda
- Takao Shinji becomes Meijin challenger
- Kisei leagues
- Cho Sonjin returns to Honinbo league
- Japanese players in Toyota & Denso Cup
- The Michael Redmond report
- Two milestones
- Baron Okura and Honinbo Shuwa elevated to Hall of Fame
Takao defends Honinbo title
We left the 61st Honinbo title match tied in our last report. Since then, the defending champion Takao Shinji has defended his title.
The third game was played in Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture on 7 and 8 June. Playing white, Takao Shinji Honinbo forced a resignation after 166 moves and so took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven. This was a safe win for Takao: he took a lead in the opening and fended off the challenger's attempts to catch up.
The players had hardly any time to rest before the fourth game was played in Karatsu in Saga Prefecture on 12 and 13 June. Once again, Takao won, again by resignation, so he took at 3?1 lead.
At this point, things looked pretty grim for the challenger, but he made a great comeback in his first kadoban, scoring a convincing win. Playing black, he secured a resignation after 237 moves.
In the sixth game, however, Takao made no mistake. Taking black, he outplayed the challenger and won by resignation after 179 moves.
Cho U takes Gosei title from Yoda
The 31st Gosei best-of-five title match was surprisingly one-sided, with Cho U Meijin & Oza continuing his dominance over the defending titleholder Yoda Norimoto. Cho beat Yoda in the 2004 Meijin and Honinbo title matches. He became the Gosei challenger by defeating Yamashita Keigo Kisei in the play-off, held on 8 June. In the title match, he won three straight and so won his 13th title overall and his third concurrent title. Yoda now finds himself without a title to his name for the first time since 1999.
Below are the results of the games.
Game 1 (6 July). Cho (B) won by half a point.
Game 2 (12 July). Cho (W) won by resignation.
Game 3 (27 July). Cho (B) won by 2.5 points.
Takao Shinji becomes Meijin challenger
The final round of the 31st Meijin title was played on 3 August. At this point, Takao Shinji had the sole lead, with 5-2, but he was closely pursued by five players on 4-3. The unusual thing this year was that the top six were all playing each other in the final round.
Actually, Takao's position was not as comfortable as it appeared. If he lost his final-round game to Han Zenki, they would both end the league on 4-3 but both of them would miss out on the play-off because of their low ranks (as newcomers, both ranked seventh); only the two winners of the other two games among the top six would qualify.
As it turned out, Takao beat Han Zenki, so he won the league unconditionally. He will meet Cho U Meijin in their second best-of-seven; last year, Takao took the honours, unseating Cho in the Honinbo title. Takao is actually the first player to win the Meijin league on his debut he is also the only player to successfully challenge Cho for a title. However, he will not be expecting things to run as smoothly as in his Honinbo challenge, which he won 4-1.
Below is a listing of all the results since our last report.
||Han Zenki (B) beat Yoda Norimoto Gosei by half a point.
At this point, Han, on 4-2, had the sole lead in the league, displacing Yoda, who fell from 4-2 to 4-3.This was a great leap up from his league debut, when he lost all his games.
||Sakai Hideyuki 7-dan (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9-dan by resig.
||Takao Shinji Honinbo (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan by resig.
Takao drew level with Han Zenki in the lead.
||Yamashita Keigo Kisei (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9-dan by resig.
Yamada Kimio 9-dan (W) beat Han Zenki 7-dan by resig.
Takao Shinji Honinbo (W) beat Ko Iso 7-dan by resig.
||Sakai Hideyuki 7-dan (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan by resig.
||Takao Shinji Honinbo (B) beat Han Zenki 7-dan by resig.
Yamashita Keigo Kisei (W) beat Yoda Norimoto 9-dan by 7.5 points.
Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (W) beat Ko Iso 7-dan by resig.
Sakai Hideyuki 7-dan (W) beat Yamada Kimio 9-dan by resig.
Two former Kiseis, Hane Naoki and O Rissei, and two players who have yet to take a top-seven title, Komatsu Hideki and Kato Atsushi, have made the best starts in the 31st Kisei Leagues. Below are the results of games played in the last month.
Yuki Satoshi 9-dan (W) beat Cho Chikun Judan by resig.
O Rissei 9-dan (W) beat Imamura Toshiya 9-dan by 13.5 points.
Komatsu Hideki 9-dan (W) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan by resig.
Hane Naoki 9-dan (W) beat Cho U Meijin by resig.
(This loss put an end to a 15-game winning streak by Cho.)
Yoda Norimoto Gosei (W) beat Honda Kunihisa 9-dan by resig.
O Rissei 9-dan (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9-dan by half a point.
Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (B) beat Cho Chikun Judan by resig.
||Kato Atsushi 8-dan (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9-dan by 5.5 points.
Honda Kunihisa 9-dan (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan by 5.5 points.
Cho Chikun Judan (B) beat Kato Atsushi 8-dan by 8.5 points.
Cho Sonjin returns to Honinbo league
The first of the four vacant seats in the 61st Honinbo League went to O Meien, who defeated Rin Shien 6-dan in the play-off. The second has been won by Cho Sonjin 9-dan. In the play-off, held on 3 August, Cho (W) beat Iyama Yuta 7-dan by resignation. If the 17-year-old Iyama had won, he would have set a new record for the youngest player to play in a league.
Cho will play in his 11th league in a row.
The pairings in the other two play-offs are Cho Chikun Judan vs. Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan and Sakai Hideyuki 7-dan vs. So Yokoku 8-dan.
Japanese players in Toyota & Denso Cup
The 3rd Toyota & Denso Cup will get off to a start at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on 26 August; play will continue on every second day until 1 September, which will take the tournament to the semifinals. The final will then be held next January.
Japan gets ten of the 32 places in this large-scale tournament. Yamashita Keigo Kisei, Cho U Meijin and Takao Shinji Honinbo are seeded. The seven unseeded places have been won by:
Yuki Satoshi 9-dan, Rin Kaiho 9-dan, Yoda Norimoto Gosei, Cho Sonjin 9-dan, Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan, Ryu Shikun 9-dan, and Seto Taiki 6-dan Of these, Seto of the Kansai Ki-in will be making his international debut.
The Michael Redmond report
||Ishida Akira 9-dan defeated Michael Redmond 9-dan by 3.5 points.
(final preliminary, 13th Agon Kiriyama Cup)
||Mitsunaga Junzo 5-dan (B) defeated Michael on time.
(15th Ryusei tournament, Preliminary A)
Thanks to the computerization of the Nihon Ki-in's records, various milestones in players' careers that might have gone unnoticed in the past are being picked up on. Below are two recent milestones for Japanese go.
On 6 July, Ishida Akira 9-dan became the 24th player to score 800 wins when, playing white, he defeated Yo Kagen 9-dan by 4.5 points in the main tournament of the 13th Agon Kiriyama Cup. It took him 40 years three months, which is the 16th-fastest pace. His record was 800 wins to 441 losses.
When Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan defeated Nakaonoda Tomomi 9-dan in Preliminary A of the 32nd Meijin tournament on 20 July, he scored his 600th win as a professional. His record is 600 wins-291 losses-3 jigos. He is the 45th player at the Nihon Ki-in to reach this mark. It took him 20 years three months, which is the ninth fastest.
Baron Okura and Honinbo Shuwa elevated to Hall of Fame
The third induction of famous figures from go history to the Hall of Fame was held on 28 July. Honinbo Shuwa (1820-73), who was the leading player at the end of the Edo period and in the early modern period, and Baron Okura Kishichiro (1882-1963), who played an important role in the founding of the Nihon Ki-in and served as its Vice President (later Honorary President) for a long period, were the two to be accorded the honour. They join Tokugawa Ieyasu, Honinbo Sansa, Honinbo Dosaku, and Honinbo Shusaku (the first induction) and Honinbo Jowa (the second induction).
The Hall of Fame was founded to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in in 1924.