History of Topics 2007
- Meijin title match evenly poised
- Iyama wins King of the New Stars
- Yamashita becomes Tengen challenger.
- 32nd Kisei Leagues
- Yi Ch'ang-ho completes a grand slam of international tournaments
- Japanese representatives eliminated from Samsung Cup
- Japanese team for the Nong Shim Cup
Meijin title match evenly poised
The pairing for this year's Meijin title match is the same as last year, but with the roles reversed. Cho U is the challenger who is trying to take back the title he surrendered to Takao Shinji last year. Takao made a good start by taking the first game, with an upset win, but Cho U bounced back with a convincing win in the second game. This start is perhaps a little ominous for Cho, as it resembles the pattern in this year's Honinbo title match: Yoda Norimoto played better in the first two games, but Takao won the first with an upset; after Yoda evened the score, Takao won three in a row to defend the title. Cho will have to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again.
Iyama wins King of the New Stars
Despite having been the top young player in Japan for a couple of years now, Iyama Yuta 7-dan still hadn't won the top youth title, the King of the New Stars (Shinjin-O). He rectified the anomaly this month by defeating Mochizuki Kenichi 6-dan 2-0 in the play-off for the 32nd title. In the first game, played on 10 September, Iyama (W) won by 5.5 points; in the second, played on 17 September, Iyama (B) won by resignation.
First prize is 1,800,000 yen (about $15,650). This is Iyama's second title, following the Agon Kiriyama Cup in 2005.
Yamashita becomes Tengen challenger.
Yamashita Keigo Kisei earned the right to challenge Kono Rin for the 33rd Tengen title by defeating Iyama Yuta 7-dan in the play-off, held on 20 September. Taking white, Yamashita won by 1.5 points. Iyama had taken the early lead, but played badly thereafter, letting Yamashita gradually catch up and finally overtake him. This is an unusual way for Iyama to lose, as he is known for his calmness, so the pressure of a big game must have got to him.
This result may not be popular with go fans who had been hoping to see Iyama become the youngest player to become the challenger for a top title. Iyama is still only 18 years three months old, so he would have broken Cho Chikun's record. Cho challenged for the Nihon Ki-in Championship, the predecessor of the Tengen title, when he was 18 years six months old (he lost 2-3 to Sakata Eio).
32nd Kisei Leagues
After four rounds in the A League in the 32nd Kisei tournament, Cho U has an unbeatable lead, as he is the only player without a loss. Yoda Norimoto has just one loss, but he is ranked lower than Cho U, so even if he beats him in their 5th-round game, he can't draw level. (The only time a play-off would be held in the Kisei Leagues would be if the two fifth-ranked players, the newcomers to the league, tied for 1st place.) This is the second league this year that Cho has won in the penultimate round (following the Meijin league).
In the B League, Cho Chikun has a clear lead, being the only player with only one loss. However, he is ranked number five, so Hane Naoki, ranked number one, can win the league by beating Cho in the final round.
Yi Ch'ang-ho completes a grand slam of international tournaments
Yi Ch'ang-ho has completed a grand slam of all seven current international individual tournaments by winning the 3rd Zhonghun Cup. In the final of this Taiwanese-sponsored title, held on 17 September, Yi (W) defeated his fellow countryman Pak Cheong-sang 9-dan by resignation.
Japanese representatives eliminated from Samsung Cup
The Samsung Cup is becoming a tough tournament for Japan. This year it received only three out of the 16 seeded places in the main tournament. The other 16 places are decided by a massive qualifying tournament open to all professionals in the Far East, but only one Japanese representative, Ko Iso 7-dan, was successful there. That gave Japan a total of four players out of 32.
The only way to increase the number of players is to win one of the top three places and so secure a personal seed. However, that won't happen next year, as all four Japanese representatives lost in the first round. Korea and China have shared the quarterfinal places equally.
Results of the Japanese representatives:
Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Ko Iso 7-dan by resignation.
Kim Ki-yong 3-dan (Korea) (B) defeated Cho Chikun 9-dan by resignation.
Pak Jung-hwan 2-dan (Korea) (aged 14) (W) defeated Kono Rin 9-dan by resignation.
Heo Yong-ho 6-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Yamashita Keigo 9-dan by resignation.
Japanese team for the Nong Shim Cup
The 9th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup will start in Beijing on 16th October. The members of the Japanese team are Takao Shinji, Kono Rin, Hane Naoki, Yoda Norimoto, and Yamada Kimio.