- Yoda one win away from defending Gosei Title
- Otake and Ryu win places in next Honinbo league
- Yoda wins first game of Gosei title match
- Ryu takes sole lead in Meijin league
- Kobayashi Izumi wins promotion to 4-dan
- Cho Sonjin 9-dan wins the Honinbo title
- 12th Fujitsu Cup Final: Korea vs. China again
- Cho Sonjin one win away from first title
Yoda one win away from defending Gosei Title
The second game of the 24th Gosei title was played in Kochi City on July 19. Playing black, Yoda Norimoto Gosei defeated Kobayashi Koichi Judan by 5.5 points after 273 moves. The game ended at 6:03 pm. This was Yoda's second successive win, so he needs just one more win to defend his title. The third game is scheduled for July 25.
Otake and Ryu win places in next Honinbo league
The first two of the four vacant places in the 55th Honinbo league have been filled. In one playoff in the final preliminary round, Otake Hideo 9-dan defeated Kudo Norio 9-dan and will rejoin the Honinbo league after a six-year absence. Otake has played in the league a total of ten times. In the other playoff, Ryu Shikun, who dropped out of the 54th league despite having a 4-3 score, immediately won his way back in by defeating Kato Masao 9-dan.
Yoda wins first game of Gosei title match
The first game of the 24th Gosei title match, a best-of-five, was held in Kyoto on July 9. The defending champion is Yoda Norimoto, who is aiming at his fourth Gosei title in a row. The challenger is Kobayashi Koichi, who is hoping to pick up his fourth title, to add to the Judan and Tengen titles. This is the first title match between these two players. Playing white in the first game, Yoda defeated Kobayashi by half a point after 222 moves.
Of their time allowances of four hours each, Yoda had one minute left and Kobayashi 11 minutes. The second game is scheduled for July 19.
Ryu takes sole lead in Meijin league
In two crucial games played in the 24th Meijin league on July 1, Takemiya Masaki 9-dan (black) defeated Yoda Norimoto Gosei by half a point and Ryu Shikun 7-dan (white) defeated Mimura Tomoyasu 8-dan by resignation. As a result, Ryu took the sole lead in the league with a score of 6-1, while Yoda dropped back into second place with 5-2. Two more games were played on July 15. Kobayashi Koichi Judan (black) defeated O Rissei Oza by 1.5 points and Kobayashi Satoru (black) defeated Kato Masao 9-dan by 2.5 points. If Ryu wins his final game, against O Rissei, he will become the challenger. If he loses, then Yoda and Kobayashi Koichi also have a chance of getting into a playoff to decide the challenger. Yoda will play Mimura and Kobayashi is scheduled to meet Takemiya. The worst scenario for Ryu is a three-way tie on 6-2. In that case, the two higher-ranked players in the league, that is, Yoda and Kobayashi, will meet in the playoff.
Kobayashi Izumi wins promotion to 4-dan
Kobayashi Izumi, the daughter of Kobayashi Koichi and the late Kobayashi Reiko, is moving rapidly up the dan ladder. A win in the Oteai (Rating Tournament) on June 30 earned her promotion to 4-dan. Izumi was born on June 20, 1977 and became pro shodan in 1995.
Cho Sonjin 9-dan wins the Honinbo title
In the sixth game of the 54th Honinbo title, held in the town of Toi in Shizuoka Prefecture on July 5 and 6, Cho Sonjin 9-dan, playing black, forced Cho Chikun to resignaiton after 163 moves. The game ended at 6:59 pm on the second day. This gave Cho Sonjin a 4-2 lead in the title match, so he won the Honinbo title at his first attempt.
Cho Chikun's reign as Honinbo ended after exactly one decade, which was a new record. All told, he has won the Honinbo title 12 times, which, of course, is also a record. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho Sonjin had 23 minutes left and Cho Chikun was down to his last minute.
Cho Sonjin becomes the 11th Honinbo since it was established as a newspaper tournament in 1941.
Aged 29, he is not so young by recent standards for players taking their first big title, but it's safe to say that he was the most unheralded challenger for many years.
Like Cho Chikun, Cho Sonjin was born in Korea. He came to Japan in 1982 and became a disciple of Ando Takeo 6-dan. He became a professional shodan in 1984 and reached 9-dan in 1998. Previously, he had won only two junior titles: the King of the New Stars (Shinjin-O) in 1991 and the 22nd New Stars Tournament the following year. In 1996 he won the 8-dan section of the Kisei tournament. He entered the Honinbo league in the 52nd league.
12th Fujitsu Cup Final: Korea vs. China again
The semifinals of the 12th Fujitsu Cup were held at the Toyo Hotel in Osaka on July 3. Two Japanese representatives, Cho Chikun Kisei, Meijin & Honinbo, and Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan, were participating, so hopes were high that Japan might score another victory in the tournament after a one-year blank, but this was not to be. Yoo Chang-hyuk 9-dan of Korea defeated Cho Chikun and Ma Xiaochun 9-dan of China defeated Kobayashi Satoru.
Yoo thus reached the final for the first time in five years and Ma for the first time in three years. Whichever player wins, it will be his second Fujitsu Cup. The final will be held at the Kudan Kaikan in Tokyo on August 7.
Cho Sonjin one win away from first title
The fifth game of the 54th Honinbo best-of-seven title match was held at the Hotel Palace Onoya in Harazuru Hot Spring, Fukuoka Prefecture, on June 22 and 23. Playing white, Cho Sonjin 9-dan, the challenger, won by 2.5 points after 254 moves. This gave him a 3-2 lead, so he needs just one more win to take his first title. This is the first time since 1992 that Cho has faced a kadoban in the title match. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho Sonjin had nine minutes left and Cho Chikun was down to his last minute.
The sixth game will be played in the town of Toi in Shizuoka Prefecture on July 5 and 6.