History of Topics 2008
Takao wins Judan, becomes dual titleholder again
The 46th Judan title match was surprisingly one-sided, with the challenger, Takao Shinji Honinbo, defeating the titleholder, Cho Chikun, 3-0. This was Takao’s first Judan title and it made him a dual titleholder once again.
The third game was played at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture on 3 April. Cho Chikun didn’t seem to make any serious mistakes, but Takao safely negotiated his way through difficult middle-game fighting and entered the endgame with more territory and solid positions, so Cho resigned after 145 moves.
This was Cho’s third loss in less than a month, following his setbacks in the Kisei title match and the NHK Cup. He’s having trouble adding to his record tally of 71 titles.
Game 1 （6 March）. Takao （B） won by resignation.
Game 2 （27 March）. Takao （W） won by resignation.
Game 3 （3 April）. Takao （B） won by resignation.
Korea wins Cheongkwanjang Cup
The final round of the 6th Cheongkwanjang Cup, an international women’s team tournament, was held in Beijing, starting on 1 April. The number four Korean player, Yi Min-chin 5-dan （aged 23）, won three games in a row to dispose of the remaining opposition, so the Korean team won this tournament for the second year in a row. The five members of her team, including Pak Chi-eun 9-dan, who did not have to play, share the first prize of 75 million won.
Game 11 （1 April）. Yi Min-chin 5-dan （W） defeated Tang Yi 2-dan （China） by resignation.
Game 12 （2 April）. Yi （B） d. Kato Keiko 6-dan （Japan） by resignation.
Game 13 （3 April）. Yi （B） d. Rui Naiwei 9-dan （China） by 8.5 points.
Final round of Honinbo League
Although Hane Naoki had already won the 63rd Honinbo League in the sixth round, the final round was still important for deciding the players who would keep their seats in the league. All the games in this round were played on 3 April.
Hane didn’t relax in his final game; taking white, he defeated Yoda Norimoto by 3.5 points. Yoda ended up with a score of 3-4, which should have put him in danger of losing his place. However, he was saved by his number one rank in the league.
The big surprise of this round was the loss of Cho U Meijin, the previous Honinbo, to Mizokami Tomochika 8-dan. Taking black, Mizokami forced a resignation. Although he had the same score as Yoda, 3-4, Cho’s lower rank meant that he was bumped out of the league.
Yamashita Kimio 9-dan improved his position in the upcoming league by defeating O Meien 9-dan. Yamada had black and won by resignation. He will be ranked number two in the 64th league.
Yamashita Keigo Kisei made sure he kept his league place by defeating So Yokoku 8-dan. Playing white, Yamashita secured a resignation.
The 63rd Honinbo League
Title holder: Takao Shinji
in the chart
・B=playing black, W=playing white
* Date: mm/dd
Link to Honinbo Title
Ko Iso wins 1st Yugen Cup Elite League
This is a new tournament started with the aim of raising the level of young players by giving them an opportunity to play with top players. Fifty players played in a six-round league, starting in October last year and concluding in March. The participants were a mixture of senior players, including one current titleholder, Kono Rin Tengen, and former titleholders such as Kobayashi Koichi, O Rissei and O Meien, and young, low-ranked players （14 1-dans and 10 2-dans, for example）.
Prizes were awarded for 1st to 5th places, but six players actually ended up with 6-0 scores, and the winner on SOS was Ko Iso 7-dan. The other unbeaten players were:
2nd: Ryu Shikun 9-dan
3rd: Xie Yimin, Women’s Honinbo
4th: Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan
5th: O Rissei 9-dan
6th: Iyama Yuta 7-dan.
（Incidentally, SOS or sum of opponents’ scores didn’t mean very much in this tournament. A look at the chart shows that the tournament was not run by the Swiss system, that is, pairings were made at random throughout the tournament. For example, a player with five wins was paired against a player with one win in the final round. Presumably the reason for this was to give the younger players as many chances as possible to play senior players.）
First Kisei League place decided
The first play-off for a place in the 33rd Kisei Leagues was held on 3 April. Taking black, Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan defeated Miyamoto Yoshihisa 9-dan by resignation. Aged 68, Miyamoto missed out on his chance to make his debut in a league. Kataoka has played in many leagues, of course, but this will be his first Kisei league （the tournament switched to the league system in its 25th term）.
Pairings in the other three play-offs are: Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan vs. Kono Rin Tengen, O Meien 9-dan vs. Honda Kunihisa 9-dan, and Yuki Satoshi 9-dan vs. Yamashiro Hiroshi 9-dan.