History of Topics 2008
Korea and China do well in 21st Fujitsu Cup
The first two rounds of the 21st Fujitsu Cup were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, in early April. Once again, Korean players dominated, taking four quarterfinal places, but China also made a strong showing, taking three places. They were joined by one player from Japan, Yoda Norimoto, making his customary single-handed effort to salvage the honour of the host country.
Much of the attention of the go public in Japan was focussed on the performance of Japan’s new young star, Iyama Yuta 7-dan, who is aged 18, Iyama made an excellent start, defeating Taiwan’s Zhou Junxun 9-dan, who has won an international title, but he ran into the current world’s number one, Yi Se-tol, in the second round. Although he put up a good fight, he was unable to find a chink in Yi’s armour.
B elow are full details of the opening rounds.
Round One （12 April, Tokyo）
Takao Shinji 9-dan （Japan） （B） defeated Mok Chin-seok 9-dan （Korea） by 1.5 points.
Iyama Yuta 7-dan （Japan） （B） defeated Zhou Junxun 9-dan （Taiwan） by 1.5 points.
Kono Rin 9-dan （Japan） （W） defeated Jiang Mingjiu 7-dan （USA） by resig.
O Rissei 9-dan （Japan） （W） defeated Eduardo Lopez Herrero （Argentina） by resig.
Cho Han-seung 9-dan （W） defeated Yamada Takuji 7-dan （Japan） by resig.
Kong Jie 7-dan （W） defeated Alexandre Dinerchtein 1-dan （Russia） by 16.5 points.
Kang Tong-yun 7-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Cho Sonjin 9-dan （Japan） by 9.5.
Yi Yeong-ku 7-dan （Korea） （W） defeated Hu Yaoyu 8-dan （China） on time.
Round Two （14 April, Tokyo）
Yoda Norimoto 9-dan （Japan） （W） defeated Kang by resig.
Cho （W） defeated Yamashita Keigo 9-dan （Japan） by 6.5 points.
Pak Yeong-hun 9-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Takao by 3.5 points.
Yi Se-tol 9-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Iyama Yuta 7-dan by resig.
Chang Hao 9-dan （China） （B） defeated Kono by resig.
Liu Xing 7-dan （China） （W） defeated O by half a point.
Yi Ch’ang-ho 9-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Kong by resig.
Gu Li 9-dan （China） （W） defeated Yi Yeong-ku by resig.
Quarterfinals （Beijing, 7 June）
Pairings are: Pak vs. Chang, Gu vs. Yi Se-tol, Yoda vs. Yi Ch'ang-ho, Cho vs. Liu.
Korea dominates 6th Ing Cup
The Ing Cup is held once every four years, in the same year as the Olympics. The opening rounds of the 6th Ing Cup were held in Shanghai from 30 April to 4 May. As we’ve come to expect, the tournament was dominated by Korea, which got three players into the semifinals. They included, not surprisingly, the two Yis, but they were joined by Ch’oe Ch’eol-han, who seems to have finally come out of his prolonged slump. The other place was taken by Liu Xing 7-dan of China, who is also doing well in the current Fujitsu Cup.
Five players from Japan participated, but one of them, Cho U, represented Taiwan at the request of the sponsor, the Taiwan-based Ing Chang-Ki Educational Foundation. Of the five, four started in the first round and three were eliminated. Unfortunately, Cho U was paired against Cho Chikun, who was playing for Japan. The latter was the only one who had any success in the tournament; in the second round, he went on to beat Chang Hao 9-dan of China, the winner of the 5th Ing Cup, but he lost to Yi Ch'ang-ho of Korea, winner of the 4th Ing Cup, in the quarterfinals. O Meien, who made the best eight in the 5th Ing Cup, was the only player from Japan seeded into the second round, but was unable to duplicate his good form in the previous tournament.
The Ing Cup is run by unique rules. The komi is 8 points, which is equivalent to 7.5 points in the Japanese system （black wins a jigo）. The time allowance is three and a half hours per player, with no byo-yomi. If you run out of time, you have to buy an extra 35 minutes for two points of komi; you can do this three times, so in the worst case you could run the komi up to 14 points. In the game between Hu Yaoyu and Yi Se-tol in the first round, Hu bought three time extensions, so a one-point win for him turned into a five-point loss.
Detailed results of the first three rounds are given below. The semifinals are scheduled for September, but exact dates have not yet been published.
Round 1 （Shanghai, 30 April）
Gu Li 9-dan （China） （W） defeated Yamashita Keigo 9-dan （Japan） by resig.
Wang Lei 8-dan （China） （W） defeated Takao Shinji 9-dan （Japan） by resig.
Cho Chikun 9-dan （Japan） （W） defeated Cho U 9-dan （Chinese Taipei） by 1 point.
Yi Se-tol 9-dan （Korea） （W） defeated Hu Yaoyu 8-dan （China） by 5 points.
Pak Yeong-hun 9-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Zhou Junxun 9-dan （Chinese Taipei） by resig.
Xie He 7-dan （China） （W） defeated Yi Yeong-ku 9-dan （Korea） by resig.
Liu Xing 7-dan （China） （W） defeated Jiang Mingjiu 7-dan （USA） by resig.
Piao Wenyao 5-dan （China） （W） defeated Taranu Catalin 5-dan （Romania） by 11 points.
Round 2 （Shanghai, 2 May）
Cho Chikun （W） defeated Chang Hao 9-dan （China） by 3 points.
Liu （W） defeated O Meien 9-dan （Japan） by resig.
Yi Ch’ang-ho 9-dan （Korea） （W） defeated Xie by resig.
Kong Jie 7-dan （China） （B） defeated Wang by resig.
Yi Se-tol （B） defeated Zhou Heyang 9-dan （China） by resig.
Pak （B） defeated Peng Quan 7-dan （China） by 1 point.
Piao （W） defeated Song T’ae-kon 9-dan （Korea） by resig.
Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9-dan （Korea） （B） defeated Gu by resig.
Round 3 （Shanghai, 4 May）
Yi Ch’ang-ho （B） defeated Cho Chikun by 3 points.
Yi Se-tol （W） defeated Kong by 11 points.
Liu （W） defeated Pak by resig.
Ch’oe （B） defeated Piao by resig.
Semifinal pairings （September）
Yi vs. Yi, Liu vs. Ch’oe.
Iyama keeps sole lead in Meijin League
A newcomer has taken the sole lead in the 33rd Meijin League and kept it for two rounds. The 18-year-old Iyama Yuta 7-dan took the lead when he defeated Chien Kaei in the fourth round and maintained it when he beat Ko Iso in the fifth round on 1 May. However, if he falters, five players with just two losses will come into the reckoning. At this stage, Kobayashi Satoru is a shade ahead of the others, as he is the only player besides Iyama with four wins.
The 33rd Meijin Challenger's League
in the chart
・B=playing black, W=playing white
* Date: mm/dd
Link to Meijin Title
Kisei League places
The first of the four vacant places in the 33rd Kisei Leagues was taken by Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan. He has been joined by Honda Kunihisa 9-dan （Kansai Ki-in）, who defeated O Meien 9-dan in a play-off held on 10 April, Yuki Satoshi 9-dan, who defeated Yamashiro Hiroshi 9-dan on 17 May, and Kono Rin Tengen, who defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan on 24 April. Kono will finally get to make his debut in a league after losing five play-offs.
Japanese fail in LG Cup preliminary
Quite a large number of players from the Nihon Ki-in and the Kansai Ki-in took part in the qualifying tournament for the 13th LG Cup, held in Seoul from 20 to 25 April. The LG Cup is one of just two tournaments, the other being the Samsung Cup, which holds an open qualifying tournament （open to all professionals, that is）, instead of holding separate qualifying tournaments within each country. The catch is that there are no game fees, so international visitors have to pay for their own travel and accommodation. However, the reward is a chance to compete in a top international tournament, so there are plenty of takers. Sixteen of the places in the first round of the main tournament are up for grabs in this qualifying, with the other 16 being national and tournament seeds.
Last year, Japan won one place, the successful player being Ryu Shikun 9-dan. This year, unfortunately, no one was successful, though Nakano Hironari 9-dan and Iyama Yuta 7-dan made it to the final round of the qualifying tournament. This qualifying tournament is a very high-level tournament in its own right, with plenty of top players, including former world champions, taking part.
Despite the failure to gain seats in the main tournament, not all was gloom for the Japanese contingent. In fact, one woman player, Tamura Chiaki 2-dan of the Kansai Ki-in, scored a remarkable success by defeating Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan of Korea, who has won six world titles.
Gosei challenger: Takao or Yamashita
The second semifinal in the 33rd Gosei tournament was played on 7 April. Takao Shinji Honinbo （B） defeated Yamada Kimio 9-dan by resignation. Takao will meet Yamashita Keigo Kisei in the play-off to decide the challenger to Cho U. If Takao wins, he will be playing his third successive title match, after the Judan and the upcoming Honinbo.
Husband-wife clash won by Cho U
In a rare clash between husband and wife, Cho U Meijin defeated Kobayashi Izumi 6-dan in a game played on 19 April in the second round of the Net tournament, the 1st Daiwa Securities Cup Grand Champion tournament. Early in the morning before the game, Izumi had a dream in which she had already got a couple of weak groups by the 30th move, so she was satisfied when she kept the position even past 50 moves in the actual game.
Marriage between professionals
Two more professionals have tied the knot. On 4 April, Ando Kazushige 3-dan married Nakajima Mieko 1-dan. The go-between seems to have been NHK: the two got to know each other through their jobs as game recorder and assistant commentator on the NHK Cup program that is shown at noon every Sunday. Apparently, however, Ando proposed in a chartered helicopter.
There are 16 professional couples in Japan.
Change in insei system
At the beginning of April, a change was made in the Nihon Ki’in’s insei system, with the previous five classes being increased to seven （named A to G）, although the bottom G class will not be started until insei numbers increase a little more. The aim was to reduce the number of people in each class, so that changeover would be more rapid. Every month the top three to five players in each class are promoted to a higher class and the bottom three to five players are demoted. One benefit of this, according to Sakai Maki 8-dan, one of the insei instructors, is that inseis will play a wider range of opponents, and the increased opportunities for promotion （and demotion） will provide more incentive. （The other insei instructors are Nakaonoda Tomomi 9-dan and Kono Takayuki 7-dan.）
In the new system, the A, B and C classes have ten members each, D has 14, and E and F should have 16. Actually, at present F has 24, so the G class should be opened soon.
The inseis play league games every Saturday and Sunday. The immediate target for the players in A class is the summer promotion: the insei with the best results from April to June will be promoted to 1-dan.