- Awaji takes Kisei A league lead
- Kobayashi Koichi fights back in Gosei title match
- New women's international championship
- Western players at the Nihon Ki-in
- Most wins
- 5th Samsung preliminary
- O Meien wins Honinbo title
- Yamashita takes 2-0 lead in Gosei title
- Yoda drops out of Meijin league lead
- Cho beats Cho in Kisei league
- Oya Koichi wins first Honinbo league place
- Takemiya Masaki wins in Judan tournament
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
- O Meien wins fifth Honinbo game
- Yamashita makes good start in Gosei title match
- Kisei leagues
- Cho Chikun reaches Oza playoff
- 39th Judan tournament
- Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in during June
- China vs. Korea in Fujitsu Cup final
- O Rissei wins 2nd Chunlan Cup
- 5th LG Cup begins
- O Meien takes lead in Meijin league
Awaji takes Kisei A league lead
Two games were played in the 25th Kisei A league on Thursday, 20 July. In one of them, Ryu Shikun 7-dan (W) defeated Cho Chikun Meijin by resignation. In the other, Awaji Shuzo 9-dan (B) defeated Ishida Atsushi 8-dan, also by resignation. As a result, Awaji, who is on 2-0, has the sole lead in the A league. Cho Chikun, who was considered the favourite to become the challenger before the leagues began, is now on 1-1, so his chances of immediately regaining the Kisei title from O Rissei have receded a little.
No games were played in the B league last week. Here Ishida Yoshio 9-dan and Cho U 6-dan share the lead on 2-0.
Kobayashi Koichi fights back in Gosei title match
Kobayashi Koichi, the defending champion, has scored his first win in the best-of-five 25th Gosei title match. The third game was played in Sendai City on 23 July, a Sunday, which is most unusual for a title match -- both players must be very busy. Playing black, Kobayashi defeated Yamashita Keigo 6-dan by 3.5 points and so kept alive his chances of defending his title.
There is now a break of a month before the fourth game is played in Ishikawa Prefecture on 23 August.
New women's international championship
China is about to launch its second international professional championship, this time for women. The sponsor is Eastern Airlines (our translation -- we don't know their official English name) and the tournament will be known as the Eastern Airlines Cup. The opening round will be played in Shanghai on 18 August with 16 players competing, including representatives from North America, Russia, and Europe. They will join Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei.
Unfortunately for the Japanese, the invitation arrived too late for the top women players to adjust their schedules -- most of the Japanese title-holders will be competing in the Women's Kakusei Cup at the time of the new championship. The three Japanese places have therefore been allocated to Ogawa Tomoko 6-dan, Shinkai Hiroko 5-dan (holder of the 1st Strongest Woman Professional title), and Kobayashi Izumi 4-dan.
Games in the tournament have a time allowance of 70 minutes per player. Games will be played for four days straight and the final will be a best-of-three. first prize is 90,000 yuan (about one million yen or $9,000). There will also be Best Dresser and Best Manners prizes (each 2,000 yuan).
Western players at the Nihon Ki-in
Two of the Western members of the Nihon Ki-in had games last week and both of them won. Catalin Taranu 4-dan (W) defeated Nishimoto Kinya 2-dan by resignation in the first preliminary round of the Okan (Crown) tournament, a Nagoya title. In a Gosei preliminary, Michael Redmond 8-dan (B) defeated Komatsu Fujio 8-dan by resignation.
To 5-dan: Ms. Inori Yoko.
The leading game winners (over 4-dan), as of 21 July, are:
||Yamashita Keigo 6-dan: 30-8
Hane Naoki 8-dan: 30-9
|| Takao Shinji 7-dan: 26-9
|| O Meien Honinbo: 24-10
||Kono Rin: 5-dan: 23-4
||Cho U 6-dan: 22-5-1 jigo
Ryu Shikun 7-dan: 22-15
||Han Zenki 5-dan: 20-3
Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan: 20-18
||Sakai Maki 7-dan: 19-5
O Rissei Kisei: 19-12
Cho Chikun is currently equal 18th, on 17-16. The leading player under 5-dan is Cho Riyu 4-dan with 28-4. The top woman is Tsukuda Akiko 4-dan, with 22-10.
5th Samsung preliminary
The preliminary tournament for the 5th Sumsung Cup is scheduled to start in Seoul on 27th July. Sixteen players from Japan will be taking part, including Rin Kaiho, Kudo Norio, Nakano Hironari, Yamashita Keigo and Hane Naoki from the Nihon Ki-in. Kansai Ki-in participants include Kiyonari Tetsuya and Kurahashi Masayuki.
Players will have to score three or four wins to get into the main tournament,scheduled to start on 30 August. The winner of the 22nd World Amateur Go Championship, Sakai Hideyuki, is seeded into the main tournament, along with the top Japanese title holders.
O Meien wins Honinbo title
At the age of 38, O Meien has won his first title and it's a big one:the 55th Honinbo title.The sixth game of the best-of-seven match was played in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on 17 and 18 July. Playing black, O defeated Cho Sonjin by 10.5 points after a game full of furious fighting that featured a number of furikawaris (trades).As throughout the series, O played adventurously; for example, in the fuseki he made an irregular corner enclosure with move 3 on the 15-17 point and move 7 on the 16-14 point.After two spectacular fights on the left side and the right side, O made a clever invasion of the top and secured the lead,eventually winning by a large margin. This was O's fourth win, so he took the title from Cho Sonjin, ending the latter's reign at just one year.
The game took 262 moves and concluded at 7:49 pm. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho had 5 minutes left while O was down to his final minute.
O is the 12th holder of the modern Honinbo title and the second Taiwanese citizen to become Honinbo (the first was Rin Kaiho). He was born in Taipei City on 22 November 1961 and came to Japan in 1975. He became professional shodan in 1977 and reached 9-dan in 1992. Although he has had various successes in minor titles and won a number of dan championships in the Kisei tournament, this is his first open title. In this, he resembles Cho Sonjin, for whom the Honinbo was also his first title. O is at present enjoing the best form of his career: he has the undisputed lead in the Meijin league and has also won his way to the semifinals of the Ing Cup.
Yamashita takes 2-0 lead in Gosei title
Yamashita Keigo 6-dan is now poised to win his first title at the tender age of 21. In the second game in the 25th Gosei title match, played in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, on 13 July, Yamashita, playing black, defeated Kobayashi Koichi by resignation after 145 moves. Yamashita needs just one more win to take the Gosei title and become the youngest title holder since Cho Chikun won the Pro Best Ten in 1975 at the age of 18.
In the second game Yamashita had black and he didn't disappoint his fans, playing his first move on the 5-5 point.
He had done this in the Gosei tournament on his way to becoming the challenger, the reason being a pun on the 'go' of Gosei and the 'go' meaning 5. He got a reasonable fuseki, but in the middle game the defending champion seemed to pull a little ahead. However, Kobayashi make an uncharacteristic life-and-death misreading and Yamashita killed a large group.
Yoda drops out of Meijin league lead
Two key games in the 25th Meijin league were played at the Nihon Ki-in on 13 July. In one, O Rissei Kisei (B) defeated Yoda Norimoto 9-dan by half a point. In the other, Hane Naoki 8-dan (W) defeated Ryu Shikun 7-dan by resignation. The result was to leave O Meien in sole possession of the lead, on 6-1, while Yoda dropped back into a tie for second place on 5-2 with Hane. Many people had got the impression that Yoda was staking everything on the Meijin league this year, so his loss must have been quite a shock for him. O Meien now just has to win his final game against Kato to secure the right to challenge. Yoda and Hane play each other in the final round, so whoever wins will finish in sole second place. If, however, O loses to Kato, he will have to fight a play-off with Hane or Yoda.
Thanks to this win, O Rissei goes to 4-3, so he can be confident of keeping his place in the league. Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan (1-6) and Takemiya Masaki 9-dan (2-6) are certain to drop out. They will be joined by either Kato or Ryu or Kobayashi Koichi (all on 3-4).
Cho beats Cho in Kisei league
The heading is a little cryptic: which Chos? Well, the winner was the up-and-coming Cho, namely, the 20-year old Cho U 6-dan, who is establishing himself as the most promising player of his generation, along with Yamashita Keigo. Playing black, he defeated Cho Sonjin Honinbo by resignation in a game played at the Nihon Ki-in on 13 July. That gave him his second win, so he shares the lead with Ishida Yoshio in the Kisei B League.
Oya Koichi wins first Honinbo league place
Oya Koichi 8-dan has won the first place to be decided in the 56th Honinbo league. In the final round of the preliminary tournament, he beat Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan. This will be his first-ever appearance in a league. It will be interesting to see if he can make an impact -- he is one of the most studious professionals (a kind of successor to Abe) and is usually very well-informed about what is happening on the board in the go world, both in Japan and in other Far Eastern countries. He regularly lead groups of young Japanese players on unofficial tours of Korea to play young Korean players.
The finalists in two of the other playoffs for Honinbo-league places have been decided. In one of them, Yuki Satoshi 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in meets Kobayashi Koichi Judan; in the other, Cho U 6-dan plays Obuchi Morito 9-dan. The competition for the fourth seat has only reached the quarterfinals; pairings are Hane Naoki 8-dan vs. Tanimura 7-dan and Kato Masao 9-dan vs. Ryu Shikun 7-dan.
Takemiya Masaki wins in Judan tournament
There are signs that Takemiya may finally be coming out of the horrendous slump that has dogged him all year. As of the end of May, his record was a miserable 6-13, which is unbelievable for a player of his stature. In June, however, he improved it a bit by winning both games he played, including his first win in the Meijin league. Entering July, he played a brilliant game against Kato in his final Meijin-league game -- too late to keep his league place, but nonetheless probably a big boost to his self-confidence. Last week, on 13 July, he followed that up with a good win over Yamada Kimio 7-dan in the winners' section of the 39th Judan, making him the first player to reach the semifinals.
To 7-dan: Enda Yoichi, Yanaka Katsunori
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
The following are the results in the half of July for the Western members of the Nihon Ki-in.
5 July) Catalin Taranu 4-dan (B) lost by resignation to Tsukuda Akiko 4-dan (Honinbo first preliminary round)
12 July) Catalin Taranu 4-dan (W) defeated Matsumoto Nayoko 1-dan by 22.5 points (Honinbo first preliminary round)
Hans Pietsch 3-dan defeated Hara Sachiko 4-dan by resignation (Honinbo first preliminary round)
13 July) Michael Redmond (W) defeated Takamizawa Tadao 6-dan by resignation (Oteai)
O Meien wins fifth Honinbo game
O Meien 9-dan now needs just one more win to take his first title. In the fifth game of the 55th Honinbo title match, which was played in Yonezawa City in Yamagata Prefecture on 4 & 5 June, O, playing white, defeated Cho Sonjin by 1.5 points. The game was a fairly quiet one, and observers thought that Cho had the lead after the middle game fighting had concluded, but perhaps he played a little slackly in the endgame.
The game finished at 7:38 pm after 224 moves. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho had 4 minutes left and O 6.
There is a lot of pressure on Cho now, as he has to win two in a row to defend his title and prove that his win over Cho Chikun last year was not just a flash in the pan. He may have his work cut out for him to defeat O Meien, for the latter, judging by his Ing Cup and Meijin-league play, not to mention this title match, seems to be the in-form player of the season.
The sixth game will be played in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on 17 & 18 June.
Yamashita makes good start in Gosei title match
The first game in the 25th Gosei best-of-five title match (sponsored by the Newspaper Go League) was held in Kumamoto City in 8 July and was won by the challenger, Yamashita Keigo 6-dan. Playing white, he defeated the title holder, Kobayashi Koichi, by 8.5 points after 203 moves. The 21-year-old Yamashita has thus made a good start in his bid for his first title.
The second game will be played in Matsumoto City on 13 July.
Ishida Yoshio has become the first player to score two wins in either of the Kisei leagues. Since each league has only six players, that is a very good start.
Imamura Toshiya 9-dan(B) (1-1) beat Yo Kagen 9-dan (0-2) by resignation.
Ishida Yoshio 9-dan(B) (2-0) beat Hasegawa Sunao 9-dan (0-2) by resignation.
Miyazawa Goro 9-dan(B) (1-1) beat Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan (0-2) by 1.5 points.
Cho Chikun reaches Oza playoff
Cho Chikun seems to be determined to seek revenge for his setback in last year's Oza title match. In the first semifinal of the 48th Oza title, played on 29 June, he defeated Kato Masao (W) by 4.5 points. His opponent in the playoff will be the winner of the other semifinal, to be played between Kudo Norio and Yoda Norimoto.
39th Judan tournament
Unfortunately, Michael Redmond 8-dan has been eliminated from the 39th Judan Tournament. After a loss to Otake Hideo, Michael had had to switch to the Losers' Section. Here he lost to Yamashita Keigo 6-dan (B) by resignation.
Two games were played in the Winners' Section on the same day. Hane Naoki 8-dan (W) defeated Otake Hideo by resignation and Yoda Norimoto 9-dan (W) defeated Ogaki Yusaku 8-dan by 6.5 points.
To 8-dan: Izumitani Hideo
To 7-dan: Nakane Naoyuki, Yanaka Katsunori, Sato Takatsugu, Takao Shinji
To 6-dan: Takabayashi Masahiro
To 4-dan: Ms. Umezawa Yukari
To 3-dan: Ms. Kanno Naomi
Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in during June
The following are the results in the final three weeks of June for the Western members of the Nihon Ki-in.
||Michael Redmond (W) lost to Seo Bong-soo 9-dan (Korea) in the 5th LG Cup
Catalin Taranu 4-dan (B) lost to Lee Se-dol 3-dan (Korea) in the 5th LG Cup.
||Hans Pietsch 3-dan (W) lost to Kim En 2-dan by 6-points (the Oteai).
||Michael Redmond (W) beat Koyama Shizuo 6-dan by resignation in the Gosei preliminary round.
||Hans Pietsch 3-dan (B) defeated Kurotaki Masaki 4-dan by 4 points (Oteai).
Catalin Taranu 4-dan (W) defeated Nishimoto Kinya 2-dan by resignation (Oteai).
||Michael Redmond lost to Yamashita Keigo in the Judan tournament (see above).
China vs. Korea in Fujitsu Cup fina
The final of the 13th Fujitsu Cup World Go Championship, sponsored by the Yomiuri Newspaper and Fujitsu, will be fought between China and Korea for the third successive year. Players in the final, scheduled for 2 August, are Chang Hao 9-dan of China and Cho Hun-hyun 9-dan of Korea. The playoff for third place will be held at the same time.
The semifinals were held at the Toyo Hotel in Osaka on 1 July, with the following results.
Cho Hun-hyun 9-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Mok Jin-seuk 5-dan (Korea) by resignation.
Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (W) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (Japan) by resignation.
If Chang Hao wins, it will be his first Fujitsu title, while it would be his second for Cho.
O Rissei wins 2nd Chunlan Cup
O Rissei has won his second world championship by defeating China's Ma Xiaochun 9-dan 2-1 in the final of the 2nd Chunlan Cup. All games went to Black in the final, and the final game was decided by a half-point margin. For the second year in a row, Chinese fans were disappointed when a local player failed to win the only Chinese-sponsored international tournament.
O Rissei also won the 2nd LG Cup, so this is his second world championship. He is clearly maintaining the good form that secured him the Kisei title earlier this year.
Game 1 (18 June). Ma (B) by 4.5 points.
Game 3 (20 June). O (B) by resignation.
Game 3 (22 June). O (B) by half a point.
The playoff for 3rd place was held on 18 June. Kong Jie 5-dan (B) defeated Yoda Norimoto 9-dan by resignation.
5th LG Cup begins
The first two rounds of the 5th LG Cup: The World King of Baduk Championship, a Korean-sponsored international tournament, were held in Seoul on 13 and 15 June. Reaching the quarterfinals are five Korean representatives, two Chinese and one Japanese. One of the Korean representatives is Rui Naiwei, playing in her second international tournament for her adopted country.
Below are selected results from the opening rounds.
Round 1. Seo Bong-soo (Korea) beat Michael Redmond 8-dan (North America), Yang Kong 5-dan (Korea) b. Yoda Norimoto 9-dan (Japan), Rui Naiwei 9-dan (Korea) b. Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (Japan), Lee Se-dol 3-dan (Korea) b. Catalin Taranu 4-dan (Europe).
Second Round. Seo beat Yu Bin 9-dan (China), O Rissei 9-dan b. Yang 5-dan, Rui Naiwei b. Shao Weigang 9-dan (China), Zhou Heyang 8-dan (China) b. Yoo Chang-hyuk 9-dan (Korea), Cho Hun-hyun 9-dan (Korea) b. Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan), Lee Chang-ho 9-dan (Korea) b. Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan (Japan), Lee Se-dol 3-dan (Korea) b. Chang Hao 9-dan (China).
Pairings in the quarterfinals, scheduled to be played in Paris on 14 November, are:
Seo vs. O Rissei, Rui vs. Zhou, Cho Hun-hyun vs. Lee Chang-ho, Lee Se-dol vs. Ma Xiaochun.
O Meien takes lead in Meijin league
Two games have been played since our last report on the 25th Meijin league. In the first, played on 15 June, O Meien 9-dan (B) defeated Hane Naoki 8-dan by resignation. That put O Meien in front in the league with 6-1, though he is hotly pursued by Yoda Norimoto on 5-1. At this stage, the odds seem very strong that one of these two will challenge Cho Chikun for his last remaining title. Hane, who had shared the lead most of the way, dropped back into sole third place with 4-2. He will be out of the running unless O loses his final game with Kato Masao and Yoda loses one of his remaining games. One of these games will be with Hane, so he will have the chance to do the job himself (the other is with O Rissei).
The other league game was played on 22 June. Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan (W) defeated Kobayashi Koichi by 1.5 points and so finally picked up his first win in the league after six straight losses. Kobayashi will now have to worry about keeping his place in the league.
||6-1: O Meien
5-1: Yoda Norimoto
4-2: Hane Naoki
3-3: Ryu Shikun, O Rissei, Kato Masao
3-4: Kobayashi Koichi
1-6: Takemiya Masaki, Imamura Yoshiaki