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History of Topics 2002

January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • A busy day
  • Hane defends the Tengen title
  • Cho Chikun ties score in Oza
  • China draws level with Korea in Nong Shim Cup
  • Promotions
  • Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
  • Hane wins second Tengen game in a row
  • O Meien takes lead in 50th Oza title match
  • Cho U sets new record for most wins
  • Promotions
  • Western professionals
  • China wins Pair Go Championship
  • Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger
  • Kobayashi Koichi scores first win in 58th Honinbo league
  • Hane wins 43rd Crown tournament
  • 7th LG Cup semifinals
  • Takemiya and Mizokami wins Meijin-league places
  • O Meien's good start in Honinbo league
  • Amateur Honinbo beats professional Honinbo
  • First games played with new komi
  • Promotion
  • Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in
  • New women's world championship: corrections
  • Hane makes good start in Tengen title match
  • Korea monopolizes LG semifinal places
  • New women's international championship
  • Oza Game Two: Cho loses on time

29 November

A busy day

  The 28th of November was one of those rare days in Japanese go when two of the top seven titles could have been decided. As it turned out, one of the players facing a kadoban (a game that could lose a series) delivered the goods with his back to the wall and kept his challenge alive, so only one title was decided.

Hane defends the Tengen title

  The third game of the 28th Tengen title match was held in the city of Sasebo in Nagasaki Prefecture on 28 November. Playing black, Hane Naoki forced Cho Sonjin 9-dan to resignaiton after just 135 moves, so he completed his first defence of his title with three straight wins. Both players were down to the final two minutes of byo-yomi (time allowance is five hours each).
  This one-sided result was just a little surprising, as Cho, considering that he was the player who brought an end to Cho Chikun's fabulous winning streak in the Honinbo title, had been expected to provide tougher opposition. Before the match, he had a lead of 4-1 over Hane, but when the match began the flag-bearer of the younger generation proved to be in better form,

Cho Chikun ties score in Oza

  Things seemed to be going badly for Cho Chikun, the title holder, in the 50th Oza best-of-five: he had lost the second game on time, then suffered an upset half-point loss in the third game. However, he turned the tide in the fourth game with a convincing win, so he has now tied the score at 2-2.
  The fourth game of the title match was played in the Four Seasons Hotel Chinzanso, a combination of a modern hotel and a traditional and luxurious restaurant, in Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo. Playing black, Cho Chikun forced O Meien 9-dan to resignaiton at 8:47 pm on 28 November, after 181 moves. For once, Cho was not in byo-yomi: he had 42 minutes of his five-hour time allowance left, while O was down to his final minute of byo-yomi.
  Cho played unusually fast right from the start of this game; it was not until move 59, when he had to deal with a bold challenge by O, that he played his first slow move, taking 30 minutes to make up his mind. His decision to sacrifice some stones turned out to be well judged and he secured the lead. He continued to play well and in the end had a lead of over ten points on the board, which is pretty decisive in professional play. Cho was handicapped by lack of time in the second and third games, and in this game he took care always to have more time left than his opponent. That strategy paid off handsomely. Will he be able to combat his natural instincts and keep it0 up in the deciding game?
  The fifth game will be played in the town of Toi in Shizuoka Prefecture on 12 December.

China draws level with Korea in Nong Shim Cup

  As described in our report for 30 October, the youthful Korean title-holder Pak Yeong-hun made a devastating start in the 4th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup, winning all four games in the first round, held in Beijing, of this team tournament. Things didn't go Korea's way in the second round, held in Pusan in Korea. The host country failed to win a game, with Kobayashi Koichi of Japan scoring two wins, then Hu Yaoyu of China following up with three wins in a row. Cumulative scores now are: Korea: 4-3; China: 4-3; Japan: 2-4.
  The tournament will be decided in the Shanghai round, scheduled for 20 to 23 January 2003.

Results in the Pusan round:
  Game 5 (23 Nov.). Kong Jie 7-dan (China) (W) beat Pak by resig.
  Game 6 (24 Nov.). Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan (Japan) (B) beat Kong by 4.5 points.
  Game 7 (25 Nov.). Kobayashi (B) beat Yun 7-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Game 8 (26 Nov.). Hu Yaoyu 7-dan (China) (W) beat Kobayashi by 3.5.
  Game 9 (27 Nov.). Hu (B) beat Kim 7-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Game 10 (28 Nov.). Hu (W) beat Kato Masao 9-dan (Japan) by 2.5.


The following players recently won promotions at the Nihon Ki-in.
  To 7-dan: Endo Yoshifumi. Kitano Ryo
  To 3-dan: Yamada Shinji

Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in

  In mid-November, Western professionals at the Nihon Ki-in played four games, with mixed results.

(18 November) Catalin Taranu 5-dan (B) defeated Nakao Jungo 7-dan by resignation (Oteai).
(20 Nov.) Hans Pietsch 4-dan (B) defeated Kasai Koji 6-dan by resignation (Oteai). Miyazaki Ryutaro 6-dan (B) defeated Taranu 5-dan by resig. (Shinjin-O [King of the New Stars] preliminary).
(21 Nov.) Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) defeated Ishida Akira 9-dan by forfei

21 November

Hane wins second Tengen game in a row

  Hane Naoki's chances of defending his Tengen title now look very good: he needs just one more win.
  The second game of the 28th Tengen best-of-five title match was played in the city of Otaru in Hokkaido on 21 November. Playing white, Hane secured a resignation after 244 moves. The game ended at 9:48 p.m., with both players down to the last minute of byo-yomi.
  Cho Sonjin, the challenger, had played skilfully in the middle game, sacrificing some stones to build very strong thickness in the centre. Hane countered by mapping out a large territory at the bottom. A fight followed when Cho set out to reduce this territory, and Hane apparently gained a slight advantage. Various other fights followed, but Hane managed to stay ahead.
  The challenger now has his back to the wall, being faced with a kadoban (a game that could lose a series) in Game 3, scheduled to be played in Sasebo City in Nagasaki Prefecture on 28 November.

O Meien takes lead in 50th Oza title match

  The Oza title match has been a stormy one so far, with the first two games both being won in upsets (the first because O didn't add a necessary reinforcement in the endgame, the second being lost by Cho Chikun on time). The third game followed suit, with O, the challenger, scoring an upset half-point win. The game ended at 10:50 p.m. after 276 moves. Both players were down to the final minute of byo-yomi.
  This game was played in the town of Atsumi in Yamagata Prefecture on 21 November. Cho, the defending title holder, seemed to take the lead in the middle game when he skilfully secured life for a weak group, but O played tenaciously, building a large centre territory. In the end he outstripped Cho by just half a point.
  O now needs just one more win to take his first Oza title. The fourth game is scheduled to be played in Bunkyo Ward in Tokyo on 28 November.

Cho U sets new record for most wins

  Cho U 7-dan (aged 22) set a new record for most wins in a year when he won his second-round game in the 58th Honinbo league. On 21 November, Cho, playing white, defeated Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen, by resignation. That took his score in the league to 2-0 while Rin dropped back to 0-2.
  This was Cho's 64th win of the yar, which breaks the record of 63 wins set last year by Hane Naoki Tengen. With five playing weeks left in the year, Cho should be able to extend this record.


The following players have earned promotions in the Oteai (rating tournament).
  To 7-dan: Yamada Takuji, Kim Shujun
  To 5-dan: Sasaki Tsuyoshi

Western professionals

  Here is an update on games played by Western members of the Nihon Ki-in in mid-November.

(13 Nov.) Mannami Kana 2-dan (W) defeated Hans Pietsch 4-dan by resignation (Kisei preliminary).
(14 Nov.) Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) defeated Tsurumaru 6-dan by resig.; Catalin Taranu 5-dan defeated Imamura Yoshiaki 8-dan by resig. (both games played in the 2nd preliminary section of the Tengen tournament).

China wins Pair Go Championship

  The 13th International Amateur Pair Go Championship was held at the Hotel Edmont in Iidabashi, Tokyo on 16 & 17 November. Taking part were 32 teams: 11 from different parts of Japan and 21 from overseas. This year, like last year, the tournament was won by a youthful Chinese team. The best result among the Western competitors was posted by the team from Germany, which took 12th place.
  This year, once again, China was represented by two junior high school students: the 14-year-old Wang Niqiao and her partner, the 13-year old Qian Leping, who won all their games. Both were given as 5-dan in the program, but that's obviously not the ordinary amateur 5-dan. Second place went to the Japanese pair of Kanai Kazuko 6-dan and Harada Minoru 8-dan, representing the Kanto Koshin'etsu area (which includes Tokyo); they scored 4-1. The DPR Korean team of Choe Un-A 6-dan and Mun Yong-sam 7-dan, both university students, took third place, also on 4-1. The Korean team of Song Ye-seul 5-dan, a junior high school student, and Cho Min-soo 7-dan, took 4th place with the same score.

15 November

Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger

  Yamashita Keigo 7-dan, aged 24, will be making his first challenge for a big-three title. He earned the right to challenge O Rissei for the 27th Kisei title by defeating Ryu Shikun (aged 30) in the play-off between the winners of the A and B Kisei leagues, held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on 14 November. Playing black, Yamashita won by half a point.
  Ryu Shikun was a slight favourite going into this play-off, as he had won the A League without dropping a game and was, moreover, burning for a return match with O Rissei to avenge his loss in the Kisei title match at the beginning of this year. However, Yamashita was the favourite of the fans, who are eager to see members of the younger generation make their debut in the big title matches. He is also very popular for his adventurous go style (playing his first move on the cente point, for example).
  In the play-off, Ryu got off to the better start, but Yamashita fought hard and finally caught up, leading to a very tense endgame. The game finished at 9:43 pm after 254 moves, with Yamashita just managing to edge Ryu by half a point (just as well for him that the new komi of 6.5 was not yet in effect).
  Besides winning the Shinjin-O (King of the New Stars) title for four years in a row, Yamashita also won the Gosei title on his first title challenge in 2000. However, he lost the Gosei the following year. If he wins the Kisei title, he will vault from 7-dan to the peak of the go world in one bound. The title match with O Rissei should be a very interesting one. The first game is scheduled for 16 and 17 January 2003.

Kobayashi Koichi scores first win in 58th Honinbo league

  The second game in the second round of the new Honinbo league was held on 14 November. Playing black, Kobayashi Koichi Gosei beat Cho Sonjin 9-dan by 3.5 points. This is the first dent to the status quo of the league, that is, the first loss suffered by the four holdovers from the previous league. Kobayashi and Cho are now both 1-1.

Hane wins 43rd Crown tournament

  Hane Naoki Tengen has won the Crown tournament (restricted to players at the Nagoya or Central Japan headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in) for the second time. This title is decided by just one game. Playing black, Hane defeated the reigning title holder, Yamashiro Hiroshi, by 2.5 points. The game was played on 14 November.

14 November

7th LG Cup semifinals

  The semifinals of the 7th LG cup were held on 12 and 13 November and were won by Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan of Korea and Wang Lei 8-dan of China. These two will meet in the best-of-three final, scheduled for 14,15and 17 January 2003.

The results of the semifinals, also best-of-three, were as follows:
(12 Nov.) Cho (B) beat Wang Yuhui 7-dan (China) by resignation.
Wang Lei (B) beat Hu Yaoyu 7-dan (China) by 4.5 points.
(13 Nov.) Cho (W) beat Wang by 3.5 points.
Wang (W) beat Hu by 1.5 points.
Cho and Wang therefore each won 2-0.

Takemiya and Mizokami wins Meijin-league places

  The remaining two new members of the 28th Meijin league were decided in games played at the Nihon Ki-in on 7 November. One place went to Takemiya Masaki 9-dan, a former Meijin; in the play-off, he defeated Kudo Norio (W) by resignation. Takemiya will therefore make a comeback after missing two leagues.
  In the other play-off, Mizokami Tomochika 8-dan (B) beat Morita Michihiro 9-dan by 2.5 points. He will be making his debut in the league.

O Meien's good start in Honinbo league

  The first game in the second round of the 58th Honinbo league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 7 November. O Meien, the recently deposed title holder, edged out Yamashita Keigo 7-dan by just half a point (O had black).
  O has made an excellent start to the league, with two wins, while Yamashita has two losses.

Amateur Honinbo beats professional Honinbo

  The 40th Professional vs. Amateur Honinbo play-off was held at the Sunshine City Culture Hall in Ikebukuro in Tokyo on 4 November.The handicap changes each year in this match; at one time the amateur side was forced to three stones; this year the handicap was two stones, with black receiving five points komi.
  This year's amateur Honinbo is Samejima Ichiro, who was making his debut in the play-off. He played adventurously; the rules allow for free placement of the handicap stones and he put them on diagonally opposite 5-5 points. He backed up his aerial strategy with sound play and won by resignation after 282 moves.

First games played with new komi

  The first games with the new komi of 6.5 points were played at the Nihon Ki-in last week. Breaking the ice were six games in the preliminary round of the Women's Honinbo tournament. All of the games ended in resignations, with black winning four of them, so it's hard to tell if the increased komi made a difference.
  The following day, the Gosei became the first of the top seven titles to adopt the new komi. Here three games were played; they also all ended in resignations, with two of the wins going to black, so once again we can't tell if the new komi made a difference. Honda Kunihisa 9-dan, who beat O Rissei with black, commented that he didn't think about the komi.
  He also experienced the switchover from the 4.5 komi to 5.5 in the late 50s and 60s and he added that he didn't change the way he played at that time either. (The first tournament to adopt the 5.5 komi was the Oza in 1955.
  It actually took 20 years for all the other tournaments to switch over to 5.5.The last to make the change was the Meijin tournament, which had a komi of 5 points. Since White won a jigo, this was eqiuivalent to 5.5 points [though in the 1st Meijin tournament, a jigo win was considered as less than an outright win, which denied Go Seigen his chance to tie for 1st place in the league]. The Meijin changed only in 1975, when sponsorship switched from the Yomiuri to the Asahi.)
  This time the Nihon Ki-in has officially decided on the new komi, so all the tournaments will be unified with a 6.5 komi quite rapidly, as soon as a new term starts in each.


To 8-dan: Okada Shinichiro

Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in

  Western members of the Nihon Ki-in have done well in the last two weeks.

Their results:
(30 October) Catalin Taranu 5-dan (B) beat Koyama Mitsuru 5-dan by resignation (Kisei preliminary).
(6 November) Hans Pietsch 4-dan (B) beat Cho Riyu 5-dan by resig. (Oteai).
(7 November) Catalin Taranu 5-dan (B) beat Miyagawa Fumihiko 7-dan by resig. (Oteai).

New women's world championship: corrections

  We wrote last week's report on the new Korean-sponsored women's world championship without reference to the The Go Players's Almanac and so got some of the names wrong. Here are corrections and amplifications.

'Zhang Xue' of China should be Zhang Xuan.
Pak 3-dan is Pak Chi-eun.
Yun 2-dan of Korea is Yun Yeong-seon.
Yi 2-dan is Yi Chi-hyeon. She beat Tang Ying of China by resignation.
'Kuan' should be Kweon Hyo-chin 3-dan of Korea.
Liang is Liang Yadi 2-dan of China.
Cho 3-dan is Cho Hye-yeon. Her opponent, 'Ye Kuei', should be Ye Gui.

11 November

Hane makes good start in Tengen title match

  The first game of the 28th Tengen title match was held in Fukuroi City in Shizuoka Prefecture on 7 November. Playing black, Hane Naoki, the title holder, forced the challenger, Cho Sonjin 9-dan, to resignaiton after 153 moves. The game ended at 8;34 p.m. Hane had three minutes of his five-hour time allowance left and Cho had nine minutes.
  The game started with Hane going for territory and Cho building thickness. In the early middle game, Cho made an attack on a black stone that backfired, with Hane breaking into his moyo. This gave him the lead, so thereafter he played solidly. Cho made a couple of attempts to destroy his territory, but their failure left him with no option but to resignaiton.
  Hane has thus got off to an excellent start in his first title defence. The second game will be played in Otaru city in Hokkaido on 21 November.

Korea monopolizes LG semifinal places

  After a gap of just on six months, the quarterfinals of the 7th LG Cup were finally played on 31 November. Japanese representatives had already been eliminated from this tournament; apart from one Chinese player, all the others were Korean. The sole remaining 'outsider' in this Korean-sponsored tournament was Zhou Heyang 9-dan, but he lost by resignation to Weon Seong-chin 4-dan (Weon had white).

The other results are:
  Yi Se-tol (still 3-dan!) (W) defeated Pak Yeong-hun 3-dan by resignation.
  Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (W) defeated Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan by 3.5 points.
  Cho Han-seong 5-dan (W) defeated Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan by half a point.

  The semifinals are scheduled for 11 February 2003 and will be followed by a best-of-five final in March and April. Semifinal pairings are: Cho vs. Yi Se-tol and Yi Ch'ang-ho vs. Weon.

New women's international championship

  A new women's professional world championship has been founded: the Chong-kan-jang Cup (our spelling is just an approximation at this stage ? we'll confirm it at a later date). This is a Korean-sponsored tournament and the first round was held in Seoul on 7 November.
  The tournament followed the pattern that has recently become established in international women's go ? the same as in open tournaments ? that is, it was dominated by Korean players, who won six of the eight second-round (i.e. quarterfinal) places. The other two went to Chinese players. Five Japanese women competed, but they were all eliminated.

Results of all games are given below (sorry we don't have full details in some cases):
Rui Naiwei 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Kobayashi Izumi 5-dan (Japan) by resignation.
Zhang Xue 8-dan (China) (W) beat Koyama Mitsuru 5-dan (Japan) by resig.
Hua Xueming 7-dan (China) (W) beat Yoshida Mika 7-dan (Japan) by 7.5 points.
Pak 3-dan (Korea) (W) beat Kato Tomoko 5-dan (Japan) by resig.
Yun 2-dan (Korea) (B) beat Inori Yoko 5-dan (Japan) by 1.5 points.
Yi 2-dan (Korea) (B) beat Tang 1-dan (China) (margin not given).
Kuan 3-dan (Korea) (B) beat Liang 2-dan (China) by resig.
Cho 3-dan (Korea) (W) beat Ye Kuei 5-dan (China) by resig.

04 November

Oza Game Two: Cho loses on time

  The second game of the 50th Oza title match, which was played on the island of In-no-shima, near Hiroshima, on 31 October, had an unusual ending: Cho Chikun lost on time. This is the first time that this has ever happened in a title match. As a result, the series is now tied 1-1 between Cho and the challenger, O Meien 9-dan.
  The game ended at 9:35 p.m. on move 144, played by O. He had six minutes left, whereas Cho had been down to his last minute for some time. Players have five hours each in the Oza title match and byo-yomi begins five minutes before this time is used up. Cho didn't notice that O had moved and he thought that the byo-yomi (seconds) being read out by the timekeeper was for O. The timekeeper reads out the last ten seconds from 'one' to 'ten', and if he actually says 'ten', the player concerned loses on time. That's what happened, so the referee, Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9-dan, announced that Cho had lost on time. In ordinary games, losses on time occur from time to time, but the manner of Cho's loss ? thinking it was his opponent's byo-yomi being read out ? is probably unique.
  The game had already reached the large endgame stage, and observers were agreed that Cho had a lead, so he missed the chance to take a 2-0 lead. On the other hand, O had thrown away a probable win in the first game by failing to make a reinforcement, so perhaps this result can be viewed as redressing the balance. The series is now down to a best-of-three; the next game will be played on 21 November.

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