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History of Topics 2004

January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Yamada Kimio to challenge for Gosei title
  • Kobayashi Satoru remains in contention in Meijin league
  • Cho goes two-up in Honinbo title match
  • Korea dominates 9th LG Cup
  • Meijin league
  • Yu Bin wins TV Asia Cup
  • 29th Kisei leagues
  • Redmond report
  • Cho U makes good start in Honinbo defence
  • China scores first win in Agon Kiriyama Cup Play-off
  • Gosei challenger: Cho U or Yamada
  • Kobayashi Satoru to rejoin Kisei league
  • Contrasting fortunes of the two Chos in the Meijin league
  • Kato Masao acting chairman of Nihon Ki-in Board
  • Redmond report
  • Theft of historic go equipment

31 May

Yamada Kimio to challenge for Gosei title

  Yamada Kimio 8-dan will make his first appearance in a title match for six years when he challenges Yoda Norimoto for the 29th Gosei title. In the play-off to decide the challenger, held at the Nihon Ki-in on 28 May, he defeated Cho U Honinbo; Yamada held white and won by just half a point.
  Cho's loss ruled out the possibility of a clash with Yoda in three successive title matches (assuming he won the Meijin league), in effect, a best-of-17.

Kobayashi Satoru remains in contention in Meijin league

  All players with just two losses in the 29th Meijin league remain in contention. If Cho U, the leader on 5-1, slips up in the final two rounds, they will also have a chance. For that reason, the game between Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan and Yamashita Keigo 9-dan, played at the Nihon Ki-in on 27 May, was very important - the former was on 3-2 and the latter on 2-2.
  Playing white, Kobayashi defeated Yamashita by 4.5 points, so he improved his score to 4-2. Yamashita goes to 2-3, which virtually puts him out of the running; instead, he'll have to worry about keeping his place.
  Besides Kobayashi, O Rissei and Yamada Kimio, both on 3-2, are the other contenders. Cho has an advantage in that he has already played these three players. They will have to rely on Yamashita and Cho Chikun, Cho U's last two opponents, to help them out.
  Correction: The score given for Rin Kaiho in our last Meijin-league report should have been 3-3.

26 May

Cho goes two-up in Honinbo title match

  Cho U's excellent form in the 59th Honinbo title match is continuing and he has now taken a 2-0 lead over the challenger, Yoda Norimoto Meijin.
  In the second game, played at the Hotel Nikko Fukuoka in Fukuoka City in Kyushu, on 24 & 25 May, Cho (B) secured a resignation after 159 moves. The game finished at 16:11 p.m. on the second day. Cho had 90 minutes of his time allowance left and Yoda 83 minutes.
  Yoda had seemed to be doing well on the first day, but Cho played very skilfully in the centre fighting, and at lunch on the second day the position was even. After making eye shape for his centre group, Yoda tried to take the lead by switching to territorial moves at the top. However, Cho made a sacrifice that he used as a springboard for attacking Yoda's centre group with 148. Yoda went wrong with his defence. Even so, the move with which Cho brought down the centre group, Black 159, came as a complete surprise to the players in the pressroom, and, as he later confessed, to Yoda, too.
  There is just a week for Yoda to recover before the third game, to be played in Toba City in Mie Prefecture on 31 May and 1 June.

24 May

Korea dominates 9th LG Cup

  The opening rounds of the 8th LG Cup were played in Seoul on 18 and 20 May and resulted in yet another triumph for the host country, with five Korean players making the quarterfinals. They were joined by two Chinese representatives and one Japanese. In this tournament, both the Yis have survived, but they are paired against each other in the next round.
  Japan actually did quite well in the first round, with three players winning. Hane Naoki Kisei failed once again, but Yamashita Keigo scored a good win against Song T'ae-kon, who, after two second places in world titles (the Fujitsu Cup last year and the recent TV Asia Cup), has to be considered one of the world's top players even though he is still only 17.
  Likewise, one of the most notable results in the second round was the loss of Ch'oe Ch'eol-han at the hand of Kong Jie of China. These young Korean players are so formidable that even their setbacks make news.
  The quarterfinals will be played in Seoul on 28 October.

The results:
Round One (18 May, Seoul)
Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (Japan) (B) beat Song T'ae-kon 7-dan (Korea) by resignation.
O Rissei (Japan) (B) beat Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) by 2.5 points.
Cho U 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Ch'oe 3-dan by resig.
Kim Man-su 5-dan (Korea) (B) beat Hane Naoki 9-dan (Japan) by 1.5 points.
Pak Seung-hyeon 4-dan (Korea) (B) beat O Meien 9-dan (Japan) on time.
Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) by resig.
Kong Jie 7-dan (China) (W) beat Zhou Junxun 9-dan (Chinese Taipei) by resig.
Jiang Mingjiu 7-dan (USA) (B) beat Franz-Josef Dickhut amateur 6-dan
(Europe) by resig.

Round Two (20 May, Seoul)
Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat O Rissei (Japan) by resig.
Yu (Korea) (B) beat Gu Li 7-dan (Korea) by 2.5 points.
Cho U (Japan) (B) beat Mok Chin-seok 8-dan (Korea) by resig.
Kong Jie (China) (W) beat Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 8-dan (Korea) by resig.
Cho Han-seung 7-dan (Korea) (W) beat Yamashita (Japan) by 7.5 points.
Weon Seong-chin 5-dan (Korea) (B) beat Kim Man-su 5-dan (Korea) by 2.5 points.
Yi Se-tol 9-dan (Korea) B) beat Jiang (USA) by resig.
Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (W) beat Pak (Korea) by resig.

Quarterfinal pairings:
Yi vs. Yi
Yu Ch'ang-hyeok vs. Cho U
Cho Han-seung vs Kong
Weon vs. Yu Bin

Meijin league

  One game was played in the Meijin league on 20 May. Yamada Kimio (B) beat Rin Kaiho by 3.5 points. As a result, both players go to 3-2.

17 May

Yu Bin wins TV Asia Cup

  The 16th TV Asia Cup was held at the Shibuya studio in Tokyo of NHK from 11 to 14 May. Victory went to the veteran Chinese player Yu Bin 9-dan, who also won the 9th Cup in 1997. In the final, he beat the 17-year-old Song T'ae-kon of Korea. Song was doing quite well, but he missed the right move in seeking life for a large group that had invaded Yu's moyo, and so he had to be content with his second second-place finish in a world title.
  Yu Bin also won the 4th LG Cup in 2000, so, with three world titles, one more than Ma Xiaochun, he now has the best international record among Chinese players.

The results:
Round One (11 May)
Song T'ae-kon 7-dan (Korea) (W) beat Kobayashi Koichi 9-dan (Japan) by 6.5 points.
Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Gu Li 7-dan (China) by 2.5 points.
(12 May)Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (W) beat Pak Pyeong-kyu 4-dan (Korea) by resig.

(12 May)
Song (W) beat Zhou Heyang 9-dan (China) by resig.
(13 May)
Yu Bin (W) beat Cho Chikun by resig.

(14 May)Yu Bin (B) beat Song by 12.5 points.

29th Kisei leagues

  The final two places in the 29th Kisei leagues went to Yuki Satoshi 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in and Miyazawa Goro 9-dan. Yuki (W) beat Takemiya Masaki 9-dan by 5.5 points in the play-off, and Miyazawa (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 6-dan of the Kansai Ki-in. Both games were played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on 13 May. Sakai is a former WAGC champion; he has been doing well as a professional, but this was a painful loss for him.

Redmond report

  (13 May) Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan (W) beat Michael Redmond by resig. (final preliminary, Kiriyama Cup).

11 May

Cho U makes good start in Honinbo defence

  The first game of the 59th Honinbo title match was played at the Sapporo Prince Hotel Tower in Sapporo on 7 and 8 May. After a very closely fought game, Cho U, the defending titleholder, just managed to eke out a win by half a point. A comment by the challenger, Yoda Norimoto Meijin, indicated that perhaps he had played a little slackly because he thought he was ahead. Be that as it may, this is a very good start for Cho to win the opening game with white; it improves his prospects of rebuffing the challenge of Yoda, who many observers feel is the strongest player in Japan these days.
  The game ended at 7:30 p.m. on the second day after 268 moves. Cho was down to his final minute of byo-yomi, but Yoda had 11 minutes left, which means that he was still a minute away from entering byo-yomi.
  The second game will be played in Fukuoka City on 24 and 25 May.

China scores first win in Agon Kiriyama Cup Play-off

  The 5th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held in Beijing on 8 May. So far, this tournament had been monopolized by Japan, but this year China picked up its first victory, with Gu Li 7-dan (B) beating Kato Masao 9-dan by resignation.

Gosei challenger: Cho U or Yamada

  The second semifinal of the 29th Gosei tournament was held at the Nihon Ki-in on 3 May. Taking white, Cho U Honinbo beat Yamashita Keigo 9-dan by resignation. He will meet Yamada Kimio 8-dan, who had already defeated O Rissei Judan in the other semifinal, in the play-off to decide the challenger to Yoda Norimoto. It will be held on 28 May.

Kobayashi Satoru to rejoin Kisei league

  Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan has secured the second of the four Kisei-league places on offer, following the example of Ryu Shikun in rejoining the league immediately after dropping out. In the final round of the preliminary tournament, he defeated Kanazawa Hideo 6-dan (W) by resignation. Spare a thought for the 28-year-old Kanazawa, who let slip a precious opportunity to make a splash.

07 May

Contrasting fortunes of the two Chos in the Meijin league

  Two players named Cho are participating in the 29th Meijin league,but their results could hardly be more of a contrast. Cho U has just taken the sole lead, but Cho Chikun is in undisputed last place - we say 'undisputed' because he is two points behind the next player.
  On 29 April, Cho U Honinbo, playing white, defeated O Rissei Judan by 1.5 points. That gave him a little revenge for his recent loss to O in the Judan title match; it also put him in the sole lead, as O had been the only other player with just one loss. After this game, Cho improved his score to 5-1, which puts him within striking distance of securing the challengership. O dropped back to 3-2, joining a group of four other players who are on two losses (some are on 3-2 and some on 2-2).
  On 6 May, O Meien 9-dan (B) defeated Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by resignation. O goes to 2-3, so he is continuing his recovery from his bad start in the league. Things could hardly be worse for former Meijin Cho Chikun, as this was his fifth straight loss against no wins. It's not impossible to keep your league place with a 3-5 score, but it doesn't look very likely for Cho at this stage.

Kato Masao acting chairman of Nihon Ki-in Board

  After the resignation on health grounds of Toshimitsu Matsuo, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Nihon Ki-in, Imanaka Akio, one of two Vice Chairmen, became Acting Chairman. Actually, Imanaka has been suffering from bad health himself this year and had only recently come out of hospital. In those circumstances, he found the post of Acting Chairman too much of a strain and he also tendered his resignation, which was accepted at a Board meeting on 27 April. The other Vice Chairman, Kato Masao, who, unlike Toshimitsu and Imanaka, who were prominent businessmen, is a professional go player who is still very active. We can only hope that his added duties do not adversely affect his play.

Redmond report

  Michael Redmond 9-dan has played one game recently. On 29 April, taying black, he defeated Ishii Kunio 9-dan by resignation in the final preliminary round of the 60th Honinbo tournament.

Theft of historic go equipment

  According to a report in the Asahi Newspaper of 30 April, some historic go equipment was stolen from the Daitokuji Temple in Kyoto, together with two matchlock muskets (or arquebuses). The theft was discovered at 3 a.m. on 28 April. These items were on display in glass cases in a stupa at the temple called the Ryugenin. The go equipment was a go board and two go bowls that were said to have been used in a game between Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu and they were decorated with hollyhock and paulownia crests made with gold dust.
  The details of the theft make it apparent that it was carefully planned. Obviously the go items could not be easily converted into cash, which makes one wonder about the motivation for the theft.

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