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History of Topics 2008

January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Takao takes lead in Honinbo title match
  • Korea, China and Japan share quarterfinal seats in 13th LG Cup
  • Ha of Korea wins World Amateur Go Championship
  • Yi Se-tol wins 20th TV Asia Cup
  • Yamashita to challenge for Gosei title
  • Obituary: Sakakibara Shoji (1926-2008)

05 June

Takao takes lead in Honinbo title match

  This year's Honinbo title match features yet another clash between two members of the quartet that has been leading Japanese go in the 21st century, but it is the first match between Takao Shinji and Hane Naoki (the other two members of the quartet are Cho U and Yamashita Keigo).
  The match promised to be a hard-fought one, as both players were in outstanding form. A little earlier in the year, Takao had made a successful challenge for the Judan title, defeating Cho Chikun 3-0. This made him once again a dual title-holder. Hane, who had not appeared in a best-of-seven for two years, was in just as good form. He won the Honinbo League before the final round was even played and his record for the year before the title match started was 16 wins to just two losses. He is the same age (31) as Takao and became a professional in the same year. His achievements, with two Kisei titles to his name, are not much inferior to Takao's (three Honinbo titles and one Meijin title), considering that the Kisei is the top title. Results in games between the two were reasonably close, with Takao leading 8-5.
  However, Hane's well-balanced, territory-oriented go has not had an impact on Takao's bold and resolute style, which is based on thickness. In the first game, which was played in Takigawa City in Hokkaido, Hane got a weak group that Takao was able to harass sufficiently to take a territorial lead. In the second game, played at Kasenkyo hot spring in Hyogo Prefecture, Takao once again used thickness to good effect and forced a resignation after 146 moves.
  Hane's challenge is in trouble. If he doesn't recover in the third game, to be played on 11 and 12 June, he will be faced with a kadoban.

Results to date: Game One (14, 15 May). Takao (B) won by 3.5 points.
Game Two (27, 28 May). Takao (W) won by resignation.

Korea, China and Japan share quarterfinal seats in 13th LG Cup

  The opening rounds of the 13th LG Cup were held in Korea at the end of May and once again the hosts scored a triumph, taking half of the semifinal seats. Perhaps this is only natural though, as the home side had an overwhelming advantage, with half the places in the 32-player opening round. China, which started out with 11 players, has won two quarterfinal seats. The other two went to Japan; since it had only four players, this is a creditable effort.
  In any international tournament, there are bound to be many notable pairings, so we will just mention two of the most interesting results. First of all, Yi Se-tol has maintained the edge over Cho U that he secured when he beat him in the final of the 3rd Toyota & Denso Cup. Kono Rin made the quarterfinals for the second year in a row after beating last year's runner-up, the newest Korean prodigy Han Sang-hun, in the first round. Han made an extraordinary debut last year in the LG and Samsung Cups, but he may find it hard to match those performances.
  The quarterfinals are scheduled for November. Below are the full results for the first two rounds.

Round One (26 May)
  Yi Se-tol 9-dan (Korea) (W) defeated Cho U 9-dan (Japan) by resignation.
  Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) (B) d. Kang Tong-yun 7-dan (Korea) by resignation.
  Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (Japan) (W) d. Kim Seung-chae 1-dan (Korea) by resignation.
  Kono Rin 9-dan (Japan) (B) d. Han Sang-hun 3-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Xie He 7-dan (China) by resig.
  Pak Yeong-hun 9-dan (Korea) (B) d. Zhou Junxun 9-dan (Taiwan) by 5? points.
  Cho Han-seung 9-dan (Korea) (B) d. Tuo Jiaxi 3-dan (China) by resig.
  Gu Li 9-dan (China) (B) d. Mok Chin-seok 9-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Shi Yue 4-dan (China) (W) d. Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 9-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (B) d. Pak Cheong-sang 9-dan (Korea) by resig.
  Weon Seong-chin 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Li Tang 6-dan (China) by resig.
  Pak Hong-seok 6-dan (Korea) (B) d. Wang Lei 8-dan (China) on time.
  Kim Hyeong-hwan 4-dan (Korea) (B) d. Kong Jie 7-dan (China) by 1.5 points.
  Kim Chi-seok 4-dan (Korea) (W) d. Wang Tao 2-dan (China) by 3.5 points.
  Kim Hyeong-u 2-dan (Korea) (B) d. Qiu Jun 8-dan (China) by resig.
  Wang Yao 6-dan (China) (B) d. Ch'oe Ki-hun 1-dan (Korea) by resig.

Round 2 (28 May)
  Yi Ch'ang-ho (B) d. Cho Chikun by resig.
  Kono (B) d. Pak Hong-seok by resig.
  Yamashita (W) d. Kim Hyeong-hwan by resig.
  Chang (W) d. Cho Han-seung by resig.
  Pak Yeong-hun (B) d. Wang Yao by resig.
  Yi Se-tol (W) d. Kim Chi-seok by resig.
  Gu (B) d. Weon by 2.5 points.
  Kim Hyeong-u (W) d. Shi on time.

Quarterfinal pairings
  Chang vs. Pak, Gu vs. Kim, Kono vs. Yi Se-tol, Yamashita vs. Yi Ch'ang-ho.

Ha of Korea wins World Amateur Go Championship

  Ha Sung-bong, a former insei at the Korean Go Association, demolished the opposition in the 29th World Amateur Go Championship, winning all eight games. Second place was taken by Guo Yuzheng of China on 7-1; Guo lost to Ha in the fifth round, so at this point Ha established himself as the favourite, as he had already beaten Tsuchimune Yoshiyuki of Japan in the fourth round. In the seventh round, Ha defeated the only other remaining undefeated player, Fernando Aguilar of Argentina.
  Two players ended on 7-1, Guo and Aguilar; they had the same SOS (43), but Guo had a big lead in SOSOS of 307 to 300, so he took second place. Aguilar had to be content with third place, but this was still a marvelous performance, equaling the best previous result by a Western player, Ronald Schlemper's two third places.
  For full results, see the tournament chart given on the International Go Federation's home page. Detailed daily reports can be found in the American Go Association's E-Journal.

World Amateur Go Championship  HP

Yi Se-tol wins 20th TV Asia Cup

  In the TV Asia Cup, held in Beijing, Yi Se-tol has triumphed for the second year in a row. This year the tournament was dominated by the three Korean representatives (Yi Se-tol was seeded), who lost only to each other.

Round 1
  (1 June) Xie He 7-dan (China) (B) d. Cho U 9-dan (Japan) by resig.
  (1 June) Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (B) d. Cho Chikun 9-dan (Japan) by half a point.
  (2 June) Cho Han-seung 9-dan (Korea) d. Li Zhe 6-dan (China) by 1.5 points.

  (2 June) Yi Se-tol 9-dan (Korea) (B) d. Xie He by resig.
  (3 June) Cho Han-seung (B) d. Yi Ch'ang-ho by resig.

  (4 June) Yi Se-tol (W) d. Cho by 1.5 points.

Yamashita to challenge for Gosei title

  In the play-off to decide the challenger to Cho U for the 33rd Gosei title, Yamashita Keigo Kisei defeated Takao Shinji Honinbo and so has a chance to make a comeback in the title he won back in 2000. In the play-off, Yamashita had white and won by 1.5 points. This will be the third title match between Cho and Yamashita; they have won one each in the Oza title.

Obituary: Sakakibara Shoji (1926-2008)

  Sakakibara Shoji 9-dan died of emphysema on 28 April. Born in Toyohashi City in Aichi Prefecture on 2 January 1926, Sakakibara became a disciple of Fukuda Masayoshi 8-dan and Murashima Yoshinori, Honorary 9-dan, who were both disciples of Shusai. He became 1-dan in 1944 and 9-dan in 1972. He retired in 1999.
  Sakakibara won the bottom section of the Oteai (ranking tournament) in 1946 and the top section in 1956. In 1963 he won the Prime Minister's Cup. He played in the Meijin League once and the Honinbo League three times. He also served a number of terms as a director of the Nihon Ki-in and won the Okura Prize.

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