- Kobayashi scores second successive win in Judan title match
- Han scores first win in Women's Amateur Championship
- O Rissei wins third Kakusei title
- O and Yoda lead Meijin league
- New Women's Tournament
- Otake defeats Ishida to win JT Cup
- Japan Women's University students Championship
- Cho wins fourth Kisei title in a row
- Kobayashi wins NEC Cup
- Sakai wins Strongest Amateur Player tournament for 4th year in a row
- Tada first player ever to win the Students Meijin three years in a row
- Tight finish looming in Honinbo league
- Kobayashi starts Judan challenge with narrow win
- Aoki regains Women's Meijin title after a gap of nine years
- Kobayashi survives kadoban in Kisei title match
- Aoki wins first game in Women's Meijin
Kobayashi scores second successive win in Judan title match
Kobayashi Koichi Tengen now needs just one more win to take the Judan title. In the second game, played at the Gimpaso Inn in Nishiura Hot Spring, Aichi Prefecture, on March 25, Kobayashi, playing black, defeated the title holder Hikosaka Naoto, by 2.5 points after 226 moves. Since he also lost the first game, Hikosaka now faces a kadoban in the third game, scheduled for April 8 in Omachi City, Nagano Prefecture.
Of their time allowances of five hours each, Kobayashi was down to his last minute and Hikosaka had 16 minutes left.
Han scores first win in Women's Amateur Championship
The 41st All-Japan Women's Amateur Championship was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 20 and 21. Competing were the 125 players who had won their way through preliminaries around Japan and three seeded players for a total of 128. The final was fought between Baba Tomoyumi (a seed) and Han Konyu (Chiba). Making her first appearance in this tournament, Han Konyu secured victory by 1.5 points, playing with black. Han, who hails from Taiwan, is a former insei and her brother is Han Zenki 4-dan. For Baba, this was her third second place in this tournament.
Third place was taken by Nakajima Mieko (Tokyo) and fourth by Yamamori Maki (Kanagawa).
O Rissei wins third Kakusei title
The final of 21st Kakusei tournament was held in Tokyo on March 15. Playing white, O Rissei Oza defeated Kato Masao 9-dan by half a point to win his third kakusei title. For the second year in a row, Kato had to be content with second place. This is O's third current title: besides the Oza, he also holds the LG Cup, a Korean international title.
O and Yoda lead Meijin league
Two Meijin-league games were played on March 18. In one of them, Kato Masao 9-dan defeated Mimura Tomoyasu 8-dan by 2.5 points and in the other O Rissei Oza defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan by half a point. This second victory in the same week by the narrowest possible margin gave O a share of the lead with Yoda Norimoto Gosei ― both are undefeated on 3-0. In third place is Ryu Shikun 7-dan on 2-1.
New Women's Tournament
A new tournament for professional women players has been founded: the Tokyo Precision Cup: The Strongest Woman Player, sponsored by the Tokyo Precision corporation, which manufactures office equipment and gauges. This tournament will be open to the top 32 women players (based on prize-money earnings ― there are now over 60 women players in total), who will compete for a first prize of ¥4,500,000. There is no title match; first place will go to the winner of the final in a knockout tournament. The first round will be played on March 29 and the final is scheduled for the end of December.
Otake defeats Ishida to win JT Cup
The final of the 5th JT Cup Constellation Championship was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 13 and was fought between Ishida Yoshio 9-dan and Otake Hideo 9-dan. The morning session was played in private, but after lunch the game transferred to a large hall where Kataoka Satoshi 9-dan gave a commentary to a large, attentive audience.
The game was won by Otake, playing black, by 10.5 points, who thus won his first JT Cup. This is Otake's 19th victory in a haya-go tournament.
Japan Women's University students Championship
The 34th All-Japan Women's University Students Championship was held at the Nihon Ki-in on March 11 & 12 with 24 players participation. In the final, Kamasaki Mizuyo of Hiroshima University, playing white, defeated Rin Yoshimi of Sacred Heart Women's University by 3.5 points to score her first win in this tournament.
Fujisawa Hiroko of Gifu University was third and Nakano Maiko of Keio University was fourth.
Cho wins fourth Kisei title in a row
The sixth game of the 23rd Kisei title match was held at the Sapporo Park Hotel on March 10 & 11. The game ended at 6:47 pm on the 11th with Cho, holding white, defeating Kobayashi Koichi by 5.5 points. That made the score 4-2 in Cho's favour, so he won the match. This is his fourth Kisei title in a row and his eighth overall, so he has drawn level with Kobayashi. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Cho was down to his last minute and Kobayashi had 54 minutes left.
Kobayashi was unable to follow up his acquisition of the Tengen title at the end of last year, but he still has a chance of getting a second title in the Judan.
Kobayashi wins NEC Cup
The final of the 18th NEC Cup was held at the Merupark Hall in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on March 6. Playing white, Kobayashi Koichi Tengen defeated O Rissei Oza, forcing him to resignaiton after 184 moves. This is Kobayashi's second NEC title and his first for four years.
In the final of the 14th Young Stars tournament, held on the same day, Yamashita Keigo 6-dan defeated So Yokoku 5-dan and so won this title for the first time.
Sakai wins Strongest Amateur Player tournament for 4th year in a row
The best-of-three final of the 8th Japan's Strongest Amateur Player tournament (sponsored by the Hochi Newspaper) was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo from March 5 to 7. Sakai Hideyuki, the title holder, successfully fended off the challenge of Nakazono Seizo, defeating him 2-1.
This is Sakai's fourth successive win in this title and matches the record set by Imamura Fumiaki.
Tada first player ever to win the Students Meijin three years in a row
There have been many strong university players in Japan, but until now none has ever succeeded in winning the Student Meijin title three years in a row. That changed this month when Tada Takumi of Keio University defeated Tanaka Nobuhiro (Tokyo University) 2-0 in the best-of-three playoff.
The games were played at the Nihon Ki-in on March 4 and 5.
Tight finish looming in Honinbo league
A playoff is inevitable in the 54th Honinbo league, as there are four players on 4-2 after the sixth round, and these four players are slated to meet each other in the final round.
In the sixth round, played on March 11, Cho Sonjin 9-dan (White) defeated O Rissei Oza by 2.5 points, Ishida Akira 9-dan (Black) defeated Yamada Kimio 7-dan by resignation, O Meien 9-dan (Black) defeated Ryu Shikun 7-dan by 4.5 points, and Hikosaka Naoto Judan (White) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan by resignation. These results left Cho, Ishida, Ryu, and Hikosaka tied on 4-2.
In the final round, to be played in April, Hikosaka plays Ishida and Ryu plays Cho, so the respective winners will qualify for a playoff. Of these four, only Ryu has ever challenged for a big-three title, so there's a good chance of seeing a new face challenge Cho Chikun.
Kobayashi starts Judan challenge with narrow win
The 37th Judan best-of-five title match (sponsored by the Sankei Newspaper) has got off to a start. Kobayashi Koichi Tengen is challenging Hikosaka Naoto, who is making his first defence. The first game was held at the Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay Hotel in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture, on March 4. Playing white, Kobayashi recovered from a bad position and staged an upset victory by half a point.
Of their time allowances of five hours each, Kobayashi had six minutes left and Hikosaka 14. The second game will be played at the Ginpaso Inn at Nishiura Hot Spring, Aichi Prefecture, on March 25.
Aoki regains Women's Meijin title after a gap of nine years
The second game of the 11th Women's Meijin title match (sponsored by the Evening Fuji) was held at the Jin-ya at Tsurumaki Hot Spring, Kanagawa Prefecture, on March 3. Playing white, Aoki Kikuyo 7-dan, the challenger, defeated Nishida Terumi by 5.5 points. This was her second win in a row, so Aoki regained the title after a gap of nine years.
Nishida failed in her attempt to match Sugiuchi Kazuko 8-dan's record of holding this title for four years in a row.
Kobayashi survives kadoban in Kisei title match
The fifth game of the 23rd Kisei title match was held at the Shiroyama Kanko Hotel in Kagoshima City on February 24 & 25. Cho had taken a 3-1 lead in the fourth game and so forced Kobayashi to a kadoban, but the challenger bestirred himself in the fifth game and , playing white, forced the champion to resignaiton after just 102 moves. The score in the match is now 3-2. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Kobayashi had one hour 24 minutes left and Cho six minutes.
The sixth game will be played in Sapporo on March 10 & 11.
Aoki wins first game in Women's Meijin
The best-of-three title match for the 11th Women's Meijin title (sponsored by the Evening Fuji newspaper) has started. Aoki Kikuyo 7-dan is challenging Nishida Terumi, who is aiming at her fourth Women's Meijin title in a row. The first game was played on February 24 at the Sheraton Grand Tokyo Bay Hotel in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture.
Playing black, Aoki forced the defending champion to resignaiton after 165 moves. She now needs just one more win to take the title. The second game will be played at Tsurumaki Hot Spring in Kanagawa Prefecture on March 3.