History of Topics 1999
- Cho defends Meijin title, sets new record
- O Rissei to make first challenge for the Kisei title
- Honinbo league
- Cho one win away from defending Meijin title
- O Rissei wins first game of Kisei playoff
- Yamashita wins second Shinjin-O title in a row
- Defending champion makes good start in defence of Women's Honinbo title
- Honinbo league
- Yoda scores first win in Meijin title match
- Kudo becomesTengen Challenger
- 55th Honinbo league gets under way
- Yamashita wins first game of King of the New Stars title match
- Catalin Taranu wins promotion to 4-dan
Cho defends Meijin title, sets new record
The fifth game of the 24th Meijin title (sponsored by the Asahi newspaper) was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on October 20 and 21. Playing white, Cho Chikun won by 1.5 points after 242 moves. This gave Cho a 4-1 lead in the title match, so he won the Meijin title for the fourth year in a row. The game ended at 7:55 p.m. on the second day. Both players were down to the final minute of their time allowances of eight hours each.This game had seemed interesting for Yoda, as he took all four corners and had a large living group in the centre. Cho doesn't like letting the opponent take the lead in territory, but in this series he has shown that he can handle any kind of game. He invaded Black's territory and gradually whittled down his lead in the endgame.
Cho's convincing win over Yoda shows that his Honinbo loss to Cho Sonjin has not had any after-effects it certainly didn't signal the start of a slump. Yoda must have been encouraged by Sonjin's victory, for the latter is a junior disciple (their sensei is Ando Takeo 6-dan).
Now, however, with his second setback suffered at Cho's hands in a big-three title match (he lost the 1998 Kisei title match 2-4) he must be wondering how he's going to get his hands on a big title. It's a little ironic that Yoda can't take a top Japanese title, considering that recently he has been Japan's most successful player in international tournaments and that he is perhaps the only player with a positive record (7-2) against the world's number one, Lee Chang-ho, With this victory, Cho took his tally of Meijin titles to nine, thus outstripping Kobayashi Koichi, though the latter still holds the record for most successive Meijin titles at seven. This is also Cho's 59th title, so he is just five short of drawing level with the record-holder, Sakata Eio. Of these 59 titles, 29 have been top three titles, which is a remarkable record. The player in second place for top-three titles is Kobayashi Koichi, with 16. Cho's total is close to double, which testifies to his remarkable strength in two-day games.
O Rissei to make first challenge for the Kisei title
The second game of the best-of-three playoff to decide the challenger to Cho Chikun for the 24th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on October 21. The winner was O Rissei, who, playing black, forced Hikosaka Naoto to resignaiton after 145 moves. The game has looked like being a tight endgame contest, but O was able to exploit a chink in Hikosaka's armour, leading to his capturing a large group. Last year O made unsuccessful challenges to Cho for the Honinbo and Meijin titles, losing both by 2-4 margins (there were actually seven games played in the Meijin title match, as one ended in a "no result" because of a triple ko). He now makes a challenge for the third of the "big three" titles and, having recently turned 40, he must feel that his time has come. The year 2000 will be his 30th year in Japan, so taking the Kisei title will be a good way to celebrate. Convincing Cho will be the problem. The first game will be played in Nago City, Okinawa, on January 12 and 13, 2000. Once again Hikosaka (aged 37) misses out on challenging for a big title. Even so, he has shown in the last couple of years that he is one of the top players on the Japanese go scene, so surely his day will come.
The last game in the first round of the 55th Honinbo league was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on October 21. Playing black, O Meien 9-dan defeated Rin Kaiho 9-dan by resignation. The players who have made winning starts to the league are Cho Chikun (beat Yamada Kimio), Ryu Shikun (beat Otake Hideo), Hikosaka Naoto (beat O Rissei) and O Meien. The main interest, perhaps, is whether Cho roars through the league and tries to reclaim his title from Cho Sonjin. However, fans of those two great veteran players Rin and Otake (both born in 1942) will be hoping to see them stir up the league a little.
The following players have earned promotions in the Oteai (rating tournament).
To 9-dan: Kori Toshio (he becomes the sixth 9-dan at the Osaka branch of the Nihon Ki-in)
To 5-dan: Rin Shien (Rin is a Taiwanese player at the Tokyo branch)
Cho one win away from defending Meijin title
The fourth game of the 24th Meijin title match was held at the Urayasu Royal Pines Hotel on October 13 and 14. The game finished at 7:17 pm on the 14th, with Cho Chikun, holding black, forcing Yoda Norimoto to resignaiton after 195 moves. This gave Cho a lead of 3 games to 1, so he needs just one more win to win his fourth Meijin title in a row. Of their time allowances of eight hours each, Yoda had 22 minutes left while Cho was down to his last minute. This game was notable for the fact that Yoda played as slowly in the opening as Cho, with the result that a new record of 24 moves was set for the lowest number of moves played on the first day of a Meijin title-match game.
The fifth game will be played on October 20 and 21 at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City. The question is whether Yoda will be able to survive his first kadoban and keep his challenge alive.
O Rissei wins first game of Kisei playoff
In the first game of the best-of-three playoff to decide the challenger to Cho Chikun in the 24th Kisei title match, O Rissei Oza, playing white, defeated Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan by resignation. O therefore needs just one more win to take the playoff and make his third challenge to Cho for a big-three title (he challenged for the Meijin and Honinbo titles in 1998).
Yamashita wins second Shinjin-O title in a row
The second game of the 24th Shinjin-O (King of the New Stars) title match (sponsored by the Akahata Newspaper) was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on October 4. Playing white, Yamashita Keigo 6-dan (aged 21) forced his opponent, Hane Naoki 7-dan, to resignaiton after 190 moves.
Yamashita had also won the first game, so this gave him his second Shinjin-O title in a row.
Defending champion makes good start in defence of Women's Honinbo title
The 18th Yasuda Insurance Cup: Women's Honinbo best-of-five title match pits two of the top women players against each other. Chinen Kaori, the title holder, has won this title two years in a row, but this year the challenger is Kobayashi Izumi 4-dan, who in the last year or so has established herself as one of the top women players.
The first game of the title match was held at the Utsunomiya Grand Hotel in Utsunomiya City on October 6. Playing white, Chinen made a good start to her title defence by forcing Kobayashi to resignaiton after 228 moves. Of their time allowances of four hours each, Chinen had 14 minutes left and Kobayashi was down to her last minute. The second game will be played in Fukui City on October 14.
Two more games were played in the 55th Honinbo league this week. On October 4, Cho Chikun, back in the league after a decade as the title holder, defeated Yamada Kimio 7-dan by resignation (Cho had black). In the other game, played on October 7, Ryu Shikun 7-dan (black) defeated Otake Hideo 9-dan by 3.5 points.
Yoda scores first win in Meijin title match
The third game of the 24th Meijin title match was held at the Atami Sekitei Inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on September 29 & 30, 1999. Playing black, the challenger, Yoda Norimoto 9-dan, forced the title holder, Cho Chikun Kisei & Meijin, to resignaiton after 195 moves and so picked up his first win of the series. Each player had two minutes of his eight-hour time allowance remaining.
The fourth game will be played at the Urawa Royal Pince Hotel in Urawa City on October 13 & 14.
Kudo becomesTengen Challenger
Two years ago the veteran player Kudo Norio (born on 2 August 1940) surprised the go world by taking the Tengen title from Ryu Shikun. He lost the title to Kobayashi Koichi last year in a closely contested title match, but he clearly retains a strong attachment to this title. In the playoff to decide the challenger for the 25th Tengen title, held at the Nihon Ki-in on September 30, he defeated Yamashita Keigo 6-dan and so gets the chance to take his revenge on Kobayashi, Yamashita Keigo is considered to be one of the most promising young players (he was born on September 6, 1978) at the Nihon Ki-in and was expected by many to become the Tengen challenger but on the day he was no match for the wily veteran.
55th Honinbo league gets under way
The first game in the 55th Honinbo league was played at the Nihon Ki-in on September 30 and, by coincidence,it matched two of the favourites to become the challenger, Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan and O Rissei Oza. Hikosaka lost the league playoff in the previous league, but he got off to a good start in the new league by defeating O by half a point (Hikosaka had black).
Yamashita wins first game of King of the New Stars title match
The first game of the 24th King of the New Stars (Shinjin-O) best-of-three title match was played at the Central Japan headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Nagoya on September 20. The match pits Yamashita Keigo 6-dan, winner of the 23rd title (the winner doesn't defend his title but starts out afresh in this knockout tournament), against Hane Naoki 7-dan. If he won, the latter would be the first member of the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in to take this title. After just 89 moves, Yamashita, playing black, forced Hane to resignaiton, so he made a good start to the title match. The second game will be played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on October 4.
Catalin Taranu wins promotion to 4-dan
Catalin Taranu, a Romanian member of the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in, won promotion to 4-dan on September 24. This is the second-highest rank achieved by a Western member of the Nihon Ki-in (the top Western player is Michael Redmond 8-dan). On the same date Tsukuda Akiko also won promotion to 4-dan and Ogoshi Ichiro to 8-dan.
Kisei challenger: O Rissei or Hikosaka
The challenger to Cho Chikun for the 24th Kisei title will be either O Rissei or Hikosaka Naoto. O Rissei defeated Kobayashi Satoru in the first semifinal, played on September 16, and Hikosaka defeated Kobayashi Koichi in the other, played on September 23. If O Rissei wins the best-of-three playoff, he will make his first challenge for the Kisei title after unsuccessful challenges to Cho in the Meijin and Honinbo titles last year; if Hikosaka wins, he will be making his first challenge for a big-three title.