YAMASHITA TAKES FIRST GAME IN TENGEN TITLE MATCH: Challenger Yamashita Keigo 9P (left) defeated Tengen title holder Cho U 9P on November 12th to take the first game in their best-of-five-games title match. Cho now holds four of the top seven Japanese titles. He won the Tengen for the first time last year, defeating Kono Rin 9P, who had held it for the preceding three years. Yamashita lost the title to Kono after winning it from Hane Naoki 9P in 2003; he then unsuccessfully challenged for the next three years. Yamashita’s main claim to fame is holding the number one title in Japan, the Kisei five times, including the last four years.
- Bill Cobb, Sources: Go News, GoGameWorld
KOREAN MYEONGIN REACHING FINAL STAGES: On November 12-13, Won Sungjin 9P (right), who had defeated Seo Gunqoo 4P, defeated Hong Sungji 7P by a score of 2-1 (winning his two games by a total of five points) to become the League A final winner in the 37th Myeongin (J: Meijin), which has a complicated structure. This year there are two six-player leagues after the usual preliminary event. The top two players in each league have a best-of-three-games match and the winners of those matches have a final match. Since Lee Sedol 9P, who won this title last year, has taken a leave of absence from the active pro scene, the winner of this final match will be the title winner; this match is a best-of-five-games contest. A further complication arose in one league where a play-off game was needed to determine the second winner. The top two from League B, Lee Changho 9P and Kim Seongje 3P will start their playoff on November 16th. Lee Changho is one of the world’s best-known players, but is not as dominant these days. Kim has never taken a title and is still in his teens. Won won the international Chunwon title and the BC Card Cup in 2007. Of these three only Lee currently holds a title, the Korean KBS Cup, which he has held ten times.
- Bill Cobb, Go News, GoGameWorld, Sensei’s Library
HONINBO LEAGUE PROCEEDING SLOWLY: The eight-player round robin to determine the challenger for Hane Naoki 9P’s Honinbo title is proceeding at its usual leisurely pace. At this point Iyama Yuta 9P (recently promoted for winning the Meijin) and Yamashita Keigo 9P have the best records at 2-0. Neither of these players have even challenged for this title before, let alone won it. Among the other League participants only Takao Shinji 9P (currently 1-1) and Takemiya Masaki 9P (also 1-1) have ever won the Honinbo title. Takao held it three years, from 2005-2007, and Takemiya was Honinbo six times, including four consecutive years in 1985-1988. Yamada Kimio 9P (0-2) was the challenger in 2006, losing to Takao. Cho U 9P (1-1–he lost to Iyama) challenged twice unsuccessfully, in 2001 and 2005. The remaining two players, Yuki Satoshi 9P and Mimura Tomoyasu 9P have also never been the challenger.
- Bill Cobb, from GoGameWorld, Go News, Wikipedia, Wintry Smile