by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the American Go E-Journal
Iyama makes good start in Honinbo defense: The first game of the 68th Honinbo title match was played in Ota City in Shimane Prefecture on May 16 and 17. Taking white, Iyama Honinbo defeated Takao Shinji 9P by 4.5 points. The game was closely fought, but Iyama drew ahead with a severe attack launched a little over 100 moves into the game. Winning with white is a good way to start off a best-of-seven. The second game will be played on May 28 and 29. Photo: Iyama Yuta, current Honinbo, courtesy Nihon Ki-in
38th Kisei Leagues: Two more games were played in the new Kisei leagues on May 16. In the second game in the A League, Cho U 9P (B) defeated Kiyonari Tetsuya 9P (Kansai Ki-in) by 15.5 points. In the first game in the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7P (Kansai Ki-in) (W) beat Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resignation.
Youngest title-winner: Iyama Yuta’s record for youngest title-winner has been broken, though in an unofficial tournament. In the final of the 4th Okage Cup, held in Ise City on May 16, the fifteen-year old Ichiriki Ryo 3P defeated Anzai Nobuaki 6P, who had won the previous two cups. Iyama Yuta won the Agon Kiriyama Cup at the age of 16, so Ichiriki has lowered his record by a year, though Iyama retains the record for an official title. The tournament is sponsored by a manufacturer of traditional sweets, and is open to members of the Nihon Ki-in aged 30 and under. The format is NHK-style (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes of thinking time taken in one-minute units). The best 16 competed in a final knockout tournament, held on May 15 and 16. Born in Miyagi Prefecture on June 10, 1997, Ichiriki is a disciple of So Kofuku 9P. He became a professional in 2011. He is also enrolled in first year of high school. It will be interesting to see if he can follow further in the footsteps of Iyama. Photo: Ichiriki Ryo, courtesy Nihon Ki-in
New Chinese international tournament: Launching international tournaments seems to be the latest fashion in China, reflecting both the increasing prosperity of Chinese corporations and the high status of go as an intellectual sport. The increasing success of Chinese players in the international arena is undoubtedly another factor. The latest new arrival is the Mlily Cup World Open Tournament, sponsored by Mlily Healthcare. It starts out with an international qualifying tournament being held from May 21 to 24 that will decide 50 out of the 64 places in the first round of the main tournament. Of the 50, four places are reserved for women players and four for amateurs. The disposition of the 14 seeded places is five to China, three each to Japan and Korea, one to Chinese Taipei, and two special seeds selected by the organizers. First prize is 1,800,000 yuan (about $285,000). The first two rounds will be played in July, and the next two in August. The dates of the final and semifinals have not yet been decided. China graphic from wallsave.com