Japan Eliminated from Nong Shim: As reported last week, Japan made a bad start to the second round, held in Pusan, of the 15th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup when its third player, Kono Rin 9P, was eliminated. Yuki Satoshi 9P also lost his first game, so it looked as if Japan might suffer the ignominy of going winless. Cho U averted that with a good win, but he lost the final game in the round, so the Japanese team has been eliminated. The experiment of blooding two young and inexperienced players (Yo Chito and Anzai Nobuaki; see our report on the opening round, played October 22-25) has not been a success, though in their defense one has to say they didn’t do much worse than their seniors. The final round will be played in Shanghai from February 25 to 28. China has three players left and Korea two.
Results for the remaining games in this round follow: Game 6 (Dec. 3). Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (B) defeated Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) by resig. Game 7 (Dec. 4). Chen (B) d. Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan) by resig. Game 8 (Dec. 5). Chen (B) d. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by 18.5 points. Game 9 (Dec. 6). Cho U 9P (Japan) (B) d. Chen by resig. Game 10 (Dec. 7). Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) (W) d. Cho by resig. photos courtesy Go Game Guru; click here for more Nonshim reports, photos and game records.
China Wins 15th Agon Kiriyama Cup Play-Off: For the 11th year in a row, China has won the annual play-off between the holders of the Japanese and Chinese versions of the Agon Kiriyama Cup, which is sponsored by the Agon Buddhist sect. The game was held in Hangzhou City on December 3; taking white, Lian Xiao 4P of China defeated Murakawa Daisuke 7P of Japan by resignation after 164 moves.
Unusually Strong Meijin League Starts: The 39th Meijin League started with a game between two heavyweights, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Hane Naoki 9P, on December 5. Playing white, Yamashita made a good start with a win by resignation. Go Weekly made an interesting observation. All the members of the quartet that dominated the first decade of this century, Yamashita, Hane, Cho U, and Takao Shinji, are present in this league. That is probably quite unusual for a league, as usually one of these players is Kisei, Meijin or Honinbo. There are joined by two other top players from recent years, Kono Rin and Yuki Satoshi, so that makes this year’s Meijin League a very strong one. The other three players are Ryu Shikun, Murakawa Daisuke, and Ko Iso. One of the nine players will have the unenviable task next September of challenging Iyama Yuta.
Women’s Meijin League: Two games in the 26th Women’s Meijin League were played on December 5. Newly-minted Women’s Honinbo Mukai Chiaki (B) beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by resig. and Yoshida Mika 8P (W, at right) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 10.5 points. For Suzuki, this was her second loss, so she dropped out of a theoretical tie with Kato Keiko 6P (on 4-1) for first. Mukai and Suzuki are both on 3-2, so they still have a chance if Kato stumbles in the final round.
Promotion: A win on December 5 was Yoshioka Kaoru’s 150th as 7-dan, so it earned him promotion to 8-dan.