by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal
Newcomer Makes Good Start In Honinbo League: Three players are undefeated after two rounds in the 69th Honinbo League. Two of them are heavyweights, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Kono Rin 9P; the surprise is that the third is league newcomer Ida Atsushi 7P (right). Born on March 15, 1994, Ida started out the year as a 4-dan, but jumped to 7-dan when he won a Honinbo seat. He is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. Ida’s second win came on November 14, when, playing white, he beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig.
Ichiriki Wins Young Carp Tournament: The 8th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup Young Carp Tournament, open to Nihon Ki-in players 30 and under and 6-dan and under, was held on November 16 and 17. It was won by the sixteen-year-old Ichiriki Ryo 3P (left). Playing white in the final, he defeated Fujita Akihiko 4P, holder of the King of the New Stars title, by resignation.
26th Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on November 14, Chinen Kaori 4P (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 2.5 points. This extended Chinen’s score to 3-1, bringing her level with Suzuki Ayumi 6P. The league leader is Kato Keiko on 4-1. In another game, played on November 20, Yoshida Mika 8P picked up his first win by beating Ishii Akane 2P; Yoshida had black and won by resignation.
Aoki vs. Ishii In Women’s Kisei Play-Off: In the semifinals of the 17th Women’s Kisei tournament, held on November 18, Ishii Akane 2P (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resignation and Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W) beat Konishi Kazuko 8P, also by resignation, so Ishii and Aoki will meet in the play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin.
Mukai Finally Beats Xie: Mukai Chiaki (right) has finally succeeded in a title challenge to Xie Yimin. In the fifth game of the 32nd Women’s Honinbo title match, held at the Nihon K-in in Tokyo on November 27, Mukai (B) beat Xie by resignation after 251 moves. This was an impressive win for Mukai, as she spent a large part of the game under severe pressure. She made a reducing move that was a little too deep, and for the next 100 moves or so a large group of hers was harried and harassed by Xie. Spectators thought that Xie would win, but Mukai found a brilliant move that secured a link with another group. Xie is the one known for staging upsets in tough positions, but here she was on the receiving end. This win earned Mukai her first title after six unsuccessful challenges, five of them to Xie. The latter is now reduced to two titles.
Hane Defends Okan Title: The Okan or Crown title decides the top player at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in. The 54th title match (just one game) was held on November 29. Hane Naoki (B) defeated the challenger, Nakano Hironari 9P, by resignation after 237 moves. This is Hane’s tenth Okan title. His father, Hane Yasumasa, also won it four times; as far as I know, this is the only case of two players in the same family winning the same title.
Tomorrow: Second Round Of Nong Shim Cup Starts; Severe Penalty For Lateness; Obituary: Oka Mitsuo; Promotion: Yo Chito