by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Chisato Cup: The semifinals and finals of this new tournament for young players were played in the town of Seiro in Niigata Prefecture on March 1 and 2, but I forgot to include it in my previous report. The favorite of the fans was probably Fujisawa Rina 2P (right), the granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko, but she lost to Hirata Tomoya 3P in one semifinal. In the other, Suzuki Shinji 4P beat Kimoto Katsuya 3P. Suzuki (B) then beat Hirata by resignation in the final to take the first prize of two million yen (a little under $20,000). In my report on the opening rounds of this tournament, I made a bad guess, based on a Net search, about the business of the sponsor, the Chisato corporation. Apparently it is an insurance agency specializing in towns and village councils throughout Japan.
Japan Eliminated from 2nd Bailing Cup: The qualifying section and the first round of the main tournament of this Chinese-sponsored international tournament were held at the Chinese Qiyuan (Ki-in) in Beijing from March 13 to 18. Seventeen professionals and amateurs from Japan took part in the qualifying tournament, but no one won a place in the main tournament, though Ida Atsushi 7P (left), Ichiriki Ryo 7P, and Son Makoto 3-dan did reach the final round. This is a massive tournament, with 64 players competing in the first round. Japan had three seeded players, but they were all eliminated. Their results: Zhang Tao 4P (China) beat Akiyama Jiro 9P (Japan), Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) beat Takao Shinji 9P (Japan), and Wang Xi 9P (China) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan). Twenty-two Chinese and ten Korean players proceeded to the second round. Incidentally, the two players fighting a jubango at present, Yi Se-tol and Gu Li, were both eliminated in this round. See also Battle for 2nd Bailing Cup Cup Begins 4/3 EJ.
Ichiriki Sets Record: The first of the four vacant seats in the 39th Kisei Leagues has been taken by Ichiriki Ryo 4-dan (right). In the final, held on March 21, Ichiriki (B) beat Cho U 9P by 7.5 points. At 16 years nine month, he is the youngest player to win a seat in any of the three leagues. This feat also earned him an automatic promotion to 7-dan. The previous record for the Kisei Leagues was 17 years ten months, set by Iyama Yuta. Iyama still holds the Meijin League record, at 18 years five months, and Yo Seiki set a new record for the Honinbo League last year of 18 years two months. On April 3, the second of the vacant places went to Cho Riyu 8P; playing white, he beat Seto Taiki 7P by 8.5 points.
Tomorrow: Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title; Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row; Yuki Evens Score In Judan; Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions