by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Yamashita Increases Lead In Meijin League: Yamashita Keigo (right) hasn’t played a game in the 39th league since our last report, but his lead has opened up to two wins because of a loss suffered by Cho U. In a game played on May 8, Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) picked up his first win in the league by beating Cho by half a point. Cho drops back to 3-2, putting him in a three-way tie for second with Hane Naoki 9P and Ryu Shikun 9P. Yamashita is on 5-0, so he has a two-game cushion, which makes him an even better bet for challenger than he appeared to be in the Honinbo league. On the same day, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke by resig. Murakawa slips to 1-4 and now will have a tough job keeping his place.
Ichiriki Wins New International Tournament: Japan had its best result in an international tournament for 17 years when its representatives took first and second place in the Globis Cup World Igo U-20. The official name notwithstanding, the tournament is open to players 20 and under (there is some confusion, as the Nihon Ki-in’s HP defines it as “under 20,”but the Chinese player Lian Xiao turned 20 on April 8 ). At any rate, 16 top young players from Japan, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, and Oceania took part. The time system is NHK-style, that is 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time in one-minute units. The first round consists of four double-elimination mini-tournaments (similar to the opening round of the Samsung Cup). Four players compete in each, playing until they have two wins, thus qualifying for the quarterfinals, or two losses, thus being eliminated. The tournament was held from May 9 to 11.
Globis is a Japanese venture-capital company that also provides educational services in business and management. It runs its own university, the Graduate School of Management, Globis University, and the main force behind its sponsorship is the college president, Hori Yoshito, a keen go player.
Because of their outstanding results recently, the players from Korea and China were considered the favorites, especially Lian Xiao 7-dan of China, who won the 15th Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off with Japan last December. Local fans were surprised and pleased, therefore, to see two of the Japanese representatives make the final. One was Ichiriki Ryo (left), who was recently promoted to 7-dan for winning a place in one of the current Kisei leagues; the other was Kyo Kagen 2P, a Taiwanese-born player, who has been doing very well this year (he is top of the most-wins list at present, with a 23-4 record, including 17 wins in a row; Ichiriki is in second place with 20-2).
Both Ichiriki and Kyo qualified quickly for the quarterfinals with two straight wins; one of the players falling by the wayside with 1-2 was Ida Atsushi, who is now challenging for the Honinbo title. Ichiriki beat Na Hyeon 4P of Korea in the quarterfinals and Lian Xiao 7P of China in the semifinals; Kyo first beat Li Qincheng 1P, then Xia Chenkun 3P, both of China. In the final, Ichiriki (black) beat Kyo by resignation after 155 moves. In the play-off for third place, Lian beat Xia. First prize is worth 3,000,000 yen (close to $30,000), second 500,000, and third 200,000.
Tomorrow: Iyama Makes Good Start In Honinbo Title Defense; Kisei B League Starts
photo (bottom left): Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan plays Kyo Kagen 2 dan at the 1st GLOBIS Cup; photo courtesy Go Game Guru.