by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Cho Chikun Wins 73rd Title: The final of the fourth Igo Masters Cup was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on July 12. Taking black, 25th Honinbo Cho Chikun (right) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9P by 6.5 points to win this title for the second time. This is Cho’s 73rd title, so he extends his Japanese record. Incidentally, this was the 59th game between these two; Cho now has a lead of one over Kobayashi.
Meijin League: Kono Rin (left) won his seventh-round game, so he stays in a tie for second with Cho U 9P. Kono and Cho play each other in the final round, so, if Yamashita loses, the winner will meet him in a play-off to decide the challenger.
(July 11) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ryu Shikun 9P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resignation.
Kono’s Winning Streak Ends At 19: A loss, to Murakawa Daisuke 7P, in the quarterfinals of the 62nd Oza tournament on July 17 was Kono Rin’s first since mid-April. His record of 19 successive wins is the best winning streak so far this year.
Iyama Catches Up In Gosei Title Match: In the second game of the 39th Gosei title match, played in the Hokkoku Newspaper Hall in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture, on 20 July, Iyama Yuta (B) defeated Kono Rin 9P by resignation after 151 moves. This gave him revenge for his loss of the first game in 129 moves. Kono perhaps lost the game because of pessimistic positional judgement: he believed that the result of the first big fight was unfavorable for him — the players following the game disagreed — so he made a deeper invasion than he would have otherwise. Iyama attacked aggressively and killed a large group. The third game will be played on August 11.
By the way, I need to correct a mistake I made in my report on the first game. I wrote that Kono suffered straight losses last year, but I was confusing this title match with the 2012 Tengen title match, which Kono did lose 0-3. In the 2013 Gosei, he won the first two games, then lost the next three.
Kisei Leagues: The first third-round game in the A League was played on July 11. Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig. This was Hane’s first win after two losses. Ichiriki drops to 0-3; he is having a tough initiation in league play. On July 17, Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji Judan by resignation. More games played on July 24 clarified the lead. In the A League, Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resignation. Kono (2-1) suffered his first loss, so Yamashita (3-0) is the sole undefeated player. In the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) beat Yuki Satoshi by resignation. Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) (2-1) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P (2-1) by 1.5 points, so Murakawa (3-0) is the sole undefeated player. It looks as if we might see a replay of last year’s play-off between Yamashita and Murakawa. The latter’s continued success shows that he is close to joining the top group of tournament players in Japan.
Obituary: Sasaki Tadashi
Sasaki Tadashi 8P died of acute leukemia on July 20. Born on May 28, 1963, Sasaki (right) was a disciple of Sakata Eio, 23rd Honinbo. He became 1-dan in 1980 and reached 8-dan in 2001. Sasaki was very active as a teacher and was well known in Japan. He was also working on a biography of his teacher. According to an obituary article in Go Weekly by his friend the go journalist Akiyama Kenji, Sasaki had suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage two years ago; ironically, he was visiting a hospital at the time, so he got prompt treatment. Recently he held a party to celebrate his complete recovery. At such parties, guests are usually given a little present, and Sasaki’s showed his sense of humor, being a hand towel with a picture of a spider’s web on it. He was planning to take a group of disciples to the US Go Congress this year. Akiyama wrote that he first met Sasaki 40 years ago when he was in elementary school. Sasaki introduced himself by handing over a name card detailing his position as an insei. Akiyama thought that this was a bit over the top for an elementary-school pupil, but there was a good reason for it. When returning home late from insei games or watching professional games, Sasaki would often be stopped by policemen and scolded for being out so late, so the name card was his defense. photo by Brian Allen