American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (1): Hsieh and Iyama pair win Pair Go tournament; Ichiriki wins Kisei S League; Youngest member ever of Honinbo League

Wednesday September 6, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.09.06_pair-go

Hsieh and Iyama pair win Pair Go tournament: The Pair Go World Championship Stars Tournament 2017 was held at the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel in Shibuya, Tokyo, on August 12 and 13 and was won by the pair of Hsieh Yimin and Iyama Yuta, representing Japan. In a sense, this tournament is a successor to the Pair Go World Cup 2016 Tokyo, which was held in Shibuya last year and was a great success with go fans. It is actually in two parts. The first part, the Stars Tournament, was a mini-knockout tournament in which two pairs from Japan and one each from Korea and Chinese Taipei took part. The winners are to play the winning pair from last year’s World Cup in the second part of the tournament, called the Masters Match, in October.

The luck of the draw saw the two teams from Japan play each other in the first round. The pair of Hsieh Yimin 6P (spelling is a mixture of two romanization systems but follows the Nihon Ki-in HP) and Iyama Yuta 9P (B) beat the pair of Fujisawa Rina 3Pand Hane Naoki 9P by resig. In the other first-round game, Choi Jeong 7-dan and Park Jeonghwan 9-dan (W) from Korea beat Hei Jia-jia 7P (also known as Joanne Missingham) and Chen Shih-yuan 9P of Chinese Taipei by resig. In the final, Hsieh and Iyama (B) beat Choi and Park by resig. First prize was ten million yen. Hsieh and Iyama will meet the World Cup-winning pair of Yu Zhiying 5P and Ke Jie 9P in the Masters Match. Hei and Chen (B) beat Fujisawa and Hane by 5.5 points in the play-off for 3rd place.

Like last year, a competition in solving life-and-death problems was also held. The four human pairs competed against the Pandanet life-and-death AI program Panda Sensei in solving five problems. The time allowed for the super-difficult problems was ten minutes each. Panda Sensei won easily, like last year, with four correct solutions in the fastest time. Choe and Park came second, with one correct solution, and Hsieh and Iyama third (they solved the same problem, but the Korea pair was a little faster). What is notable, however, is that Panda Sensei was unable to solve one problem.

(Even in Japan, some fans commented that the winning team above is only half Japanese, as Hsieh is Taiwanese, but it has long been established that players can represent the country of their professional affiliation.)

Ichiriki wins Kisei S League: Two games in the S League of the 42nd Kisei tournament were held on August 10. Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Cho U 9P, also by resig. As a result, there were four players on 2-2, namely, 2017.09.06_Honinbo league Kyo left Shibano rightKono, Yamashita, Murakawa, and Cho U, which meant that Ichiriki Ryo 7P, on 4-0, became unbeatable with one round still to be played. The other league member is So Yokoku 9P, who is on 0-4. Ichiriki secures a place in the play-off to decide the challenger; he needs only one game in the best-of-three, so he has a good chance of meeting Iyama in the title match.

Youngest member ever of Honinbo League: The four vacant places in the 73rd Honinbo League have been decided. Two of the final play-offs were held on August 17. In one, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Terayama Rei 5P by resig.; in the other, Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by half a point. Kobayashi will play in his fifth Honinbo League and Ida in his fourth.
The third place was decided on August 31. Playing black, Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 7P beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 2.5 points. This will be Yo’s fourth Honinbo League.
The last place was decided on September 4, when Shibano Toramaru 7P (right) beat Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan) 4P (game details not yet available to me). At 17 years nine months, Shibano is the youngest player to win a seat in the Honinbo League. He has been a pro for three years exactly, so he is also the quickest. (The record for all leagues is held by Ichiriki Ryo, who got into the Kisei League aged 16 years nine months. The new league starts in October; many fans will be looking forward to Shibano’s debut, as he is not only the strongest high-teen player in Japan but also has an aggressive, individualistic style.
Tomorrow: Xie to challenge for Women’s Honinbo; Ichiriki to challenge for Oza and Tengen; DeepZenGo wins computer tournament

Categories: Japan,John Power Report