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The Power Report: Globis Cup report & commentary

Sunday May 22, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2016.05.22_globis-diagrams

A report on this year’s Globis Cup appeared earlier this month in the E-Journal (China’s Li wins 3rd Globis Cup  5/9). Here is a commentary on the final, based on Go Weekly and the live commentary by O Meien 9P (click on link below)This year the finalists were Li Qincheng 1P of China (aged 17) and Kyo Kagen (also known as Hsu Chiayuan or Xu Jiayuan) 3P of Japan (aged 18). In the nigiri, Li drew black. Playing conditions are the NHK format (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes). As last time, O was assisted by Mannami Nao 2P.

This tournament was founded to give young Japanese players more experience against top-level competition. In China and Korea, it’s not unusual for a teenager to be winning top titles. The best example of that is Ke Jie 9P of China. He is still only 18 (he turns 19 on August 2), but he has already won three international titles. So far, no teenager in Japan has won a top domestic title; the biggest prodigy, of course, has been Iyama Yuta, who started winning titles when he was 16, but he did not win a top-seven title, the Meijin, until he had turned 20. Why the difference? In my view, the explanation is simple: the Korean and Chinese players come out of a much bigger pool, because of the much greater popularity of go among young people in these countries.

2016.05.22_Globis3_final-commentary

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The Power Report: Honinbo title match starts; Septuple crown in danger?

Wednesday May 11, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.05.11_honinbo-venue

The first game of the 71st Honinbo title match was played in the Honinbo Shusaku Igo Memorial Hall (right) on the island of Inno-shima (Shusaku’s birthplace) in the city of Onomichi in Hiroshima Prefecture on May 9 and 10. This is Iyama Yuta’s first title defence since completing the first-ever Grand Slam of the top seven titles. The challenger is Takao Shinji 9P, who has a bad record against Iyama (13-30 before this match) but who took the Tengen title from him in 2014, thus slowing down his quest for the grand slam. Takao has also been in great form this year and, as of May 3, had 13 wins to one loss.

2016.05.11_Takao makes a good startTakao (left) drew white in the first game. During the middle game, Iyama (right) made a strong attack on a white group; Takao sacrificed it, getting an attack on two black groups as compensation. Later, Takao 2016.05.11_Iyama wonders where he went wrongwas able to force Iyama into a large ko fight that could potentially decide the game. Lacking ko threats, Iyama finished off the ko and let Takao revive his dead group. This trade was favorable for Takao. Iyama did his best to catch up, but couldn’t quite manage it. Takao likes to build thickness and in this case his thickness did him in good stead in the endgame. Iyama resigned after White 244. This was Takao’s first win against Iyama after a string of seven losses.

This is just one loss, so, my headline notwithstanding, Iyama will not yet be 
too worried. The second game will be played on May 23 and 24.

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The Power Report: China’s Li wins 3rd Globis Cup

Monday May 9, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal. As in 2015, I was invited to cover the Globis Cup for the E-2016.05.09_globis_Hori Yoshito, tournament founderJournal;  I hope readers will forgive the delay in submitting my report.

China’s Li wins 3rd Globis Cup:  The third Globis Cup, an international tournament for young players sponsored by the Globis Corporation, was held from April 22 to 24. Li Qincheng 1P (left) of China won.  2016.05.09_globis_LiThe full name of the tournament is the Globis Cup World Go U-20, and it is open to players under 20 as of January 1 of this year. Participating were six players from Japan, three from China, three from Korea, and one each from Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, and the Asia/Oceania zone. The venue was the Graduate School of Management, Globis University, a business school run by the corporation; it is located in the Kojimachi area, a short walk from the Nihon Ki-in. The tournament is the brainchild of Hori Yoshito (right), who is the president of Globis University and also a director of the Nihon Ki-in.

At present, this is the only international tournament held every year in Japa
n and the only one for players under 20. The aim of the tournament is to raise the level of teenaged players in Japan who may not have many opportunities to take part in international tournaments. Of course, all the participants benefit, but the founder Mr. Hori is particularly concerned to raise the level of Japanese go and has set the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in (2024) as the target date for achieving this ambition. 

2016.05.09_globisThe new tournament started well for Japan, with two Japanese representatives making the final (the first time this had happened for 16 years) in the 1st Cup (Ichiriki Ryo beat Kyo Kagen). In the 2nd edition, on which I reported last year for
 the EJ, Huang Yunsong 4P of China beat Na Hyeon 6P of Korea in the final.

Below is a full list of this year’s competitors with their ages.
Japan: Ichiriki Ryo 7P (18), Son Makoto 4P (20, as of February 21), Kyo Kagen 3P (18), Matsuura Yuta 2P (16), Shibano Toramaru 2P (16), Onishi Ryuhei 1P (16)
China: Fan Yunruo 4P (20, as of Jan. 7), Yang Dingxin 3P (17), Li Qincheng 1P (17)
Korea: Lee Donghun 5P (18), Shin Jinseo 5P (16), Byeon Sangil 4P (19)
Chinese Taipei: Lin Shih-Hsun 5p (18)
Europe: Grigorii Fionin 7D (17)
North America: Justin Ching 7D (14)
Thailand: Krit Jamkachornkiat 7D (20, as of March 1)

Like some other international tournaments, the Samsung Cup, for example, the Globis Cup is made up of two stages. In the first, the players are split up in to four groups, in which the players play each other in a double knock-out. You qualify for the main tournament when you win two games (one player will do so with a score of 2-0, the other with 2-1). The second stage is then a regular knock-out tournament. Unfortunately, none of the amateur players scored a win. Below are the results in the second stage. Tournament conditions are the same as for the NHK Cup, that is, 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units.

Quarterfinals: Li (China) (W) beat Shibano (Japan) by resig., Byeon (Korea) (W) beat Lin (Ch. Taipei) by resig., Yang 2016.05.09_globis_Byeon, Li, Kyo(China) (B) beat Shin (Korea) by 7.5 points, Kyo (Japan) (W) beat Lee by resig.
Semifinals: Li (B) beat Byeon by resig., Kyo (B) beat Yang by resig.
Final: Li (B, center) beat Kyo (right) by resig.
Play-off for 3rd place: Byeon (B, left) beat Yang by resig.

In the final, Kyo started fairly well playing white, but he missed the decisi
ve points in large-scale middle-game fighting, so Li took a safe lead. As far as I know, this is Li’s first tournament victory. Kyo had to be satisfied with second place for the second time; he will get one more chance to play in this tournament. Incidentally, both Li and Kyo scored 2-1 in the first stage.

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The Power Report: Cho U beats the odds; Korea starts well in Huang Longzi Shuangdeng; Meijin League: Murakawa drops back; 280 million watched Alphago match

Thursday April 21, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Cho U beats the odds: Some more details about the final round of the 71st Honinbo League, held on March 31. The league was in a state of flux: the only player certain of retaining his place was Takao Shinji 9P, who became the challenger. The only player certain of losing his place was Ida Atsushi 8P, whose score was 1-5. Even Motoki Katsuya 7P, who won his game and came second, would have had to drop out if he had lost. The luckiest player was Cho U, who started out by losing four games in a row, then keeping his place by winning the last three. When the final round began, though, he not only needed to win his game, he also needed to have Kono Rin 9P, Yo Seiki 7P, and Ichiriki Ryo 7P lose. According to Go Weekly, the odds of all this happening were only 1 in 16. The other three players all tied with Cho, but he was ranked higher.

Korea starts well in Huang Longzi Shuangdeng: The first stage of the 6th Huang Longzi Shuangdeng Cup, a 2016.04.21_Xie (right) vs LuChinese-sponsored women’s team tournament for five-player teams from Japan, China, and Korea, was held last week in the city of Taizhou in China. Korea made a good start, winning five games to Japan’s two and none for China. Full results are:
Game 1 (April 7). Kim Cheyong 2P (Korea) (B) beat Kibe Natsuki 2P (Japan) by r
esig.
Game 2 (April 8). Kim (W) beat Wang Xiangyun 2P (China) by resig.
Game 3 (April 9). Kim (W) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P (Japan) by resig.
Game 4 (April 10). Kim (B) beat Song Ronghui 5P by resig.
Game 5 (April 11). Xie Yimin 6P (Japan) (W) beat Kim by resig.
Game 6 (April 12). Xie (W) beat Lu Jia 2P (China) by resig. (see photo above)
Game 7 (April 13). Pak Jiyeon 4P (Korea) (B) beat Xie by resig.
The second stage will be held in the same city from June 4 to 10.

Meijin League: Murakawa drops back: Takao Shinji 9P has made the best start in the 41st Meijin League with four straight wins. Close on his heels were two players on 3-0, Cho U 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, but the latter lost his fourth game and has slipped back. Cho has yet to play his fourth game.2016.03.13-lee-sedol-round4
(March 7) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig.
(April 14) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig.

280 million watched Alphago match: According to Google, the cumulative live audience for the five games in the match between Alphago and Lee Sedol (right) was 280 million, which must be the largest audience for any go event by a long way. The estimate includes YouTube and Net and TV broadcasts in the Far East.

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The Power Report (Special Edition): Iyama wins Judan, scores grand slam

Thursday April 21, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama wins Judan, scores grand slam: The third game of the 54th Judan title match was played at the Kuroyon 2016.04.20_Iyama showing sevenRoyal Hotel in the town of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture on April 14. The title holder, Ida Atsushi, was facing a kadoban, as he had lost the first two games. There were about 60 reporters and photographers from 22 media organizations in attendance hoping to witness the first simultaneous grand slam in go; this was too many to fit in the playing room at the start of the game, so they had to draw lots. The game was fairly even for the first 100 moves, but Ida thought he was a little behind. The decisive fight came when Ida, playing black, invaded a corner position and, instead of trying to live small, set up a ko that gave him a chance of capturing some of the enclosing stones. The ko was an approach-move ko for Black, but Ida fought tenaciously and won it, securing the lead. Iyama was two and a half points behind when he resigned after move 269. Ida picked up his first win and stopped Iyama’s winning streak in title matches at 18.

2016.04.20_54judan3_3The fourth game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on April 20. The game started at 9:30 and finished at 5:21 pm. Playing black, Iyama forced Ida to resign after 163 moves. That gave Iyama the title 3-1 and secured him the first-ever grand slam in Japanese go. Iyama has held six of the top seven titles twice, but this is the first time he has held all seven at the same time. It is his first Judan title for four years and his 37th title overall. That puts him in seventh place, just two titles behind Cho U. It is not an exaggeration to say that the possibility of this achievement has been the centre of attention in the go media for the last couple of years. Iyama has been the first player for whom this feat has appeared possible; more than “possible” perhaps, it has sometimes seemed just a matter of time. Apparently the Nihon Ki-in’s magazine Go Weekly put out an extra in the evening of the 20th. The regular newspapers sometimes put out extras concerning the tournament they sponsor, but this is the first time I can recall Go Weekly doing it.

There will be a lot of celebrating going on, but soon another title match will start, so the pressure will be on Iyama to maintain this unique distinction as long as he can.

Tomorrow: Cho U beats the odds; Korea starts well in Huang Longzi Shuangdeng; Meijin League: Murakawa drops back; 280 million watched AlphaGo match

 

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Liu Wins One More in Japan, to Face Murakawa Immediately

Saturday April 16, 2016

Andy Liu 1p won his next Sankei Cup game against amateur Shingo Ono in Osaka Saturday.  Liu, taking white with no komi, won by six by taking a large central territory.  The win puts him in a game today with Murakawa Daisuke 8p, among whose accomplishments are winning the 62nd Oza and two previous Sankei Cups.  The game will be 12:30 p.m. Sunday Japan time, evening or night in the US.  The broadcast can be found at http://kansaikiin.jp/subpage/live.html. 12994401_1036941069722438_4892171184931627426_n

Liu v. Ono Game Record

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The Power Report (3): Takao leads Meijin League; Fujisawa Rina wins junior tournament; Tuo wins 2nd Japan-China Ryusei; Promotions; Obituary: Kosugi Masaru

Wednesday April 6, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Takao leads Meijin League: Takao Shinji 9P, the previous challenger, has the provisional lead in the 41st Meijin 2016.04.06_Meijin-leagueLeague with four straight wins, but two other players, Cho U 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P, are also undefeated on 3-0 (they have each had a bye). Round 4 of the league has been completed. The league is proving inhospitable for the two league debutants, who have yet to win a game. Hirata Tomoya and Uchida Shuhei are both 0-4.
Recent results: (March 3) Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; (March 10) Murakawa Daisuke 8P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.; (March 17) Takao (B) beat Hirata by resig.; (March 24) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig.

Fujisawa Rina wins junior tournament: The final of the 2nd Ibero-Japan Cup, a tournament limited to players under 18, was held at the Nihon Ki-in on March 18. Fujisawa Rina 3P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 2P by resig. This is the second win by a woman player in a tournament open to both sexes (the first was Xie Yimin’s win in the 1st Young Carp tournament ten years ago). This is a good win, as Shibano is building a reputation  as one of the top players of his age group, along with Kyo Kagen 3P, whom Fujisawa beat in the first round.

Tuo wins 2nd Japan-China Ryusei: This is a play-off between the winners of the Japanese and Chinese Ryusei titles and was held at the Chinese Qiyuan (Ki-in) in Beijing on March 16. Taking black, Tuo Jiaxi 9P of China beat Yuki Satoshi 9P of Japan by resig.

Three-way tie in junior international tournament: The 4th Japan-China-Korea Young Stars tournament, sponsored by the Korean Baduk Association, was held in Hapchon, Korea on March 19 & 20. This is an all-play-all tournament for three young players from these countries. It started with Onishi Ryuhei 1P of Japan beating Pak Zonghun 1P of Korea but losing to Liao Yuanhe of China. Liao then lost to Pak, so the result was a three-way tie.

Promotions: To 2-dan: Ms. Kibe Natsuki (30 wins) (as of March 4); To 4-dan:  Horimoto Mitsunari (50 wins) (as of March 25)

Obituary: Kosugi Masaru
Kosugi Masaru 8P died of stomach cancer on March 2 aged 72. Kosugi was a disciple of his father, Kosugi tei (Chokufu) 7P. He was born on January 22, 1944. He became 1-dan in 1969 and reached 7-dan in 1986.  He was promoted to 8-dan a
fter retiring in 2010.His older brother, Kiyoshi 9P, is also a professional.

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The Power Report (2): Cho Chikun wins 2015 Title Winners Tournament; Takao becomes Honinbo challenger

Wednesday April 6, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Cho Chikun wins 2015 Title Winners Tournament: This is a new tournament now in its third term. Participants are all the title winners from the previous year plus one player selected by a vote by go fans. Even though Iyama holds six titles, there were still eleven participants in this year’s tournament. Tournament conditions are the same as the NHK Cup (30 second per move plus ten minutes). The semifinals and final were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on March 19. In the semifinals, 25th Honinbo Cho Chikun beat Yo Seiki 7P and Kyo Kagen 3P beat Iyama Yuta, winner of the first two tournaments. The final was played on the stage in the second-floor hall of the Nihon Ki-in with a public commentary being given on the same stage. Cho (B) beat Kyo by resignation after 217 moves.

Takao becomes Honinbo challenger:  Going into the final round, there were only two players still in the running2016.04.06_Honinbo-league
in the 71st Honinbo League:  Takao Shinji, on 5-1, and Motoki Katsuya, on 4-2. Motoki, a league debutant, had held the sole lead at the end of the third round, then shared the lead for the next two rounds, but he stumbled in the sixth
 round. He therefore needed to win his own final game and have Takao lose to end in a tie for first. However, Takao made no mistake, winning his final game by resignation. That secured him the right to make his first Honinbo challenge
 since the 68th term, when he lost 3-4 to Iyama Yuta. Takao won the 60th to 62nd Honinbo titles and was Meijin Honinbo in 2004. The title match with Iyama Yuta will start on May 9.
Recent results: (March 17) Cho U 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.; Ichiriki Ryo 7P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by half a point.
(March 31) Takao (W) beat Kono by resig.; Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki by half a point; Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.; Cho U 9P (W) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resig.

Tomorrow: Takao leads Meijin League; Fujisawa Rina wins junior tournament; Tuo wins 2nd Japan-China Ryusei; Promotions; Obituary: Kosugi Masaru

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The Power Report (1): Iyama closing in on Grand Slam in Judan challenge; Xie defends Women’s Meijin; Cho U wins NHK Cup

Monday April 4, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.04.04_judan02_Iyama

Iyama closing in on Grand Slam in Judan challenge: The first game of the 54th Judan title was played at the Osaka University of Commerce on March 8. The Judan is the lowest-ranked of the seven open titles, but this year an extraordinary amount of interest is being taken in the title match because it is the last title Iyama Yuta needs to complete an unprecedented simultaneous grand slam, that is, a genuine grand slam. Usually there would be a lot of fan support for the youthful titleholder, Ida Atsushi, who turns 22 on March 16, but probably few people want to see Iyama miss this opportunity to set a new record. Ida got black in the nigiri. In the opening, Iyama played just one stone on the right side before building a position on the left, so the game became a moyo contest. Instead of trying to save his solitary stone,
 Iyama switched to invading the top right corner. When he settled his group in sente, he got a good game. Ida later invaded White’s bottom left position; he lived, but White severely harassed his group, taking a definite lead. Ida resigned after 206 moves. The second game was played at the Yu-no-yama Hot Spring Yumoto Green Hotel in the 2016.04.04_Judan2 Iyamaa lefttown of Komono in Mie Prefecture on March 23. The first 41 moves were the same as in Game Three of the Korean Myeongin (Meijin) title match, played on January 20 between Park Junghwan (black) and Lee Sedol. Iyama had reviewed the game in a study group and concluded that the opening, in which Black built thickness, was not bad for Black and wanted to try it out in a game. Ida obviously felt that it was playable for White, though he diverged from the Korean game with move 42. In the middle game, the game seemed even, but Ida made two mistakes: playing in the wrong direction with 124, then choosing the wrong hane out of two possibilities with 134. The latter move was labeled the losing move. Ida faces a kadoban, that is, a game that could lose a series, on April 14. Iyama has now won 18 title-match games in a row.

Xie defends Women’s Meijin: The second game of the 28th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Osaka University of Commerce on March 9. As has been the recent practice, it was held in conjunction with the Judan title match. Playing black, Aoki Kikuyo 8P forced a resignation after 209 moves, so she evened the score. The third game was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on March 16. In a tense endgame contest, Xie emerged the victor by half a point, so she defended her title. She has now held it for nine years in a row and it is her 23rd title overall. Xie was also recently named as a Guest Professor at the Heian Jogakuin University (Jogakuin means Women’s Academy), which was the venue of the first game. The university is also known as St. Agnes’ University and is Anglican. A game in the title match has been held at this university for five years in a row. Xie has played in all of them, and on each occasion has given students instruction in go the day after the game. Correction: The first game was played on March 3, not February 28, as given in my previous report.

Cho U wins NHK Cup: The final of the 63rd NHK Cup was telecast on March 20. The finalists were Cho U 9P, who has won this title three times, and Teranishi Rei 4P, who reached the final on his debut in this tournament. Playing with white, Teranishi perhaps took a small lead after a large-scale trade arising from a ko fight, but Cho overhauled him in the middle game. Teranishi resigned after move 211. Cho’s last NHK cup was eight years ago; this is his first title since 2012. Last year Cho moved back to Taiwan with his family, partly to give his children a chance to learn Chinese and partly to try and recover form. He “commutes” to Japan for his tournament games. His NHK win may be a sign that this decision is paying off. Apparently he plans to return to live in Japan this summer.

Tomorrow: Cho Chikun wins 2015 Title Winners Tournament; Takao becomes Honinbo challenger; Recent results

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2016 Nihon Ki-in Go Camp Set for August 23-September 1

Tuesday March 22, 2016

The Nihon Ki-in Go Camp 2016 will be held for 10 days from August 23 through September 1 at the Nihon Ki-in.2016.03.21_nhk-summer camp

“The Summer Go Camp will be held for overseas go players who want to improve their go level and to experience Japan’s rich go culture and to make friends with the participants from around the world!” say organizers. The Go Camp 2016 will provide participants with unique and content, including playing in Japan’s most popular amateur tournament, teaching games and special commentaries by legendary players, plus visit and watch the first game of the Meijin Title Match at the Four Seasons in Tokyo.

Other features: Go Seigen’s secret story and his “best game* will be introduced by a professional who is very familiar with Go Seigen. Participants will enjoy goodwill matches with Japanese University students. Special sightseeing programs in/around Tokyo will be also available.

Register before June 30 and the program fee will be 29,800 JPY (45,000 JPY) after that. For inquiry or registration:
email overseasdept@nihonkiin.or.jp

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