American Go E-Journal » Japan

The Power Report: Xie defends Women’s Kisei; Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game

Wednesday March 9, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Xie defends Women’s Kisei: The challenger for the 19th DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was Yoshihara Yukari 6P, 2016.03.09_Xie wins WomMeijinwho held this title for three years in a row before losing it to Xie in 2010. The opening game of the title match was held at the Hotel Sun Life Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture on January 21. It was a very exciting contest, with the lead switching back and forth, but Xie (right) managed to pull ahead by half a point in the endgame. The second game was held at the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on February 1. It was another close game, but Xie, playing black, won by 2.5 points. Xie thus defended the Women’s Kisei title with straight wins and maintained her triple crown. She has now held this title for four years in a row and six times overall and has extended her tally of titles to 22.

Ishii Kunio wins 1,000th game: Ishii Kunio 9P, best known these days as the teacher of Iyama Yuta, has won his thousandth game. He reached the landmark with a win over Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P in the preliminary round of the Masters Cup. His record is 1,000 wins, 603 losses, 1 jigo. He is the 18th player at the Nihon Ki-in to win a thousand games and, at 74 years three months, is the oldest; he is in his 59th year as a pro. He is also the first such member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He commented that while he regrets not having won a title, in a way he is proud of the fact that he is the first such player to reach this mark.
When asked which was his most memorable game, Ishii answered in detail. ‘I guess my win over Lee Chang-ho [in the 2001 Fujitsu Cup]. Besides that, I have strong memories of my win on white with no komi in the rating tournament over Ishida Yoshio 7P when he held the Honinbo title. Ishida was probably not psyched up for the game. The game when I beat Fujisawa Shuko to win a place in the Honinbo League; the game when I beat Rin Kaiho in the main section of the Judan tournament when he was Meijin. Sakata Eio Sensei stood and watched the whole game. When it was over, he said: “I’m astonished, really astonished. What was your name?” This is still a vivid memory. They are not counted among the thousand, but I also have vivid memories of the best-of-three match with Nie Weiping in the Japan-China go Exchange when I played as a substitute for Kobayashi Koichi and won 2-1.’ Ishii also mentioned that his only form of study is looking at Iyama’s games.

Promotions
To 9-dan: Nakane Naoyuki (200 wins) (as of Feb. 19)
To 6-dan: Takemiya Yoko (as of Feb. 16), Kanai Tenpei (as of Feb. 23) (90 wins)
To 5-dan: Ando Kazushige (as of Feb. 5), Inagaki Yo (as of Feb. 19) (70 wins)
To 3-dan: Tsuneishi Takashi (40 wins, as of Feb. 5)

Promotions based on prize money
The annual promotions based on prize-money earnings for the previous year were announced in the February 8 issue of Go Weekly. They are listed below.
To 7-dan: Ms. Suzuki Ayumi
To 6-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
To 5-dan: Yanagisawa Satoshi, Fujita Akihiko
To 4-dan: Ito Masashi, Numadate Sakiya
To 3-dan: Yo Chito, Koyama Kuya
To 2-dan: Sotoyanagi Sebun, Cho Zuiketsu
Tomorrow: Okura Prizes for Pair Go founders; 49th Kido Prizes; Xie makes good start in Women’s Meijin defence; Kono wins first game in Meijin League; International tournaments

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Ke Jie defeats Lee Sedol to win Nongshim Cup for China

Sunday March 6, 2016

Ke Jie 9p defeated Lee Sedol 9p in the final game of the 17th Nongshim Cup on March 5, enabling Team China to take the Cup back home for 2016.03.06_Ke-Jie-trophy-Nongshim-Cupanother year. While Korea has dominated this event, winning it 11 times, China now has five wins; Japan has won it only once. The Nongshim Cup is a team event between China, Japan and Korea, sponsored by the Korean instant noodles company. Lee Sedol had scored three consecutive wins, beating Gu Li, Lian Xiao and Iyama Yuta. The match against Ke Jie was Lee’s fourth in as many days and though some worried that he’d be tired going into the final round, others said it was a great opportunity for Lee because of his form’s sweeping upturn. Although Ke Jie was the last man standing for China, his head-to-head record against Lee was 7-2 and he demonstrated a superior sense of balance in the Nongshim final, resolving a tense middle game with a trade and employing his excellent endgame technique to close out the win.
- adapted from a longer report on Go Game Guru, which includes more details, game commentaries and more photos.

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Myungwan Kim 9P to Comment Live on Nongshim Cup Starting March 1

Friday February 26, 2016

Myungwan Kim 9P will be providing live commentary in the Nongshim Cup starting Tuesday, March 1st.  The game will begin at 10p PST (1a 3/2 EST) and commentary on the AGA’s YouTube channel will begin at 10:30p PST 1:30a 3/2 EST, UTC-8).  2016.02.26_Nongshim10BracketsThe Nongshim Cup is a win-and-continue team match between Japan, China, and Korea.  On Feb 29th, Gu Li — on a 3-game winning streak after beating Choi Cheolhon, Kono Rin, and Park Jungwhan — will face Japan’s next player, Murakawa Daisuke.  Lee Sedol will face the winner of that match up, and the AGA will continue to broadcast games as long as Lee keeps winning; the remaining games are scheduled for March 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.
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The Power Report: Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes

Thursday February 25, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shared the lead with Yo; both were on 3-1. On January 21, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ida Atsushi 9P by resig. On January 28, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Cho U by resig., so he joined Yo and Motoki in the lead. On February 4, Cho U 9P picked up his first win, beating Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig. with white. On the same day, Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resig. On February 11, Takao (B) beat Yamashita by 7.5 points. On February 18, Kono (W)beat Yo by 1.5 points. That game completed the fifth round. At present, Takao and Motoki, both on 4-1, share the lead.

Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.

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The Power Report: Iyama to challenge for Judan; Meijin League

Wednesday February 24, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama to challenge for Judan: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a start on January 7. Most of the interest focussed 2016.02.24_54jyudan_2on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki (Yu Zhenqi) 7P of the Kansai Ki-in, who won the other semifinal. Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move; he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he was seeking revenge when the play-off (right) was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on January 21. Yo (W) took the lead when he cleverly settled a weak group, but winning the first fight is not enough to beat Iyama. The latter subjected Yo to so much pressure that eventually he slipped up in the endgame, letting Iyama stage an upset. Yo resigned after 277 moves. The title match with Ida Atsushi Judan starts on March 8.

Meijin League: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead. On January 21, Cho U 9P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by half a point and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On February 4, Takao (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig. On February 11, Cho U (W) beat Ko Iso by resig. Cho and Takao, both on 3-0, share the lead, but Murakawa, who had a bye in the third round, is also undefeated. Cho’s good results in this league are a stark contrast to his bad performance in the Honinbo League.
Tomorrow: Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes

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The Power Report: Iyama Sweeps Yamashita 4-0 in Kisei, Stretches Title Match Streak to 16-0

Tuesday February 23, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

The first game of the 40th Kisei title match was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in the city of Aizu-wakamatsu in 2016.02.23_kisei40_3_shukyoku_iyama_2Fukushima Prefecture on January 14 and 15. Defending champion Iyama Yuta (aged 26) drew white in the nigiri to decide the colors. The challenger Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (37) made a positive start, playing aggressively in the opening. The game was decided by a ko fight in which Yamashita sacrificed a group in order to win a ko started after White invaded a black position. Iyama (right) took the lead in this exchange and hung on for a win, rebuffing some do-or-die attacks by Black. Yamashita resigned after 202 moves. In retrospect, the game was a convincing win for Iyama.

The second game was played at the Bokoro inn in the town of Yurihama in Tottori Prefecture on January 28 and 29. Yamashita (W) played cleverly in the early middle game and took the lead. However, he missed a chance to decide the game and then began playing erratically, letting Iyama upset his lead. Iyama later played a thin move that let Yamashita narrow the gap, but the latter slipped up in the endgame. After 273 moves, Iyama won by 2.5 points. Considering his good play in the first part of the game, this was a painful loss for Yamashita.

The third game was also played in Tottori Prefecture after a break of only two days. It’s quite unusual to schedule two two-day games so close together in the same prefecture. The venue was the Kasuitei inn in Kaike Hot Spring in Yonago City. The game started with difficult fighting in the top right corner in which Iyama took the lead. Yamashita attacked fiercely in the middle game, but Iyama fought back strongly and kept his lead. Yamashita resigned after move 200. Like the first game, this was a good win for Iyama.

2016.02.23_kisei4_syukyokuThe fourth game was played at the Hokkaido Hotel in Obihiro City, Hokkaido on February 17 and 18. Playing black, Iyama controlled the flow of the game and took the lead in the middle-game fighting. Yamashita didn’t seem to make any really bad moves, but his attacks were skilfully parried by Iyama. The latter maintained a comfortable lead, so Yamashita resigned after 189 moves. Last year, after losing the first three games, Yamashita was able to fight back and win the next three before losing the seventh game. However, Iyama seems to be in even better form this year and, apart from the second game, dominated the series. After having his winning streak broken at 24 late last year, he has started another, winning seven games in a row. He has also won 16 games in a row in title matches, starting with the third game of the Gosei title match and continuing with the Meijin, Tengen, and Oza matches. This is his fourth Kisei title in a row and his 36th title overall. He is now in seventh place in the all-time list of title winners.

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Longtime AGA Friends Hisao and Hiroko Taki and Tadaaki Jagawa win Okura Prize

Sunday February 7, 2016

Three long-term friends of the American Go Association are among the winners of the 45th Okura Prize. Hisao Taki and Hiroko Taki were 2016.02.07_pair-go-foundershonored for their founding and 27 years of support for pair go, while and Tadaaki Jagawa won for his contributions to supporting go in the United States, Europe, and Brazil. The Okura Prize was established by the Nihon Kiin in 1972 in memory of its founder and first president, Baron Kishichiro Okura. The Prize honors those who have made significant contributions to the development of go. Read more here.
photo: Hisao and Hiroko Taki at the 20th annual International Amateur Pair Go Championships in 2009, with IGF Vice President and North American representative Thomas Hsiang (left). 

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The Power Report: Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo; Meijin League Update; Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes; Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense

Thursday January 21, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.01.21_40kisei1_4

Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a good start on January 7. Most of the interest focused on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in. In his semifinal, Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move when he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he will be seeking revenge. This chance comes on January 21.

Meijin League Update: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane2016.01.21_meijin-league Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead.

Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki 2016.01.21_honinbo-leagueKatsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shares the lead with Yo; both are on 3-1. Takao also has only one loss, so he has a chance of joining them in the lead.

Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.2016.01.21_womens-meijin

Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense: The first game of the 40th Kisei title match was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in the city of Aizu-wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture on January 14 and 15. The defending champion Iyama Yuta (aged 26) drew white in the nigiri to decide the colors. The challenger Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (aged 37) made a positive start, playing aggressively in the opening. The game was decided by a ko fight in which Yamashita sacrificed a group in order to win a ko started after White invaded a black position. Iyama took the lead in this exchange and hung on for a win, rebuffing some do-or-die attacks by Black. Yamashita resigned after 202 moves. The second game will be played on January 28 and 29.

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Kansai to Host First Japan Go Congress

Monday January 18, 2016

The first Japan Go Congress will be held July 15 through 18 in Takarazuka, Japan, and organised by the Kansai Ki-in. In addition to a main2016.01.17_Japan Go Congress tournament, the Congress — at which 200-300 participants are expected — will offer a variety of side events such as lectures, teaching games with professionals, and other traditional Japanese games. Famous for its Grand Theater, Takarazuka is also known as the “city of opera.” Situated northwest of Osaka, it is outside of typical urban tension, but still easily accessible. Available accommodations include Daikin Dormitory, the Takarazuka Inn Hotel and the Takarazuka Hotel; click here for details. “The Kansai Ki-in warmly welcomes players from abroad,” reports their Go Congress Team.

Just before the Japan Go Congress, the 4th Osaka Go Camp — also organized by the Kansai Ki-in — will be held from June 26 to July 14. Last year there were more than 70 participants at the camp, where “You can train with professionals in a cozy environment and do sight-seeing,” report organizers.

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Young North American Player Sought for 3rd Globis Cup

Monday January 4, 2016

The AGA has received a request to send a young US or Canadian player to Tokyo, Japan for the third GLOBIS Cup U-20 World Go 2016.01.04_globis-cup-logo_imgChampionship, to be held April 21-24, 2016.  The event, sponsored by the GLOBIS Corporation and organized by the Nihon Ki-in, will provide meals and accommodations, while the air fare expense will be borne by the player.  The player must be under 20 years old as of January 1, 2016, and meet the other AGA or CGA eligibility requirements. Any necessary online play-offs will take place the weekend of January 23-24 on KGS.  “This is a great opportunity to compete in an international tournament, explore Tokyo, and represent the AGA,” says AGA president Andy Okun. Interested players should respond with their names, best form of contact, and KGS IDs before January 12 to cherry.shen@usgo.org.

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