Register by February 28 and you’ll save 5000 yen (about $40) on Maeda Ryo 6P’s 3-week intensive go camp in Osaka, which runs June 28 through July 18. Osaka Go Camp activities include intensive training by Kansai Kiin professionals, the opportunity to play go at the Kiin with professionals, play against top amateurs and former inseis, as well as sightseeing, cultural trips and making new go friends. The camp is sponsored by Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. Email Osaka.email@example.com for more info or to reserve your space.
American Go E-Journal » Japan
Sunday February 22, 2015
The Power Report: Iyama Extends Lead in Kisei Title Match; Xie Defends Women’s Kisei Title; Iyama Tops Prize-Money List for 2014; Annual Promotions
Wednesday February 4, 2015
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Extends Lead in Kisei Title Match: The second game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Hachinohe Park Hotel in Hachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on January 29 and 30. Playing white, Iyama Yuta (right) won by resignation after 228 moves. This gives him a 2-0 lead over the challenger, Yamashita Keigo 9P. The third game, scheduled for February 5 and 6, is close to being a must-win affair for Yamashita if he is going to stop Iyama from winning the title for the third year in a row. The game got off to an interesting start, with Yamashita coming up with a new variation in an old joseki. Iyama showed his flexibility, however, by playing a bad-shape move that actually worked well for him. Early in the middle game, Iyama went on the offensive, and Yamashita found himself forced into playing a territorial strategy that didn’t suit his style. Having fallen behind a little, he did his best to catch up by attacking aggressively, but Iyama countered with the strongest moves and finally took a decisive lead. When Yamashita resigned, Iyama had a lead on the board.
Xie Defends Women’s Kisei Title: The second game of the 18th DoCoMo Cup Women Kisei title match was held in the Ryusei Studio (in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo) on January 29. This was a do-or-die game for the challenger, as this title is a best-of-three, but she was outfought by the defending champion, Xie Yimin (left). After 273 moves, Xie, taking black, won by 5.5 points. She won this title for the third year in a row and extended her overall tally to 19, eight ahead of the next woman player (Aoki Kikuyo 8P, with 11).
Iyama Tops Prize-Money List for 2014: Even though he lost two titles last year, Iyama Yuta still earned enough in winnings to top the prize-money list for the fourth year in a row. It was the third year in a row that he topped 100 million yen. Only three other players have reached this mark: Cho Chikun (five times), Cho U (four times) and Kobayashi Koichi (three times). The top ten for 2014 are given below. Fujisawa Rina, aged 16, is probably the youngest player ever to make the list. Xie Yimin made the best ten for the seventh year in a row.
1. Iyama Yuta: ¥140,788,528 (about $1,203,320)
2. Kono Rin: ¥44,983,332
3. Takao Shinji: ¥37,903,600
4. Yamashita Keigo: ¥30,779,458
5. Ida Atsushi: ¥19,210,200
6. Ichiriki Ryo: ¥17,002,800
7. Fujisawa Rin: ¥16,736,161
8. Hane Naoki: ¥13,477,000
9. Xie Yimin: ¥12,931,771
10. Cho U: ¥12,470,600
Annual Promotions: Besides the promotions through the cumulative-win system, a number of promotions are made every year based on prize-money winnings in the top seven titles: the top 6-dan and the top two in the ranks underneath are promoted one rank. The following promotions based on 2014 winnings are dated to January 1.
To 7-dan: Ohashi Naruya
To 6-dan: Tajima Shingo, Shiraishi Yuichi
To 5-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
To 4-dan: Hirata Tomoya , Obuchi Kotaro
To 3-dan: Takeuchi Kosuke, Numadate Sakiya
To 2-dan: Tanaka Nobuyuki, Koyama Kuya
Saturday January 31, 2015
Pandanet has begun posting E-Journal articles on their site, translated into Japanese. The first one is the EJ’s recent report on the AGA pro tournament. “We’re tremendously pleased that EJ reporting is now available in Japanese,” said E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock. Pandanet plans to post a translated EJ article each week.
The Power Report: Xie Makes Good Start in Women’s Kisei Defense; Honinbo League Update; Judan challenger: Kobayashi Satoru or Ida
Tuesday January 27, 2015
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Xie Makes Good Start in Women’s Kisei Defense: The first game of the 18th DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title match, a best-of-three, was played at the Hotel Sunlife Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on January 22. Konishi Kazuko 8P (right) of the Kansai Ki-in is making her first appearance in a title match (she has reached the finals of three knock-out titles but lost each time). Xie has held this title for four of the the last five years. In the nigiri to decide colors, Xie drew white. Konishi played positively in the opening and seized the initiative, but Xie managed to set up the kind of confused fight in which she excels. Konishi failed to find the best move in the crucial middle-game fight, and this gave Xie a chance to upset her lead. Konishi resigned after 136 moves. The second game will be played on January 29. It’s a must-win game for Konishi if she is to take the match to a deciding game on February 2.
Honinbo League Update: Two games were played in the 70th Honinbo League on January 22. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation and Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P, also by resignation. Yamashita goes to 3-1, keeping him in second place behind Ida Atsushi 8P (4-0). Kono evened his score to 2-2, and both Takao and Yo, on 1-3, will now have to focus on keeping their league places.
Judan challenger: Kobayashi Satoru or Ida: The second semifinal of the 53rd Judan tournament was held in Nagoya on January 22. It was contested by two of the leading young players at the Central Japan branch of the Nihon Ki-in, Ida Atsushi 8P and Shida Tatsuya 7P (right). Ida was the top new star of last year, winning the Honinbo League on debut. Although he lost the title match to Iyama Yuta, he seems to be on course to challenge again. Shida is older (24 to Ida’s 20) and was the top young player in Nagoya until Ida emerged. Shida won the Hiroshima Aluminium Cup in his second year as a pro (2007) and came second in the Agon Kiriyama Cup in 2013. Shida had won their two previous encounters, but in the last year Ida has gotten a lot stronger. Taking black in this game, he forced a resignation, so he will meet Kobayashi Satoru in the play-off to decide the challenger to Takao Shinji.
Monday January 19, 2015
The 2015 Osaka Go Camp is set for June 28 – July 18, supported by the Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. The camp offers intensive training by Kansai-Kiin pros, the opportunity to play go inside the Kiin with pros, play against top amateur players, former inseis, sightseeing to major historical cities like Kyoto and Nara. A discount of 5.000 JPY is available for students who pay the deposit before February 28. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or reservations.
photo: 2014 Osaka Go Camp participants
The Power Report: 17-Year-Old Ke Wins Bailing Cup; Kisei Title Match Starts with Half-point Win for Iyama; Ida Keeps Sole Lead in Honinbo League; Takao and Ko Share Lead in Meijin League; Kobayashi Satoru Reaches Judan Play-Off
Sunday January 18, 2015
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
17-Year-Old Ke Wins Bailing Cup: The best-of-five final of the 2nd Bailing Cup was fought between two Chinese players, the 17-year-old Ke Jie 4P (left) and the 32-year-old Qiu Jun 9P. After splitting the first two games last year, the players resumed the match on January 11. Playing white, Qiu won the third game by resignation, but Ke won the fourth (Jan. 13) and fifth games (Jan 15), both by resignation and holding white, to take the match 3-2. The games were played in Zhuhai City in Guangdong Province. First prize is 1,800,000 yuan (about $293,000). This win earned Ke promotion to 9-dan. photo courtesy GoGameGuru
Kisei Title Match Starts with Half-point Win for Iyama: The first game of the 39th Kisei title match was played at the Westin Hotel Osaka in Osaka City on January 15 and 16. The game was a tense contest, with Yamashita Keigo 9P, the challenger for the second year running, launching a severe attack on a weak black group. Iyama countered with his usual aggressive play, but this group remained unsettled for quite a while, as the fight spread all over the board. Yamashita took the lead when he captured four black stones in the centre, so Iyama countered with a do-or-die attack on a white group that led to a ko and a large trade. At the time, Iyama thought that the game gave him the lead, but later conceded that this was not so. He did manage to take a narrow lead in the endgame contest that followed. After 282 moves, Black wonby half a point. After the game, Iyama commented that ‘ending up a half point ahead was justluck.’ If this game is any indication, it looks like being a very close-fought series. The second game is scheduled for January 29 and 30.
Ida Keeps Sole Lead in Honinbo League: Ida Atsushi 8P’s chances of a return match with Iyama Honinbo are looking better and better. In the second game in the fourth round, played on January 15, Ida (W) beat Ryu Shikun 9P by resignation. That improved his record to 4-0; his closest rival is Yamashita Keigo on 2-1. Every other player has at least two losses. Yamashita has already lost to Ida in the league, so he will have to rely on other players to help him catch up.
Takao and Ko Share Lead in Meijin League: Two games in the 40th Meijin League were played on January 15. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resignation. On 2-0, Ko shares the lead with Takao Shinji 9P, the only other undefeated player. In the other game, league newcomer Kanazawa Makoto 7P (B) beat So Yokoku 9P by half a point to pick up his first win.
Kobayashi Satoru Reaches Judan Play-Off: In the first semifinal of the 53rd Judan tournament, Kobayashi Satoru 9P, who had eliminated Iyama Yuta in the previous round, beat Yo Seiki 7P (B) by resignation. Ida Atsushi meets Shida Tatsuya 7P in the other semifinal, which will be played on January 22.
The Power Report: Chunlan Cup Semifinals; Chen Yaoye Wins Siyuan Cup World Mingren Championship; Suzuki to Challenge for Women’s Meijin; Meijin League; Honinbo League; 2014 Statistics
Tuesday January 13, 2015
Chunlan Cup Semifinals: In our last report, we gave the results in the quarterfinals of the 10th Chunlan Cup. The semifinals were held two days later, on Tuesday 27th. Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (W) beat Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig. and Gu Li 9P (W) beat Kim Ji-seok 9P [“Je-seok” in my previous report was a mistake] by resig. That gives an all-Chinese final. It’s good to see that Gu Li (right) seems to have recovered from his loss in the 10-game match with Lee Se-dol.
Chen Yaoye Wins Siyuan Cup World Mingren Championship: The first major go event of the new year was the 4th Siyuan Cup World Mingren (Meijin) Championship, held in the city of Xi’an in Shaansi Province in China from January 5 to 8. Xi-an is the city that was known as Changan when it was the capital of China in the early Han and Tang dynasties. This tournament pits the holders of the Meijin titles in Japan, Korea, and China against each other in an irregular knock-out. The players draw lots to see who plays in the first round; the winner of that game goes to the final, while the loser then plays the third player; the winner of that game goes to the final. Iyama Yuta of Japan was eliminated in the first round in the 1st and 2nd Cups, but did better this time. In the first round, playing white, he beat Pak Yeong-hun 9P of Korea by resig. after 137 moves. Pak (B) then lost to Chen Yaoye 9P of China in a marathon game lasting 306 moves. Pak calculated that he was losing by half a point, so he played a do-or-die move on move 196; that prolonged the game but widened his losing margin, so he resigned. In the final, Iyama, who had white, missed a number of chances to wrap up a narrow win. In the end, his lack of familiarity with the Chinese rules let Chen stage an upset by half a point. Iyama played an endgame move that was correct under the Japanese rules but not the best under the Chinese rules, in which the dame points are important.
Past results: Previously this tournament was known as the China Changde Cup World Mingren Weiqi Championship and was held in the city of Changde in Hunan Province. First prize is 300,000 yuan (about $48,400). Previous winners: 1st (July 24‾27, 2010). Gu Li 9P (China); 2nd (August 17‾20, 2011). Pak Yeong-hun 9P (Korea); 3rd (September 10‾13, 2012). Jiang Weijie 9P (China)
Suzuki to Challenge for Women’s Meijin: All the games in the final round of the 27th Women’s Meijin League were held on January 8 at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The result was that three players ended up on 4-2, but there is no play-off in this league: the top-ranked player takes precedence. This was Suzuki Ayumi 6P (right), ranked number three; actually she lost her last game, but still topped Aoki Kikuo 8P (league newcomer) and Mannami Nao 3P (also a league newcomer), the other players on 4-2. Suzuki will make her first challenge for the Women’s Meijin title, which Xie Yimin has held for seven years in a row. It will be Suzuki’s first title match for seven years. The results: Chinen Kaori 4P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi by 7.5 points; Mannami Nao (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 6.5 points; Aoki Kikuyo (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
If Mukai had won her game, she would have been the challenger. Final placings in the league are: Suzuki, Aoki, Mannami, and Kato Keiko 6P (who had a bye in the last round). Mukai, Chinen, and Ishii lost their places.
Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League on January 8. Takao Shinji Tengen (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Oza, also by resig. On 2-0, Takao provisionally leads the league; the other players mentioned above are all 1-1.
Honinbo League: In the first game of the fourth round of the 70th Honinbo League, Mimura Tomoyasu 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig. Mimura and Cho are both on 2-2. Ida Atsushi 8P has the lead with 3-0. He will play Ryu Shikun in this round.
Here are some of the statistics for the 2014 tournament year in Japan.
1. Kono Rin 9P: 50 wins 26 losses
2. Kyo Kagen 2P: 45-12
3. Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 40-14
4. Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 36-14
5. Takao Shinji Tengen: 34-23
6. Ida Atsushi 8P: 33-15
7. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 32-20
8. Shida Tatsuya 7P: 31-10; Iyama Yuta Kisei: 31-19
10. Kobayashi Satoru 9P: 28-11
Best winning percentages
1. Kyo: 78.95%
2. Imamura Yoshiaki 9P: 75.86 % (22-7)
3. Kataoka Satoshi 9P: 75.76% (25-8)
4. Shida: 75.61%
5. Fujisawa: 74.07%
Most successive wins
1. Kono: 19
2. Kyo: 17
3. Ichiriki: 16
4. Kyo: 13
The Power Report (Part 4): Takao Takes Tengen Title From Iyama; Promotions; Konishi To Challenge For Women’s Kisei; Good Year For Fujisawa Rina; Cho U Eliminated From Chunlan Cup
Tuesday December 30, 2014
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Takao Takes Tengen Title From Iyama: The second game of the 40th Tengen title match was held at the Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo in Sapporo City, Hokkaido, on November 11. Playing white, Takao Shinji 9P (right) beat Iyama Yuta Tengen (left) by resignation after 164 moves. The game was the reverse of the first game: this time Takao held the initiative throughout. Iyama played unreasonably in an attempt to catch up and had to resign when he lost two groups. The third game was played at the Kameyama-Tei Hotel in Hita City, Oita Prefecture, on November 25. The opening was peaceful, but the game soon turned into a fierce fight between opposing groups. In the end, Iyama, playing white, brought down a large black group, forcing Takao to resign after 146 moves. With a 2-1 lead, Iyama’s chances of winning the Tengen title for the fourth year in a row looked very good. The fourth game was played at the Arima Grand Hotel in Kobe City on December 11. It featured three spectacular trades; Takao (white) seized the lead through his clever use of thickness. At the end, Iyama, realizing that he couldn’t give the komi, launched a do-or-die attack. Takao survived it safely, so Iyama resigned after move 288. The final game was held at the Hotel Clement Tokushima in Tokushima City on December 19. This was just three days after Iyama had lost the Oza title to Murakawa Daisuke. Takao drew white in the nigiri. Iyama’s fatigue perhaps showed in the fact that he played very fast. Early in the middle game,Takao made a trade of territory for central thickness and then skillfully erased the centre. From around move 64, Takao seized the initiative and held on to it throughout. In most games, the lead fluctuates, but Iyama was never ahead. Takao did give him a chance to create complications, but Iyama failed to take it. He resigned after move 212. Some observers commented that the game was a masterly win for Takao. He now has two titles (he also holds the Judan) and Iyama is reduced to four. First prize is 14 million yen, ranking the Tengen fifth among the top seven titles.
To 8-dan: Murakawa Daisuke (for winning the Oza title; promotion as of Dec. 17)
To 7-dan: Kanazawa Makoto (for entering the Meijin League; as of Nov. 14), Anzai Nobuaki (120 wins; as of Nov. 28)
To 4-dan: Tamai Shin (50 wins; as of Nov. 28)
To 3-dan: Kumamoto Shusei (40 wins; as of Nov. 21)
To 2-dan: Kikkawa Hajime (30 wins; as of Dec. 5)
Konishi To Challenge For Women’s Kisei: In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 18th Women’s Kisei title, Konishi Kazuko 8P (B) defeated Aoba Kaori 4P by resignation. The game was played on December 8. Konishi was born on October 28, 1972. She took second place in the 19th Women’s Kakusei title (1997), the 7th and 8th Women’s Strongest Player titles (2005 and 2006).
Good Year For Fujisawa Rina: The sixteen-year-old Fujisawa Rin had a breakthrough year this year, winning two titles. On the last day of professional play this year, December 25, she scored her 40th win of the year, beating Koyama Hideo 5P in the First Tournament of the Kisei tournament (the first section of the revamped Kisei is called “fasuto tonamento”). Forty wins is a significant number for a professional,
as you need to win about two-thirds of your games to achieve it, and only two male players made it this year. Fujisawa is only the third female player ever to reach this landmark. Her record was 40 wins to 14 losses; Xie Yimin scored 40-16 in 2007, and the record is held by Kobayashi Izumi with 41-18 in 2001.
Cho U Eliminated From Chunlan Cup: The quarterfinals of the 10th Chunlan Cup were held on Christmas Day. Gu Li 9P (China) defeated Japan’s sole remaining representative, Cho U 9P; Gu had white and won by 1.5 points. Results in the other games were: Zhou Weiyang 9P (W) (China) beat Shi Yue 9P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Pak Jung-hwan 9P (Korea) by resig.; Kim Je-seok 9P (Korea) (B) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig. Pairings in the semifinals, to be held on December 27, are: Gu vs. Kim and Zhou vs. Chen.
The Power Report (Part 3): Takao Scores 900th Win; China Leads In Nong Shim Cup; Hane Wins Crown Title; Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off; Murakawa Takes Oza From Iyama
Monday December 29, 2014
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Takao Scores 900th Win: Takao Shinji’s win in the Meijin League was his 900th as a professional. He is the 21st Nihon Ki-in player to reach this landmark. His record is 900 wins, 385 losses, 2 jigo, 2 no result. photo: Shinji
China Leads In Nong Shim Cup: The second round of the Nong Shim Cup, held in Busan, Korea, was dominated by Wang Xi 9P of China, who won four games in a row, but both Korea and Japan have hung on, each getting one player into the final round.
(Nov. 28) Wang Xi 9P (China) (B) beat Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) by resig.
(Nov. 29) Wang (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P (Japan) by resig.
(Nov. 30) Wang (W) beat An Song-jun 5P (Korea) resig.
(Dec. 1) Wang (B) beat Kono Rin 9P (Japan) by resig.
(Dec. 2) Pak Jung-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Wang by resig.
(Dec. 3) Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (B) beat Pak by resig.
Hane Wins Crown Title: The 55th Crown title, which is open only to Nagoya Nihon Ki-in players, was won by Hane Naoki 9P. In the final, played on November 29, Hane (W) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resignation, thus winning his fourth Crown title in a row and 11th overall. He is within striking distance of Yamashiro’s record of 15 Cr
Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off: In the inaugural Japan-China Ryusei Play-off, Go Li 9P of China showed that he had recovered from his loss in his jubango (ten-game match) with Lee Se-tol by defeating Kono Rin 9P of Japan. Taking black, Gu won by resignation. The game was played on December 6.
Murakawa Takes Oza from Iyama: The second and third games of the 62nd Oza title match were played at the Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto on November 18 and 20. Having just one rest day between games feels in go terms almost like a doubleheader in baseball.
In Game Two, the challenger Murakawa Daisuke 7P beat Iyama by 1.5 points playing black. The game was close, but Iyama made an attack that was a little over-aggressive. Murakawa erased potential white territory while settling his group and took the lead. The game later became close because of some slack play by Murakawa in the endgame.
In Game Three the titleholder Iyama Yuta pulled off an upset victory by 2.5 points. Murakawa had secured a slight edge with skillful play in a centre fight, but he let himself down with a couple of slack moves later. Once the game turned in his favor, Iyama gave his opponent no chance to stage another upset.
Game Four was played at the Sendai Royal Park Hotel in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, on December 8. Playing black, Murakawa seized the initiative in the opening and this time managed to hang on to it, despite a difficult middle game.
The final game was played at the Todaya inn in Toba City, Mie Prefecture, on December 16. The first part of the game featured two ko fights, both of which Murakawa won, though Iyama took reasonable compensation. The game went wrong for Iyama in a large capturing race in the center. Iyama made a miscalculation and thought he could win it; when he realized he couldn’t, he sacrificed his group, but in the meantime he had played some extra moves that became a loss without compensation. That decided the game. It ended after 249 moves, and Murakawa won by 1.5 points. (Other details about the game are given in the E-journal’s report of December 21.)
At 24, Murakawa is one year younger than Iyama. The two are good friends and often meet in the same study groups. It’s easy to imagine Murakawa’s feelings as he witnessed the extraordinary success of his friend over recent years. At the same time, Iyama was a good target to aim at, of course, but Murakawa confessed that it was a little disturbing to see an even younger player in Ida Atsushi (aged 20) emerge in this year’s Honinbo title match as the first younger challenger to Iyama. The flow of the match, as described above, shows that Murakawa’s win was not a fluke. His goal now is to do better in international tournaments.
Tomorrow, Part 4: Takao Takes Tengen Title from Iyama; Promotions; Konishi to Challenge for Women’s Kisei; Good Year for Fujisawa Rina; Cho U Eliminated from Chunlan Cup
The Power Report (Part 2): Ida Takes Sole Lead In Honinbo League; Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Loses Chance For Grand Slam Next Year; Suzuki And Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples; Meijin League Starts
Sunday December 28, 2014
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida Takes Sole Lead in Honinbo League: Two games in the second round of the 70th Honinbo League were played on November 13. Cho U 9P picked up his first win by beating Ryu Shikun 9P (B) by 3.5 points, and Ida Atsushi 8P (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. This was the second win for Ida (right), the previous challenger. Another game was played on November 20. Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 8.5 points. That put both players on 1-1. On November 27, the second round was completed when Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) defeated Kono Rin 9P by resig. That took Yamashita to 2-0, giving him a share of the lead with Ida. Kono had made a bad start with 0-2. What could turn out to be the decisive game in the league came in the third round in a clash between Ida and Yamashita. In the previous league, Ida had caught up with Yamashita in the final round, then beaten him in the play-off. This time, in a game played on December 4, Ida (B) beat Yamashita by 1.5 points. Yamashita will have to play catch-up, but forging ahead of the other players didn’t work for him in either the Honinbo or the Meijin League this year. On December 11, Cho U 9P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. On December 15, Ryu Shikun 9P (B) picked up his first win in the league when he beat Takao Shinji 9P by resignation. On December 18, Kono Rin (W) followed in Ryu’s footsteps by beating Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resignation. That completed the third round and also the league schedule for this year. The league goes into the new year with a tidy arrangement: the top-ranked player, Ida, leads with 3-0, as mentioned above; the number two and three players, Yamashita and Cho U, are both on 2-1, and the other five players are on 1-2. As yet, no one is out of the running.
Suzuki Leads Women’s Meijin League: Two games were played in the Women’s Meijin League in November. On the 13th, Suzuki Ayumi 6P (W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 1.5 points. On the 20th, Mannami Nao 3P (B) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resignation. On December 4, Chinen Kaori 4P (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by resignation. Two more games were played on December 11. Kato Keiko 6P (W) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by
4.5 points and Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by resignation. On 4-1, Suzuki holds the sole lead — every other player has at least two losses.
Iyama Loses Chance for Grand Slam Next Year: Iyama Yuta was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 53rd Judan tournament, so he lost his chance to aim at a grand slam of the top seven titles in 2015. In a game played at the Osaka headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on November 28, Kobayashi Satoru 9P (W) beat Iyama by half a point. His prospects subsequently became even more distant, as you’ll see in tomorrow’s report.
Suzuki and Rin Win Pair Go Tournament For Married Couples: One of the events commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Nihon Ki-in was a Pair Go tournament for married couples. There are 16 or 17 professional couples in Japan (I have lost count), of whom eight took part. The first two rounds in the knockout tournament were played on October 6, and the final was held on November 22, which is known as ‘good married couples’ day. If you take the first syllables of the numbers in 11/22 in Japanese, you get ‘ii fufu,’ a homophone for ‘good married couple.’ (Japanese are found of turning numbers into mnemonics). In the final, Suzuki Ayumi 6P and Rin Kanketsu 7P (W) defeated Mimura Kaori 2P and Tomoyasu 9P by resignation.
Meijin League Starts: The first game in the 40th Meijin League was played on December 4. Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. Two more games were played on the 11th. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat So Yokoku by resignation and Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 13.5 points. Incidentally, Kono’s win ended a losing streak of ten successive games, starting with the fourth game of the Meijin title match (a contrast to his winning streak of 19 games earlier in the year). The final game of the first round was played on Christmas Day. The new Tengen Takao Shinji (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point.
Tomorrow, Part 3: Takao Scores 900th Win; China Leads in Nong Shim Cup; Hane Wins Crown Title; Gu Wins Japan-China Ryusei Play-Off; Murakawa Takes Oza from Iyama