American Go E-Journal » Japan

Sankai Cup Games Set for Thursday Night, Friday Morning

Thursday October 29, 2015

The exchange match between Kansai Kiin young professionals and American and European reps takes place in Osaka, Japan, during the day Friday, late Thursday or the middle of the night Friday US time. Andy Liu’s (below, right) game will be at 10a Japanese time (9p Thursday East Coast US time), against Sinntani Yousuki 1p. Gansheng Shi (below, center and left) will play at 2p (1a Friday East Coast US time), against Yinaba Karinn 1p. The games should be broadcast on Pandanet.
- photos courtesy of Kansai Kiin
2015.10.29_andy-gansheng-and-ali-300x225 2015.10.29_andy-L-1-jpb-e1446144203896-225x300 2015.10.29_gansheng-1-e1446144192988-225x300



Andy Liu 1P Scores Two Wins in Japan Pro Tournament Prelim

Tuesday October 27, 2015

American professional Andy Liu 1p has won his way into the final round of the Kansai Kiin’s 12th Sankei Cup pro preliminary in Osaka, Japan.2015.10.28_Andy-Liu Liu defeated Imayi Kazuhiro 6p by resignation in his first game and won against Takashima Yougo 1p by a half-point in the second round. He plays Ha Yonnyiru 6p on Monday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. Japanese time.

Fellow AGA pro Gansheng Shi lost in the first round to Mine Yasuhiro 3p, and the two EGF pros, Mateusz Surma 1p and Ali Jabarin 1p lost their matches as well. Shi and Liu will also play in an exchange match with young Kansai pros on Friday, Oct. 30, Liu at 10 a.m. Japanese time against Sinntani Yousuki 1p and Shi at 2 p.m. against Yinaba Karinn 1p. All matches will be broadcast on Pandanet. The EJ will update with photos and game records as soon as they are available.
- Andy Okun; 2014 photo of Liu by Phil Straus


Nihon Ki-in Pros Join Seattle’s 20th Anniversary Party

Monday October 26, 2015

Anniversary Party CompositeThe recent 20th anniversary celebration at the Seattle Go Center attracted over 100 people, including two professionals from Japan, Hiroshi Yamashiro 9P, vice president of the Nihon Ki-in, and Yuma 6P, who is also known as Kuma-sensei in Seattle.  The October 3 evening reception and concert featured a short speech from Consul General Masahiro Omura from the Seattle Japanese Consulate, who noted that Kaoru Iwamoto’s purchase of the Go Center building for use by the U.S. go community was a good symbol of the continuing reconciliation between Japan and the United States since WWII.  Go Center Board President Lee Anne Bowie reported that the late Iwamoto-sensei’s vision to extend go internationally and promote mutual understanding and friendship through the game of go has been upheld at the Seattle Go Center.  Harry van der Krogt, Manager at the European Go Cultural Center, another Iwamoto-funded center, extended his congratulations to the Seattle Go Center, and hoped for increased international cooperation to promote go in the future.  Andy Okun, president of the AGA, noted that the Seattle Go Center has a strong base of volunteers.

While Mr. Yamashiro had to return to Japan the day after the party, Kuma-sensei gave lectures and played simultaneous games for the next four days at the Seattle Go Center.  This was his second visit to Seattle.  Sunday’s lecture consisted of reviews of games from the Saturday tournament (Seattle Go Center 2oth Anniversary Tournament Draws Big Crowd  10/20 EJ).  His Monday lecture was for the “Double Digit Kyu Class,” which is usually taught by Nick Sibicky.  Kuma-sensei explored the double low approach to the 4-4 stone, and did a very good job of keeping his explanations simple enough for kyu players.  On Tuesday, he played simultaneous games with eight players while others watched, and then gave short lessons as each game finished. As usual on Tuesdays, there were more than 30 players visiting the center. On Wednesday, Kuma taught the “Single Digit Kyu Class”, with Andrew Jackson hosting.  Kuma-sensei also had time to see more of Seattle, and to enjoy Northwest seafood.  Photos: (top) Hiroshi Yamashiro 9P giving greetings from the Nihon Ki-in, (left) Fumi Tagata soprano, (right) Kuma-sensei playing simultaneous games.   More photos here.
- Report/photos by Brian Allen


Americans Liu & Shi to Play in 12th Sankei Tournament in Osaka

Saturday October 24, 2015

Andy Liu 1p and Gansheng Shi 1p will play in a Kansai Kiin pro tournament this coming week; their games will be broadcast on Pandanet. The game will take place starting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26, Japanese time, or 9P EST in the US. Liu will play against Imayi Kazuhiro 6p and Shi will play against Mine Yasuhiro 3p.

The Sankei tournament is a Kansai Kiin knock-out tournament, created in 2005, with 16 pros and 16 amateurs competing in two separate preliminaries. The current title holder is Daisuke Murakawa Oza 8p. This year, in addition to the two AGA pros, two European Go Federation pros will play, Mateusz Surma 1p of Poland against Kurahashi Masayuki 9p and Ali Jabarin of Israel against Yo Seiki 7p. There is also an exchange match scheduled for Oct. 30th, with Liu playing Sinntani Yousuke 1p at 10 a.m and Shi playing Yinaba Karinn 1p at 2 p.m. Japanese time.

Last year, two EGF pros played the pro preliminaries, Pavol Lisy 1p of Slovakia lost to Yuki Satoshi 9p, but Ali Jabarin beat Saito Tadashi 8p, advancing to the second round, where he lost to Nakano Yasuhiro 9p. While American pros have played many times in Japan, and a number of Americans, including Michael Redmond 9p, James Kerwin 1p (retired) and Francis Meyer 1p, received professional status from the Kansai Kiin or Nihon Kiin, this will be the first time AGA-certified pros will play in Japan as professionals.


The Power Report (2): Fujisawa Rina makes good start in title defense; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama title

Tuesday October 13, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2014.10.13_WomHon1 Rina right

Fujisawa Rina makes good start in title defense: The first game of the 34th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Kashoen inn in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on October 8. It matches the 17-year-old titleholder Fujisawa Rina (right) against Xie Yimin, who held this title for six years in a row. This is the first title match between the two, and it gives us some insight into what the next five years will look like. If Xie can win, the age of Xie, who now holds two titles, may continue. If Fujisawa wins, she may displace Xie from the top position. At the party on the eve of the game, Fujisawa commented that playing a match with Xie had been one of her goals. Perhaps she didn’t expect to play her first match with her as the defending champion. Xie, who will be 26 on November 16, commented that this was her first match with a younger player. Taking white, Fujisawa beat Xie by 2.5 points after 290 moves. The game was decided by a ko fight in the endgame. The second game will be played on October 18.

Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on October 8, Suzuki Ayumi 6P (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resig. As the previous challenger, Suzuki is the number one-ranked player in the league, but this is her first win after two losses. Chinen has already suffered four losses, so she 2015.10.13_22agon_finalis teetering on the edge of demotion. Joint leaders are Fujisawa Rina and Aoki Kikuyo 8P on 2-0.

To 2-dan: Shibano Toramaru (aged 16) (30 wins; promoted as of Oct. 9)

Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama title: The final of the 22nd Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect in Kyoto on October 10. Iyama Yuta (left), playing black, beat Kyo Kagen 3P by resig. after 187 moves. This is the fourth time Iyama has won this title, which matches Cho U’s record. The play-off between the Japanese and Chinese titleholders will be held in China on December 25.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Seattle Go Center 2oth Anniversary Tournament Draws Big Crowd

Monday October 12, 2015

Combined images from 20th AnniversaryThe Seattle Go Center  held a large tournament to celebrate their 20th anniversary on Saturday, Oct. 3. It was the largest fall tournament they have had in many years, with 48 players participating. The well organized TD’s, Bill Chiles and Dan Top, kept the event on schedule despite the large crowd. The players were smoothly distributed in terms of strength, so that most of the handicapped games used small handicaps. (88% of the handicapped games used two stones or less.)  The next day, Kuma Sensei 6P from the Nihon Ki-in gave a lecture reviewing tournament games.

The Open Section had 8 players and was won by longtime Northwest champion Edward Kim 7d. Edward bested Chanseok Oh, Jeremiah Donley, and Peter Nelson in his three games. Peter Nelson placed 2nd in the Open Section.

Chris Kirschner won all his games in the Dan Handicapped Section, winning that section. Chris is one of the founders of the Go Center, and one of its most active volunteers. Ben Hakala placed 2nd. Jung Doo Nam won the Single Digit Kyu Player Handicapped Section, with David Snow placing second. Mark Richardson won the Double Digit Kyu Player Handicapped Section, with Lucy Wang placing second.

Photo Captions: (Top)  Andy Okun, President of the AGA, playing Harry van der Krogt of the European Go Cultural Center in a friendly game in the tatami room of the Seattle Go Center. (Bottom) First round of the tournament.  Photos and report by Brian Allen.


The Power Report (1): Iyama defends Meijin title; Kisei knockout tournament begins; Honinbo League starts; Korea wins 2nd O-kage Cup

Monday October 12, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama defends Meijin title: The fourth game of the 40th Meijin title match was held at the2015.10.12_40meijin4 Iyama defends Kashikojima Hojoen, a traditional inn in Shima City in Mie Prefecture, on October 5 and 6. Playing black, Iyama Yuta (right) forced a resignation after 227 moves and so defended his Meijin title with four straight wins. This is his third Meijin title in a row and his fifth overall. The game started with Iyama playing a little too aggressively. Takao (left) swallowed up an important black stone, but Iyama kept 2015.10.12_40meijin4 a disappointed Takaofighting relentlessly, so he didn’t get a chance to take the lead. The game developed into an enormous fight, but Takao missed his best chance to attack. Iyama increased the pressure in a fight among a number of eyeless groups and eventually came out on top. Takao was unable to improve on his score in his challenge to Iyama for the 35th Meijin title. At the moment, Iyama seems unstoppable. He has defended all the titles in his quadruple crown and next will be aiming at restoring his sextuple crown, with Oza and Tengen challenges starting soon. He has improved his chances in these matches by finishing off the Meijin match early. The above win was his 15th in a row, which is a new personal record.

Kisei knockout tournament begins: The first game in the irregular knockout tournament to decide the Kisei challenger was played on October 1. B League-winner Yamada Kimio 9P (B) beat Kyo Kagen 3P, winner of the C League, by resig.

Honinbo League starts: The 71st Honinbo League got off to a start on October 1 with a game between two heavyweights, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Kono Rin 9P. Playing black, Yamashita won by resig. He has made a good start in his bid to repeat as challenger.

Korea wins 2nd O-kage Cup: The O-kage (gratitude) Cup is an international tournament for players 30 or under sponsored by Hamada Sogyo and the tourist shops in Okage-Yokocho (Gratitude Alley) in the city of Ise. This year the scale was expanded from three-player to five-2015.10.12_O-kage with the sponsorsplayer teams from Japan, Korea, China, and Chinese Taipei. The extra two places went to women players. Korea showed overwhelming strength. In the first section, an all-play-all league, it lost only two games out of 15, beating Japan 4-1, Chinese Taipei 5-0, and China 4-1. The other three teams tied for second place, each with one win and two losses, but Japan took second place, thanks to having scored seven individual wins to China’s six. On the top board, Ida Atsushi 8P won all his games.  Chinese Taipei took fourth place, but it will be satisfied with a rare victory over the Chinese team (3-2). In the final, Korea was awesome, beating Japan 5-0. In the play-off for 3rd place, China took revenge on Chinese Taipei, not dropping a game. There were five prizes for top individual performances; these were all won by Koreans. In an interview, the Korean coach Yang Keon 9P commented: ‘I think we did too well. But I did feel that our activity since setting up a national team has borne fruit little by little.’ He said that the members of the national team study from 10 to 5 every day, playing games and studying the opening. As a result, he said, he felt that they were beginning to catch up with China. Concerning the Japanese team, he commented: ‘Their level is extremely high. I think that one factor in our getting this kind of result is there’s a gap in research into the opening.’ In Korea, a lot of time is devoted to studying the opening; rivals will study together and try to work out definitive openings. The accumulation [of knowledge] makes a big difference. ‘We believe that, with the deluge of information (game records), selecting the best patterns and doing research at a more advanced level is important.’ photo: Okage with the sponsors

Tomorrow: Fujisawa Rina makes good start in title defense; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama title

Categories: Japan

World Students Go Oza Seeks Entrants

Sunday October 4, 2015

University/college students under the age of 30 are invited to participate in an online preliminary competition for the 14th World Students Go 2015.10.04_student-oza-13thOza Championship. Click here for details and here for the entry form. Application deadline is October 19. Note that students living in China, Korea, Japan and Chinese Taipei cannot participate in the online preliminary round.

The World Students Go Oza Championship will be held February 22-26, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan, where 16 students from around the world will compete to determine the world’s number one student player.

Categories: Japan,World,Youth

The Power Report: Aoki makes good start in Women’s Meijin; Awaji scores 1000th win; Yuki wins 24th Ryusei; Grand slams update

Monday September 28, 2015

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Aoki makes good start in Women’s Meijin League: The last game of the third round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was played on September 24. Taking black, Aoki Kikuyo 8P beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resig. Aoki is now 2-0 (she had a bye in the second round), so she shares the provisional lead with Fujisawa Rina, also on 2-0 (she has a bye in this round).

Awaji scores 1000th win: A win in Preliminary B of the 64th Oza tournament on September 24 was Awaji Shuzo 9P’s 1000th official win.2015.09.28_Awaji Shuzo Awaji (right) is the 17th player at the Nihon Ki-in to reach this landmark. His record is 592 losses, 3 jigo, and 1 no-result, a winning percentage of 62.6. Awaji was born on August 13, 1948 in Tokyo. He became a disciple of Ito Tomoe 7P, made 1-dan in 1968 and reached 9-dan in 1984. He also graduated from the College of Law (note that this is not the same as a law school in the US) of Aoyama Gakuin University. He has won four minor titles, but challenged unsuccessfully for the Gosei, Tengen, Honinbo and Meijin titles.

Yuki wins 24th Ryusei tournament: Yuki Satoshi 9P won the 24th Ryusei tournament by default. On the day of the final, Cho Chikun’s wife fell critically ill (she died the following day), so he was unable to play. The result was just revealed in this week’s Go Weekly because the organizers took a while to make their decision. Nonetheless, this counts as a title for Yuki and is his 13th (he is now 21st on the all-time list).

Grand slams update: With the theoretical revival of Iyama’s chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam of the top seven titles, Go Weekly published some statistics. Three players have scored a cumulative grand slam: Cho Chikun, Cho U, and Iyama Yuta. Three players have won six of the top seven: the late Kato Masao (missing the Kisei), Rin Kaiho (missing the Kisei), and Yamashita Keigo (missing the Judan despite three challenges). Next is Kobayashi Koichi with five (missing the Honinbo and the Oza). They are followed by three players who have won four: Otake Hideo, Takao Shinji, and Hane Naoki. Note that this list refers only to current titles. Sakata Eio won seven titles in 1961 and 1964 (in the latter year the only open title he missed out on was the Judan). The final stage of the 54th Judan tournament starts on October 1. Both Iyama and Yamashita have made the final 20.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report

Iyama wins third straight Meijin game, threatening to sweep Takao

Sunday September 27, 2015

The third game of the 40th Meijin title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on September 24 and 25. Playing2015.09.27_Iyama wins game 3 white, Iyama Yuta Meijin beat Takao Shinji Tengen by resignation after 148 moves. Iyama now needs just 2015.09.27_Meijin-Game 3one more win to defend his title. Eighty moves were played on the first day, and Takao commented: “I spoiled it on the first day.” Actually, however, according to Go Weekly, he did not play any moves that could clearly be labeled as dubious. Rather, as Takao indicated after the game, he had regrets about some of his moves, as in retrospect he didn’t feel that they were the best attacking moves. Thanks to his skill at settling weak groups, Iyama seems to have gained a slight edge. On the second day, Iyama drew further ahead. In the end, Takao had to play unreasonably, and Iyama wrapped up the game by attacking and bringing down a large group. The fourth game will be played on October 5 and 6. The pressure on Takao has increased; he will want to avoid a repeat of his 0-4 loss to Iyama in the 35th Meijin title match. This, by the way, is Iyama’s 13th successive win. He is now fourth on the list of most games won. He probably has more games left this year than most of his rivals, so he should move up a place or two.
- John Power

Categories: Japan,John Power Report