American Go E-Journal » Japan

The Power Report (2): Kisei Leagues; Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup

Friday July 8, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Kisei Leagues: The S League, the top of the five leagues in the 41st Kisei tournament, got off to a start on May 12 with Ichiriki Ryo 7P, the bottom-ranked player, scoring a win. The number two player, Murakawa Daisuke, got off to a good start by defeating the number one player and previous challenger, Yamashita Keigo.  This is a short league, with just five rounds, so each win is more significant than in a bigger league. Already we can say that a fourth successive Kisei title
match between Yamashita Keigo and Iyama Yuta looks unlikely, as Yamashita has lost his opening two games. Murakawa Daisuke 8P and Kono Rin 9P, both on 2-0, share the lead.
(May 12) Ichiriki Ryo 7P beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 4.5 points.
(May 19) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by resig.2016.07.08_Aizu Xie
(June 9) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 8
P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.
(June 23) Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by half a point.
(May 26) Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 2.5 points.
        The eight-player A League has already concluded three rounds.  The bottom-ranked player in the league, So Yokoku 9P, is the only undefeated player, on 3-0. His nearest rivals are Ryu Shikun 9P and Awaji Shuzo 9P, who are both on 3-1.

Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup: The final of the 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup, the only two-day game in women’s go, was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in Aizu Wakamatsu City on June 17 and 18. Xie Yimin (W, right) beat Aoki Kikuyo 8P by4.5 points and won this title for the first time. Xie became the first quadruple title-holder in women’s go in Japan. This is her 23rd title.

Promotion
To 2-dan: Otani Naoki (30 wins) (as of May 20)

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

The Power Report (1): Iyama makes good start in Gosei defense; Iyama Yuta defends Honinbo title; Takao and Murakawa share lead in 41st Meijin League

Thursday July 7, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama makes good start in Gosei defense: The first game of the 41st Gosei title match, in which Iyama Yuta faces2016.07.07_41gosei1_iyama the challenge of Murakawa Daisuke 8P, was held at the Hotel Kokonoe in Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture on June 25. Taking black, Iyama prevailed in a violent clash between two large groups. Once this was decided, the game was over, so Murakawa resigned after 159 moves. Go reporters are increasingly using the term “Iyama magic” for the way he takes the lead in the fighting even when his opponent doesn’t make identifiable mistakes. If anything, Murakawa had appeared to have the edge in the middle-game fighting, but Iyama put into effect a large-scale strategy exploiting the aji of a more-or-less discarded group, whereupon it turned out that he was not the one with problems. The next game will be played on July 18. (NOTE: Iyama will be playing with Hsieh Yi Min in the Mind Sports Pair Go World Cup 2016, which begins in Tokyo this Saturday, July 9; click here for our June 19 preview and watch for EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock’s reports later this week) 

Iyama Yuta defends Honinbo title:  The fifth game of the 71st Honinbo title match was held at the Yoshikawaya inn in Iisaka Hot Spring, Fukushima City on June 29 and 30.  Taking black, Iyama forced a resignation after 177 moves. After losing the opening game, Iyama won four in a row to defend his title. This is a landmark victory for him, as it secures him his first honorary title, which requires you to hold the title for five years in a row. Actually, in the case of the Honinbo title the wording is actually “eternal Honinbo;” Iyama will become “26th Honinbo,” followed by the special name he chooses for himself (he will unveil it at the award ceremony 2016.07.07_71honinbo5_4later this year).  He will use the title when he turns 60. Just for the record, his predecessors are 22nd Honinbo Shukaku (Takagawa Kaku), 23rd Honinbo Eiju (Sakata Eio), 24th Honinbo Shuho (Ishida Yoshio), and 25th Honinbo Chikun (Cho Chikun; Cho won 11 titles in a row, so he assumed the title immediately after his 10th term).
        The fifth game was the usual fierce fight between Iyama (black) and Takao. Both sides made moves they were dissatisfied with in the earlier part of the game, but it remained evenly balanced. A little after 100 moves, Iyama played a well-timed peep that helped him secure a group in sente, enabling him to switch to a big endgame point. This gave him the lead and, although there was a lot more fighting, he hung on to it. Takao resigned after 177 moves. Besides becoming the first player for 23 years to earn an honorary title (the last was Rin Kaiho in the Tengen title), Iyama also maintained his septuple crown.
        Fukushima City was the birthplace of the 6th Honinbo Shuhaku (1716-41); the game was played there to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his death. He became the head of the Honinbo house at the age of 18 but died young. His main grave is at the Honmyoji Temple in Tokyo, but a portion of his bones are buried at the Josenji temple in Fukushima. The day before the game, the players visited the temple to pay their respects to him. Incidentally, this game was the 400th title-match game in the modern Honinbo tournament.

Takao and Murakawa share lead in 41st Meijin League: After the seventh round (out of nine), Takao Shinji 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 8P share the lead in the 41st Meijin League, with both on 5-1 (each has had a bye). Next in the running is Cho U 9P, who is on 4-2. The results in the May round were significant. Murakawa Daisuke (who will also be playing in the Pair Go tournament this weekend), who suffered his first loss in the April round, regained a share of the lead by beating Takao Shinji; both were then on 4-1.  This was a chance for Cho U to take the sole lead, but he lost his game to Kono Rin, so he briefly joined Murakawa and Takao in a three-way tie; he then spoiled it by losing to Takao in the June round. Recent results: 
(May 12) Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 1.5 points.
(May 19) Hirata Tomoya 7P (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig. This was a game
between two winless newcomers to the league. His loss will cost Uchida his lea
gue place; Hirata has an outside chance of keeping his.
(June 2) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by half a point.
(June 9). Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resig.
(June 20) Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by half a point.
(June 30). Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

Tomorrow: Kisei Leagues; Xie wins 3rd Aizu Central Hospital Cup
       

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

The Power Report: Ichiriki wins 7th O-kage Cup; Iyama close to defending Honinbo title; Murakawa becomes Gosei challenger

Monday June 20, 2016

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki wins 7th O-kage Cup: The final section (last four rounds) of the 7th O-kage (Gratitude) Cup, a tournament for players aged 30 and under, was held on the bank of the Isuzu River and at the Alley Ki-in in Ise City in Mie Prefecture on May 14 and 15. The sponsors are a group of tourist-trade shops (many of them recreations of Edo Period buildings) in Gratitude Alley, the street leading up to the Ise Shrine (later in the month, this area was the site of the G7 summit).
        The players who made the final, Ichiriki Ryo 7P and Anzai Nobuaki 7P, are fellow disciples of So Kofuku 9P. Anzai is the older, 30 to Ichiriki’s 18, and won the 2nd and 3rd terms of this tournament, but Ichiriki has recently developed into one of the top players of the post-Iyama generation. Taking black, Iyama beat Anzai by resignation after 183 moves and won this title for the thirdtime in a row. First prize is three million yen.
        The level of competition was quite high, as the 16 players in the final section included two former holders of top-seven titles, Murakawa Daisuke, who wonthe Oza title, and Ida Atsushi, the previous Judan, the second-place-getter in
 the Honinbo League, Motoki Katsuya 7P, and women’s triple crown-holder Xie Yimin. As it happened, all these players were eliminated in the first round.

Iyama close to defending Honinbo title: The challenger Takao Shinji 9P made a good start in his challenge for the 2016.06.20_71honinbo4 Iyama71st Honinbo title, winning the opening game, but nothing has gone well for him since.
        The second game was played at the Honkoji Temple in Amagasaki City, Hyogo Prefecture on May 23 and 24. Iyama turned the tables from the first game. Playing white, he attacked severely and seized the initiative, then fended off Takao
’s attempts to get back into the game. Early in the game there was a spectacular trade that gave Takao a large area but also gave Iyama a lot of ko threats. Iyama made good use of them to secure a large territory of his own. Still fighting continued, with Iyama making an unexpected but severe invasion. Takao was ahead in territory, but Iyama’s constant attacking paid off. An unusual feature of this game was that Iyama twice made a tortoise-shell capture; it’s rare for one to appear in a pro game, let alone two. It’s proverbially worth 60 points, twice as much as a ponnuki.  Late in the middle game, Takao made a last-chance attack on a white group, but Iyama found a clever 2016.06.20_71honinbo4_4move to settle it and nursed his lead to the end. Takao resigned after 230 moves. Incidentally, the 24th was Iyama’s birthday (he’s now 27); he gave himself a good birthday present.
        The third game was played the Old Ryotei Kaneyu in Noshiro City in Akita Prefecture on June 2 and 3. (“Ryotei” is a term for a traditional Japanese inn; here “Old Ryotei” has been incorporated as part of the name. This inn is a palatial building made completely of wood; it has been registered with the government as a “tangible cultural property.”) In contrast to the second game, the players made a solid and steady start. Inevitably a fierce fight started in the middle game, with a ko attached. Iyama played strongly and forced Takao to resign after 207 moves.
        The fourth game was played in the Olive Bay Hotel in Saikai City in Nagasaki Prefecture on June 13 and 14. This was the most fierce game of the series so far, with fighting starting early in the opening. Playing white, Iyama cut a l2016.06.20_murakawa-daisukearge group into two and killed both parts of it. Takao resigned after move 128. The game finished at 2:44 pm on the second day, Takao had two hours 33 minutes of his time left and Iyama had one hour 48 minutes left.
        The fifth game will be played on June 29 and 30.

Murakawa becomes Gosei challenger: 
The play-off to decide the challenger for the 41st Gosei title was held on May 18. Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W, right) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points, becoming the Gosei challenger for the first time. This gave Murakawa revenge for losing the play-off to decide the Kisei challenger to Yamashita three years in a row. He will be the second player to try to put a dent in Iyama’s septuple crown. The title match will start on June 25.

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

Pair Go World Cup Coming up Next Month

Sunday June 19, 2016

The 2016 Pair Go World Cup will be held on July 9 & 10 in Tokyo.  Sixteen of the world’s best male-female pairs have been2016.06.19_PAIR GO WORLD CUP 2016 invited to compete for the top prize of 10M JPY.  The star-studded field includes Ke Jie – Yu Zhiying (China); Iyama Yuta – Hsieh Yimin (Japan); Park Junghwan – Choi Jeong (Korea) and Chen Shih-Iuan – Hei Jiajia (Taiwan).  Notable pairs from the West include Eric Lui – Sarah Yu (North America); Fernando Aguilar – Rosario Papeschi (Latin America) and Ilya Shikshin – Natalia Kovaleva (Europe).  All games will be broadcast on Pendant.  Click here for details.

Share
Categories: Japan,Pair Go
Share

June 30 Deadline for Go Teachers’ Workshop

Wednesday June 15, 2016

Application for admission into the joint Iwamoto North American Foundation – Nihon Kiin Go Teachers’ Workshop are still being accepted until June 30. The workshop is intended for people with interest in implementing go into school or university curriculum. The sponsors will cover most of the expenses for the attendees. Content of the weeklong workshop includes training sessions on go instruction and organization; visits to Japanese educational institutions that have go installed into their curriculum; lectures on Japanese go history and culture; group discussions on implementing go education; and pro teaching games. Click here for more details and application procedure.
Share

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

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

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.

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

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.

Share

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.

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share

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

 

Share
Categories: Japan,John Power Report
Share