American Go E-Journal » Japan

Nihon Kiin to Celebrate 90th Birthday With Special Summer Camp

Thursday May 22, 2014

In celebration of the 90th birthday of Nihon Kiin, a special summer go camp will be held in Tokyo August 26 through September 4.  Included in the camp are daily pro instructions in separate dan and kyu sections, playing in the largest Japanese amateur tournament — the Takara Shuzou Cup, where the 1000+ participants will all receive special commemorative prizes — and visits to the Honinbo title ceremony, to Kamakura, site of the Go Seigen-Kitani jubango, and to Yugen no ma, the legendary tatami playing room adorned by a Kawabata calligraphy (right).  The camp fee is between JPY 50 to 55K (about $500); housing starts at ~$40 a night.  The camp is recommended for players 10 kyu and up, including high dans.  For further information and registration forms, contact igf@usgo.org.
- photo by John Pinkerton

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The Power Report (Part 2): Iyama Makes Good Start In Honinbo Title Defense; Kisei B League Starts

Wednesday May 21, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Iyama Makes Good Start In Honinbo Title Defense: The difference in experience seemed to be a big factor in the opening game of the 69th Honinbo title match, which was held on May 14 and 15. Though still only 24 (until May 24), Iyama Yuta Honinbo (right) has already played in eleven best-of-sevens (and won seven of them). In contrast, Ida Atsushi 8P, at 20, was playing in his first title match and was the youngest player ever to challenge for the Honinbo title.

One advantage for Ida (left) is that this is the first time that Iyama has faced an opponent younger than himself in a title match, so he will now know how his seniors felt. The opening game was played in Ida’s home town of Suzuka in Mie Prefecture, so he also had the overwhelming support of the fans on the spot. The game was actually played in the Tsubaki Okami Yashiro, a Shinto shrine, in a building called the Sanshuden, which had just been renovated as a training center. This game was held to celebrate the upcoming official opening of the hall on May 18. The arrangements for an event like this are made many months in advance; Ida was a complete dark horse in the Honinbo league, so city officials had no way of knowing that a local player would be starring.

Ida drew white in the nigiri. The game started with his taking profit in three corners, letting Iyama build a moyo. Ida made an invasion on the right side and had to fight hard to settle his group. However, he then had to switch to another invasion at the top before he had made the side group completely alive. Iyama made a clever placement on the side that set up a double attack on the two groups and he was able to kill the one at the top. Ida was forced to resign after 197 moves.

The main impression from this game is of Iyama’s greater skill in fighting, but Ida seemed to improve round by round in the Honinbo league, so we can expect him to adapt rapidly to two-day games. His play with black in the second game, scheduled for May 25 and 26, will give an indication of how his challenge
will fare.

Kisei B League Starts: The first two games were played in the 39th Kisei B League on May 15. Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) scored an upset half-point win over Yoda Norimoto 9P and Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by resignation. The A League starts on the 22nd.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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The Power Report (Part 1): Yamashita Increases Lead In Meijin League; Ichiriki Wins New International Tournament

Tuesday May 20, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Yamashita Increases Lead In Meijin League: Yamashita Keigo (right) hasn’t played a game in the 39th league since our last report, but his lead has opened up to two wins because of a loss suffered by Cho U. In a game played on May 8, Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) picked up his first win in the league by beating Cho by half a point. Cho drops back to 3-2, putting him in a three-way tie for second with Hane Naoki 9P and Ryu Shikun 9P. Yamashita is on 5-0, so he has a two-game cushion, which makes him an even better bet for challenger than he appeared to be in the Honinbo league. On the same day, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke by resig. Murakawa slips to 1-4 and now will have a tough job keeping his place.

Ichiriki Wins New International Tournament: Japan had its best result in an international tournament for 17 years when its representatives took first and second place in the Globis Cup World Igo U-20. The official name notwithstanding, the tournament is open to players 20 and under (there is some confusion, as the Nihon Ki-in’s HP defines it as “under 20,”but the  Chinese player Lian Xiao turned 20 on April 8 ). At any rate, 16 top young players from Japan, China, Korea, Chinese Taipei, Europe, North America, and Oceania took part. The time system is NHK-style, that is 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time in one-minute units. The first round consists of four double-elimination mini-tournaments (similar to the opening round of the Samsung Cup). Four players compete in each, playing until they have two wins, thus qualifying for the quarterfinals, or two losses, thus being eliminated. The tournament was held from May 9 to 11.

Globis is a Japanese venture-capital company that also provides educational services in business and management. It runs its own university, the Graduate School of Management, Globis University, and the main force behind its sponsorship is the college president, Hori Yoshito, a keen go player.

Because of their outstanding results recently, the players from Korea and China were considered the favorites, especially Lian Xiao 7-dan of China, who won the 15th Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off with Japan last December. Local fans were surprised and pleased, therefore, to see two of the Japanese representatives make the final. One was Ichiriki Ryo (left), who was recently promoted to 7-dan for winning a place in one of the current Kisei leagues; the other was Kyo Kagen 2P, a Taiwanese-born player, who has been doing very well this year (he is top of the most-wins list at present, with a 23-4 record, including 17 wins in a row; Ichiriki is in second place with 20-2).

Both Ichiriki and Kyo qualified quickly for the quarterfinals with two straight wins; one of the players falling by the wayside with 1-2 was Ida Atsushi, who is now challenging for the Honinbo title. Ichiriki beat Na Hyeon 4P of Korea in the quarterfinals and Lian Xiao 7P of China in the semifinals; Kyo first beat Li Qincheng 1P, then Xia Chenkun 3P, both of China. In the final, Ichiriki (black) beat Kyo by resignation after 155 moves. In the play-off for third place, Lian beat Xia. First prize is worth 3,000,000 yen (close to $30,000), second 500,000, and third 200,000.
Tomorrow: Iyama Makes Good Start In Honinbo Title Defense; Kisei B League Starts
photo (bottom left): Ichiriki Ryo 7 dan plays Kyo Kagen 2 dan at the 1st GLOBIS Cup; photo courtesy Go Game Guru

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Wired Magazine on “The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win”

Tuesday May 13, 2014

“Rémi Coulom is sitting in a rolling desk chair, hunched over a battered Macbook laptop, hoping it will do something no machine has ever done.” So begins Alan Levinovitz’s thorough report on the current state of computer go in Wired Magazine – The Mystery of Go, the Ancient Game That Computers Still Can’t Win – published May 12. Levinovitz covered this year’s UEC Cup, the computer Go tournament held each March that rewards two finalists with matches against a “Go sage” in the Densei-sen, or machine-versus-man matches. The Wired report covers the history of computer go, name-checking Einstein, Turing and Nash, includes an excellent explanation of the game’s branching problem and explains how the development of Monte Carlo Tree Search enabled the latest breakthroughs in computer go, in which Coulom’s Crazy Stone program won the first Densei-sen last year against Japanese professional Yoshio “The Computer” Ishida. American-born pro Michael Redmond — a regular EJ contributor — makes an appearance in the report as the commentator at the UEC Cup. Levinovitz does a good job demystifying computer go, as well, writing that the view that go is “the final bastion of human dominance over computers” is “deeply misguided.” Levinovitz points out that “computers can’t ‘win’ at anything, not until they can experience real joy in victory and sadness in defeat, a programming challenge that makes Go look like tic-tac-toe. Computer Go matches aren’t the brain’s last stand. Rather, they help show just how far machines have to go before achieving something akin to true human intelligence.”
photo: Remi Coulom (left) and his computer program, Crazy Stone, take on grandmaster Norimoto Yoda. Photo: Takashi Osato/WIRED. Thanks to the many EJ readers who quickly spotted this report and passed it along. 

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The Power Report (Part 2): Kono and Yuki Secure Kisei League Places; Japanese Team Plays in Chinese League; Yamashita Keeps Sole Lead in Meijin League

Monday May 5, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Kono and Yuki Secure Kisei League Places: The remaining two vacant seats in the 39th Kisei Leagues were decided on April 21. In the play-offs, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig. and Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Mizokami Tomochika 8P by resig. Kono (right) has made an immediate comeback after being eliminated in the previous league; this will be his 7th Kisei league in a row. He has kept his seat in the Honinbo League and is playing in the current Meijin League, so he is one of only two players (the other is Yamashita Keigo) to be a member of all three leagues. Yuki will be playing in his ninth Kisei league and reappears after a five-year gap; he made an unsuccessful challenge for the 29th Kisei title. Incidentally, he played this game three days after losing the Judan title, so it seems he has not been crushed by this reverse.

Japanese Team Plays in Chinese League: This year, too, a Japanese team competed in the Chinese league. Known as the China-Japan Friendship team, it was composed of Ida Atsushi 8P, Yo Seiki 7P, Yo Chito 2P, and Kyo Kagen 2P; apart from Ida, these players were all born in Taiwan. The team played in the C League and took 5th place out of 22 teams. The league was held in Hangzhou City from April 21 to 29; the Japanese team scored two wins, four draws, and one loss, giving it eight points (out of a possible 14). The top three teams are promoted to the B League. Ida, who will launch his challenge to Iyama Yuta for the Honinbo title in mid-May, scored 4-3, Yo Seiki 2-5, Yo Chito 3-4, and Kyo an impressive 7-0.

Yamashita Keeps Sole Lead in Meijin League: With a win over Ryu Shikun 9P on May 1, Yamashita Keigo (left) remained the only undefeated player in the 39th Meijin League. He is now 5-0. Ryu’s loss meant that he dropped out of second place. Cho U 9P has won his fourth game and, with 3-1, is now in sole second place. Yamashita is the favorite, but he also led the Honinbo League throughout only to stumble right at the end.
Recent results:
(April 14) Yamashita (W) beat Kono Rin 90 by 3.5 points.
(April 24) Cho U (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 2.5 points.
(May 1) Yamashita (W) beat Ryu by resig.; Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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The Power Report (Part 1): Takao Makes Comeback as Judan; Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record; Computer versus Yoda

Sunday May 4, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Takao Makes Comeback as Judan: Six years after he last won a top-seven title, Takao Shinji 9P (left) has made a comeback, taking the Judan title from Yuki Satoshi with a win in the final game of the 52nd title match. Takao started off well in the best-of-five, winning the first game by half a point, but then the title holder fought back with his own half-point win, then took the lead in the third game. Takao saved his first kadoban in the fourth game, then won the deciding game. Below are details of the games played since my last report.
The third game was played at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture on April 10. Omachi, a town set at the foot of the Japan Alps, calls itself ‘the Alps igo village’ and actively promotes the game among its citizens. The Kuroyon Royal Hotel has hosted a game from the Judan title match for 21 years in a row. The game featured complicated fighting, but was evenly poised in the late middle game. Instead of taking some profit on move 158, Takao chose to attack an isolated black group. However, this backfired on him: Yuki found a clever tesuji to secure life and at the same time took the lead on territory.
The fourth game was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka, Yuki’s home ground, on April 17. Playing with white, Yuki focussed a little too much on building thickness in the opening, letting Takao take the lead in territory. Yuki did his best to use his thickness to harass Black, but he missed his best opportunity to attack a weak black group. With no scope to create complications, Yuki resigned after Black 169.
The final game was played on Takao’s home ground, the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, on April 21. In the nigiri to decide colors, Takao drew black. In the middle game, he played riskily because he thought he was behind, but that actually gave Yuki the chance to make a powerful attack, which really did put Takao behind. However, Takao managed to set up a double attack on two white groups. Yuki saved one of them, but slipped up with the other, missing the only move that would have saved it. He resigned after 167 moves.
This is Takao’s 13th title. Incidentally, he broke the monopoly of the top seven titles enjoyed by Osakan players since Iyama won the Meijin title in October last year.

Iyama Sets New Prize Money Record: Not surprisingly, considering he set a new record by winning six of the top seven titles, Iyama Yuta (right) also set a new record for most prize money won in one year. Often there is quite a big gap between first and second in this list, with the top player sometimes making twice as much as the next player; not so in 2013: Iyama earned over four and a half times as much as Cho U. Below is the list of the top ten (amounts are in yen). Note that these sums do not include income from teaching etc.
1. Iyama Yuta: 164,613,000 (about $1,600,000)
2. Cho U: 35,241,200
3. Takao Shinji: 30,846,000
4. Yamashita Keigo: 30,630,200
5. Kono Rin: 23,210,192
6. Xie Yimin: 14,582,100
7. Hane Naoki: 14,052,431
8. Kobayashi Satoru: 11,134,600
9. Mizokami Tomochika: 10,973,600
10. Shida Tatsuya: 10,420,500

Computer versus Yoda: Games between computers and professionals seem to be popular these days. In February, the program Zen played a series of 9×9 games and got within half a point of its professional opponent in one of them. On March 21, Yoda Norimoto 9P played two four-stone handicap games against Zen and another program, CrazyStone. Yoda beat Zen by resignation, but lost to CrazyStone by 2.5 points (Black gave a komi of half a point). In the UEC Cup, a computer-go tournament, held just before this, Zen had taken first place and CrazyStone second. Yoda’s comments after the games implied that he benefited from familiarity with Zen’s style of play, whereas he knew nothing about CrazyStone.

Tomorrow: Kono and Yuki Secure Kisei League Places; Japanese Team Plays in Chinese League; Yamashita Keeps Sole Lead in Meijin League

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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Wang Chen Wins 2014 World Students Go Oza

Monday April 14, 2014

Wang Chen, one of the ‘Four Heavenly Kings’ who rule China’s amateur rating list, won the 12th World Students Go Oza Championship, held in late February in Toyko.

Wang (right) defeated Ken (Kai Kun) Xie of New Zealand, Japan’s Yamikumo Tsubasa, Go Risa, also from Japan, and Chung Chen-En of Taiwan. Yamikumo, Go, and Chung did not lose to anyone else, so they finished as part of the four-way tie for runner-up. Tie-breaking points put Yamikumo second, Chung third, and Go fourth. Taiwan’s Hu Shih-Yun also lost only one game and came in fifth. The opponent she lost to was the USA’s Maojie Xia, who had played the two Japanese and finished a highly commendable sixth.

Viktor Ivanov (Russia, 9th place) and Kwan King-Man (Hong Kong, 10th place) matched Maojie Xia by winning two games apiece, and although Yanqi Zhang (France, 12th place) won only once, the opponent she beat was Zhou Shiying, the Chinese female player. At both the reception and the awards ceremony, officials in the All Japan Students Go Association, which handled all the organizational work (drinking party included), remarked on the rising level of play in countries outside the Far East.
- based on a more extensive report on the IGF news feed, which includes complete results and clickable game records.

Categories: Japan,World,Youth
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The Power Report (Part 3): Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup; Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger; Meijin League Update; Promotions; Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi

Thursday April 10, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup: The opening rounds of the 10th Chunlan Cup, another Chinese-sponsored international tournament, were held in the city of Taizhou in China on March 26 and 28. Japan had five players seeded in the first round, of whom four won their games, but only Cho U (right) survived the second round. Full results for the opening rounds are given below (note that individual seeds, as opposed to country seeds, join the tournament in the second round).
Round 1 (March 26). Iyama (W) beat Wang Yuanjun 7P (Chinese Taipei) by half a point; Tang Weixing 9P (China) (B) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.; Cho U 9P (B) beat Fan Hui 2P (Europe) by resig.; Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Fan Tingyu 9P (China) by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 7P (B) beat Lian Xiao 7P by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Kim 4P (Korea) by resig.; Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) (B) beat Jiang Mingjiu 7P (North America) by resig; Mi Yuting 9P (China) (B) beat Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) by resig. (Black won seven out of eight games.)
Round 2 (March 28). Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (B) beat Iyama by resig.; Cho U (W) beat Jiang Weijie 9P (China) by resig.; Chen Yaoye 9P (China) (W) beat Kono by resig.; Shi Yue 9P (China) b. Murakawa by resig.; Gu Li 9P (China) (B) beat Yi Se-tol 9P (Korea) by resig.; Pak Cheong-hwan 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9P (China) by resig.; Mi (B) beat Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by resig.; Kim Chi-seok 9P (Korea) (W) beat Tuo by resig.
There are five Chinese, two Koreans and one Japanese representative in the quarterfinals. Pairings are: Cho vs. Gu, Shi vs. Zhou, Pak vs. Chen, and Kim vs. Mi.

Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger: There was a big upset at the end of the 69th Honinbo League. Going into the final round, held on April 3, only two players were in the running: Yamashita Keigo, on 6-0, and Ida Atsushi (left), on 5-1. To become the challenger, Ida would have to beat Yamashita twice in a row. Surprising many go fans, who had expected to see the third big match between Iyama and Yamashita in less than a year (after the 2013 Meijin and 2014 Kisei matches), he managed to do this, winning the play-off held on April 7. This win also earned him an automatic promotion to 8-dan for becoming a big-three challenger, following his jump from 4-dan to 7-dan when he entered the league last year. Ida just turned 20 on March 15. The title match starts on May 14. Below are league results since my last report.
(24 March) Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
Final round (April 3) Ida Atsushi 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point; Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 4.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (B) Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 3.5 points; Yuki Satoshi Judan beat Cho U 9P by forfeit. (Cho thought the game was at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo, but when he turned up there learned that it was in Osaka. He published an apology in the current Go Weekly.)
Play-off (April 7) Ida (W) won by 5.5 points.
Placings in the league are as follows: 2nd, Yamashita; 3rd, Cho U (4-3); 4th, Kono Rin (4-3). Losing their places are Yuki Satoshi (3-4), Yo Seiki (3-4), Takao Shinji (1-6), and Sakai Hideyuki (1-6).

Meijin League Update: Ryu Shikun 9-dan (right), a strong player who has been lying low over the last decade, is doing well in the 39th Meijin League. With three wins, Yamashita Keigo is still in the lead, but Ryu, on 3-1, is following hard on his heels, along with Kono Rin 9P (3-1) and Cho U 9P (2-1).
Recent results:
(March 27) Ryu Shikun 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(April 3) Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

Promotions: To 2-dan: Kyo Kagen (30 wins)

Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi
Yoshida Yoichi 9-dan, a member of the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in, died on March 26. Born on October 7, 1935, he became a disciple of Hosokawa Chihiro (Senjin). He made 1-dan in 195, reached 9-dan in 1977 and retired in 1997. 

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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The Power Report (Part 2): Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title; Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row; Yuki Evens Score In Judan; Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions

Wednesday April 9, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title: The third game of the 26th Women’s Meijin title match was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on March 24. Drawing black in the nigiri, Xie Yimin (right) played strongly and scored a solid win, forcing a resignation after 209 moves. She made a good comeback from her loss in the second game. This gave her the match 2-1, so she won this title for the seventh year in a row.

Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row: Yuki Satoshi (at right in photo below) has been going through a spell of bad form recently, especially in the leagues, but he is just as strong as ever at fast games. In the final of the 61st NHK Cup, telecast on March 23, he defeated Kono Rin 9P by resignation to win the title for the third year in a row and the fifth time overall (all in the last six years). Winning three in a row matches the record set by Sakata Eio and Yoda Norimoto; in total titles won, he is tied for second with Otake Hideo and Yoda, but here he is still a long way behind Sakata’s ten. Playing black, Kono took the early lead, but in a game marked by violent fighting the lead shifted back and forth, and Kono missed his best chance to take the lead in the middle game. Kono is known for his endgame skill, but here he was outplayed by Yuki.

Yuki Evens Score In Judan: Perhaps his NHK win will become a turning point for Yuki. He followed it up by beating Takao Shinji 9P in the second game of the 52nd Judan title match (photo at left), which was played in Sumoto City on the island of Awaji in Hyogo Prefecture on March 27. Playing black, the challenger actually took the lead in the middle game, but Yuki went all out in the endgame and wrested a half-point lead from him. That makes the score 1-1; the third game will be played on April 10.
Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions: The semifinals and final of the Tournament Winners Championship, a tournament for all 12 title-winners in 2013 plus a player chosen by fan vote, were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 22 (the first two rounds were held on February 14 and 15). In the semifinals, Iyama Yuta beat Kyo Kagen, winner of last year’s Nakano Cup, and Yamashita Keigo beat Yuki Satoshi Judan. The final thus became a rematch between the player who only recently fought the Kisei title match, and the result was the same. Taking black, Iyama beat Yamashita by resignation after 189 moves. Iyama was awarded the Prime Minister’s Cup and the Minister for Education and Science’s Diploma. The final was open to the public, being played on the stage in the Nihon Ki-in’s large hall while a public commentary was given simultaneously by Ishida Yoshio 9-dan and Yoshihara Yukari 6-dan. Presumably the players were able to shut out the commentary when they concentrated on the game. However, after the game Yamashita said that he did take in one comment by Ishida, which was, “If the players can hear me, their training as professionals is incomplete.” Usually in a public commentary like this, the commentators take care to avoid referring to the colors, instead holding up a black stone if they want to refer to black. However, Ishida told a story from a public commentary he did a long time ago of a player who told him later that he had relied on Ishida for territorial evaluation and just focused on reading.
Tomorrow: Cho U Advances in Chunlan Cup; Ida Becomes Honinbo Challenger; Meijin League Update; Promotions; Obituary: Yoshida Yoichi

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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The Power Report (Part 1): Chisato Cup; Japan Eliminated From 2nd Bailing Cup; Ichiriki Sets Record

Tuesday April 8, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Chisato Cup: The semifinals and finals of this new tournament for young players were played in the town of Seiro in Niigata Prefecture on March 1 and 2, but I forgot to include it in my previous report. The favorite of the fans was probably Fujisawa Rina 2P (right), the granddaughter of Fujisawa Shuko, but she lost to Hirata Tomoya 3P in one semifinal. In the other, Suzuki Shinji 4P beat Kimoto Katsuya 3P. Suzuki (B) then beat Hirata by resignation in the final to take the first prize of two million yen (a little under $20,000). In my report on the opening rounds of this tournament, I made a bad guess, based on a Net search, about the business of the sponsor, the Chisato corporation. Apparently it is an insurance agency specializing in towns and village councils throughout Japan.

Japan Eliminated from 2nd Bailing Cup: The qualifying section and the first round of the main tournament of this Chinese-sponsored international tournament were held at the Chinese Qiyuan (Ki-in) in Beijing from March 13 to 18. Seventeen professionals and amateurs from Japan took part in the qualifying tournament, but no one won a place in the main tournament, though Ida Atsushi 7P (left), Ichiriki Ryo 7P, and Son Makoto 3-dan did reach the final round. This is a massive tournament, with 64 players competing in the first round. Japan had three seeded players, but they were all eliminated. Their results: Zhang Tao 4P (China) beat Akiyama Jiro 9P (Japan), Mok Chin-seok 9P (Korea) beat Takao Shinji 9P (Japan), and Wang Xi 9P (China) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan). Twenty-two Chinese and ten Korean players proceeded to the second round. Incidentally, the two players fighting a jubango at present, Yi Se-tol and Gu Li, were both eliminated in this round. See also Battle for 2nd Bailing Cup Cup Begins 4/3 EJ.

Ichiriki Sets Record: The first of the four vacant seats in the 39th Kisei Leagues has been taken by Ichiriki Ryo 4-dan (right). In the final, held on March 21, Ichiriki (B) beat Cho U 9P by 7.5 points. At 16 years nine month, he is the youngest player to win a seat in any of the three leagues. This feat also earned him an automatic promotion to 7-dan. The previous record for the Kisei Leagues was 17 years ten months, set by Iyama Yuta. Iyama still holds the Meijin League record, at 18 years five months, and Yo Seiki set a new record for the Honinbo League last year of 18 years two months. On April 3, the second of the vacant places went to Cho Riyu 8P; playing white, he beat Seto Taiki 7P by 8.5 points.
Tomorrow: Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title; Yuki Wins Third NHK Cup In A Row; Yuki Evens Score In Judan; Iyama Wins Tournament of Champions

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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