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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 2014.12.27_Takao-ShinjiSapporo 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. 2014.12.27_Iyama-YutaIyama 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.

Promotions
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.

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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 to2014.12.27_Takao-Shinji 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
own titles.

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

Categories: Japan,John Power Report
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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. Cho2014.12.27_Ida-Atsushi 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

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The Power Report (Part 1): Ichiriki Wins Ibero-Japan Cup; Yamashita Repeats As Kisei Challenger: Kanazawa Wins Third Meijin Seat; Motoki Wins Hiroshima Aluminium Cup

Saturday December 27, 2014

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent2014.12.27_Ichiriki-Ryo-99x150

Ichiriki Wins Ibero-Japan Cup: This is a new tournament founded to encourage young players. It is open to players under 18, including inseis (professional trainees), and games are played on the Net. In the final, played on November 11, Ichiriki Ryo 7P (right), taking white, beat Kyo Kagen 2P by 6.5 points.

Yamashita Repeats as Kisei Challenger: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 39th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on November 13. It featured the same players as the previous year, Yamashita Keigo 9P and Murakawa Daisuke 7P, and had the same result: a win for Yamashita. Taking black, Yamashita won by resignation. Yamashita’s previous challenge was rebuffed 4-2 by Iyama, but Yamashita has an affinity for this title: he has won it five times in all, including a run of four terms in a row, and has played in the title match eight times. Aged 36, he will soon qualify as a “veteran,” so he will be hoping to do better this time. The first game will be played in Osaka on January 15 and 16.

Kanazawa Wins Third Meijin Seat: Winning a seat in a league earns you an automatic promotion to 7-dan if you have not already made it. There has been a rash of such promotions in the last year or two (Yo Seiki, Ida Atsushi, Ichiriki Ryo), and now Kanazawa Makoto has joined them. The 4-dan beat O Meien 9P in the final round to win a seat in the 40th Meijin League. The game was played on November 13; taking white, Kanazawa won by 1.5 points. His promotion to 7-dan came the following day. The 22-year-old Kanazawa won the 37th King of the New Stars title in 2012. He looked a little disappointed when he realized he would no longer be able to play in this title or in the Hiroshima Aluminium Cup, both of which are restricted to players under 7-dan. Incidentally, Kanazawa’s father is Kanazawa Moriei, a former top amateur player who is a go writer for the Mainichi Newspaper.

Motoki Wins Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: The Hiroshima Aluminium Cup: Young Carp Tournament is a two-day knock-out tournament for Nihon Ki-in players 30 or under and 6-dan or under. The 9th cup was played at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima City on November 15 and 16. In the final, Motoki Katsuya 3P (aged 19) (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 1P (aged 15) by 2.5 points to win his first title. Fujisawa Rina made it to the semifinals but lost to Motoki.

Tomorrow, 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

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Murakawa Daisuke Takes Oza Title in Surprise Victory Over Iyama Yuta

Saturday December 20, 2014

In a surprise victory, Murakawa Daisuke 8P defeated Iyama Yuta 9P on December 16 to win the 62nd Oza. The Oza is Murakawa’s first major 2014.12.20_Murakawa-Daisuketitle. This is the first time a player from the Kansai Kiin has won the Oza since Hashimoto Shoji 9P did so 33 years ago in 1981. The final game was played in Toba, Mie Prefecture, Japan. The upset attracted a lot of attention in Japan, because former Oza Iyama Yuta currently dominates the domestic Japanese go scene.
- excerpted from Go Game Guru; click here for the full report, including game records.

 

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SAWMG Update: China Wins Pair Go Gold; Russia Takes Home Most Medals Overall

Thursday December 18, 2014

China won the SportAccord World Mind Games Pair Go Event to complete their sweep of gold medals in the 4th annual event, 2014.12.18_sawmg-pair-gowhich wrapped up on December 17 in Beijing, China.

Russia emerged as the SAWMG’s big winners overall this year, as their players took home a total of six gold, five silver and one bronze medal. In total, 150 players from 37 countries took part in the 2014 World Mind Games. There were 14 disciplines across five sports, with 24 medal rounds contested. Click here for full results.

More Gold for China (Ranka Pair Go report)
Pair Go Begins (Ranka)
Pair Go Game Records

photo: China’s Pair Go Team, Yu and Mi

 

SportAccord World Mind Games Update: China Sweeps Gold

Tuesday December 16, 2014

China has swept the SportAccord 2014 World Mind Games go competition, winning gold in the men’s team and women’s 2014.12.16_China-men-sawmgindividual events. Tuo Jiaxi, Mi Yuting and Shi Yue (right) easily dispatched the US team in the final match to clinch their gold medals.

More SAWMG coverage:
Of love of Go, wine and Hollywood (Interview with France’s Fan Hui 2P)
Final Rounds: Gold Medals for China (Ranka)
Women’s Final: Yu Zhiying vs Kim Chaeyoung (Ranka)
Pair Go Begins (Ranka)
Mind Sports at Beijing Schools (Ranka)
Game Records-Men (Pandanet)
Game Records-Women (Pandanet)
Game Records-Pair (Pandanet)

Ranka’s SportAccord World Mind Games Update: China and Korea Prove Stronger

Sunday December 14, 2014

by James Davies, Ranka Online 2014.12.14_SAWMG_Huiren-YANG_Alexandr-DINERSHTEYN

As noted in yesterday’s report, the US team beat Europe in the SportAccord World Mind Games Round 3 team match on December 13; click here for Ranka’s details on that match, and here for the interview with Danny Ko, one of the victorious American players.

Round 4 action on December 14 began with two games that would draw the line between the medal winners and non-winners in the women’s section. Both players from Chinese Taipei came up short: Joanne Missingham lost in just 111 moves to Kim Chaeyoung (Korea), while Cathy Chang narrowly lost to famed veteran Rui Naiwei of China; click here for the game commentary. In the afternoon, Rui Naiwei lost by half a point to Kim Chaeyoung who now goes on to play Yu Zhiying for the gold medal.

Chinese Taipei got off to a good start in the fourth round of the men’s team when Lin Li-Hsiang defeated eighteen-year old Chinese superstar Mi Yuting. Chinese Taipei’s upset hopes were dampened, however, when their leading player Chen Shih-Iuan lost a tightly fought game to China’s leading player Shi Yue on board one, and were then dashed when Tuo Jiaxi convincingly defeated Chang Che-Hao on board three. China now has four straight wins, and their remaining match is against North America. While China was struggling past Chinese Taipei, the North American team lost to the Korean team 0-3, so China’s chances of completing a clean sweep of all their matches when they play North America appear quite good.

Europe had no better luck against Japan than North America had against Korea. The Europeans fought hard, but Yuki Satoshi beat Fan Hui by a comfortable 7.5 points, Ida Atsushi beat Aleksandr Dinershteyn by a 14.5 points, and Seto Taiki beat Ilya Shikshin by resignation. Edited from longer reports on Ranka Online. Click here for the complete report on Round 4.
photo: Huiren Yang (left) playing Alexandr Dinershteyn; photo by Ivan Vigano
Game records are available on go4go.net; click here for latest SAWMG results.

 

Ranka’s SportAccord World Mind Games Update: China Rolls On

Saturday December 13, 2014

by James Davies, Ranka Online 2014.12.13_SAWMG_day2_Joanne-Missingham
Update: The US team beat Europe in the team match on December 13; see report and links below for details.
The morning event on the second day of the SportAccord World Mind Games on December 12 was the second round of the women’s double knockout. The outcome was victory for both Chinese and both Koreans. Choi Jeong needed less than two hours to defeat Natalia Kovaleva by a wide margin. In a somewhat closer game China’s rookie King Yu Zhiying defeated Japan’s Women’s Honinbo Fujisawa Rina. Japan’s Okuda Aya then bowed in resignation to China’s Rui Naiwei after a long ko fight, and Joanne Missingham (right), trailing by a fraction of a stone with only two one-point moves left to play, resigned to Kim Chaeyoung.

In the men’s team matches, Korea’s Kang Dongyoon fell to China’s Tuo Jiaxi on Board 3, followed by Korean youngster Na Hyun’s loss to Mi Yuting of China, clinching the round for China. Park Younghoon saved face for Korea by playing to a narrow but secure victory over China’s top rated Shi Yue.

The Chinese women did equally well in round 3 of the women’s competition in the afternoon, with Yu Zhiying prevailing over Choi Jeong and Rui Naiwei defeating Kim Chaeyoung by the same fractional margin by which Kim had won in the morning. Four games were also played in the losers’ bracket, with good results for Chinese Taipei and mixed results for the rest of the world: Fujisawa Rina defeated Natalia Kovaleva; Joanne Missingham defeated Okuda Aya; Chinese Taipei’s Cathy Chang defeated North America’s Irene Sha; and in an all-Russian game, Svetlana Shikshina defeated Dina Burdakova. The losers of these four games have now been eliminated. Only the two Chinese players remain undefeated, and they will meet each other in round 4.

Preliminary Round 4 results from play on December 13: Joanne Missingham d. Jeong Choi of South Korea, Svetlana Shikshina of Russia lost to Chang Kai-Hsin and Yu Zhiying beat seasoned campaigner Rui Naiwei. In the men’s team event, China beat Japan across two boards, with Tuo Jiaxi and Yue Shi winning for China while Atsushi Ida won for Japan. The USA men’s team beat Europe across two boards, Huren Yang 1P beating Alexandr Dinershteyn 3P and Danny Ko 7D beating Ilya Shikshin 7D, while Fan Hui 2P defeated Mingjiu Jiang 7P. Click here for results and here for an interview with Missingham.

Game records — including Round 3 — are available on go4go.net.
Click here for Michael Redmond’s game commentary on the Fujisawa Rina vs Yu Zhiying Round 2 match.

Click here for Ranka’s interview with Hua Xueming, China’s non-playing team captain
photo by Ivan Vigano

Ranka’s SportAccord World Mind Games Update: An Epic Encounter and a Historic Victory

Friday December 12, 2014

by James Davies, Ranka Online
The first round of go competition at the 4th SportAccord World Mind Games on December 11 featured an epic encounter between the Korean and2014.12.12_SAWMG_day1_Yuki-Satoshi Japanese men’s teams, and a historic victory for a Russian woman. The Japan-Korea men’s match was close on all three boards. Yuki Satoshi (right) of Japan defeated Korea’s Park Younghun in a prolonged struggle on board one. In the battle between two young players on board two, Japan’s Ida Atsushi, 20, overplayed his advantage against Na Hyun, 19, by starting an unnecessary ko fight, in the course of which Na was able to revive his dead group and evened the score in the match at 1-1. All now depended on the outcome of the game between Seto Taiki of Japan and Korea’s Kang Dongyoon on board three, and the people following the action on the monitor screens in the adjoining room were held in suspense down to practically the last move, but after a grueling five and a half hours, Kang came up the winner by 4.5 points.

Meanwhile, the Chinese team of Shi Yue, Mi Yuting, and Tuo Jiaxi was dealing unmercifully with the European team of Fan Hui, Aleksandr Dinershteyn, and Ilya Shikshin. European stones died en masse on all three boards. The team from Chinese Taipei also blanked the North American team 3-0, although the game between Chen Shih-Iuan and Jiang Mingjiu on board one was quite close. Russia’s Natalia Kovaleva defeated Chinese Taipei’s Cathy Chang in the women’s individual competition.
- adapted from a longer report on Ranka Online; photo by Ivan Vigano