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The Power Report: Yamashita Draws Level in Kisei, Forcing Decisive Game 7; Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title

Saturday March 14, 2015

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent2015.03.14_yamashita-39kisei

Yamashita Draws Level in Kisei, Forcing Decisive Game 7: The sixth game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Gyokushoen Arai inn in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on March 11 and 12. Taking black, Yamashita Keigo 9P (right) defeated Iyama Yuta 9P by resignation after 189 moves. Yamashita has now won three games in a row, so the title match goes down to the wire. The final game will be played on March 19 and 20.

Xie Defends Women’s Meijin Title: The second game of the 27th Women’s Meijin title match was played at Heian Jogaku University, a private women’s university in Kyoto also known as St. Agnes’ University, on 11 March. Xie Yimin, playing black, forced Suzuki Ayumi 6P to resign after 177 moves and so won this title for the eighth year in a row.

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The Power Report (Part 2): Korea Makes Good Start In Women’s Tournament; Multiple Tie In Meijin League; Two Young Players Make NHK Cup Final; Promotions; Obituary: Okubo Ichigen

Monday March 9, 2015

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Korea Makes Good Start In Women’s Tournament: The first round of the 5th Huanglong Shuangdeng Cup World Women’s Team Championship was held in the city2015.03.08_Women’s Tournament of Meiyan in Jiangsu Province. It is run along similar lines to the Nong Shim Cup, but is split up into just two stages. Korea made a great start when O Jonga 2P won the first five games, but China won the final two games. The second round starts on April 5. Results are:
Game 1 (March 1). O Jonga (Korea) (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P (Japan) by resig.
Game 2 (March 2). O (B) beat Li He 5P (China) by resig.
Game 3 (March 3). O (W) beat Kibe Natsuki 1P (Japan) by resig.
Game 4 (March 4). O (W) beat Wang Chenxing 5P (China) by resig.
Game 5 (March 5). O (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 2P (Japan) by resig. (photo)
Game 6 (March 6). Song Ronghui 5P (China) beat O by 2.5 points.
Game 7 (March 7). Song (B) beat Hoshiai Shiho 1P (Japan) by resig.

Multiple Tie In Meijin League: One game was played in the 40th Meijin League on March 5. Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Cho U 9P by 5.5 points. Yamashita improved his score to 2-1 and Cho dropped to 1-2. Yamashita shares the lead with four other players: Kono Rin, Takao Shinji, Murakawa Daisuke, and Ko Iso.

Two Young Players Make NHK Cup Final: Probably not many fans predicted the finalists in the 62nd NHK cup. In the first semifinal, telecast on March 1, the 17-year-old Ichiriki Ryo (W) defeated quadruple title-holder Iyama Yuta by resignation. Ichiriki played brilliantly in the middle-game fighting. Ichiriki made his debut in the NHK Cup this year and so far has won five games in a row, all with whit2015.03.08_Okubo Ichigene. In his last two games before the semifinal, he beat Kono Rin 9P and Takao Shinji 9P. The second semifinal was telecast on March 8. Playing black, the 20-year-old Ida Atsushi 8P (he turns 21 on March 15) beat Hane Naoki 9P by 6.5 points. In the third round, Ida eliminated the winner of the last three NHK cups, Yuki Satoshi 9P.

Promotions
To 9-dan: Hoshino Masaki (200 wins)
To 3-dan: Tsuruta Kazushi (40 wins)

Obituary: Okubo Ichigen
Okubo Ichigen 9P (right) died of pneumonia on March 2. Born on March 15, 1929, Okubo became a disciple of (Ms) Masubuchi Tatsuko 8P. He made 1-dan in 1944 and reached 9-dan in 1968. He retired in 1999. He won the rating tournament in 1948 and 1950. In 1965, he played in the final of the Oza tournament, but lost 0-2 to Handa Dogen. He won a number of Kido Prizes during his career. In the late 60s or early 70s, he made a long instruction tour of North America that was a bit of a landmark at the time.

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The Power Report (Part 1): Tuo Wins New Year’s Cup; Yamashita Catching Up In Kisei Title Match; Xie Wins First Game Of Women’s Meijin; Takao Makes Good Start In Judan Defense; China Wins Nong Shim Cup

Sunday March 8, 2015

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent2015.03.08_Tuo Jiaxi

Tuo Wins New Year’s Cup: The CCTV New Year’s Cup is a TV tournament held to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Last year it was upgraded to an international tournament, with a player each being invited from Japan and Korea. Last year it was won by Shi Yue 9P of China. Murakawa Daisuke 7P, who participated because the original invitee from Japan, Iyama Yuta, was too busy with the Kisei title match, took second place after scoring a win over Yi Sedol. Murakawa took part again this year. In the first round, he lost to Tuo Jiaxi 9P (right) of China by half a point. In this irregular knock-out tournament, Tuo advanced to the final, and Murakawa played Kim Jiseok 9P of Korea, who drew a bye in the first round. Kim won this game but lost to Tuo in the final. The prizes are 800,000, 400,000, and 200,000 yuan. Although he lost both games, Murakawa played well (his loss to Tuo was an upset late in the game), and a team in the Chinese B League made him an offer to play on their top board. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report, which includes game records.

Yamashita Catching Up In Kisei Title Match: The fifth game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on February 25 and 26. Playing white, Yamashita won by resignation after 194 moves. This is his second wins after three losses, so he needs just one more win to even the score. The sixth game will be played on March 11 and 12. After both sides set up moyos, Yamashita made a shallow reduction of Black’s bottom moyo with White 16. Iyama made a sharp attack, so Yamashita plunged further into Black’s moyo. After White settled his group, the focus of the game became Black’s attempt to reduce White’s moyo. In the extensive fighting that followed, White broke into Black’s top right moyo and took the lead. Yamashita: ‘Last year I lost the match in the sixth game, so I hope to go further this year.’ Iyama: ‘I made lots of simple mistakes. I hope to play a little more solidly.’

Xie Wins First Game Of Women’s Meijin: The first game of the 27th Women’s Meijin best-of-five title match was held at the Osaka University of Commerce in Higashi (East) Osaka City on March 4. Xie Yimin made a good start in her quest for eight titles in a row; playing 2015.03.08_Ida Atsushiwhite, she beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by resignation after 248 moves. The second game will be played on March 11.

Takao Makes Good Start In Judan Defense: The first game of the Mori Building 53rd Judan tournament title match, to give it its full name, was played at the same venue as the first Women’s Meijin game though on the following day. The defending champion Takao Shinji, playing white, beat Ida Atsushi 8P (left) by resignation after 198 moves. Takao seized the initiative and avoided letting Ida drag the game into the kind of confused fighting that is Ida’s forte. The second game will be played on March 26. This is the fifth year that the first games of the Women’s Meijin and Judan titles have been played in tandem

China Wins Nong Shim Cup: The third round of the Nong Shim Cup was held in Shanghai at the beginning of
this month. Lian Xiao, the fourth batter for China, finished off the opposition in the third game of this round, so Shi Yue of China didn’t have to play. At the start of the round, Iyama Yuta briefly raised Japan’s hopes with his second win, following his win at the end of the second round, but he fell to Kim Jiseok in his next game.
Results in this round:
Game 11 (March 3). Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (B) beat Mi Yuting 9P (China) by resig.
Game 12 (March 4). Kim Jiseok 9P (Korea) (B) beat Iyama by 4.5 points.
Game 13 (March 5). Lian Xiao 7P (China) (W) beat Kim by resig.

Tomorrow: Korea Makes Good Start In Women’s Tournament; Multiple Tie In Meijin League; Two Young Players Make NHK Cup Final; Promotions; Obituary: Okubo Ichigen

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Updates: China Wins Nongshim Cup; New Osaka Camp Website; CGA League Registration Deadline Tuesday

Saturday March 7, 2015

China Wins Nongshim Cup: Lian Xiao (left) defeated Kim Jiseok in the final round of the 16th Nongshim Cup on March 5. With this victory, 2015.03.07_Lian-Xiao-Kim-Jiseok-16th-Nongshim-Cup-550x367Team China takes the Cup back home for another year. Captain Iyama Yuta, who was the last man standing for Team Japan, played against Mi Yuting in the first game of the final round…
- Go Game Guru

New Osaka Camp Website: Maeda Ryo 6P’s 3-week intensive go camp in Osaka, Japan has a new website http://www.osakago.com/; the camp runs June through July 18.

CGA League Registration Deadline Tuesday: Registration for the second session of the Canadian Go Association’s online league play is now open, and will close Tuesday, March 10. Click here for more details and click the “league” tab.

Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp Features Ryokan Stay This Year

Monday March 2, 2015

The Nihon Ki-in Summer Go Camp will run August 21 through September 3 at the The Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The camp features pro lectures and 2015.02.28_nihon-kiin-camp2015.02.28_Sugino Yadoworkshops, pro teaching games and reviews, and, this year, a special 2-day training program. “You will stay overnight at a Ryokan,Sugino Yado’ (left) on August 27-28 and will be trained for a full day from morning to night: pro teaching games, lectures, in-depth commentaries, quiz and problems” says the Nihon Ki-in’s Tom Urasoe. The legendary Fujisawa hosted a go camp at Sugino Yado every year attended by promising young pros.“We want many American players to participate in our go camp this year!” Urasoe adds. Participants can choose a full term camp, semi-full or a one week course. Register before April 1 and get a 10% discount. photo: (right) Michael Redmond 9P lectures

 

 

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Go Spotting: Popular Science

Monday March 2, 2015

A photo of the robot dog Aibo playing go illustrates In Japan, A Funeral For Robot Dogs, a February 28 Popular Science report. “Robot 2015.03.01_aibo-gocompanions are big in Japan, where they can return hugs, gently smack snorers in the face, perform in plays, and greet Presidents.” And, apparently, play go as well.
- thanks to Jon Stewart-Taylor for passing this along.
The EJ has several volunteer editor positions open for go players who want to be part of the team producing the largest English-language publication in the world; email journal@usgo.org if interested. 

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The Power Report: Ida loses sole lead in Honinbo League; Yamashita keeps his Kisei challenge alive

Wednesday February 25, 2015

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Ida loses sole lead in Honinbo League: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) seemed to be heading inexorably for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo,2015.02.24_Ida-Atsushi but he finally stumbled in the fifth round of the 70th Honinbo League. In a game played on February 19, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat him by resignation. Ida’s loss means that Yamashita Keigo 9P pulls even with him on 4-1; we might see another play-off between these two. Cho U 9P and Kono, both on 3-2, are also in contention. In another game played on the same day, Yo Seiki 7P picked up his second win when he beat Ryu Shikun 9P; playing white, he forced a resignation. Yo improves to 2-3 and has an outside chance of keeping his league place. Ryu and Takao Shinji 9P, both on 1-4, have lost their places.

2015.02.24_Yamashita-KeigoYamashita keeps his Kisei challenge alive: Yamashita Keigo (left) finally picked up his first win in the 39th Kisei title match and survived his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series). The fourth game was held at the Zagyoso. The Zagyoso (which literally means ‘fishing-while-seated-villa’) was the retirement villa of a famous statesman, Saionji Kinmochi, who led the Japanese delegation at the Versailles peace conference; it was moved from its original location in Shizuoka to Meiji Village, a theme park in Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture that recreates traditional Japanese buildings. The game was played on February 19 and 20. Iyama (White) took the lead in the middle game when Yamashita made a misreading about a life-and-death position. His group didn’t die, but he had to add an extra stone and so fell behind. However, Iyama slipped up with an oversight of his own when he tried to wrap up the game. Yamashita played a brilliant atekomi tesuji and pulled off an upset. He won by 2.5 points after 224 moves. Yamashita will be greatly encouraged by this win, but, on 1-3, he is still in a tough position. The fifth game, to be played on February 25 and 26, will show whether he has really changed the flow of the match.

Promotion
To 2-dan: Komatsu Daiki (30 wins). Komatsu is the son of Komatsu Hideki 9P and Komatsu Hideko 4P. The promotion took effect on the 17th.

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¥5000 Off for Osaka Go Camp Pre-Registrants

Sunday February 22, 2015

Register by February 28 and you’ll save 5000 yen (about $40) on Maeda Ryo 6P’s 3-week  intensive go camp in Osaka, which runs June 2015.02.22_osaka-go-camp28 through July 18.  Osaka Go Camp activities include intensive training by Kansai Kiin professionals, the opportunity to play go at the Kiin with professionals, play against top amateurs and former inseis, as well as sightseeing, cultural trips and making new go friends. The camp is sponsored by Kansai Kiin and the Osaka University of Commerce. Email Osaka.go.2015@gmail.com for more info or to reserve your space.

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The Power Report: Iyama Extends Lead in Kisei Title Match; Xie Defends Women’s Kisei Title; Iyama Tops Prize-Money List for 2014; Annual Promotions

Wednesday February 4, 2015

by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent

Iyama Extends Lead in Kisei Title Match: The second game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Hachinohe Park Hotel in 2015.02.04_Iyama-YutaHachinohe City, Aomori Prefecture, on January 29 and 30. Playing white, Iyama Yuta (right) won by resignation after 228 moves. This gives him a 2-0 lead over the challenger, Yamashita Keigo 9P. The third game, scheduled for February 5 and 6, is close to being a must-win affair for Yamashita if he is going to stop Iyama from winning the title for the third year in a row. The game got off to an interesting start, with Yamashita coming up with a new variation in an old joseki. Iyama showed his flexibility, however, by playing a bad-shape move that actually worked well for him. Early in the middle game, Iyama went on the offensive, and Yamashita found himself forced into playing a territorial strategy that didn’t suit his style. Having fallen behind a little, he did his best to catch up by attacking aggressively, but Iyama countered with the strongest moves and finally took a decisive lead. When Yamashita resigned, Iyama had a lead on the board.

2015.02.04_womens-kiseiXie Defends Women’s Kisei Title: The second game of the 18th DoCoMo Cup Women Kisei title match was held in the Ryusei Studio (in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo) on January 29. This was a do-or-die game for the challenger, as this title is a best-of-three, but she was outfought by the defending champion, Xie Yimin (left). After 273 moves, Xie, taking black, won by 5.5 points. She won this title for the third year in a row and extended her overall tally to 19, eight ahead of the next woman player (Aoki Kikuyo 8P, with 11).

Iyama Tops Prize-Money List for 2014: Even though he lost two titles last year, Iyama Yuta still earned enough in winnings to top the prize-money list for the fourth year in a row. It was the third year in a row that he topped 100 million yen. Only three other players have reached this mark: Cho Chikun (five times), Cho U (four times) and Kobayashi Koichi (three times). The top ten for 2014 are given below. Fujisawa Rina, aged 16, is probably the youngest player ever to make the list. Xie Yimin made the best ten for the seventh year in a row.
1. Iyama Yuta: ¥140,788,528 (about $1,203,320)
2. Kono Rin: ¥44,983,332
3. Takao Shinji: ¥37,903,600
4. Yamashita Keigo: ¥30,779,458
5. Ida Atsushi: ¥19,210,200
6. Ichiriki Ryo: ¥17,002,800
7. Fujisawa Rin: ¥16,736,161
8. Hane Naoki: ¥13,477,000
9. Xie Yimin: ¥12,931,771
10. Cho U: ¥12,470,600

Annual Promotions: Besides the promotions through the cumulative-win system, a number of promotions are made every year based on prize-money winnings in the top seven titles: the top 6-dan and the top two in the ranks underneath are promoted one rank. The following promotions based on 2014 winnings are dated to January 1.
        To 7-dan: Ohashi Naruya
        To 6-dan: Tajima Shingo, Shiraishi Yuichi
        To 5-dan: Muramatsu Hiroki, Suzuki Shinji
        To 4-dan: Hirata Tomoya , Obuchi Kotaro
        To 3-dan: Takeuchi Kosuke, Numadate Sakiya
        To 2-dan: Tanaka Nobuyuki, Koyama Kuya

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Pandanet to Publish EJ Reports in Japanese

Saturday January 31, 2015

Pandanet has begun posting E-Journal articles on their site, translated into Japanese. The first one is the EJ’s recent report on the AGA pro 2015.01.31_ej-pandanettournament. “We’re tremendously pleased that EJ reporting is now available in Japanese,” said E-Journal Managing Editor Chris Garlock.  Pandanet plans to post a translated EJ article each week.