by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament: The term “haya-go” is usually translated as “rapid go,” and a haya-go in the NHK format actually takes around 90 minutes. In the Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament, which is open to veteran Nihon Ki-in players, the term “lightning” is justified, as the time allowance is ten seconds per move (plus three minutes’ thinking time). This is actually the second term of this unofficial tournament, but I think I missed the first last year. In the original, the name reads “OVER40 Haya-go Tonamento-sen,” but, if the report in Go Weekly is correct, this should be “40 or over.” First, 56 players competed in four preliminary blocks, held on October 27. These were won by O Meien 9P, Nakaonoda Tomomi 9P, Oya Koichi 9P, and O Rissei 9P; they qualified for the main tournament, held on November 7. Cho Sonjin, the winner of the first tournament, lost to Nakaonoda in the final of his block. In the semifinals, held on the morning of November 7, the time expanded to 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time, that is, the NHK format. O Meien beat Oya and O Rissei beat Nakaonoda. In the final, held in the afternoon of the same day, Rissei (W) beat Meien by resignation (photo). First prize is 500,000 yen.
Honinbo League: Good starts for Ida and Motoki: As a former challenger, Ida Atsushi Judan probably feels he has a lot to prove in the Honinbo League, especially against a junior player. In his opening game in the 71st league, played on October 29, Ida (B) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resignation. In his debut game, the 20-year-old Motoki Katsuya, a newly minted 7-dan by virtue of winning his league place, beat veteran player Cho U 9P, also by resignation. Motoki had white. This completes the opening round of the league.
Murakawa reaches Kisei play-off: Yamada Kimio 9P’s charge through the knock-out section of the Kisei tournament was halted when he ran into Murakawa Daisuke Oza, second-place winner in the S League, on October 29. Taking black, Murakawa won by 2.5 points. That meant that for the third year in a row, the play-off to decide the challenger would pit Murakawa against Yamashita. The big difference is that previously, as the winners of the old A and B Leagues, they met on even terms. This time Yamashita starts the play-off with a one-win advantage, so the only way Murakawa can become the challenger is by winning two in a row. (This play-off is referred to by Go Weekly as “an irregular best-of-three,” the fact that there can never be three games played justifying the adjective.)
Women’s Meijin League: Fujisawa suffers setback: The fourth round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was completed on November 2 when Okuda Aya 3P (W) defeated Fujisawa Rina by resignation. This was Fujisawa’s first loss, putting her on 2-1, so she dropped into a tie for third place with Mannami Nao 3P. The sole lead is held by Aoki Kikuyo 8P, on 3-0, and Okuda is second. Thanks to her number-two ranking, Aoki just has to win two of her remaining three games to win the league. See chart at left for standings.
Obituary: Hiroe Katsuhiko
Hiroe Katsuhiko died of an eating disorder on October 27 at the age of 75. Born in Gifu Prefecture, Hiroe was a disciple of Sakai Toshio 8P. He qualified as 1-dan in 1960 at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and reached 7-dan in 1981. He was promoted to 8-dan when he retired in 2006. Hiroe Hiroyuki 9P is his son.