American Go E-Journal » Japan

The Power Report (1): New members of the Meijin League; Women’s Honinbo: Xie fights back; Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger; Yamashita’s 900th win

Wednesday November 18, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.11.18_40th Kisei challenger

New members of the Meijin League: Two of the three vacant places in the 41st Meijin League were decided on October 29. Uchida Shuhei 7P (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 3.5 points, so the latter failed to regain his place. Uchida will make his second appearance after an absence of three years. Hirata Tomoya 4P (W) beat So Yokoku 9P, also by 3.5 points. The 21-year-old Hirata won his first league place and secured an automatic promotion to 7-dan (as of the following day). So Yokoku was also a member of the previous league. The final vacant seat was decided on November 5. In a clash between Nagoya players, Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resignation. Hane also immediately regained his league place. At 39 years three months, he will be the oldest member of the league (Takao is two months younger).

2015.11.18_34fhoninbo4 XieWomen’s Honinbo: Xie fights back: The third game of the Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo on October 30. Taking black Xie Yimin (left), Women’s Meijin, defeated the titleholder Fujisawa Rin by resignation. The middle game featured a large exchange that may be the highlight of the series so far. After that, the lead switched back and forth, but Fujisawa made a misjudgment in the endgame, letting Xie take a small lead. The fourth game was played at the same venue on November 11. Playing white, Xie evened the score, forcing a resignation after 214 moves. Actually, the position seemed to be favorable for Fujisawa after a middle-game trade, but she suffered from a hallucination later in the game that let Xie pull off an upset. As a six-time winner of this title, Xie now seems to have the momentum, so Fujisawa will have to pull out all the stops in the deciding game, scheduled for November 27, if she is to defend her title.

Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger: The first game of the play-off to decide the challenger for the 40th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya on Monday, November 9. Taking white, Yamashita (right) forced Murakawa to resign after 176 moves. This gives him his third successive crack at Iyama’s Kisei title. Understandably, considering his numerous recent defeats by Iyama, Yamashita said he was going to ignore the past and just focus on the new match. He also commented that the only way to beat Iyama was to eliminate all errors in his own play.

Yamashita’s 900th win: The above win was Yamashita’s 900th as a professional. He has lost 407 games, had one jigo and one no-result. At 37 years, two months, he is the youngest player to reach this landmark (second is Takao Shinji at 38 years one month); he is also the quickest, having taken 22 years seven months (again Takao is second, at 23 years eight months). In the category of winning percentage, however, Takao, on exactly 70% to Yamashita’s 68.9%, keeps top place. Just for reference, Cho Chikun, at 1470, has the most wins.

Tomorrow: Iyama still on track; Iyama wins second straight in Oza and Tengen; Honinbo League: Round Two starts; Japan eliminated from LG Cup

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The Power Report: Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament; Honinbo League; Murakawa reaches Kisei play-off; Women’s Meijin League; Obituary: Hiroe Katsuhiko

Thursday November 12, 2015

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 2015.11.12_O Rissei Haya-gotakes 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.2015.11.12_Womens Meijin league chart


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.

 

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Ichiriki Ryo Wins First Three Games at 17th Nongshim Cup

Tuesday November 3, 2015

Ichiriki Ryo 7p, the first player from team Japan, won three games in the first round of the 17th Nongshim Cup, played October 20-23 in 2015.11.03_Ichiriki-Ryo-Nongshim-CupChongqing, China. Ichiriki Ryo defeated Baek Chanhee 1p, Fan Yunruo 4p and Min Sangyoun 4p consecutively, an impressive performance and hopeful news for team Japan. Even though Ichiriki (right) lost to Wu Guangya 6p in the fourth game, he’s already done very well for Japan. Ichiriki was also the first player to step up to the plate at the 16th Nongshim Cup in 2014, where he defeated Byun Sangil 4p and lost to Tuo Jiaxi 9p. Over the last decade or so, Team Japan sometimes struggled in the Nongshim Cup. However, they’re off to an excellent start this year, due to Ichiriki’s excellent performance.
- Go Game Guru; click here for their complete report

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Liu Wins Last Game in Sankei Prelim

Monday November 2, 2015

2015.11.02_liu-final-match-2-300x168Andy Liu 1p defeated Ha Yoniru 6p by 2.5 points Monday afternoon in Osaka in the third and final round of the professional preliminary of the 2015.11.02_liu-final-match-300x168Kansai Kiin’s 12th Sankei Cup (see below for game record).  Liu defeated Imayi Kazuhiro 6p by resignation in his first game and won against Takashima Yougo 1p by a half point in his second game.  The EJ will provide details about the main tournament as soon as possible.  Fellow AGA pro Gansheng Shi 1p of Canada lost in his first round, as did two European Go Federation pros, Mateusz Surma 1p and Ali Jabarin 1p. Liu and Shi also played an exchange match with young Kansai Kiin pros, with Liu winning his game against Shintani Yousuki 1p, for an overall 4-0 record for this trip. “I am overjoyed at Andy’s wins and very proud of both our players for their gallant representation of the US and Canadian go communities in Japan,” said AGA President Andy Okun.  All the games were broadcast on Pandanet.   liu (b) v ha (w) 1-2015-11-01Photos of Liu and Ha courtesy of Kansai Kiin.

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Andy Liu 1p Wins Exchange Match, Plays in Sankei Cup Game Sunday Night

Saturday October 31, 2015

Andy Liu 1p and Gansheng Shi 1p played in an exchange match with Kansai Kiin pros on Friday in Osaka, with Liu (top right) winning his match against 2015.10.31_Sankei Cup-collageSinntani Yousuki 1p (top left) and Shi (bottom left) losing to Yinaba Karinn 1p (bottom right).

Liu, who won two initial rounds of the 12th Sankei Cup pro preliminary, will play a final preliminary round on Monday at 2:30 p.m. Japanese time, or 12:30 a.m. Monday Eastern time (9:30 p.m. Sunday night Pacific time).

According to the Kansai Kiin, Ha Yoniru 6p and Arakaki Shiyun 9p will play each other Monday morning and the winner of that match will play Monday afternoon against Liu. The matches will be broadcast on Pandanet; the E-Journal will provide information about the Sankei Cup main tournament when available. See below for game records.
- photos courtesy of Kansai Kiin.

Gansheng Shi (b) vs Mine Yasuhiro (w)
Imai Kazuhiro (b) vs Andy Liu (w)
Andy Liu (b) vs Shintani Yousuke (w)
Inaba Karin (b) vs Gansheng Shi (w)
Takashima Yougo (b) vs Andy Liu (w)

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Sankai Cup Games Set for Thursday Night, Friday Morning

Thursday October 29, 2015

The exchange match between Kansai Kiin young professionals and American and European reps takes place in Osaka, Japan, during the day Friday, late Thursday or the middle of the night Friday US time. Andy Liu’s (below, right) game will be at 10a Japanese time (9p Thursday East Coast US time), against Sinntani Yousuki 1p. Gansheng Shi (below, center and left) will play at 2p (1a Friday East Coast US time), against Yinaba Karinn 1p. The games should be broadcast on Pandanet.
- photos courtesy of Kansai Kiin
2015.10.29_andy-gansheng-and-ali-300x225 2015.10.29_andy-L-1-jpb-e1446144203896-225x300 2015.10.29_gansheng-1-e1446144192988-225x300

 

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Andy Liu 1P Scores Two Wins in Japan Pro Tournament Prelim

Tuesday October 27, 2015

American professional Andy Liu 1p has won his way into the final round of the Kansai Kiin’s 12th Sankei Cup pro preliminary in Osaka, Japan.2015.10.28_Andy-Liu Liu defeated Imayi Kazuhiro 6p by resignation in his first game and won against Takashima Yougo 1p by a half-point in the second round. He plays Ha Yonnyiru 6p on Monday, Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. Japanese time.

Fellow AGA pro Gansheng Shi lost in the first round to Mine Yasuhiro 3p, and the two EGF pros, Mateusz Surma 1p and Ali Jabarin 1p lost their matches as well. Shi and Liu will also play in an exchange match with young Kansai pros on Friday, Oct. 30, Liu at 10 a.m. Japanese time against Sinntani Yousuki 1p and Shi at 2 p.m. against Yinaba Karinn 1p. All matches will be broadcast on Pandanet. The EJ will update with photos and game records as soon as they are available.
- Andy Okun; 2014 photo of Liu by Phil Straus

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Nihon Ki-in Pros Join Seattle’s 20th Anniversary Party

Monday October 26, 2015

Anniversary Party CompositeThe recent 20th anniversary celebration at the Seattle Go Center attracted over 100 people, including two professionals from Japan, Hiroshi Yamashiro 9P, vice president of the Nihon Ki-in, and Yuma 6P, who is also known as Kuma-sensei in Seattle.  The October 3 evening reception and concert featured a short speech from Consul General Masahiro Omura from the Seattle Japanese Consulate, who noted that Kaoru Iwamoto’s purchase of the Go Center building for use by the U.S. go community was a good symbol of the continuing reconciliation between Japan and the United States since WWII.  Go Center Board President Lee Anne Bowie reported that the late Iwamoto-sensei’s vision to extend go internationally and promote mutual understanding and friendship through the game of go has been upheld at the Seattle Go Center.  Harry van der Krogt, Manager at the European Go Cultural Center, another Iwamoto-funded center, extended his congratulations to the Seattle Go Center, and hoped for increased international cooperation to promote go in the future.  Andy Okun, president of the AGA, noted that the Seattle Go Center has a strong base of volunteers.

While Mr. Yamashiro had to return to Japan the day after the party, Kuma-sensei gave lectures and played simultaneous games for the next four days at the Seattle Go Center.  This was his second visit to Seattle.  Sunday’s lecture consisted of reviews of games from the Saturday tournament (Seattle Go Center 2oth Anniversary Tournament Draws Big Crowd  10/20 EJ).  His Monday lecture was for the “Double Digit Kyu Class,” which is usually taught by Nick Sibicky.  Kuma-sensei explored the double low approach to the 4-4 stone, and did a very good job of keeping his explanations simple enough for kyu players.  On Tuesday, he played simultaneous games with eight players while others watched, and then gave short lessons as each game finished. As usual on Tuesdays, there were more than 30 players visiting the center. On Wednesday, Kuma taught the “Single Digit Kyu Class”, with Andrew Jackson hosting.  Kuma-sensei also had time to see more of Seattle, and to enjoy Northwest seafood.  Photos: (top) Hiroshi Yamashiro 9P giving greetings from the Nihon Ki-in, (left) Fumi Tagata soprano, (right) Kuma-sensei playing simultaneous games.   More photos here.
- Report/photos by Brian Allen

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Americans Liu & Shi to Play in 12th Sankei Tournament in Osaka

Saturday October 24, 2015

Andy Liu 1p and Gansheng Shi 1p will play in a Kansai Kiin pro tournament this coming week; their games will be broadcast on Pandanet. The game will take place starting at 10 a.m. on Oct. 26, Japanese time, or 9P EST in the US. Liu will play against Imayi Kazuhiro 6p and Shi will play against Mine Yasuhiro 3p.

The Sankei tournament is a Kansai Kiin knock-out tournament, created in 2005, with 16 pros and 16 amateurs competing in two separate preliminaries. The current title holder is Daisuke Murakawa Oza 8p. This year, in addition to the two AGA pros, two European Go Federation pros will play, Mateusz Surma 1p of Poland against Kurahashi Masayuki 9p and Ali Jabarin of Israel against Yo Seiki 7p. There is also an exchange match scheduled for Oct. 30th, with Liu playing Sinntani Yousuke 1p at 10 a.m and Shi playing Yinaba Karinn 1p at 2 p.m. Japanese time.

Last year, two EGF pros played the pro preliminaries, Pavol Lisy 1p of Slovakia lost to Yuki Satoshi 9p, but Ali Jabarin beat Saito Tadashi 8p, advancing to the second round, where he lost to Nakano Yasuhiro 9p. While American pros have played many times in Japan, and a number of Americans, including Michael Redmond 9p, James Kerwin 1p (retired) and Francis Meyer 1p, received professional status from the Kansai Kiin or Nihon Kiin, this will be the first time AGA-certified pros will play in Japan as professionals.

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The Power Report (2): Fujisawa Rina makes good start in title defense; Women’s Meijin League; Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama title

Tuesday October 13, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2014.10.13_WomHon1 Rina right

Fujisawa Rina makes good start in title defense: The first game of the 34th Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Kashoen inn in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on October 8. It matches the 17-year-old titleholder Fujisawa Rina (right) against Xie Yimin, who held this title for six years in a row. This is the first title match between the two, and it gives us some insight into what the next five years will look like. If Xie can win, the age of Xie, who now holds two titles, may continue. If Fujisawa wins, she may displace Xie from the top position. At the party on the eve of the game, Fujisawa commented that playing a match with Xie had been one of her goals. Perhaps she didn’t expect to play her first match with her as the defending champion. Xie, who will be 26 on November 16, commented that this was her first match with a younger player. Taking white, Fujisawa beat Xie by 2.5 points after 290 moves. The game was decided by a ko fight in the endgame. The second game will be played on October 18.

Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on October 8, Suzuki Ayumi 6P (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by resig. As the previous challenger, Suzuki is the number one-ranked player in the league, but this is her first win after two losses. Chinen has already suffered four losses, so she 2015.10.13_22agon_finalis teetering on the edge of demotion. Joint leaders are Fujisawa Rina and Aoki Kikuyo 8P on 2-0.

Promotion: 
To 2-dan: Shibano Toramaru (aged 16) (30 wins; promoted as of Oct. 9)

Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama title: The final of the 22nd Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect in Kyoto on October 10. Iyama Yuta (left), playing black, beat Kyo Kagen 3P by resig. after 187 moves. This is the fourth time Iyama has won this title, which matches Cho U’s record. The play-off between the Japanese and Chinese titleholders will be held in China on December 25.

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