The Nihon Ki-in recently celebrated its 90th anniversary in Japan. As part of the celebration, they sent Frank (Kohya) Fukuda, Director Emeritus of the Seattle Go Center, an “Appreciation Diploma”, signed by their President Norio Wada. The text stated in Japanese, “Residing outside of Japan, you have been working hard for introducing and popularizing the game of Go, and you have contributed greatly to make Go prosper in your area. Through your activity, the success of international friendship was achieved.” Frank Fukuda is one of the founders of the Seattle Go Center, and he has been helping the Go Center ever since it opened in 1995. Report and photo by Brian Allen
American Go E-Journal » Japan
Thursday November 20, 2014
The Power Report: Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary; Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup; Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match; Iyama Wins First Tengen Game; Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title; Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament; Two Meijin League Places Decided; Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo; Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament
Sunday November 9, 2014
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Pair Go Celebrates 25th Anniversary: One of the biggest developments in go in recent decades has been the rise of Pair Go to worldwide popularity. The holding of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championship at the end of October also marked the 25th anniversary of the birth of Pair Go…click here to read more on this and all the following reports.
Korea Takes Lead in Nong Shim Cup: In the three-way team tournament, Korea ended this round with two wins to one each for Japan and China…
Iyama Makes Good Start in Oza Title Match: The 62nd Oza best-of-five is another title match in which Iyama Yuta is facing a younger challenger. The first game was held at the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City on October 21 and the game was a fierce one, which is usually the case with Iyama, and featured some novel variations…
Iyama Wins First Tengen Game: The first game of the 40th Tengen title match was held on October 24, so Iyama was engaged in three concurrent title matches. Here his challenger is Takao Shinji, holder of the only top-seven title missing from Iyama’s portfolio, the Judan…
Iyama Yuta Defends Meijin Title: In the sixth game of the 39th Meijin title match Iyama took a territorial lead early in the game, then skillfully reduced a large moyo that Kono built…
Korea Wins O-kage Cup International New Stars Tournament: The O-kage (gratitude) Cup is a regional tournament for young players sponsored by an association of tourist shops in Ise City, the site of the famous Ise Shrine. The sponsors held an international tournament for teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei on November 1 and 2…
Two Meijin League Places Decided: The Meijin is a conservative league, with only three out of nine places opening up every year. Two of the vacant seats were decided on November 6…
Fujisawa Wins Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 33rd Women’s Honinbo title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo on November 7. Taking black, Fujisawa Rin 2P won by 5.5 points after 233 moves…
Radical Reorganization of Kisei Tournament: There will be complete overhaul of the Yomiuri Newspaper-sponsored Kisei tournament as of the 40th term (the 39th term will be completed with the best-of-seven title match starting in January 2015). The only thing that won’t change is the title match itself. Even with charts, it’s hard to understand the system, but I’ll try to explain it without them…
Thursday November 6, 2014
Nearly 100 Pair Go Promotion Partners and other guests gathered in Tokyo, Japan on October 24 to kick off a weekend-long celebration of the 25th International Amateur Pair Go Championships. Hisao and Hiroko Taki hosted a fabulous dinner at the Hotel Okura to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Japan Pair Go Association and the Pair Go tournament. Mr. Taki is the inventor of Pair Go and the founder of the Japan Pair Go Association of which Mrs. Taki (right) is the current managing director. They held the formal dinner to thank everyone for their continuing efforts to promote Pair Go around the world. The Hotel Okura is a hotel established by and named for Kishichiro Okura, one of the founding patrons of the Nihon Ki-in.
Tournament action got started on Saturday morning at the Hotel Metropolitan Edmont with the drawing of the opening round pairings for the 32 pairs representing 21 countries and territories. The US pair, Yiwen (April) Ye and Daehyuk (Daniel) Ko, drew a difficult first round matchup and fell to one of the strong Japanese pairs.
Sunday November 2, 2014
Once again, go is providing insights into US/China diplomacy. In the recent US policy of “rebalancing toward Asia,” Michael Spangler, writing in the Summer 2014 issue of Parameters, the US Army War College quarterly, suggests that “Another way to look at this is to imagine a Chinese game of weiqi, the popular Asian game of black-and-white pieces in which two opposing players strive to surround the other. China’s July 2012 establishment of Sansha City on Paracel Island seized by force from Vietnam in 1974 was the precursor of its new weiqi games with the Philippines and Japan.” In “Rebalancing the Rebalance,” Spangler, a visiting fellow at the Army War College in Carlisle, PA, adds that “It is key that Manila’s talks not give Beijing any preponderant advantage by isolating or leveraging the Philippines against other disputants. In other words, this weiqi-like diplomatic negotiation can be completed as China’s future negotiation partners consult with each other.”
Thanks to Don Travis, a historian at the War College, and a new go player at the Carlisle Go Club.
Thursday October 30, 2014
With little competition so far for the two open slots, interested university and college students in the Americas have a good shot at getting to compete in the preliminary for the next World Students Go Oza Championship. Application deadline is Nov 16 and applicants must be under the age of 30. Click here for the entry form. Click here to read more (Registration Open for World Students Go Oza Championship 10/22 EJ).
The Power Report (Part 3): Murakawa Eliminated From Samsung Cup; Fujisawa Rin Increases Lead In Women’s Honinbo; Iyama Wins Third Agon Kiriyama Cup; Two Landmarks For So Yokoku; Other Promotions; Obituary: Miura Hiroshi
Friday October 24, 2014
Murakawa Eliminated From Samsung Cup: The second round of the Samsung Cup was held in Taejon City in Korea on October 14. Tang Weixing 9P (right) of China, the previous winner of the tournament, beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P (W), Japan’s sole remaining player, by resig. The semifinalists are Kim chi-seok 9-dan and Pak Jung-hwan of Korea and Shi Yue and Tang of China. photo: Tang at the 2013 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games; photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images AsiaPac
Fujisawa Rin Increases Lead In Women’s Honinbo: The sixteen-year-old Fujisawa Rina has made an excellent start in the 33rd Women’s Honinbo title match, beating Mukai Chiaki, the titleholder, in the first two games. If Fujisawa wins one more game, she will become the youngest player to hold this title. The first game was played in Hanamaki Hot Spring on October 8, with Fujisawa drawing black. Mukai Chiaki, the defending champion, took the lead, but Fujisawa played a series of do-or-die moves, one of which eventually paid off. Mukai resigned after 227 moves. The second game was played at the Ichigaya headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on October 17. Fujisawa (W) won by 2.5 points. The third game will be played on November 7.
Iyama Wins Third Agon Kiriyama Cup: The final of the 21st Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Buddhist sect (Kiriyama is the name of the head priest) on October 18. It’s surprising how often two players engaged in a big title match run into each other in other titles. The final featured a clash between the players vying for the Meijin title. Iyama Yuta drew black and beat Kono Rin by 1.5 points after 309 moves. This is Iyama’s third win in a row against Kono and it secured him his third victory in this tournament.
Two Landmarks For So Yokoku: Recently there have been two landmarks for So Yokoku, one professional, one personal. On October 13, he scored his 200th win as an 8-dan, so he won promotion to 9-dan. (He beat Cho Sonjin 9P in the first round of the 53rd Judan tournament.) The promotion dates from the following day (when it was confirmed by the Nihon Ki-in tournament office). Very soon after this, So got married. The source of this information is Takao Shinji’s blog on the Nihon Ki-in home page. Takao gives no details, but his blog entry was dated October 17, so presumably So was married on the 14th, 15th or 16th, so the two landmarks could well have come on the same day.
Other Promotions: To 7-dan: Miyazaki Ryutaro (120 wins); To 3-dan: Murakami Akihide (40 wins).
Obituary: Miura Hiroshi
Miura Hiroshi, a top amateur player, died of a cardiac infarction on September 29. He was 68. Miura won nine amateur titles and held the title of Honorary Amateur Honinbo. He took third place in the World Amateur Go Championship in 1988. He was one of the four professional-level amateurs who dominated amateur go in Japan from the 1960s to ‘80s.
The Power Report (Part 2): Murakawa Wins Kisei B League; Mukai Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Rebounds In Meijin Defense; Iyama Off to Good Start In Judan
Thursday October 23, 2014
Murakawa Wins Kisei B League: All the fifth-round games of the 39th Kisei Leagues were played on October 2. In the B League, Murakawa Daisuke 7-dan (right) of the Kansai Ki-in had stumbled in the fourth round, but he made no mistake in the fifth: taking black, he beat Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by 3.5 points and secured first place. His only remaining rival, Yoda Norimoto 9P, also won his final game, so he ended up with the same score, 4-1, as Murakawa, but the latter’s number one rank in the league gave him priority. In the A League, Yamashita Keigo made a clean sweep. He will meet Murakawa in a play-off on November 13.
(A League) Yamashita (W) beat Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P by resig.; Takao Shinji Judan (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resig.; Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig.
(B League) Murakawa (B) beat Cho Chikun by resig; Yoda Norimoto 9P (B) beat Cho Riyu 8P by 5.5 points; Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. Hane and Ichiriki drop out of the A League and the two Chos drop out of the B League.
Mukai Leads Women’s Meijin League: Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, retains the lead on 3-0. Kato Keiko 6P and Aoki Kikuyo 8P are in second place on 3-1.
(Oct. 2) Kato Keiko 6P (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
(Oct. 10) Aoki Kikuyo 8P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 4.5 points.
Iyama Rebounds In Meijin Defense: Fans were starting to speculate about the possibility of a new Meijin when the challenger Kono Rin took a lead after the third game, but Iyama Yuta Meijin (right) has bounced back with two wins, so he is now in the better position. The fourth game was played at the Westin Miyako Hotel Kyoto in Kyoto City on October 6 and 7. This was a very important game for Iyama, as a loss would put him in a very disadvantageous position. Although there was no move by Kono (white) that could be labeled a mistake, Iyama gradually took the lead in the second day’s play. In retrospect, Kono’s strategy in pulling out some stones inside Iyama’s territory may have been dubious. Although the way he pulled them out was clever, he provided Iyama with a weak group to target. This let Iyama build up strength in the centre that turned the game in his favor. Iyama secured a safe lead — a few points more than the komi on the board — but as usual he didn’t let up. He set up a ko and used his superiority in ko threats to force a resignation after 217 moves.
With the match tied 2-all, it had become a best-of-three. The fifth game was played at the Atami Sekitei inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture on October 15 and 16. It was a very interesting game, with Kono (black) playing an unusual variation of a joseki and Iyama coming up with a new move in the same joseki. The game developed into a contest between Kono’s territory and Iyama’s thickness. It was decided by a lapse in reading on Kono’s part: he overlooked a move with the double threat of a two-approach-move ko for one of his groups and a direct ko for another. The move wasn’t actually played, as Kono woke up to it belatedly and amended his play, but he had to let Iyama set up the two-approach-move ko. Such a ko would not usually be a big problem, but in this game Iyama had an overwhelming advantage in ko threats. Kono had to ignore a ko threat, but that let Iyama eventually kill a group. Kono resigned after White 176. The sixth game will be played on October 29 and 30.
Iyama Off to Good Start In Judan: If Iyama manages to defend his Meijin title, he will once again have a chance to aim at a simultaneous (that is to say, a genuine) grand slam next year. He needs to keep defending his six current titles, of course, and also to win the Judan title. He has made a good start in the 53rd Judan tournament. On October 10, playing white, he defeated Yoda Norimoto 9P by resig. in the first round (which has 20 players, four of whom are seeded into the second round). He needs to win three more games to become the challenger.
Second of three reports. Tomorrow: Murakawa Eliminated From Samsung Cup; Fujisawa Rin Increases Lead In Women’s Honinbo; Iyama Wins Third Agon Kiriyama Cup; Two Landmarks For So Yokoku; Other Promotions; Obituary: Miura Hiroshi
The Power Report (Part 1): Nihon Ki-In Celebrates 90th Anniversary; Yo Seiki Wins 1st Yucho Cup; Ryusei Cup Winner Kono Gets Another Chance; 70th Honinbo League Starts
Wednesday October 22, 2014
Nihon Ki-In Celebrates 90th Anniversary: The Nihon Ki-in held a party on October 3 at the Grand Hill Ichigaya hotel to celebrate its 90th anniversary with about 350 people in attendance. The Nihon Ki-in was founded in 1924 under the leadership of Baron Okura Kishichiro. It started out with 40 members and now has 320. There are a large number of domestic tournaments, some with very impressive prize money. The Nihon Ki-in has also played a major role in realizing Baron Okura’s dream of spreading go around the world. All the top professionals were in attendance and introduced on the stage, but the first to appear was Yo Seiki 7-dan of the Kansai Ki-in, who had won a tournament final played earlier this day (see item below). photo: Wada Norio, Pres. of the Board of Directors of the Ki-in, Iyama
Yuta (on his right) and other worthies cracking over a wood barrel of sake with mallets. This is a custom on auspicious occasions, on achieving landmarks etc. and especially at the New Year. They will drink some of the sake with square wooden cups.
Yo Seiki Wins 1st Yucho Cup: This was an unofficial tournament held to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Nihon Ki-in, though the numbering suggests it will continue. It is organized by the Nihon Ki-in and the main sponsor is the post office bank, the Yucho Bank, with assistance from the Asahi newspaper. It is open to professionals and inseis (apprentice professionals) 20 and under and 7-dan and under. Rules are NHK style (30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time to be used in one-minute units). Thirty-one professionals and 11 inseis played in the qualifying tournament, which started on June 11. One insei, Shibano Toramaru, who made his debut as a 1-dan pro in July, won a place in the 16-seat main tournament. In the final, Yo Seiki 7-dan (right) of the Kansai Ki-in beat Motoki Katsuya 3-dan to claim the one million yen first prize.
Ryusei Cup Winner Kono Gets Another Chance: The final of the 23rd Ryusei tournament was held a couple of weeks ago (the game is recorded, then telecast, and Go Weekly is coy about the date it was played). Kono Rin 9P (B, at left) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. This is Kono’s second win in this tournament. There was a surprise waiting for Kono after the game. The sponsors also sponsor a Chinese version of the title, and they have arranged for a Japan-China Ryusei tournament. Kono will play Gu Li, winner of the 5th Chinese Ryusei tournament, in December.
70th Honinbo League Starts: The 70th Honinbo League got off to a start on October 2. The first game matched two players in their 40s who were making a comeback after a period out in the cold. Victory went to Mimura Tomoyasu 9P (back after an absence of four years, at right), who beat Ryu Shikun 9P (out for 11 years). Mimura had black and won by resig. Other results are given below. The most notable is perhaps Ida’s win over former Honinbo Cho U; Ida may have lost the title match to Iyama Yuta, but he is one of the favorites in the league.
(Oct. 9) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
(Oct. 10). Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(October 16) Ida Atsushi 8P (W) beat Cho U 9P by 3.5 points
First of three reports. Tomorrow: Murakawa Wins Kisei B League; Mukai Leads Women’s Meijin League; Iyama Rebounds In Meijin Defense; Iyama Off to Good Start In Judan
The Power Report: Kisei Leagues; Kono Takes Lead in Meijin Title Match; Women’s Meijin League; Ichiriki Wins 39th King of the New Stars Title
Monday September 29, 2014
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Kisei Leagues: One game was played in the 39th Kisei A League on September 11. Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resignation. Both players are now on 2-2 and will be fighting to keep their places in the league in the final round. Incidentally, this was Takao’s second win against Kono in four days. Kono has gone into a bit of a trough after his winning streak of 19 games came to an end. A game was played in the B League on September 18. Kobayashi Satoru 9P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke 7P (right) by resig. This game has an effect on the standings. Murakawa missed his first chance to win the league and is now tied on 3-1 with Kobayashi and Yoda Norimoto 9P. However, if he wins his final game, Murakawa will still win the league, thanks to his number-one ranking. If he loses, however, Yoda is next in line: if he wins his final game, he will win the league regardless of Kobayashi’s result, as he is ranked number two. If both Murakawa and Yoda lose and Kobayashi wins, he will win the league. Pairings in the final round are: Murakawa vs. Cho Chikun 9P (1-3), Yoda vs. Cho Riyu 8P (1-3), and K
obayashi vs. Yuki Satoshi 9P (1-3).
Kono Takes Lead in Meijin Title Match: Kono Rin has shown that he is going to give Iyama Yuta a real run for his money. After losing the opening game, Kono (left) won the next two to take the lead in the 39th Meijin best-of-seven title match. The second game was played at the Chokoro inn in Hawai Hot Spring in the town of Yurihama in Tottori Prefecture on September 18 & 19. The game featured fierce fighting from the start, with almost no fuseki. In the midst of a center fight, Iyama (B) played a move he regretted, and the game started to tilt in Kono’s favor. He cut off a large black group that couldn’t get two eyes, so Iyama resigned on move 200. Picking up your first win in a two-day game is important for your self-confidence. Perhaps that was reflected in Kono’s play in the third game, which was held in Jozankei Hot Spring, Sapporo City, Hokkaido on September 25 & 26 (the name of the venue has 14 characters in it and I have no idea how to read it).
Playing black, Kono secured a resignation after 169 moves. In the middle game, Iyama seemed to make a miscalculation about the importance of a ko he let Kono set up: he thought he could handle it more easily than turned out to be the case. This turned the game in Kono’s favor. He now has the initiative in the match. The fourth game, scheduled for October 6 and 7, will be very important
for Iyama’s chances of keeping his sextuple crown.
Women’s Meijin League: The 27th Women’s Meijin League is close to the halfway mark, with all but one game in the third round having been played. Two players are undefeated: Mukai Chiaki, Women’s Honinbo, who has played three games, and Mannami Nao 3-dan,
who has played two. Recent results: (Sept. 18) Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W) beat Chinen Kaori 4P by 3.5 points. (Sept. 24) Mukai Chiaki (B) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig. (Sept. 25) Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.
Ichiriki Wins 39th King of the New Stars Title: Ichiriki Ryo 7P (right) has set another record, becoming, at 17 years three months, the youngest player to win the King of the New Stars title. The previous record, 17 years five months, was set by Yoda Norimoto 31 years ago. (If you are wondering about Iyama, he never won this title; he disqualified himself at the age of 16 by winning the Agon Kiriyama Cup and earning promotion to 7-dan). Ichiriki defeated Shida Tatsuya 7P 2-1. Only players under 7-dan qualify for this tournament, so this was the last chance for both players (they were promoted during the current term). Game 1 (Sept. 11). Ichiriki (B) by half a point. Game 2 (Sept. 17 ). Shida (B) by resig. Game 3 (Sept. 25). Ichiriki (B) by resig.
Saturday September 13, 2014
A number of readers responded to Ben Bernstein’s request for information on where to play go in Japan (Looking for Japan Go Tips 9/4 EJ). Be sure to check ahead whenever possible, as clubs often move or close (email firstname.lastname@example.org with updated info). Here’s a run-down:
Click here for Sensei’s Library’s listings of “Places to visit when in Japan, related to Go. Shopping, bookstores, clubs, restaurants, historical places, events, cemeteries, shrines, transport etc. Thanks to Bob McGuigan for the tip.
Nihon Ki-in; email for a tour. “Also ask about the English go class they have,” suggests Devin Flake. “I was able to meet professional players and have them review my games, all so they could practice their English!” photo: the Nihon Ki-in’s top playing room
7-2 Gobancho Chiyoda-Ku Tokyo Japan – at Ichigaya station — 1st Go Salon inside of Nihon Ki-in
1-7-20 -9F, Yaesu Chuo-Ku Tokyo Japan – at Tokyo station — 2nd Go Salon of Nihon Ki-in
Sunshine City Go Salon 8th or 9th floor
Ueno Go Center; literally a stone’s throw from Ueno Station; the address is Tokyo-to, Taito-ku, Ueno Koen 1-54; phone 03-3831-3137. Look for the big Shouchiku Department Store sign; you’ll be able to see go players in the third-floor windows of the club.
Diamond Go Salon; “This one was a little expensive and its mainly for women but it was still fun to try out!” says Devin Flake.
4 floor building Kojimachi Scripture 3-4-7, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0083 〒 03-3263-0620 TEL/Fax directly. Exit 3 “Kojimachi station” ○ Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line, Hanzomon “○ Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line “5-minute walk from the train station 7 minutes walk from the “Yotsuya Station ○ JR, Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line, Nanboku”
Email E-Journal contributor Kazunari Furuyama email@example.com “He was very good to me and introduced me to the Sunshine City Go Salon,” says Flake. “He even reviewed my games and took me out for lunch and dinner – great guy!” photo: Kaz (left) with the Bay Area Go Players Association’s Roger Schrag at the Sunshine Club; photo by Lisa Schrag
“Many train stations have go clubs nearby,” says Lee Freedman. “Look for the kanji for IGo.” He adds that “Westerners frequent a go club near the Takadananobaba train station in Tokyo.” He also reports that “There is a go club in Shinjuku open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.” That’s confirmed by Bob Barber, who just returned from Tokyo. “It’s across the street from the Shinjuku Prince Hotel (in Shinjuku, of course). On the 4th (or 6th) floor. In any case, you can see the kanji for Go from street level. The Japanese have a word for it: shibui. Well-worn tables, perhaps a dozen. Probably not smoke free.”
Freedman says that senior centers often have go clubs. “Expect to pay a fee at clubs, to be asked your playing rank, and to be flooded with requests for games, especially if your rating is shodan or higher. If you want to be fair, inflate your US rating one stone.”