The AGA will provide live game commentary this week on the upcoming MLily Cup finals between Lee Sedol 9P and Ke Jie 9P. The first game is tomorrow (Tuesday), December 29; Myungwan Kim 9Ps commentary will begin at 9pm PST (midnight EST) on the AGA’s YouTube channel. Games 2 and 3 are scheduled for 12/30 and 1/1; if the best-of-five contest goes longer, games are scheduled for January 3 and 4, if necessary.
American Go E-Journal » Japan
Monday December 28, 2015
The Power Report (1): New Meijin League gets under way; Kansai Ki-in moves; Hane defends Crown title; Yoshihara to challenge for Women’s Kisei
Monday December 28, 2015
New Meijin League gets under way; Kansai Ki-in moves: The first games in the 41st Meijin League were played on December 3. In a match-up between heavyweights, Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat league newcomer Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On December 10, Cho U (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. On December 17, Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resignation, completing the first round. Incidentally, this was one of the last games played at the headquarters of the Kansai Ki-in in the Nihon Bunka Kaikan (Japan Culture Hall). After 47 years at this venue, the Kansai Ki-in is moving to a new address: 4th & 5th Floors, Heiwa Building, Kitahama Itchome, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0041.
Hane defends Crown title: The final of the 56th Crown title, which is open to Nagoya professionals, was held on December 4. Taking white, Hane (right) rebuffed the challenge of Ogata Masaki 9P, forcing a resignation after 150 moves. This is Hane’s fifth Crown title in a row; overall, he has won it 12 times. That takes his tally of titles to 25, which is ninth in the all-time records.
Yoshihara to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 19th DoKoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was held in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in at Ichigaya on December 7. Yoshihara Yukari 6P (W) defeated Kato Keiko 6P by resig. Yoshihara (left) won this title three times from 2007 to 2009, then lost the next two matches to Xie. At present, Xie has held the title for three years in a row.
Tomorrow: Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League; Korea wins team tournament; Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24; Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League
Tuesday December 8, 2015
Finland’s Antti Törmänen has just been accepted as the newest Nihon Ki-in professional, the first westerner to qualify since the late Hans Pietsch, 18 years ago. Törmänen, 26, is a three-time Finnish champion, and a founding member of the Nordic Go Academy. Törmänen started playing go back in spring 2002, has participated in over a hundred European amateur tournaments, and became an insei at the Nihon Ki-in in Fall 2011. Though he did not reach the top two in the most recent Nihon Ki-in pro exam this fall, winning more than half of his games was deemed enough to qualify. His professional debut is scheduled for April 1st, 2016. “I plan to remain in Tokyo and compete in professional tournaments indefinitely,” Törmänen said in an interview with the European Go Federation. “Early on my salary will be fairly limited, so I imagine I will also be teaching go both online and offline, and possibly writing some go literature in English.” Click here to read his “Go of Ten” blog, where Törmänen’s latest post includes a report (in Japanese) in the Mainichi newspaper about the promotion.
- Chris Garlock, based on reports by Tuomo, an E-Journal reader in Finland, and the EGF Facebook page.
Saturday December 5, 2015
Choi Cheolhan 9P, the third player from Team Korea, defeated China’s Wu Guangya 6P (who stopped Ichiriki Ryo’s winning streak at the end of Round 1) and Japan’s Ida Atsushi 8P to get the second round of the Nongshim Cup underway November 27 to December 1 in Busan, Korea. Then Choi ran into Gu Li 9P (Team China), who took an early lead and never let go. Gu then beat Japan’s Kono Rin 9P and Korea’s Park Junghwan 9P to extend his winning streak to three. The final round will be played in Shanghai, China, where play resumes on March 1, 2016. Thanks to Gu Li’s dominating performance during this round, China still has three players – Gu Li 9P, Lian Xiao 7P and Ke Jie 9P, while Japan has two, Murakawa Daisuke 8P and Iyama Yuta 9P and Lee Sedol is the last man standing for Korea.
- Adapted from a report on Go Game Guru which includes game records and more photos.
The Power Report: Iyama regains sextuple crown; Surprise leader in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League; Judan semifinalists; Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title
Sunday November 29, 2015
by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Iyama regains sextuple crown: The third game of the 41st Tengen title match was held at the Munakata Yurix* in Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture on November 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta (right) forced Takao Shinji (left, in white shirt) to resign after 147 moves. Iyama took a decisive lead in the first large fight of the game and wrapped it up by killing a large group. This win won back the title he lost to Takao on December 19 last year. He also once again held six of the top seven titles; this is his third sextuple crown. Overall, this is his 34th title, and his winning streak is now 24, which puts him in equal second place in modern tournament records with Rin Kaiho, Hon. Tengen. With his twelfth successive win in title matches, he also equals another record, one set by Sakata Eio. Iyama’s cumulative record in title matches is 100 wins to 49 losses, a winning percentage of 67.1%. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report, with game records and more photos.
* the Munakata Yurix is an elaborate complex of facilities including a large library, planetarium, various halls, and sporting facilities.
Surprise leader in Honinbo League: A surprising player has taken the sole lead after just two rounds in the 71st Honinbo League. The final game of the second round was played on November 26, and league newcomer Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P, the top-ranked player in the league, by 1.5 points. Motoki is the only player on 2-0.
Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on November 26, Chinen Kaori 5P picked up her first win. Playing white, she beat Kato Keiko 6P by resignation. Chinen was already doomed to lose her league place, but this win ensured that she had the company of Kato (both are on 1-4).
Judan semifinalists: In the Judan tournament, in which the focus of interest is Iyama’s attempt to go for a genuine grand slam, two more semifinalists have been decided. Imamura Toshiya 9P beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and will face Iyama in one semifinal. Shida Tatsuya 7P beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P and will meet either Yo Seiki 7P or Takao Shinji 9P in the other semifinal.
Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title: After a gap of two terms, Xie Yimin has won back the Women’s Honinbo title. The fifth game of the 34th title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in on November 27. Taking white, Xie (right) won by resignation after 272 moves. Fujisawa Rina (left) had looked like defending her title when she won the first two games, but then Xie made a stubborn fightback to take the next three. As she also holds the Women’s Meijin and Women’s Kisei titles, Xie once again has a triple crown.
Retirement: Ogoshi Ichiro 8P retired as of November 30. Born in Oita Prefecture on November 7, 1954, Ogoshi became a disciple of Kitani Minoru and made pro 1-dan in 1976. He reached 8-dan in 1999. After retirement, he plans to devote himself to spreading go in Kushiro City, Hokkaido.
Sunday November 29, 2015
“Mexico gladly welcomed the Sociedad Internacional de Intercambio de Go (SIIG) from Japan, for the first three days of October,” reports Sid Avila. SIIG is a delegation of players, built mainly by retired business men and women, who travel around the world playing and sharing through go.
This is the fourth time SIIG has visited Mexico, and they went to three locations on this trip: Pipiolo art elementary school where Siddhartha Avila teaches a curricular go program; National University, where Emil Garcia leads a team of instructors who teach at open workshops; and Ejoki Buddhist Temple where Ricardo Quintero teaches go on weekends.
Ms. Marcela Zepeda, the principal of Pipiolo, introduced the Japanese group to the students on the first day. The children performed traditional dances and Mexican songs, followed by a rengo atari-go game with kindergarden children, and a three round pair-go tournament with 36 pairs of Japanese go players and Mexican school children mixed.
The university venue, on October 2nd, was the Contemporary Arts University Museum square, where a Mexico-Japan tournament was held in a 4 round system. Japan won all four rounds and a crystal tablet was given to SIIG President Sugime Masanao by Daniel Morales, the Mexican Go Association’s treasurer, as acknowledgment of their visit. -Paul Barchilon, E-J Youth Editor, with Emil Garcia and Sid Avila.
Thursday November 26, 2015
Lee Sedol 9P (right) defeated Ahn Seongjun 6P and Ke Jie 9P (left) beat Park Younghun 9P in the semifinals of the second MLily Cup, played November 22-25 in Hefei, China. The Ke Jie-Park Younghun showdown — relayed live on the AGA’s YouTube channel with commentary by Myungwan Kim 9P — was one of the most interesting matches of the year.
Ke Jie is ranked #1 in China, is virtually undefeated as White in 2015 and proceeded to the final of the 2015 Samsung Cup in early November by defeating Lee Sedol. Meanwhile, Park Younghun is in his second heyday in 2015. He’s ranked #3 in Korea, and he proceeded to the final of 20th LG Cup by defeating Tuo Jiaxi 9p about only a week ago.
Lee Sedol is currently ranked #2 in Korea, and Ahn Seongjun is ranked #7.
Click here for more analysis, photos, game records and game commentary by Younggil An 8P on Go Game Guru.
- Go Game Guru
Update (12/24): Ke is not, as originally reported, undefeated this year on white; in fact he has lost twice.
The Power Report (2): Pair Go tournament for professional couples; Iyama tops most-wins list; Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama
Wednesday November 25, 2015
Pair Go tournament for professional couples: The second Professional Married Couples Pair Go Tournament was held at the Nihon Ki-in on Sunday, November 22. If you write the date 11/22 and take the first syllable of the numbers in Japanese, you get the word “ii fufu,” which means “a good married couple,” so this is an apposite date for this tournament. Last year, eight pairs took part; that increased to 13 this year, but the same pairs reached the final (right): Suzuki Ayumi 6P and her husband Rin Kanketsu 7P and the Mimuras, Kaori 3P and Tomoyasu 9P (at left). The latter took their revenge for their loss last year, playing white and securing a resignation after 206 moves. First prize is one million yen and second 400,000.
Iyama tops most-wins list: Thanks to his winning streak, Iyama Yuta has worked his way to top place in the most-wins list. After his Oza win, his record for the year is 39-9. That’s a winning percentage of 81%, which is astonishing considering the level of his opponents. The top players are given below.
1. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 39-9
2. Kyo Kagen 3P: 38-9; Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 38-16
4. Shibano Toramaru 2P: 36-5
5. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 35-20
6. Ida Atsushi Judan: 32-18
7. Motoki Katsuya 7P: 29-10; Ogata Masaki 9P: 29-12; Kono Rin 9P: 29-12-1 no contest; Tsuruta Kazushi 3P: 29-12; Mutsuura Yuta 2P: 29-13
12. 25th Honinbo Chikun, Son Makoto 3P: 28-14
14. Akiyama Jiro 9P: 27-9; Cho Riyu 8P: 27-10
16. Koyama Kuya 2P: 25-12; Ko Iso 8P: 25-17; Fujisawa Rina: 25-21
Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama: The final of 17th Agon Kiriyama Cup, a sister tournament to the Japanese title, was held in the City of Taiyuan. Taking white, the 18-year-old Huang Yunsong 4P beat Chen Yaoye 9P by resignation. Huang, who won the 2nd Globis Cup U-20 in May, will meet Iyama Yuta in the Japanese-Chinese playoff on December 25.
The Power Report (1): Women’s Meijin League; Honinbo League; Iyama wins Oza, regains quintuple crown; Terayama repeats in Young Carp
Tuesday November 24, 2015
Women’s Meijin League: Two important games were played in the 28th Women’s Meijin League last week. On November 16, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 6.5 points. Fujisawa had to win this game to keep alive her chances of becoming the challenger. She goes to 3-1, in equal second place with Okuda Aya 3P. Mannami drops to 2-2, so all she can aim at is keeping her place. The tough thing for Fujisawa and Okuda is that they are ranked equal 5th in the league. The leader is Aoki Kikuyo 8P, who is ranked second. In my previous report, I mentioned that Aoki just had to win two of her remaining three games to become the challenger, as she would take precedence in a tie. She played the first of those three games on November 19. Taking black, she beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by 1.5 points. That improves her score to 4-0 and improves her odds to 1 in 2, as she now just has to win one game out of two. Her remaining opponents are Mannami and Fujisawa. The above game was Aoki’s seventh win in a row.
Honinbo League: One game in the 71st Honinbo League was played on November 19. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resignation. Kono improves his score to 1-1 and Cho is 0-2. Cho’s decision to return home to Taiwan is not paying off yet.
Iyama wins Oza, regains quintuple crown: The third game of the 63rd Oza title match was held at the Hotel Okura Kobe in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture on November 19. In dominating form, Iyama Yuta (black, at left) pounced on a misreading by the titleholder, Murakawa Daisuke (right), and seized the initiative. Iyama’s flawless play then denied Murakawa any chance to get back into the game and he was forced to resign after just 135 moves. Murakawa was unable to match the precision of Iyama’s reading; after a reign of just one year, he surrendered the title he took from Iyama last year. With this win, Iyama regains his quintuple crown after a gap of 11 months. This is his third Oza title and his 33rd title overall. It is also his 23rd successive win. Go journalists are starting to refer to the record set by Sakata Eio, 23rd Honinbo, in 1963 and 1964 of 29 successive wins. What the two streaks have in common is that many of the wins were in title matches or tournament finals, so the defeated opponents were mainly top players.
Teranishi repeats in Young Carp: The semifinals and final of the 10th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup Young Carp Tournament, open to Nihon Ki-in players under 31 and under 8-dan, were held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 22. In the semifinals, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P and Teranishi Rei 4P (B) beat last year’s winner Motoki Katsuya 7P; the margin in both games was 2.5 points. In the final, Teranishi (B) forced Shida to resign after 159 moves. Teranishi (at left) also won the 5th cup. First prize is three million yen.
Tomorrow: Pair Go tournament for professional couples; Iyama tops most-wins list; Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama
More Pro Go on the AGA Youtube Channel: Park Younghoon 9P vs Ke Jie 9P, with Myungwan Kim 9P commenting, 11/23 at 6pm PST
Sunday November 22, 2015
Catch more top professional games with live English commentary on the AGA’s Youtube Channel Monday, November 23. Myungwan Kim 9P will comment the semifinals of the MLily Cup, between Park Younghoon 9P (#3 in Korea) and Ke Jie 9P (#1 in China). The MLily Cup is one of the major international tournaments, with a grand prize of over a quarter million dollars US. They’re playing a best-of-three series, with the first game already in the books — a win for Ke Jie — and Game #2 will be broadcast LIVE this Monday at 7pm PST (10p EST). As a bonus, Myungwan Kim will also review game #1 during the player’s lunch break.