by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Chunlan Cup Semifinals: In our last report, we gave the results in the quarterfinals of the 10th Chunlan Cup. The semifinals were held two days later, on Tuesday 27th. Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (W) beat Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig. and Gu Li 9P (W) beat Kim Ji-seok 9P [“Je-seok” in my previous report was a mistake] by resig. That gives an all-Chinese final. It’s good to see that Gu Li (right) seems to have recovered from his loss in the 10-game match with Lee Se-dol.
Chen Yaoye Wins Siyuan Cup World Mingren Championship: The first major go event of the new year was the 4th Siyuan Cup World Mingren (Meijin) Championship, held in the city of Xi’an in Shaansi Province in China from January 5 to 8. Xi-an is the city that was known as Changan when it was the capital of China in the early Han and Tang dynasties. This tournament pits the holders of the Meijin titles in Japan, Korea, and China against each other in an irregular knock-out. The players draw lots to see who plays in the first round; the winner of that game goes to the final, while the loser then plays the third player; the winner of that game goes to the final. Iyama Yuta of Japan was eliminated in the first round in the 1st and 2nd Cups, but did better this time. In the first round, playing white, he beat Pak Yeong-hun 9P of Korea by resig. after 137 moves. Pak (B) then lost to Chen Yaoye 9P of China in a marathon game lasting 306 moves. Pak calculated that he was losing by half a point, so he played a do-or-die move on move 196; that prolonged the game but widened his losing margin, so he resigned. In the final, Iyama, who had white, missed a number of chances to wrap up a narrow win. In the end, his lack of familiarity with the Chinese rules let Chen stage an upset by half a point. Iyama played an endgame move that was correct under the Japanese rules but not the best under the Chinese rules, in which the dame points are important.
Past results: Previously this tournament was known as the China Changde Cup World Mingren Weiqi Championship and was held in the city of Changde in Hunan Province. First prize is 300,000 yuan (about $48,400). Previous winners: 1st (July 24‾27, 2010). Gu Li 9P (China); 2nd (August 17‾20, 2011). Pak Yeong-hun 9P (Korea); 3rd (September 10‾13, 2012). Jiang Weijie 9P (China)
Suzuki to Challenge for Women’s Meijin: All the games in the final round of the 27th Women’s Meijin League were held on January 8 at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The result was that three players ended up on 4-2, but there is no play-off in this league: the top-ranked player takes precedence. This was Suzuki Ayumi 6P (right), ranked number three; actually she lost her last game, but still topped Aoki Kikuo 8P (league newcomer) and Mannami Nao 3P (also a league newcomer), the other players on 4-2. Suzuki will make her first challenge for the Women’s Meijin title, which Xie Yimin has held for seven years in a row. It will be Suzuki’s first title match for seven years. The results: Chinen Kaori 4P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi by 7.5 points; Mannami Nao (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 6.5 points; Aoki Kikuyo (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
If Mukai had won her game, she would have been the challenger. Final placings in the league are: Suzuki, Aoki, Mannami, and Kato Keiko 6P (who had a bye in the last round). Mukai, Chinen, and Ishii lost their places.
Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League on January 8. Takao Shinji Tengen (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Oza, also by resig. On 2-0, Takao provisionally leads the league; the other players mentioned above are all 1-1.
Honinbo League: In the first game of the fourth round of the 70th Honinbo League, Mimura Tomoyasu 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig. Mimura and Cho are both on 2-2. Ida Atsushi 8P has the lead with 3-0. He will play Ryu Shikun in this round.
Here are some of the statistics for the 2014 tournament year in Japan.
1. Kono Rin 9P: 50 wins 26 losses
2. Kyo Kagen 2P: 45-12
3. Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 40-14
4. Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 36-14
5. Takao Shinji Tengen: 34-23
6. Ida Atsushi 8P: 33-15
7. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 32-20
8. Shida Tatsuya 7P: 31-10; Iyama Yuta Kisei: 31-19
10. Kobayashi Satoru 9P: 28-11
Best winning percentages
1. Kyo: 78.95%
2. Imamura Yoshiaki 9P: 75.86 % (22-7)
3. Kataoka Satoshi 9P: 75.76% (25-8)
4. Shida: 75.61%
5. Fujisawa: 74.07%
Most successive wins
1. Kono: 19
2. Kyo: 17
3. Ichiriki: 16
4. Kyo: 13