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Xie Yimin Takes Lead In Honinbo Defense; Gu Li Wins Chinese Agon Cup; Kang Dongyun Vs Lee Sedol In Chunwon

Monday November 3, 2008

Xie WienXIE YIMIN TAKES LEAD IN HONINBO DEFENSE: Xie Yimin (left) 3P leads 2-1 in her best-of-five-game defense against challenger Suzuki Ayumi 4P for the Women’s Honinbo title. Still a teenager, Xie also holds the Women’s Meijin title. She lost her first title, Strongest Woman, to Kato Keiko 6P back in July, though she made it to the finals, losing 2-0. At this point Kato has the best record in the League to determine the challenger for the Meijin. The fourth game in the Women’s Honinbo title match is scheduled for November 5th.

Gu LiGU LI WINS CHINESE AGON CUP: Gu Li (right) 9P defeated Chang Hao 9P by 5.5 points to win the 10th Agon Cup in China (Ahan Tongshan Cup). This is the third time Gu has won this event, more than any other player. Liu Xing 7P won it in 2006 and 2007, and Zhou Heyang 9P in 2000 and 2004. Gu will play the winner of the Japanese Agon Cup in a dual international meet. The Japanese event has reached the finals, which will be between Takanashi Seiken 8P and Cho U 9P. Gu won this event in 2004 and 2005. Every time he has won the Chinese event, he has also won the match against the Japanese winner. Cho won the Japanese event the last two years and was defeated by Liu both times.

Kang DongyunKANG DONGYUN VS LEE SEDOL IN CHUNWON: Teen Kang Dongyun (left) 8P, who won a gold medal in the recent World Mind Sports, will play a best-of-five-game match with Lee Sedol 9P for the Korean Chunwon (Japanese: Tengen) title. Last year Kang took the King of Kings (aka Electron-Land Cup) title from Lee Changho 9P by a score of 2-1. Now he has a chance to do the same thing to the other of the two top Korean players, Lee Sedol. It would be quite a feat. Lee Sedol holds four international titles currently and two nationals. Only Gu Li 9P of China comes close to that level; he has two international titles and five Chinese nationals. Cho U 9P may soon have that kind of dominance in national Japanese titles, but holds no international ones. Kang played in the finals of the Chunwon last year, as well, losing to Won SeongJin 9P.

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Iyama Fights Back In Meijin; Cho U Takes First Game In Oza

Monday November 3, 2008

IYAMA FIGHTS BACK IN MEIJIN: Down 2-3 in his challenge for the Meijin, Iyama Yuta (right) 9P came roaring back after losing three straight to make the score 3-3 and take the match to a final Game 7 showdown. Defeating defending champion Cho U 9P by resignation after less than a hundred moves, the teen will now try to ride the momentum in his quest to be the first teenager ever to hold one of the top three titles in Japan. The final game of the best-of-seven-game match is scheduled for November 4th and 5th (U.S. time), and will be carried live on IGS starting at 7 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday night, enabling those interested in the U.S. Presidential election to follow two historic contests. 

Cho UCHO U TAKES FIRST GAME IN OZA: Cho U (left) 9P got off to a good start in his challenge of Yamashita Keigo 9P for the Oza title, winning the first game by resignation. Yamashita is hoping for a three-peat in the Oza, which he first took from Cho U in 2006. Cho had held the title for three years. Yamashita’s only other current title is the Kisei. Cho also holds the Meijin, which he is currently defending against Iyama Yuta 8P, and the Gosei among the top seven, and he is the challenger for the Tengen. Cho will quite likely be engaged in three top-seven title matches at the same time. He is also the current holder of the Agon Cup and the NHK Cup. In terms of current titles Cho is clearly number one in Japan. The next game in the Oza match is scheduled for November 13th.

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