Nyu to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 20th Women’s Kisei title was held on December 8. Two relative newcomers to professional go were facing off in the final: Nyu Eiko 1P (aged 17, at left) and Miyamoto Chiharu 1P (aged 22). Whoever won would be making her first challenge for a title and would also be the first 1-dan to do so in this tournament. Taking black, Nyu won by 5.5 points. Nyu became a professional last year and is a disciple of Michael Redmond 9P. The title match will start on January 19.
Ke Jie wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off: The 18th Agon Kiriyama Cup Japan-China Play-off was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon sect in Kyoto (below right) on December 11. Representing China, Ke Jie 9P (W) beat Kono Rin by resignation after 150 moves. Kono started off badly in the opening, but Ke (left) made what he himself called “a simple oversight” that allowed Kono to put one of his groups into ko. However, Kono failed to take enough compensation for ceding the ko to Ke. This is Ke’s second victory and his country’s 13th in this play-off.
At the award ceremony, representatives of both countries paid tribute to the contribution of the late Kiriyama Seiyu, head of the Agon sect until his death on August 29, to developing go and to promoting Chinese-Japanese friendship.
72nd Honinbo League: Hane Naoki, on 3-0, has the provisional lead; the other undefeated player is Cho U, on 2-0. It already looks unlikely that Takao Shinji, on 0-3, will repeat as challenger.
(Nov. 14) Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig.
(Nov. 21) Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig.
(Dec. 1) Hane (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 7P by resig.
(Dec. 8) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by half a point.
(Dec. 15) Yuki Satoshi 9P (B) beat Takao Shinji Meijin by resig.
42nd Meijin League: The new Meijin league is a strong one, with three members of the quartet known as “the four Deva Kings,” that is, the top four (of the first decade of the 21st century). They are Yamashita Keigo, Cho U, and Hane Naoki. Takao Shinji is missing because he holds the title. That means that Iyama Yuta is back in the league after a gap of four years. He commented that he welcomed the chance to test himself against top competition in the league. The first round was completed in December.
(Dec. 5) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.; Iyama Yuta Kisei (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.
(Dec. 15) Kono Rin (B) beat Cho U by 2.5 points; Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo by 3.5 points.
Women’s Meijin League: With one game to go, Fujisawa Rina keeps the sole lead in the 29th Women’s Meijin League with a perfect score. Okuda Aya, on 4-1, is the only other player in contention if she stumbles. If Fujisawa loses her final game and Okuda wins, the latter will be the challenger, as she is ranked higher.
(Nov. 16) Okuda Aya 3P (W) beat Sakakibara Fumiko 6P by resig.
(Dec. 1) Aoki Kikuyo 8P (W) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig. This win ensured that Aoki kept her seat in the league.
(Dec. 8) Okuda Aya 3P (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
Tomorrow: Iyama defends Tengen title; Judan Best Four; Takao wins 3rd Over 40 Quick Go Tournament; Promotions/New Players