American Go E-Journal

The Power Report (Part 2): Iyama Starts Well In Tengen And Oza Title Defences; China Makes Good Start In Nong Shim Cup; Mukai Takes Lead In Women’s Honinbo

Monday November 4, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama Starts Well In Tengen And Oza Title Defences: There’s no rest for Iyama: he had almost no time to bask in the glory of winning the Meijin as he was immediately engaged in two more title matches. There are no signs yet that the accumulated fatigue from continuous top-level play is affecting his play; to the contrary, he now has seven wins in a row in title-match games. The first game of the 39th Tengen title match was held in Nagahama City, Shiga Prefecture, on October 21, with the challenger, Akiyama Jiro 9P (right), making his title-match debut. The two haven’t played each other much, and so far Akiyama had a good record against Iyama of 3-1; he won the first three games they played, starting in 2008, then Iyama picked up his first win in the Kisei League in 2010. Iyama, playing white, won the opening Tengen game, but things didn’t go smoothly. Akiyama made a bad start in the opening, but in the middle game he landed what Go Weekly described as “an astonishing counterpunch” and upset Iyama’s lead. However, Iyama hung on and managed to pull off his own upset, forcing Akiyama to resign after 146 moves.

Iyama again had little time to rest before meeting Cho U’s challenge in the 61st Oza title match. The first game was played in the Westin Hotel Osaka on 24 October. Taking white, Iyama secured a resignation after 268 moves. The second game will be played on November 19.

The second game of the Tengen title match was played at the Oe Honke inn in Kitami City in Hokkaido on October 28. Iyama (B) won by 3.5 points after 321 moves. The third game is scheduled for November 28.

China Makes Good Start In Nong Shim Cup: The first round of the 15th Nong Shim Spice Noodles Cup was held in Beijing in late October. Fan Tingyu 9P (aged 17, at left) made a good start for China by winning three games in a row before losing to Korea. Results were as follows:
Game 1 (October 22). Fan (B) defeated Yo Chito 1P (Japan) by resignation.
Game 2 (October 23). Fan (B) d. Ch’oe Ch’eol-han 9P (Korea) by 6.5 points.
Game 3 (October 24). Fan (W) d. Anzai Nobuaki 6P (Japan) by resig.
Game 4 (October 25). Kang Tongyun 9P (Korea) (W) d. Fan by resig.
The experiment of giving two seats to junior players did not work out for Japan this time, but they have surely gained valuable experience. The second round will be played in Pusan, Korea, from December 2 to 7.

Mukai Takes Lead In Women’s Honinbo: The third game of the 32nd Women’s Honinbo title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on October 29. Playing black, Mukai Chiaki 5P won by 3.5 points after 280 moves. This gives Mukai a 2-1 lead in the title match, so she needs just one more win to win her first title. This is the first time that the title holder, Xie Yimin 6P, has fallen behind 1-2 in a Women’s Honinbo defence. The fourth game will be played on November 8.

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Go Spotting: Fujisawa Shuko Documentary

Monday November 4, 2013

E-Journal reader Zhiping You sent us a link to a terrific 2009 NHK documentary about Fujisawa Shuko that’s been posted on YouTube with English narration. The 26-minute video provides an excellent overview of Fujisawa’s fascinating life, with an emphasis on his role as a stern but inspirational teacher for many top players.

One of the best players of his era, Fujisawa was one of the “Three Crows” along with Toshiro Yamabe and Suzuki Keizo (and later Kajiwara Takeo). Even though he was known for controversial acts, such as a drinking habit, his go skill shone through. Besides go, he was known for gambling and was a successful real estate dealer. He was also known for his calligraphy and had several exhibits of his works.

Fujisawa, a student of Fukuda Masayoshi, began studying at the Nihon Kiin in 1934 and turned pro in 1940. Although he struggled at first, taking 23 years to reach 9 dan, he started a title run in the early 1960′s, continuing through the 70′s and 80′s. He won his first major title in 1962, the Meijin. He then won two Asahi Pro Best Ten titles in 1965 and 1968. He held the Oza for three consecutive years from 1967 to 1969. The same year that he lost the Oza, he won the NHK Cup. The Meijin title was Fujisawa’s again when he won it in 1970. He then went on a dry streak of titles. By 1976, he won his first title since the Meijin in 1970, the Tengen.

Perhaps the crowning achievement of his go career was winning the Kisei title on its inception in 1976, at the relatively advanced age of 51, and holding it for 6 straight years from 1976 to 1982. By 1980, nobody thought anyone else but Fujisawa would win the Kisei, but that was silenced when he finally lost it to Cho Chikun in 1982. He won the first three games, controlling each and every move Cho made. It looked like Fujisawa would hold the Kisei for the 7th year in a row, but Cho fought back and won four games, Fujisawa making a blunder in a winning position in the seventh game. After his run of consecutive Kisei titles, the Japanese Nihon Ki-in awarded him Honorary Kisei. He is known to play a very flexible fuseki but infamous in making errors, or poka later in the game.

Fujisawa was getting old now, and wouldn’t win another title until ten years later. Again he won the Oza and held it for two years at the age of 67. He had set a record for the oldest player to defend a title, a record which still stands to this day. In October of 1998, he decided to retire from the Go world at the age of 74. The following year Fujisawa was expelled from the Nihon Ki-in for selling unsanctioned rank diplomas to amateurs in protest against what he considered improper Ki-in policies. In June, 2003, the dispute was resolved and Fujisawa was reinstated in the Ki-in. Fujisawa died on May 8, 2009.
- report based on the YouTube video text

Categories: Go Spotting
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The Power Report (Part 1): Iyama’s New Records; Kato Loses Sole Lead In Women’s Meijin League; Start Of 69th Honinbo League

Sunday November 3, 2013

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama’s New Records: As reported previously (Iyama Yuta Achieves Rare ‘Triple Crown’ with 38th Meijin Victory 10/19) Iyama Yuta won the fifth game of the 38th Meijin title match, played on October 16-17, taking the title from Yamashita Keigo with a 4-1 score. Iyama did very well to win four games in a row after losing the opening game of the best-of-seven, though Yamashita did make a gift of the third game. By making a comeback as Meijin after an absence of two terms, Iyama not only won his 20th title, he also became the second player to win the Big Triple Crown of Kisei, Meijin, and Honinbo. As usual, he set a record as the youngest so far (age 24 years four months). As the same time, he reassembled his sextuple crown, with the Meijin replacing the Judan. Since there was a gap, this counts as the second time he has held a sextuple crown.

The previous player to hold the Big Triple Crown is Cho Chikun or 25th Honinbo Chikun. He first achieved the feat in 1983 at the age of 26 years eight months and he maintained it for just over four months, from March 18 until July 28, 1983. He repeated the feat in 1996 (at the age of 40 years four months), and this time he held on to the top three titles for the better part of three years, that is, from November 8, 1996 to July 6, 1999. The first time Cho achieved this success, he also held the Judan title; holding the top four titles simultaneously might seem to be still a goal for Iyama, but actually the Judan has been downgraded to the number seven title, as the sponsors reduced the prize money from 15 to seven million yen. Iyama’s six titles are the top six, so he has far surpassed Cho.

More trivia (this information all comes from the October 28 issue of Go Weekly): Cho won the Big Triple Crown 14 years 11 months after becoming a pro to Iyama’s 11 years six months. Iyama is the third player to hold the Kisei and Meijin simultaneously (the third is Kobayashi Koichi) and the eighth Meijin-Honinbo. Iyama has now won six big-three titles to Cho’s 29 ? here, at least, he has a long way to go. Finally, it’s worth noting that this is the first time Osakan players have held all the seven top titles. It’s the first time Tokyo has been shut out.
For all five game records from the 38th Meijin, check out GoGameGuru’s 10/18 post, 
Iyama Yuta completes Japanese trifecta with 38th Meijin victory, where there are also more photos.

Kato Loses Sole Lead In Women’s Meijin League: Just one week after taking the sole lead in the 26th Women’s Meijin League, Kato Keiko 6P let it slip. In the official chart for the league, as published in Go Weekly, the game in which she beat Suzuki Ayumi on October 10, is listed as her November game, and the game with Mukai Chiaki 5P described below is given as her October game (she was playing in successive weeks to open up time for maternity leave in November), though it was played later, on October 17. Taking black, Mukai won by 7.5 points. Another game was played on October 24. Chinen Kaori 4P (B) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resignation.

Start Of 69th Honinbo League: The first game of the new Honinbo League was played on October 17. Taking white, Kono Rin 9P defeated Yuki Satoshi 9P by resignation. Two more games were played on October 24. In a match-up between favorites, Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) defeated Takao Shinji 9P by resignation. In a game between teenagers, Ida Atsushi 7P (Black) beat Yo Seiki 7P by 2.5
points.
Tomorrow: Iyama Starts Well In Tengen And Oza Title Defences; China Makes Good Start In Nong Shim Cup; Mukai Takes Lead In Women’s Honinbo

British Championship to Feature “The Two Andrews”

Sunday November 3, 2013

A spectacular, all-out battle for the British Championship is expected this month between “The Two Andrews.” Andrew Simons 4d (left) will challenge Andrew Kay 4d (right)  for the title in the best-of-three British Championship final,  set for November 15 and 23. The games, with three hours main time per player, will be played at 10a UTC on 11/15 and 11a  on 11/23 in Milton Keynes at the home of Tim Hunt, who will referee. They will be broadcast online in the British Room on the KGS server with live commentary throughout from Alexandre Dinerchtein 3p (11/15) and Guo Juan 5p (11/23). The champ and his challenger are the best of friends and also the greatest of rivals, having both risen to dan level during the same period at Cambridge University Go Club, which will lend a special edge to the competition. In this summer’s European Open, Simons finished 38th while Kay came 58th so a strong challenge is expected as well as a determined defense of the title. Click here for an interview with Kay at this year’s World Amateur Go Championship (WAGC) where he gives his thoughts on the challenge.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the EJ. Photos: Kay (right) at the 2013 WAGC, courtesy of Ranka Online; Simons (left) by Tony Collman.

Young Lions Deadline Nov. 10

Friday November 1, 2013

There’s still time to sign up for the American Go Honor Society’s Young Lions Tournament,” reports Tournament Organizer Calvin Sun 7d. “Anyone 18 or younger is welcome to come play on Nov. 16 and 17, on KGS. Tell your friends and go club members to sign up. Young Lions has been a big success in previous years, don’t miss this great opportunity to have fun and show that you are worthy to lead the pack! Click here to sign up by Nov. 10th.  A confirmation email will be sent one week before the tournament date,” says Sun.  For more information, e-mail  aghsregister@gmail.com or visit the AGHS website at aghs.cc. -Photo from Wild Encounters.

Twenty Turn Out For Twin Cities Tournament

Wednesday October 30, 2013

Twenty American Go Association members turned out for the AGA ratings tournament held in the Twin Cities (MN) this past weekend. “We were extremely pleased with the turnout,” reports Tournament Director Aaron Broege. The players ranged in strength from 3 dan to 19k. Leading the tournament with at least three wins each were Michael Albert 14k, Mark Gerads 10k and Nqua Xiong 3k. Players with “notable endurance for playing the most games” were Bo Hessburg 3k, 6 games; Matt Mayer 4k, 5 games and Nqua Xiong 3k, 5 games. photo: Peter Hansmeier 3d playing against Peter Nelson 3d; Hansmeier won by just 1.5 points. photo by Aaron Broege

AGA On-Line Games Off To A Promising Start

Wednesday October 30, 2013

AGA On-Line Games are off to a promising start since opening on October 1. “This program offers players an opportunity to play seriously but with a minimum of formality with a wide range of players of different strengths and styles,” says organizer Bob Gilman. “The simuls with AGA volunteers 4 dan and above offer a chance to test yourself and to see techniques and board vision that you may not ordinarily see in your games.” Registration remains open. For the self-paired tournament, there are 50 players now registered, with the following distributions: 1d-9d: 10; 1k-5k: 20; 6k-10k: 7; 11k+: 10; no tournament rating yet assigned: 3.

Tthrough October 26th, 37 players have participated in simuls with AGA volunteers ranked 4 to 7 dan. The simuls are held in the AGA Community Room on KGS. Upcoming simuls are posted in the AGA events calendar. The full schedule is available here.

Upcoming European Tournament: London Open Go Congress

Wednesday October 30, 2013

LOGCThe 40th Annual London Open Go Congress will take place December 28-December 31 at the International Student House in London. The top three places will receive cash prizes and additional prizes will be offered to the winners of the Lightning and Pair Go tournaments. For players who register before December 15, the entry fee is 47 GBP. Students receive a 5 GBP discount and juniors (under 18) can play for 27 GBP. Players must register before December 15 to receive these prices as the fees will increase for players who register on or after December 15. Additionally, all players can receive discounted rates should they choose the International Students House for their accommodations. Players who stay at ISH will also receive a continental breakfast voucher and free wifi. To register or for more information including the full schedule, rules, and current registered players, visit the official London Open Go Congress website.
— Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar; photo courtesy of London Open Go Congress

Friday Deadline for Strong Players to Register for November Online Pro Qualification Tournament

Monday October 28, 2013

Players have until this Friday, November 1st to register for the upcoming Pro Qualification Tournament on KGS, scheduled for November 9, 10, 16 and 17. The event is open to US and Canadian citizens who meet a minimal residency requirement and have either an AGA rating or stable KGS rank of 5d or higher. Competitors should also be members of AGA or CGA. The winner will be invited to participate in the pro selection tournament in Los Angeles Jan. 2-8, receiving an $800 travel subsidy. Players can register for the tournament here. Upon registration players should also submit a copy of their US or Canadian passport. The residency requirement is that players have lived in the US or Canada for at least three of the last six years or else obtain a waiver from the AGA president based on their time overseas being temporary and for the purpose of education, go study or an overseas posting. Anyone with questions about the tournament should contact Karoline Burrall Li at tournaments@usgo.org. Anyone with questions about pro selection or the residency requirement should contact Okun at president@usgo.org.

EuroGoTV Update: Slovenia, Norway, Hungary

Monday October 28, 2013

visegrad countries international go tournament 2013Slovenia: The 2013 Slovenian Championship finished October 20 in Fiesa with Gregor Butala 5d in first, Leon Matoh 5d in second, and Timotej Suc 3d in third. Norway: Also on October 20, Micael Svensson 1d bested Jakob Bing 3d at the 2013 Norwegian Championship in Oslo while Paal Sannes 3d placed third. Hungary: Dominik Boviz 4d (left) won the Visegrad Countries International Go Tournament in Budapest on October 20. Renato Tolgyesi 1d took second and Gyorgy Gsizmadia 4d came in third.
- Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news