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.