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The Power Report: Ichiriki Meijin League; 46th Kisei S League; Promotions & Obituaries

Saturday May 15, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki Meijin League
   Having won his fifth successive game, Ichiriki Ryo has the sole lead in the 46th Meijin League. His closest rivals are Kyo Kagen and Hane Naoki, who are both on 3-1. Ichiriki won’t be counting his chickens yet: he had a similar lead in the Honinbo but failed to become the challenger. Results since my last report are given below.

Click here for our May 12 Honinbo League report.

(April 1) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yo Seiki 8P by half a point.
(April 5) Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by 2.5.
(April 12) Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.
(April 15) Shibano Toramaru (W) beat Hane Naoki by resig.
(May 6) Ichiriki (W) beat Shibano by resig.; Motoki (B) beat Anzai by 0.5.

46th Kisei S League
   The new S League got off to a start on April 22. With two wins, Murakawa Daisuke 9P has the provisional lead. Kono Rin 9P, the previous challenger, has made a bad start with two losses. Results so far:

(April 22) Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by 1.5; Yo Seiki 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Murakawa Daisuke 9P (W) Takao Shinji 9P by resig.
(May 6) Murakawa (B) beat Kono Rin by resig.

To 9-dan: Kyo Kagen (for winning his second top-seven title; as of April 29)
To 8-dan: Oki Keiji (150 wins, as of May 7)

Kim In
   Kim In 9P, one of the major figures in modern Korean go, died on April 4 at the age of 77. Kim was born on Nov. 23, 1943. He became a professional in 1958. In 1962, he became a disciple of Kitani Minoru 9P and was promoted to 3-dan, jumping a rank. He returned to Korea the following year. He reached 9-dan in 1983. He dominated the tournament scene after his return home, winning 30 titles, and remained the number one player until the return of Cho Hun-hyun from Japan in 1972. His career record is 860 wins, 703 losses, and five draws. In 1968, he won 40 games in a row, the second-longest winning streak in Korea (Lee Chang-ho topped it by one win in 1991).

Okahashi Hirotada
   Died of prostate cancer on April 14. Born in Hyogo Prefecture on Feb. 26, 1934. Became a disciple of Hashimoto Shoji 9P. Qualified at 1-dan at the Kansai Ki-in in 1954 and reached 6-dan in 1974. Retired in 2016 and promoted to 7-dan.


AGA Board Meeting Sunday, May 16, 7pm EDT/4pm PDT

Saturday May 15, 2021

The AGA Board will be meeting this Sunday from 7pm EDT until 10pm EDT. They will be discussing a number of important topics, including AGA budget and financials, COVID recommendations and reopening plan, and the status of the Strategic Plan (passed in November). Minutes of past meetings and the agenda for the upcoming meeting can be found here. If you are interested in joining, please contact Chair of the Board, Dr. Lisa Scott at lisa.scott@usgo.org.


The Power Report: Fujisawa enters Agon Kiriyama main tournament; Mi Yuting wins MLily Cup; Sumire enters C League

Friday May 14, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa Rina (r) vs. O Meien

Fujisawa enters Agon Kiriyama main tournament
   Fujisawa Rina’s excellent form is also continuing. On May 6, she beat O Meien 9P in the final game of the preliminary round of the 28th Agon Kiriyama Cup. Taking black, Fujisawa won by resig. She is the first woman to reach the main tournament, that is, the best 16. 

Mi Yuting wins MLily Cup
   The final, a best-of-five, of the 4th MLily Cup, was held in late April and early May. This is a Chinese-sponsored international tournament held at irregular intervals, the first being in 2013, then 2016, then 2017. So far, it has been won by Mi Yuting (China), Ke Jie (China), and Park Junghwan (Korea). First prize is 1,800,000 yuan (about $279,800). This year both finalists were Chinese. Results follow.

Game 1 (April 29). Mi (W) by resig.
Game 2 (April 30). Xie Ke 8P (W) by resig.
Game 3 (May 2). Mi (W) by 2.5.
Game 4 (May 4). Xie (W) by resig.
Game 5 (May 5). Mi (W) by resig.

Sumire enters C League
    In a play-off for a place in the C League of the 46th Kisei tournament, held on May 6, Nakamura Sumire 2P (B) beat Torii Yuta 3P by 5.5 points. This earned her a place in the C League; every time Sumire achieves something, she sets a new youth record. At 12 years two months four days, she is the youngest player to enter a league. The record was lowered by five days just three days earlier when Fukuoka Kotaro 2P got into the league aged 15 years four months 11 days; Sumire lowered that by more than three years. Breaking her new record will be a major challenge. She also extended her winning streak to 11 games and improved her record for the year to 22-2. Ueno Asami lost the game she played last week, so Sumire has the sole lead in the most-wins list. More details about the C League are given in my report of May 2. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, all 480 professional players in Japan compete in the Kisei tournament. Sumire is in the top 62 of that number, so this may be her biggest success so far. Sumire: “I didn’t think I could get into the league, so I am very happy. I look forward to being able to play with strong players.” To become the Kisei challenger, she will need nine wins in a row: five in the league and four in the irregular knock-out that follows it.

Next: Ichiriki Meijin League; 46th Kisei S League; Promotions & Obituaries


A 50 Years aGo Special – Goishi Day: Reflecting on the Stones We Cannot Play Again

Friday May 14, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, and Patrick Bannister

Burial mound for go stones
Burial mound for Go stones. The epitaph reads “Treasure is in your grasp.” Photo courtesy of Go Club.

On 14 May 1971, Goishi Day, the Kyōto Branch of Nihon Ki’in raised a burial mound for go stones and held the first Goishi Kuyō. Goishi Kuyō is a memorial service for broken Go stones, and also for the stones that were captured or died on the board that year. The attendees joined in a tournament in honor of the occasion. Rin Kaihō Hon’inbo, former Women’s Hon’inbo Inoue Minako, and that year’s Amateur Ladies’ Championship third place winner Sakaguchi Kaori attended the event, and Rin Hon’inbo gave commentaries for some of the day’s tournament games.

The event had elements of a funeral – a burial mound where attendees offered flowers, and a Buddhist priest chanted sutras on behalf of the stones – but the tone wasn’t completely solemn. After all, stones that “die” on the go board are collected at the end of the game, soon to be played again. Broken stones – even from a cherished old set, rich with memories of games with your teacher and your friends – can’t be compared to a person. Hasegawa Kō, reporting on the event for Go Club magazine, characterized the Goishi Kuyō as “unusual” and “eccentric.” Goishi Day is a rhyming pun: May 14 = 5 14 = GO I SHI.

A large celebration of the 50th anniversary was planned for 9 May 2021, but like so many events, was cancelled.

Nevertheless, let us take this opportunity, this moment, to acknowledge and mourn the stones not broken this year, the stones not captured, the stones not played. It has been a year without the sound of stones snapping on boards, subtle slides into place or intimidating slams onto what we hope are the vital points. A year where the message of our moves was not reflected on the faces of our opponents – invariably friends – old, new and soon to be.

And take this moment to remember those we will never get another, or even a first, chance to play.

So, grasp those bowls from the shelf, let the stones breathe, feel the warmth of your fingers, and roam over the board. Whether cautiously reaching out, masked and vaccinated, to friends, or within family bubbles, or simply reviewing a pro game on a board and not with bytes – let the stones play.

Bowls of stones waiting on the shelf
Photo courtesy of Keith Arnold.

The Power Report: Shibano to challenge for Honinbo; Kyo wins Judan; Iyama to challenge for Gosei

Wednesday May 12, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kyo Kagen

Shibano to challenge for Honinbo title
All the games in the final round of the 76th Honinbo League were played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on April 2. Going into this round, four players were still in the running to win the league: Shibano Toramaru on 5-1 and three players, Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan), Ichiriki Ryo, and Hane Naoki, who were close behind on 4-2. Hane was slated to play Shibano; the latter had a bad record against Hane, having won only two of their eight games and none of the three they had played in the Honinbo League. Kyo and Ichiriki did what they had to do, winning their games, but it was to no avail, as Shibano overcame his nemesis.

This result would have been a big disappointment for Ichiriki: he had held the sole lead at the halfway mark with 4-0, but successive losses to Shibano and Kyo were costly. An interesting point is that the final positions in the league were unchanged from the previous league; also, it had already been decided before the final round that the bottom four players would lose their league places.

Shibano will be seeking revenge for his losses to Iyama in the Honinbo and Meijin title matches last year. The best-of-seven starts on May 11. Final-round results follow.

Shibano Toramaru (B) beat Hane Naoki by resig.; Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (B) beat Oishi Ryuhei 7P by resig.; Ko Iso 9P (B) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.; Kyo Kagen 8P

Kyo wins Judan title
   The rivalry in the post-Iyama generation is quite fierce. Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan) took the lead when he won his first top-seven title by beating Iyama Yuta 3-0 in the 43rd Gosei title three years ago, but he failed to defend the title the following year. Since then he has fallen behind Shibano Toramaru and Ichiriki Ryo, both of whom won two titles last year. Even so, Kyo’s results have always placed him in the top group. This year, he won the right to challenge Shibano for the Judan title. The match was very closely fought, but Kyo outplayed the title-holder in the final game. Winning his second top-seven title earned him an automatic promotion to 9-dan, so in rank he drew level with Shibano and Ichiriki. The Judan is the lowest-ranked of the top-seven titles, so the pecking order now is: Iyama Yuta Kisei, Meijin & Honinbo; Ichiriki Tengen & Gosei; Shibano Oza, and Kyo Judan. Results follow.

Game 1 (March 2). Kyo (B) by resig.
Game 2 (March 24). Shibano (B) by resig. (These two games are covered in my report of April 6.)
Game 3 (April 8). Kyo (B) by 4.5 points.
Game 4 (April 20). Shibano (B) by resig.
Game 5 (April 28). Kyo (B) by resig.

Iyama to challenge for Gosei
   The play-off to decide the challenger to Ichiriki Ryo for the 46th Gosei title was held at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on May 6. Taking black, Iyama beat Ida Atsushi 8P by resig. He held this title for six years in a row from the 42nd to the 47th terms.

Tomorrow: Mi Yuting wins MLily Cup ; Sumire enters C League; Fujisawa enters Agon Kiriyama main tournament


Problem of the Week

Simply Sweet

Black to play