Ceremonial game for the Uchizomeshiki at Nihon Ki’in
We begin the New Year with the Uchizomeshiki, a ceremony held at the Nihon Ki’in in Ichigaya on January 5. The event, which Go Review compared to a “purification ceremony,” is an essential kick off for the tournament year. Pictured is a ceremonial game. Your editor recognizes some of the faces of the “old guard” of Japanese go at the time.
The action began promptly on January 7 with the Nihon Ki’in Championship. The title holder, Ōhira Shūzō 9d, entered the New Year one game down after losing Game One in December. Ōhira had dominated this title since winning it from Sakata Eio in 1966, winning it every year except one. However, faced once again with an in-form Sakata, Ōhira had to summon all his fighting strength to kill shinogi expert Sakata’s huge group to even the series in Game Two. (Game record: Game Two.) We see Sakata during the third game on January 16, once again going ahead. (Game record: Game Three.) Finally, Sakata ended his eight year drought in this title on January 25-26 by a 3-1 score. (Game record: Game Four.)
As of January 10, we note that Ishida Hon’inbo was leading the Meijin League with a 2-0 record.
On January 11, Ōtake Hideo 9d began his defense of the All Japan 1st Place Tournament which he had defended five times in a row. Here we see him react to the confident play of Kajiwara Takeo. He sorted out the problem and won this first game. (Game record: Ōtake vs. Kajiwara.)
On the same day, Takagi Shōichi 7d defeated Takagawa to win the “losers bracket” and went on to defeat Rin Meijin for the right to challenge Sakata for the Jūdan title. Pictured during the match against Takagawa, Takagi was the author of Beyond Forcing Moves and attended the 1993 U.S. Go Congress. (Game records: Takagi vs. Takagawa, Takagi vs. Rin.)
Sakata was presented with the 9th Shūsai Prize as the past year’s outstanding player on January 16. With the Meijin and Hon’inbo titles divided between Rin and Ishida, Sakata’s dominance of the lesser titles made him a unanimous choice for the third time.
Finally, on January 26, Honda Sachiko 4d defeated Kitani Reiko two straight in the Ladies’ Hon’inbo Title. (Game record: Honda vs. Kitani.)