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The Power Report: Ichiriki perfect in Meijin; Ueno into King of the New Stars final; Iyama wins Gosei, 65th title

Monday September 20, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki

Ichiriki’s perfect record in Meijin League
The final round of the 46th Meijin league was held on August 6. There was no suspense at the top of the league, as Ichiriki had taken an unbeatable lead of 7-0 in the previous round, but at the other end there were issues of demotion still to be decided. Kyo Kagen, Hane Naoki, Yamashita Keigo, and Shibano Toramaru were sure of their places. Yo Seiki, who had a bye in the last round, was the only player sure of dropping out. That meant that out of Kono Rin, Motoki Katsuya, and Anzai Nobuaki, two would have to drop out. Complete results for the final round follow:
Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.
Kyo Kagen Judan (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by half a point.
Motoki Katsuya (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
Anzai Nobuaki 9P (B) beat Shibano Toramaru Oza by resig.

The position became simplified when Motoki won his game. He improved his score to 4-4 and took 5th place. Anzai needed not just to win but also to have Motoki (and Kono) lose, in which case there would be a play-off with Motoki for the sixth seat. This happens only when the players have the same rank, so this rule applies only to the three newcomers to the league, who are all ranked 7th. That’s why Anzai didn’t get a play-off with Shibano, although they finished on the same score. Shibano’s luck in keeping his place with a 3-5 score is indicative of how the Meijin League favors the status quo. In the Honinbo League, a score of 4-3 is sometimes not enough to keep your place. Incidentally, Kono is enduring one of the worst slumps of his career, the loss above being his 11th in a row. This was his 10th Meijin League in a row and the first time he lost his seat.

Ueno makes King of the New Stars final
On August 9, Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei, (W) beat Nishi Takenobu 5P in the semifinal of the 46th King of the New Stars tournament by 4.5 points. This made her the second woman player to make the final. The first was Aoki Kikuyo 8P (then 7P) in the 22nd title. The other finalist is Sotoyanagi Sebun 3P; the best-of-three starts on September 20.

Iyama

Iyama wins Gosei, once again
The fourth game of the 46th Gosei title match was held at the Niigata Grand Hotel in Niigata City on August 17. Taking white, Iyama Yuta won by resignation after 198 moves and so survived a kadoban. He played quite aggressively and did not seem to fall behind at any stage. The highlights of the game were two brilliancies played by Iyama. One was a surprising move adding a stone to three captured white stones, but giving White leverage that he used in his second brilliancy. Incidentally, the referee for this game was Cho U. Aged 41, Cho was making his debut in this role. He was also the referee for the first game in the Meijin title match (see below). It’s a little unusual to choose as referees players who are still competing at the top. Cho is slated to play Iyama in the semifinal of the 69th Oza tournament; if he won that game, he would meet Ichiriki in the final to decide the challenger. (As it happened, Iyama beat Cho.) Actually, it’s not just Cho. The other three members of the group popularly called “the top four of the Heisei (1989-2019) era,” that is, Takao Shinji, Hane Naoki, and Yamashita Keigo, are also serving as referees for the Meijin title match.
The fifth game was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on August 29. Iyama drew white in the nigiri and continued where he left off in the fourth game. He took the edge in the middle game, so Ichiriki felt that he had to stake the game on attacking a large white group. When this attack failed, he resigned. The game lasted 180 moves.
Iyama regained the title that he had held for six years in a row (2012‾2017: 37th to 42nd). He lost it to Kyo Kagen in 2018, who lost it to Hane Naoki in 2019, who lost it to Ichiriki Ryo in 2020. Perhaps a new dynasty will start. Iyama once again becomes a quadruple title holder. This is his 65th title, so he moves ahead of Sakata Eio into sole second place on the all-time list:.
Most titles won
1. Cho Chikun: 75
2. Iyama Yuta: 65
3. Sakata Eio: 64
4. Kobayashi Koichi: 60
5. Otake Hideo: 48
6. Kato Masao: 47
7. Cho U: 41
8. Yoda Norimoto: 36
9. Rin Kaiho: 35
10. Xie Yimin: 27

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AGA Board report

Tuesday September 14, 2021

The AGA Board met at the end of the 2021 e-Go Congress in a meeting that was open to all AGA members.  The board approved minutes of the May meeting and the July special meeting (called to discuss issues of Fair Play in online tournaments and Online Ratings).  The board also approved the final budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.  The board was also updated about the NAGF’s plans to hold a Pro Qualification Tournament in August 2021 (since postponed due to the pandemic), and approved times and dates for meetings for the 2021-2022 term.  These meetings are as follows: 

September 19, 2021 (Fall Board Meeting)
November 7, 2021 (Annual “Retreat” and Planning Meeting)
January 9, 2022 (Special COVID Meeting, if needed)
February 27, 2022 (Winter Board Meeting)
May 1, 2022 (Spring Board Meeting)
June 26, 2022 (Summer Business Meeting, if needed)
August 5, 2022 (Annual “Congress” Meeting)
August 6, 2022 (General Assembly Meeting)

Please contact Chair of the Board Lisa Scott at lisa.scott@usgo.org if you would like to attend any of the future meetings (including the mid-September meeting).

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo with Michael Redmond 9p: Games 51 & 52

Tuesday September 14, 2021

If you’ve been following Michael Redmond’s videos on his YouTube channel, you’ll know that in his commentaries on the 3-3 invasion “there’s one variation I’ve avoided because it’s so complicated.” In today’s commentary on AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo Game 52 with EJ Managing Editor Chris Garlock (which originally aired live on September 5), he explores that variation in detail, along with his usual insightful and deeply-researched insights into the rest of the game. “Always great to see a new AlphaGo review pop up in my YouTube feed, when I missed the Twitch stream,” says Rory Mitchell. Speaking of which, in case you missed it, AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo Game 51 — which aired live on August 8 — was posted August 20, and features “Tesujis, Semiaias, Forever Kos and Fuzzy Sekis,” according to Damon Skinner. “This game is even more complicated and deep than we imagined.” Mark your calendar now for the next live Redmond game commentary, set for Sunday, October 10, 7p ET on the AGA Twitch channel.

[link]

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Last Call for American Go Honor Society Officer Applications 2021-2022

Saturday September 4, 2021

Applications for the 2021-2022 American Go Honor Society (AGHS) officer team are closing soon. The American Go Honor Society is an organization driven primarily by high school students to promote go among young players throughout America. Tournaments, leagues, and other go events catered towards youth are hosted throughout the school year by the AGHS.

Please fill out this form to apply.

The application deadline has been extended to Friday, September 10, 2021 at 11:59pm PST.

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Third North Carolina state championship to be held outdoors in late September

Thursday September 2, 2021

The North Carolina State Go Championship Tournament will be a two day event September 25 and 26, 2021, at Umstead State Park in north Raleigh. The State Go Champion must be an amateur Go player who has resided in North Carolina at least 50% of the past year. Students meeting these criteria are eligible. The tournament will be held at shelter #2 at the Reedy Creek entrance to the park.

Preregistration will be required to be paired in the first round. To play in the first round you must register before 6:00pm EDT Friday, September 24th. Register online and read more details on the website. Jeff Kuang will be the Tournament Director for the six round tournament, with three games on Saturday and three games on Sunday. Players will have one hour main time, with five byo-yomi periods of 30 seconds each. This is an AGA rated tournament. Players should be sure they have a current AGA membership or renew their membership before the tournament begins at usgo.org.

Entry fees will be $25 for adults and $15 for youths and students. Players may register for a single day of play only for a reduced tournament fee of $15 for adults and $10 for youths and students. There will be generous cash prizes and trophies in all sections. Participants must attend both days to be eligible for prizes.

Since this is an open-air tournament, COVID risks are reduced. Organizers will provide masks and hand sanitizer and players are encouraged to use them. Players older than 12 years old must be vaccinated to participate. Lunch will be provided onsite on Saturday and Sunday, courtesy of the Triangle Go Group and the AGA. Players can join the group and enjoy easy communication with other area Go players at the Triangle Go Group Facebook page.

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