American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: Iyama takes lead in Meijin title match; Fujisawa Rina does well in Gosei; Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo; Shibano wins King of the New Stars

Wednesday October 4, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.10.03_Meijin 3 Iyama Cho U Takao

Iyama takes lead in Meijin title match: The third game of the 42nd Meijin title match between Takao Shinji Meijin and Iyama Yuta was held at the Kiyomi Mountain Villa: Hana-jukai, Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture on September 21 and 222017.10.03_Meijin4 Iyama02. The match was level at 1-all, so this was a key game: the winner would gain momentum, and the loser would come under pressure. Fighting started early in the top right corner, but Iyama, who had black, surprised the players following the game with a tenuki with 17. After playing just two moves in the bottom left corner, he came back to the first fight. The spectators (via a TV monitor) couldn’t work out the point of the two moves in the bottom left, but, after some hard thought, Cho U 9P, the Asahi Newspaper commentator on the game, worked out that Iyama’s aim was to prevent Takao from playing a sequence that ended up in a ladder if Black kept playing the most aggressive moves. His moves at 17 and 19 acted as a ladder breaker. Takao modified his play and ended up taking profit in the top right while giving Iyama influence.

Both sides continued to play aggressively, making the game one complicated fight after another. After a ko fight won by Takao in the bottom left, he invaded Black’s bottom right territory and succeeded in living after fighting a number of kos. Again, Iyama took compensation with outside influence. More fighting followed, and up to move 145 the game was played at a very high level, with neither side making a mistake and the players agreeing in their analysis, but with 146 Takao made a slack move. It was slack presumably because it was purely territorial, saving some cut-off stones. Instead, he should have reinforced his sole remaining weak group. By harassing it, Iyama was able to expand his centre moyo, and there was no way for Takao to reduce it sufficiently. He resigned after Black 241. After the game, Takao commented that he was not too worried about falling behind because he felt he was playing well – putting aside just one move.2017.10.03_Fujisawa Rina

The fourth game was played at the Inn Kaiseki Notoya in Komatsu City, Ishikawa Prefecture, on October 2 and 3. Taking white, Iyama secured a resignation after 164 moves. I will give some more details about the game when available. Takao faces his first kadoban on October 16 and 17.

Fujisawa Rina does well in Gosei tournament: The first ambition of young players is to reach the Main Tournament of the top seven tournaments. This is the final section of a tournament that either produces a challenger or provides entry into leagues. Usually, it more or less means reaching the best 16 or the best 32, but the number may vary. In the previous Judan tournament it was the best 16, but in the previous Gosei tournament the best 29. These are all knock-outs, so in the Gosei some players were seeded into the second round. Historically, women players have not done very well gaining entry to main tournaments, with eight women achieving this goal nine times. (For those interested, the list goes: Honda Sachiko, Kobayashi Reiko, Kusunoki Teruko, Ogawa Tomoko, Yos2017.10.03_Xie wins WomHon1hida Mika, Kobayashi Izumi twice, Kato Keiko, and Kuwabara Yoko.) In a game played on September 21, Fujisawa Rina 3P (right) became the ninth woman, reaching the Main Tournament of the Gosei tournament. The last time this happened was nine years ago (Kato and Kuwabara both qualified in the Tengen). None of her predecessors won a game, so Fujisawa has a chance to set a record for women.2017.10.03_Shibano beats Son

Xie makes good start in Women’s Honinbo: The first game of the 36th Women’s Honinbo title match, in which Xie Yimin (left) is challenging Fujisawa Rina, was held at the Kashoen inn in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture on September 27. Taking black, Xie secured a resignation after 257 moves.

Shibano wins King of the New Stars: The second game of the 42nd King of the New Stars title was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on October 2. Shibano Toramaru 7P (black) beat Son Makoto 5P by resig. Often success in this junior tournament is a good omen for future success, but in Shibano’s case that success is already coming. As described in recent reports, he won the Ryusei title and a seat in the new Honinbo League. Since the Ryusei win earned him promotion to 7-dan (if he hadn’t won it, he would have got the promotion from his Honinbo success), he is not eligible to play in the King of the New Stars tournament again. First prize is worth two million yen (a little over $18,000).

Categories: Japan,John Power Report