American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: Seki wins King of New Stars; Cho U scores 1,000 wins; Fujisawa wins Young Carp & Women’s Honinbo; Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Ichiriki sets new Ryusei record, leads Honinbo League

Tuesday February 9, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Seki wins 45th King of New Stars title

Seki Kotaro 3P

This year’s title match was fought between Sada Atsushi 7P (aged 25) of the Kansai Ki-in and Seki Kotaro 3P (aged 18) of the Tokyo branch of the Nihon Ki-in Sada had recently earned promotion to 7P for winning a seat in the Honinbo League; this title is restricted to players 6P and under, but he had already qualified for the next term of the tournament before the promotion, so this was his second-last chance. He started out well with a win, but Seki made a strong comeback to win the next two games and secure his first title. Seki commented that winning this title made him feel he had “been rewarded” for his efforts, since it had been his main target, which he reached on his third attempt in the main tournament.

There was an unusual incident toward the end of the game. The contraption placed by the board to film the game for a net commentary suddenly started streaming the verbal commentary. Fortunately, officials were able to have the mistake rectified before the commentary got too personal. Results follow.

Game 1 (Sept. 18). Sada (W) by resig.
Game 2 (Sept. 28). Seki (W) by resig.
Game 3 (Oct. 16). Seki (W) by resig.

Cho U scores 1,000 wins

On November 2,Cho U 9P became the 28th player at the Nihon Ki-in to win 1,000 games. His record was 1,000 wins, 451 losses, 2 jigo, and 1 no-contest. His winning percentage of 68.9 is the best for 1,000-game winners. At 40 years nine months, he is the second youngest and he reached the landmark in 26 years seven months, the second quickest.

Fujisawa wins Young Carp in first for a woman player

The Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp Tournament is open to players 30 and under and 7-dan and under. First prize is 3,000,000 yen (about $28,800), which is about par for a tournament with limited participation.

Young Carp; Fujisawa Rina (center)

The main tournament (for the top 16) was held at the Sotetsu Grand Fresa Hiroshima on November 21 and 22. Reaching the final were Fujisawa Rina, women’s triple crown, and Son Makoto 7P. Taking white, Fujisawa won by half a point and made history as the first woman professional in Japan to win an official tournament open to both male and female players. (Actually, Xie Yimin, then 3P, won the 1st Cup, but for the first five terms it was not an official tournament.)

Fujisawa Rina wins Women’s Honinbo

It was no surprise to see Fujisawa Rina emerge as the challenger to Ueno Asami in the 39th Women’s Honinbo title match, as she had already played in the title match six years in a row. She won the title three times but each time failed to make a successful defense. Against that, all her challenges were successful.

The match was highly competitive, with Fujisawa starting off well, then surrendering the lead to Ueno. After Fujisawa caught up again, the fate of the title was decided by the narrowest of margins. This came just three days after her Young Carp win by the same margin.

This was Fujisawa’s 14th title. She now held five titles: the Women’s Honinbo, Women’s Meijin, Women’s Hollyhock, and the Hakata Kamachi Cup, and the Young Carp. The only women’s titles missing are the Women’s Kisei (Suzuki Ayumi) and the Senko Cup (Ueno Asami). Results of the title match are given below.

Game 1 (Oct. 1). Fujisawa (B) by resig.
Game 2 (Oct. 18). Ueno (B) by resig.
Game 3 (Oct. 31). Ueno (W) by resig.
Game 4 (Nov. 7). Fujisawa (W) by 5.5 points.
Game 5 (Nov. 25). Fujisawa (B) by half a point.

Iyama wins Agon Kiriyama Cup


The final of the 27th Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Buddhist sect on October 3. Taking black, Iyama Yuta beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig. This is the fifth time Iyama has won this title; he is tied with Cho U for the record. It is also his 61st title, which moves him one ahead of Kobayashi and into sole third place. (Still ahead of him are Sakata Eio with 64 and Cho Chikun with 75.)

Ichiriki sets new record for Ryusei title

The final of the 29th Ryusei tournament was telecast on October 26. It featured a clash between the top two exponents of rapid go in Japan, Iyama Yuta and Ichiriki Ryo. Taking black, Ichiriki won by resignation after 221 moves. He set a new record for this tournament by winning it for the third year in a row, a first, and the fourth time overall, also a record. These two players have now met in the finals of five TV tournaments, and Ichiriki has a slight edge, having beat Iyama twice in this tournament and once, to two losses, in the NHK Cup.

Ichiriki leads Honinbo League

The first of the vacant seats in the 76th Honinbo League was decided on August 27. Taking black, Onishi Ryuhei 5P (aged 20) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. (if the game had been played out, the margin would have been 1.5 points). This is Onishi’s first league place and he earned an automatic promotion to 7-dan (effective the following day).

The next two seats were decided on August 31. Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P (B) beat Ida Atsushi 8P by 6.5 points and Sada Atsushi 4P (W) beat Yo Seiki 8P by resig. Both these players will play in a league for the first time. Tsuruyama gave himself a good present on what was his 39th birthday. Sada (aged 24) earned himself an automatic promotion to 7-dan.

The new league started on October 8. After three rounds, Ichiriki Ryo is the only undefeated player. Results in the new league follow.

(Oct. 8) Shibano Toramaru Meijin (W) beat Sada Atsushi 7P by half a point; Kyo Kagen 8P (W) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by half a point.

(Oct. 15) Ichiriki (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
(Oct. 22) Onishi Ryuhei 7P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(Nov. 5) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Koi Iso 9P by resig.
(Nov. 12) Ichiriki (B) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.
(Nov. 20) Kyo Kagen 8P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru Oza by resig.
(Nov. 26) Sada Atsushi 7P (B) beat Onishi Ryuhei 7P by resig.
(Dec. 10) Ichiriki (W) beat Ko Iso by resig.
(Dec. 18) Shibano (B) Onishi by resig.; Hane (B) beat Kyo by resig.

Tomorrow: New Meijin League; Kono to challenge for Kisei; 22nd Nong Shim Cup