American Go E-Journal

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