American Go E-Journal » 2021 » November

Go Photo: Opening in the morning sun

Thursday November 11, 2021

Photo by Phil Straus; board by Bill Saltman.

Categories: Go Photos,Main Page

The Power Report: Iyama starts with win in Oza challenge; Sumire’s progress; First snap AI inspection; The ideal and the real ; Most wins/ Most successive wins; Promotions

Wednesday November 10, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Yokohama Royal Park Hotel

Iyama starts with win in Oza challenge
The 69th Oza title match, a best-of-five, got off to a start on October 29. The defender is Shibano Toramaru, whose target is to win the title for the third year in a row. So far he has won six titles. The challenger is Iyama Yuta, who is hoping to pick up his fifth concurrent title. He holds the Kisei, Meiin, Honinbo, and Gosei titles.
   The venue was a special playing room on the 65th floor of the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. This is probably the highest venue for a title-match game.
   Iyama drew black in the nigiri. In the opening, he set up four low, territorial positions, so White found himself setting up a large moyo. During fighting that started when Iyama tried to reduce the moyo, Shibano made a misjudgment and fell a little behind. He went all out and caught up enough to make the game a half-pointer, but then he made a mistake in the endgame and had to resign soon after. The game lasted 205 moves. The second game will be played on November 12.

Sumire’s progress
   Having been eliminated from a number of tournaments, this seems to be a season of lean pickings for Nakamura Sumire 2P. Since September 2 (see my report of September 28), she has played only five games, the first two of which she lost. Because of that she dropped into third place in the most-wins list for two weeks, but she regained second place after winning two games in one day.
(Sept. 27) Sumire (W) lost to (Ms.) Moro Arisa 2P by 5.5 points (16th Young Carp preliminary).
(Oct. 4) Sumire (B) lost to Kobayashi Koichi by 5.5 (Prelim. B, 70th Oza).
(Oct. 21) Sumire (W) beat Kobayashi Chizu 6P by 15.5; Sumire (W) beat Shimosaka Miori 3P by 3.5. (Both games in Prelim. B, 33rd Women’s Meijin)
(Oct. 25) Sumire (B) beat O Keii 3P by resig. (25th Women’s Kisei, main tournament).

First snap AI inspection
   The first snap inspection to prevent AI-assisted cheating (see my report of September 28) was carried out on September 23. Led by the director responsible for organizing tournaments, Aoki Kikuyo 8P, a number of Nihon Ki-in employees entered a playing room where eight games were being played just as play was about to resume after the lunch break. They ordered the players to suspend their games and inspected their persons and their belongings with a metal detector. The rule is that devices such as smart phones and tablets have to be handed over to the staff before playing. Fortunately, there were no untoward discoveries.

The ideal and the real
    Hino Shota, aged 16, has just qualified as a professional. His responses at a news conference held on October 5, contrasted ambition and realism. Asked about his future goals, he replied: “In the future, I want to become a player who can star in world championships. My goal for the time being is to make the best eight in the Kings of the New Stars tournament.”

Most wins
  The competition from second place down is quite fierce, but, with under ten full weeks to go, it’s hard to see anyone overtaking Ueno in first place. (Results below are as of Oct. 29.)
1. Ueno Asami: 43-21
2. Nakamura Sumire: 37-16
3. Fukuoka Kotaro 2P: 36-11
4. Fujisawa Rina: 35-11
5. Kyo Kagen: 34-16
6. Motoki Katsuya 8P: 32-14
7. Seki Kotaro 7P: 31-10; Nyu Eiko 3P: 31-14
9. Ichiriki Ryo: 30-14

Most successive wins
6: Enda Hideki 9P; Oomote Takuto 3P. In recent weeks, a number of good winning streaks have come to an end. The main ones are listed below.
Kyo Kagen, Fujisawa Rina: 11; Horimoto Mitsunari: 10; Seki Kotaro: 9.

To 8-dan: Suzuki Isao (150 wins; as of Oct. 5)
To 7-dan: Kanno Masashi (120 wins, as of Sept. 24)
To 5-dan: Koyama Kuya (70 wins, as of Sept. 24)
To 3-dan: Ito Kenryo (40 wins; as of Oct. 15)


EJ editors wanted!

Wednesday November 10, 2021

The E-Journal team is looking for a few good editors. With Assistant Managing Editor Karoline Li refocusing on her duties as AGA Archivist, we have openings for  dedicated volunteers interested in helping maintain the world’s most comprehensive English-language go news service. Editing experience is helpful but not absolutely necessary; an ability to manage time and projects plus a fierce commitment to the game of go and the value of keeping fellow go players informed is a must.

Those interested may email


“Go Through The Dark” film premieres this week

Sunday November 7, 2021

The new film “Go Through The Dark” premieres this week in New York City at the DOC NY festival. In the film, a blind boy in China displays great skill at Go; raised by a single father with limited means, he faces deep societal prejudice against the blind.
“I think it would be a great story to inspire the blind community to chase their dreams,” director Yunhong Pu told the E-Journal. “And through the blind boy’s story, more people will know (and) be interested in Go.”
The film screens November 13 at 7:10pm and November 16 at 9:30pm at Cinépolis Chelsea.
The Nov. 13th screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director. The film will also screen online Nov. 14-28; click here for details.


The Power Report: Kyo wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Big win for Fujisawa Rina; New Honinbo League starts; Seki makes good start in Tengen title match

Sunday November 7, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Agon Kiriyama Cup: Kyo (l) beats Iyama
Seki Kotaro 7P

Kyo wins Agon Kiriyama Cup
   The final of the 28th Agon Kiriyama Cup was held in the Kagyu-An (Snail Pavilion) at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Sect on October 2. Taking white, Kyo Kagen Judan won by resignation after 214 moves. He won this title for the first time. Iyama missed out on winning it for the sixth time.

Big win for Fujisawa Rina
Fujisawa Rina scored one of the most impressive wins of her career when she played Ichiriki Ryo Tengen in the final preliminary round of the 60th Judan tournament on September 23. Taking black, she won by resignation and also won a seat in the main tournament of the Judan. This was her first win in four games with Ichiriki. One of those losses was the final play-off for a place in the Meijin League last year?Ichiriki prevented Fujisawa from making history by becoming the first woman to play in a Meijin or Honinbo league. Ueno Asami had already won a place in the main tournament, so Fujisawa became the second woman in the best 16. Just for the record, it’s 17 years since a woman last accomplished this feat.
   On October 25, Fujisawa (B) beat Son Makoto 7P by 4.5 points, making her the first woman ever to win a game in the main tournament of the Judan. She has made the best eight, so she needs just three more wins to become the challenger.
   Backtracking a little, Fujisawa played her final game in the C League of the 46th Kisei tournament on October 4. Playing white, she beat Cho Zuiketsu 4P by resig. This took her score to 3-2, so she retained her seat in the league.

New Honinbo League starts
The new Honinbo League got off to a start on October 4 and the first round has now been completed. Results to date follow
(Oct. 4) Sada Atsushi 7P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 9P by resig.
(Oct. 8) Ichiriki Ryo (W) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.
(Oct. 11) Yo Seiki 8P (B) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by half a point.
(Oct. 14) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.

Seki makes good start in Tengen title match
   The first game of the 47th Tengen title match, in which Seki Kotaro 7P is challenging Ichiriki Ryo, was played at the Genji-Ko, a modern Japanese-style inn in Minami-Chita Hot Spring Village, Chita Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture, on October 5. This inn is, in its own words, “built around the themes of ‘The Tale of Genji’ and the first Japanese inn to be themed on scents.” Playing white, Seki forced Ichiriki to resign after 130 moves. There is a big gap before the second game, which will be played on November 16.


Redmond on Hashimoto vs. Go Seigen: Sunday at 7p EDT

Saturday November 6, 2021

(l-r) Hashimoto Utaro, Segoe Kensaku and Go Seigen

Tune in at 7p EDT on Sunday, November 7 for Michael Redmond 9p’s commentary on another classic game, this one between Hashimoto Utaro and Go Seigen. “This was the fourth game of their second Jubango,” says Redmond. “Hashimoto was Honinbo, and the Kansai Kiin was on the verge of splitting from the Nihon Kiin with Hashimoto as one of its founding members. From their previous Jubango, the handicap was Sen-Ai-Sen, no komi, which happened to match the 8P-9P rank difference. This game was a turning point that made it a very dangerous series for Hashimoto. Go Seigen shows one of his joseki innovations that was not popular at the time, but now looks normal. They also played an AI-like 3-3 invasion joseki.” Tune in at 7p EDT (reminder that U.S. clocks turn back one hour at 2a on 11/7) on the AGA’s Twitch channel.


VA State Championship set for Saturday

Friday November 5, 2021

Finalists from five cities in Virginia will gather at the Korean American Baduk Association in Annandale on Saturday, November 6 for the third Virginia State Go Championship. The final will be held at the National Go Center on Wednesday, November 17 (and 12/1 if necessary). Game records will be posted here.


  1. Qingbo Zhang (from Fairfax)
  2. Zhiyuan Zhang (Vienna)
  3. Yaming Wang (McLean)
  4. Ruoshi Sun (Charlottesville)
  5. Irvin Pajarillo (Fredericksburg)

Semis: 11am and 3:30pm ET on 11/6

Final: 5pm and 8:30pm ET on 11/17

Award includes a perpetual trophy and cash prize is $200/70.  Time setting is 60-min basic, 5 x 1-min byo yomi.

Report by Edward Zhang for the Capital Go Club


The Power Report: Fujisawa defends 40th Women’s Honinbo; Meijin title match tied; Iyama and Shibano win games in Chinese League

Thursday November 4, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa Rina

Fujisawa defends 40th Women’s Honinbo
There was a fresh pairing in the 40th Women’s Honinbo best-of-five, with Hoshiai Shiho 3P making her title-match debut by challenging Fujisawa Rina. The two are close in age — the title-holder is 23 and the challenger 24 — and are good friends.
The first game was held at the Kashoen inn in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture, on September 28. Taking white, Fujisawa won by half a point. In retrospect, this was the challenger’s best game of the match: she had the lead going into the endgame, but made an oversight.
The second game was played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on October 8. Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 181 moves.
The third game was played at the same venue on October 22. Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 190 moves. Incidentally, Kobayashi Izumi 7P made her debut as referee with this game.
This is Fujisawa’s fifth Women’s Honinbo title. Actually she has played in the title match for eight years in a row, but this is the first time that she has successfully defended the title.

Meijin title match tied
The fourth game of the 46th Meijin title match was held in the Gora Kansuiro, a traditional Japanese inn in Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture, on September 28 and 29. Taking black, Iyama Yuta played a masterly game and ended up capturing one of his opponent’s groups. Ichiriki Ryo resigned after Black 167. This evened the score in the best-of-seven at 2-2.
The fifth game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on October 12 and 13. Playing black, Ichiriki forced a resignation after 189 moves. In the middle game, Iyama started a ko fight in which the burden on him was greater than on his opponent. In return for finishing off the ko, White let Black attack a large group. The group was big enough that it seemed to have a lot of aji, but Ichiriki played with great precision. Iyama managed to get a ko, but he ran out of ko threats and had to resign. As in this year’s Honinbo title match, Iyama was now faced with a kadoban.  The sixth game was played at the Atami Sekitei inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture on October 19 and 20. Go Weekly’s comment on the game was that Iyama’s reading was just a little superior to Ichiriki’s. White resigned after 159 moves.

46th Meijin; Ichiriki (l) vs Iyama

Iyama and Shibano win games in Chinese League
The morning after he won the fourth game of Meijin title match, that is, on September 30, Iyama Yuta had to hurry back to Tokyo, as he was playing a game at the Nihon Ki-in in the A division of the Chinese team tournament. Playing on the top board, Iyama (W) defeated Ding Hao 8P, ranked no. 4 in China, who represented a Guangzhou team. Shibano Toramaru played two games in the league.
On September 28, he lost to He Yuhan 6P, but the following day he beat Chen Yishun 4P (sorry, but I don’t know how to read the team names). Iyama’s record in this league is 2-0; Shibano’s is 1-2. (For details of Iyama’s first game in the league, see my report of August 16.)

Categories: Japan,Main Page

The Power Report: Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei; Iyama to challenge for Oza; Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars

Tuesday November 2, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei
   First, here is the result of the final game in the 46th Kisei S League, which was played on September 20. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. This was Kono’s first win in the league; Yamashita ended up on 0-5. (The league chart is given in my report of September 22.) In the knock-out tournament that follows the leagues, Shibano Toramaru reached the “best-of-three” play-off to decide the challenger, but faced a difficult task here. As the winner of the S League, Ichiriki Ryo was awarded a one-win advantage, that is, Shibano had to win the first two games, while Ichiriki needed just one win. The play-off started and ended on October 25. Taking black, Ichiriki won by resignation after 121 moves. Other results in this stage follow.
(Sept. 23) Son Makoto 7P (winner of B League) (W) beat Numadate Sakiya 7P (winner of C League) by resig.
(Sept. 30) Shibano (B) (winner of A League) beat Son by 2.5 points.
(Oct. 21) Shibano (W) beat Yo Seiki 8P (second in S League) by resig.

Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars

Iyama to challenge for Oza
The play-off to decide the challenger to Shibano Toramaru for the 69th Oza title was held at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on September 20. Taking black, Iyama Yuta beat Ichiriki Ryo by resig. after 231 moves. The best-of-five starts on October 29.

Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars
So far, only one woman player has won a tournament open to both male and female players: that was Fujisawa Rina, who made the breakthrough in the 15th Young Carp tournament last year (she beat Son Makoto 7P in the final). However, Ueno Asami has long been noted for her good results against male players, so when she reached the final of the 46th King of the New Stars, fans had high hopes she would emulate Fujisawa. Her opponent was Sotoyanagi Sebun 3P; this was his last chance, as he just barely made the age qualification; he is now 26 (born on Dec. 23, 1994, but he was 25, the cut-off point, when the draw for the opening round was made). (The other condition is that a player be under 7-dan). In a program on the Nihon Ki-in’s Youtube channel, Yokotsuka Riki 7P commented that probably 95% of the fans watching were rooting for Ueno, something Sotoyanagi would have been well aware of.
   All of the games were played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The best-of-three got off to a start on September 20, with Sotoyanagi drawing black in the nigiri. He took the lead in the middle game, but Ueno made a desperate attack in which she ripped off half a dozen stones. Sotoyanagi countered with a do-or-die move of his own and retook the lead. Ueno resigned after Black 281. Sotoyanagi commented that he thought he was 1.5 points ahead at the end.
   The second game was played on October 9. Ueno (B) took the lead in a ko fight and forced a resignation after 261 moves.   
The third game was played on October 15. Sotoyanagi drew white in the nigiri. Compared to the other two games, this one was a little one-sided. Sotoyanagi took the lead in the opening and held on to it throughout. Ueno resigned after 272 moves.
   Ueno is still only 19 (her birthday is October 26), so she will have more chances to win this title. Not so Sotoyanagi, as noted above. He was quite self-deprecating in the winner’s interview, commenting that this was the first and maybe the last time that he would appear on a major stage. His professional career got off to a late start, as he didn’t qualify as 1-dan until he was 19. However, he has fans in his home prefecture of Iwate and was happy that he finally had an achievement to repay them for their support. His first prize is two million yen.


Pandanet AGA City League Registration Opens!

Tuesday November 2, 2021

Welcome to the opening of the 10th season of the Pandanet AGA City League. We are looking again for the most competitive cities and players to compete in this long running tournament. Join the more than 30 teams looking to be the best around. Read through the rules on the Pandanet League site to learn of the new qualifications. The new registration system will help walk you through signing up and accept new rules and policies. If there are any questions contact the TD for more information.