American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: International tournament for seniors; 77th Honinbo League; Meijin League; Sumire’s progress; Promotions/Retirements; Obituary: Kikuchi Yasuro

Monday January 31, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent  for the E-Journal

International tournament for seniors

O Meien

   The final international event of 2021 was yet another special tournament for senior players, the 1004 Islands Shin-An International Senior Baduk Championship. Sixteen former top players took part, with eight players from the host country of Korea, three each from Japan and China, and two from Taiwan, though those two were actually the Nihon Ki-in players O Rissei and O Meien. The time allowance was just 30 minutes per player plus 30-second byo-yomi x 3; there were two rounds per day. The tournament was held on the net on December 21 and 22. Reaching the final were Yoo Changhyeok of Korea and O Meien. The latter took the lead early in the game, but Yu pulled off a late upset and won by half a point. First prize was 30 million won (about $25,000). O had to be content with half that. Results are given below, but full details for most of the games are not available to me. (All players are 9-dan.)

Round 1 (Dec. 21). Yoda Norimoto (Japan) beat Kim Jongsoo (Korea); Kim Yonghwan (Korea) beat Kobayashi Koichi (Japan); Yoo Changhyeok (Korea) beat O Rissei; Yu Bin (China) beat Seo Nun-uk (Korea); O Meien beat Cho Hoonhyun (Korea); Rui Naiwei (China) beat Kim Ilhwan (Korea); Seo Bongsoo (Korea) beat Takemiya Masaki (Japan); Nie Weiping (China) beat Choe Kyupeong (Korea).

Round 2 (Dec. 21). Yoda beat Kim Yonghwan; Yoo beat Yu; O (B) beat Rui by resig.; Seo beat Nie.

Semifinals (Dec. 22). Yu (B) beat Yoda by 2.5 points; O beat Seo on time.

Final (Dec. 22). Yu (B) beat O by half a point.   

77th Honinbo League

   As of the end of the year, with three rounds completed, Yo Seiki 8P of the Kansai Ki-in had the sole lead as the only undefeated player. 

(Nov. 1) Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P beat Sada Atsushi 7P by 3.5 points. 

(Nov. 12) Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (W) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by resig. 

(Nov. 23) Shibano Toramaru (Oza) (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.

(Dec. 2) Kyo Kagen Judan (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.; Yo Seiki 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

(Dec. 10) Yo (W) beat Ichiriki by resig.

(Dec. 13) Shibano (W) beat Tsuruyama by resig.

(Dec. 16) Hane (W) beat Sada by resig.

Meijin League

   The three vacant seats in the 47th Meijin League went to three 8-dans: Yo Seiki, Ida Atsushi, and Shida Tatsuya. The deciding games were all played on November 11. Shida (B) beat Kono Rin, who has been a regular in the league for many years, by resignation and will make his league debut. Ida (B) beat Xie Yimin 7P by 2.5 points, so once again the debut of a woman player in a major league has been put off (recognizing as “major” only the Meijin, Honinbo, and Kisei S Leagues). Ida, a former Honinbo challenger, will make his debut in the Meijin League. Yo (B) beat Fujita Akihiko 7P by resignation, so he made an immediate comeback after losing his place in the previous league. Results of games played last year follow.

(Dec. 3) Ichiriki Tengen (W) beat Ida Atsushi 8P by resig. 

(Dec. 9) Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by half a point.

(Dec. 18) Yo Seiki 8P (W) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by resig.

(Dec. 20). Shida Tatsuya 8P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 3.5 points.  

Sumire’s progress

This report follows on from my report published on November 10 and takes Sumire to the end of the year. Her final record was 43 wins to 18 losses, which put her in third place in the most-wins list after Ueno Asami on 54-25 and Kyo Kagen Judan on 44-21.

(Nov. 11) Sumire (B) lost to Suzuki Ayumi 7P by half a point (25th Women’s Kisei main tournament, round 2).

(Nov. 13) Sumire (B) beat Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei, by 1.5 points (Women’s Brains Match, details given earlier in this report); Sumire (W) lost to Xie Yimin 7P by resig. (final of the Brains Match). These are both unofficial games.

(Nov. 18) Sumire (W) lost to Kaneko Maki 2P by 4.5 points (round 1, prelim., Teikei Cup Young Stars).

(Nov. 22) Sumire (B) beat Fujii Koki 1P by 4.5 points (prelim., 47th King of the New Stars)

(Nov. 29) Sumire (B) beat Kimu Shujun 9P by 3.5 points (Prelim. C, 78th Honinbo).

(Dec. 2) Sumire (B) beat Hoshiai Shiho 3P by resig. (Prelim. B, Women’s Meijin).

(Dec. 9) Sumire (B) beat Suzukawa Natsumi 1P by resig. (Prelim., 47th King of the New Stars). 

(Dec. 23) Sumire (W) beat Shimoji Gensho 7P by resig. (Prelim. C, 48th Meijin tournament).


To 2-dan (30 wins): Toyoda Hirohito (as of Nov. 12); Miura Taro (as of Nov. 26)

To 3-dan (40 wins): Kuwabara Shun (as of Nov. 23); Sakai Yuki (as of Dec. 24) 

To 4-dan: Sotoyanagi Sebun (50 wins, as of Dec. 7) 


Otake Hideo 9P, one of the top players of the second half of the 20th century, retired on December 15 after a go career of 65 years. He was born in Kita Kyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture on May 12, 1942. He became a disciple of Kitani Minoru in 1951 and made 1-dan in 1956. He won his first title, the Nihon Ki-in No. One Position, in 1966 and monopolized it for the five years of its existence. He won the 14th Yomiuri Meijin title in 1975 and the 1st (1976), 3rd (1978), and 4th (1979) Asahi Meijin titles. He acquired the nickname of “the Meijin man” when he played in the Meijin title match nine times in the decade from 1975 to 1984. He and Rin Kaiho 9P, who was born in the same year, were great rivals and this period was called “the age of Otake and Rin.” He won a total of 48 titles, which is fifth best, including seven Gosei, five Judan, and one Oza among the top-seven titles, and five NHK Cups. A winning streak of six years in the Gosei earned him the title of Honorary Gosei. He also won two international titles, the 5th Fujitsu Cup in 1992 and the 6th TV Asia tournament in 1994. His career record is 1319 wins, 846 losses, 5 jigo, 1 no-contest. He served as chairman of the Nihon Ki-in board of directors from 2008 to 2012.

Chino Tadahiko 9P retired as of December 16. Chino was born in Chiba Prefecture on July 4, 1937. He became a disciple of Nakamura Yutaro 9P and made 1-dan in 1953. He reached 9-dan in 1983. He played twice in the Honinbo League.

Obituary: Kikuchi Yasuro

Kikuchi Yasuro, the leading amateur player of the second half of the 20th century and founder of the Ryokusei Igo Gakuen (Igo College), died of old age on November 3. Kikuchi was born in Tokyo in 1929. In 1948, he entered Senshu University and established himself as the top university player. In 1957, he won the 3rd Amateur Honinbo Championship; in all, he won it 13 times. In 1992, he won the 14th World Amateur Go Championship; he made five appearances in this tournament in all. He also won the Amateur Best Ten nine times. Winners of the Amateur Honinbo and the Amateur Best Ten got to play games with professionals, and, playing on a handicap of reverse komi or two stones, he enjoyed quite a good winning percentage. For example, taking black with a reverse komi of five, he beat Sakata Eio by eight points in 1957. In 1979, he founded the Ryokusei Igo Gakuen with the goal of giving children a healthy upbringing through go. It was not meant to be a training school for professionals, though about 20 of his pupils did become professionals, starting with Muramatsu Ryuichi 8P and including Yamashita Keigo, former Kisei, Aoki Shinichiro 9P, and his sister Kikuyo 8P. His last pupil to become a pro was Hoshiai Shiho 3P. I recall reading that when he was young, he consulted Segoe Kensaku 9P about whether he should become a professional. Segoe’s answer was that he had enough talent, but that he would be “just another 9-dan,” whereas as an amateur he would have a more illustrious career.

Tomorrow: 2021 stats