American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: Iyama regains Oza title; The Teikei tournaments; Ueno wins Young Carp; Ida sets record in Crown title

Saturday January 29, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent  for the E-Journal

Iyama regains Oza title

In contrast to his other recent title matches, Iyama never fell behind in the 69th Oza best-of-five. Rather, it was the titleholder, Shibano Toramaru, who had to play catch-up in the second game and then save a kadoban in the fourth. The final game, played on December 9, was the last title-match game of the year. Iyama got black in the nigiri. The game was very close and in the end was decided by a small slip in judgment by Shibano, who resigned after move 161.

With this win, Iyama regained the title that he lost to Shibano two years ago. He was also once again the holder of a quintuple crown. Of the top seven titles, he is missing just the Tengen and the Judan, but he has already been eliminated from the 60th Judan tournament, so there is no immediately prospect of his getting another grand slam.  Results follow (note that Black won all the games). Incidentally, the Go Weekly reporter worked out that during 2021 Iyama’s record in kadoban games (that is, games in which he could have lost a match) was eight successive wins. The Oza prize is 14,000,000 yen (about $123,000). This is Iyama’s 67th title.

Game 1 (Oct. 29). Iyama (B) by resig.; Game 2 (Nov. 12). Shibano (B) by resig.; Game 3 (Nov. 19). Iyama (B) by resig.; Game 4 (Dec. 3). Shibano (B) by resig.; Game 5 (Dec. 9). Iyama (B) by resig.

The Teikei tournaments

In 2021, three new tournaments were founded by one sponsor, the Teikei Corporation. This is actually a massive family of companies whose core business seems to be providing security services of various kind. The three tournaments are described below. 

The Teikei Cup New Stars Tournament is for players of 25 or under, as of April 1 of the tournament year (this date applies to the other two tournaments also). The top 12 players in a preliminary tournament qualify for two all-play-all six-player leagues, the winners of which meet in a best-of-three final. First prize is 10,000,000 yen (close to $88,000), the most generous of the three tournaments. Unusually for a Japanese tournament, the leagues were held at the rate of a game a day from December 20 to 25 (the 23rd was a rest day). In the A League, Shibano Toramaru tied on 4-1 with Ichiriki Ryo, but Shibano took precedence because he won their encounter in the league. Kyo Kagen Judan dominated the B League with a score of 5-0. Shibano and Kyo will meet in the final in March. 

The Teikei Cup Legends Tournament: for players 60 and above. Players start out in a preliminary tournament, but honorary titleholders and the top four players in the Women Legends (see below) are seeded into the main tournament, which is a standard knockout. In the 1st term, 17 players are in the main tournament. First prize is 5,000,000 yen.

The Teikei Cup Women Legends Tournament: for players 45 and older. First prize is 2,000,000 yen. Actually the 1st term of this tournament has already been completed.  Thirteen players took part in a knock-out tournament, with three of the players being seeded into the second round. In the semifinals, Aoki Kikuyo 8P (B) beat Hosaka Mayu 3-dan by 4.5 points (played on November 25) and Kato Tomoko 6P (W) beat Tsukuda Akiko 6P by resig. (December 2). In the final, held in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in on December 11, Aoki (W) beat Kato Tomoko by 4.5 points. All four of these players are seeded into the Legends Tournament.

Ueno wins Young Carp

The main tournament of the 16th Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp Tournament was held at the Hotel MyStays Hiroshima on November 20 and 21. In the final, Ueno Asami (B) beat Nishi Kengo 5P by resignation. Last year this tournament was won by Fujisawa Rina; this year it was the turn of her main rival in women’s go, Ueno. She didn’t get an easy draw, either; her defeated opponents, in order, were Otani Naoki 4P, Koike Yoshihiro 6P, recognized as one of the top young players, and Mutsuura Yuta 7P, who has played in the Meijin league. First prize is 3,000,000 yen (about $26,360).

Ida sets record in Crown title

Ida Atsushi 8P

This is a title open only to players at the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in, who number about 50. The final of the 62nd Crown title was held in the Hodaka Hotel in Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture, on November 30. Taking black, Ida Atsushi 8P, the titleholder, beat the challenger Otake Yu 5P by resignation. Ida surprised his opponent by unveiling a new move in a large-scale corner fight in the opening; he said later that it was a move that AI doesn’t give and which he discovered for himself. It turns a seki into a winning capturing race for Black. Otake found a way to live but at the cost of having other stones come under severe pressure. After this opening, AI assessed Black’s winning chances at 90%. Ida’s own assessment was that he gained about five points. He has now held this title for six years in a row, which is a new record. First prize is 1,700,000 yen (just under $15,000).

Tomorrow: Choi wins 4th Go Seigen Cup; China wins Agon Kiriyama Cup play-off; Shibano wins Ryusei; Suzuki to challenge for Women’s Kisei; Kuksu Mountains World Championship