American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: Oh wins Go Seigen Cup; Sakai wins King of the New Stars; Hirata wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Shibano increases lead in Meijin title match, Iyama fights back

Sunday October 23, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Oh wins Go Seigen Cup

Top left: Meijin, Shibano at left; top right: Iyama; bottom right: Agon winner Hirata; bottom left: King New Stars, Sakai at right.

The best-of-three final of the 5th Go Seigen Cup was held on the net at the end of September. Oh Yujin 9-dan of Korea beat Wang Chenxing 5-dan of China 2-0. This is Oh’s first victory in this tournament. She also won the 7th Bingsheng Cup in 2016.

Game One (Sept. 27). Oh (B) by resig.

Game Two (Sept. 28). Oh (W) by resig.

Sakai wins King of the New Stars

The best-of-three final of the 47th King of the New Stars was fought between Otake Yu 7-dan and Sakai Yuki 3-dan. Otake had been enjoying good results this year, so he was the favorite, but Sakai showed that his rank was lagging behind his real strength. As noted in my previous report, his win in the first game of this match put an end to a winning streak by Otake of thirteen.

The second game was played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya on September 30. Taking black, Otake took the lead, but in the endgame, which is supposed to be his forte, he blundered, allowing Sakai to stage an upset. The latter won by 1.5 points after 285 moves. This is the 18-year-old Sakai’s first title.

Here are details of the tournament. Players are eligible if they are 6-dan and under and 25 and under on August 1 when a new term of the tournament starts. Since the 32nd term, winners graduate from the tournament. Before this rule came in, many players won a number of terms, the record being five times, achieved by Yoda Norimoto, closely followed by Yamashita Keigo, who won it four times in a row. Playing time is 3 hours each for the main tournament and the title match. First prize is ¥2,000,000 (about $13,450 at $1 = ¥148.7).

Hirata wins Agon Kiriyama Cup

The final of the 29th Agon Kiriyama Cup was played in a tea house called the Kagyuan (Snail’s Hermitage) in the grounds of the headquarters of the Agon sect in Yamashina Ward, Kyoto City, on October 1. Playing black, Hirata Tomoya 7-dan prevailed in a tight endgame contest and beat Iyama Yuta Meijin Honinbo by 1.5 points. This is Hirata’s first win in a tournament open to all players; the game was his first ever with Iyama. He won the 14th Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp tournament in 2019. Iyama has won this tournament five times.

Shibano increases lead in Meijin title match, Iyama fights back

The fourth game in the 47th Meijin title match was held at the Takarazuka Hotel, Takarazuka City, Hyogo Prefecture, on October 6 and 7. Taking white, Shibano Toramaru won by resignation after 208 moves. Iyama Yuta did not make any big mistakes, but some of his play in the middle game was a little dubious. Shibano took the lead and was able to hang on to it until the end. He now led the match 3-1, so his chance of making a comeback as Meijin looked good.

The fifth game was played at the Imai Residence in the town of Kawazu in Shizuoka Prefecture on October 12 and 13. Iyama suffered from a hallucination in the middle-game fighting, so Shibano took the lead. However, he made a miscalculation later on in the middle game, and that allowed Iyama to pull off an upset. 

With a 3-2 lead, Shibano still has the advantage, but he will have bitter memories of last year’s Honinbo title match in which he lost three games in a row after taking a 3-1 lead. The sixth game will be played on October 24 and 25.

Tomorrow: Tengen title match tied; Fujisawa makes good start in Women’s Honinbo; 47th Kisei tournament; Nong Shim Cup