American Go E-Journal » 2022 » November

The Power Report: Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League; Sumire’s progress; Reo loses first game; Record win?

Wednesday November 16, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Honinbo League

As I reported on October 25, the 78th Honinbo League got off to a start on October 3 when Yo Seiki beat Fujita Akihiko. 

(Oct. 20) Ichiriki Ryo Kisei (B) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8-dan by resig.; Shibano Toramaru 9-dan (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8-dan by 1.5 points.

(Oct. 24) Kyo Kagen Judan (W) beat Otake Yu 7-dan by resig. 

That completes the first round. I will give the league chart in my next report.

Women’s Meijin League

Kobayashi Izumi, a newcomer to the league, and Nakamura Sumire, the previous challenger, have both made good starts. Results to date:

Kobayashi Izumi 7-dan (B) beat Suzuki Ayumi 7-dan by 7.5 points.

(Oct. 27) Nakamura Sumire 3-dan (W) beat Xie Yimin

Sumire’s progress

Nakamura Sumire’s results for the year so far are 42-20 (see “Most Wins” item below). Her overall results as a pro are 123 wins to 62 losses, so she has won a fraction under two thirds of her games.

(Oct. 17) Sumire (W) lost to Xie Yimin 7-dan by 2.5 points (Prelim. B、71st Oza).

(Oct. 20) Sumire (B) beat Tsukuda Akiko 6-dan by resig. (main tournament, 26th Women’s Kisei).

(Oct. 27) Sumire beat Xie Yimin – see Women’s Meijin League article above.

(Oct. 28) Sumire beat Kwon Hyojin – see Samsung article above.

Reo loses first game

Fujita Reo 1-dan, who set a new record by becoming professional 1-dan at nine years four months, played his first official game on October 25. His opponent was a fellow member of the Kansai Ki-in, Watanabe Koki 4-dan and the game was in the first round of the King of the New Stars preliminary. Taking white, Reo lost by resignation. His play was perhaps a little too reckless; his more experienced opponent was able to take charge of the game. 

Record win?

On October 17, Sugiuchi Kazuko 8-dan (W) beat Koda Akiko 4-dan by resig. in the preliminary round of the 10th Women’s Hollyhock Cup. She was born on March 6, 1927, so that makes her age 95 years eight months. Her husband, Masao 9-dan, played his last game at the age of 97. He holds the record for the oldest professional to win a game: 96 years 10 months. His wife is surely the oldest woman professional to win a game.

Tomorrow: Yoda suspended by the Nihon Ki-in; Most wins; Best winning streaks; Winning streaks recently ended; Retirements


2022 Chicago Rapid Championship breaks previous attendance record

Monday November 14, 2022

Top left: tournament winners; Top right: view of the playing room; bottom right: Youth players; bottom left: Open section. photos by Mark Rubenstein and Simon Guo

Last weekend’s Chicago Rapid Championship set a new record for attendance with 92 players and 10 unrated first-time youths. “We went international this time! Dohyup Kim, an EGF 7d, flew from Korea to compete with the best players in the Midwest,” said organizer Albert Yen 8d. “The field was stacked with 16 players 5 dan or stronger, including our newest American pro Alex Qi 1p. And with five rounds in one day… Well, that’s why we called it the Rapid!”

“People in the Main Division were really motivated to play lots of games!” said Main Division TD Mark Rubenstein. “The first place winners in three bands played nine games each. It’s tough to go 5-0 and still only get second place, which happened twice.”

“My favorite fact about the 2022 Chicago Rapid Championship is that our players span multiple generations and communities,” said Yen, “There is a 70-year age gap between our oldest (Guangmin Xu, age 75) and youngest (Winston Yan, age 5) players. The best part was, they were also in the same division! This is the beauty of go on full display, where people of all ages can compete as equals.”   

“Thanks to Eva-Dee’s amazing efforts, Boards 1 and 2 were streamed live on Twitch all five rounds. Our gratitude goes out to Ragnarr Marksen, Aldric Giacomoni, Nate Morse, and Forest Song for being our remote recorders,” said Open TD Cheuk To Tsui.

“Big thanks also to Devin Fraze for his awesome tournament app,” said Rubenstein. “This was the smoothest check-in we’ve ever had, especially considering that we had more players than ever before. Players were able to check themselves in with just a couple clicks on an iPad, freeing up me and co-TD’s to handle special situations. We must also thank Sungsoo Kim, who provided music performance during our opening ceremony, Ginger Persolus, who designed our website logo, and Jamie Tang, who helped tremendously with check-in and sorting out meal plans. Lastly, a special shout-out to Ashley Qi, who volunteered to help with check-in, then continued to give us a full day of outstanding and dedicated help with translation, pairings, and results. Our tournament was made possible by the work that volunteers put in.”

“We had the biggest selection of prizes ever,” said Yen. “We want to thank all our sponsors and prize contributors;, Yellow Mountain Imports, OGS, American Yunguseng Dojang, Alex Qi, Shawn Ray, Jeremiah Donley, and Moon Ki Cho. We had a prize set aside for the first-ever 100th attendee at a tournament… it will just have to wait until the 2023 Chicago Open in May!”

First place winners are shown here. The complete results are viewable on the AGA Player Ratings Database.

Open; Albert Yen 8d (5-0)
Dan: Mike Neigebauer 1k (4-1)
High Kyu: John Kirschenheiter 4k (7-2)
Mid Kyu: Henry Hsueh 9k (5-1)
Low Kyu: Jeffrey Jiao 11k (9-0)
Novice: Dino Wang 15k (9-0)
Youth: Belle Chao 
Most Games Played (9): John Kirschenheiter 4k, Dino Wang 15k, Jeffrey Jiao 11k, Jason Cheng 15k


Jerry Jaffe 1D tops Lake Erie Go Tournament

Monday November 14, 2022

photos: Top right: Dan winners Yoder, Jerry Jaffe & Kim with TD Soren Jaffe (left); bottom right: Kyu winners Brentlinger, Kaplan & Rolhfing with TD; at left: tournament player shots

Jerry Jaffe 1D took top honors at the Lake Erie Go Tournament, held November 5 at the Lake Erie College campus, in Painesville Ohio. Originally planned for Spring 2020, the seventh edition of the event had been postponed due to the pandemic, and with 26 players wound up attracting the highest turnout of players for the tournament series.

Dan Winners
1st Jerry Jaffe 1D
2nd Eric Yoder 6D
3rd DoHyup Kim 7D

Kyu Winners
1st Steve Brentlinger 8K
2nd Joe Kaplan 5K
3rd David Rolhfing 3K


The Power Report: Fujisawa defends Women’s Honinbo; Iyama makes good start in Oza; Kisei challenger: Shibano or Yamashita; Tsuruyama wins first title

Monday November 14, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa defends Women’s Honinbo

Rina (R) defends Women’s Honinbo

Fujisawa Rina v. Ueno Asami is the top pairing in women’s go in Japan, but recently Fujisawa seems to have the edge over her closest rival. In the 41st Women’s Honinbo title match, she rebuffed Ueno’s challenge with three straight wins. This gave her her third Women’s Honinbo title in a row and her sixth overall. Fujisawa tally of titles has now reached, so she is getting closer to the record, Xie Yimin’s 27. At her present pace, two years should do it.

(Game 1)  Fujisawa (B) won by resig. (included in our previous report).
Game 2 (Oct. 23). Fujisawa (W) won by resig.
Game 3 (Nov. 4). Fujisawa (B) won by half a point.

Iyama makes good start in Oza

The first game in the 70th Oza title match was played at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on October 21. Iyama Yuta, the defending champion, drew white in the nigiri. Both players played an innovative opening that led to fierce fighting. Iyama followed a tenuki (not answering the opponent’s move) strategy in the opening. He had three stones in the top left. Black made two moves threatening these stones, but Iyama ignored them. Only when Black attacked a third time did he add a stone. His group was very thin, yet later Iyama made yet another tenuki. Despite this, he managed to secure a slight edge in the middle-game fighting and nursed his lead into a 1.5-point win.

Just for the record, the time allowance is three hours per player and play begins at 10 o’clock. Lunch is taken from 12 to one. If Iyama wins, it will be his landmark 70th title.

Kisei challenger: Shibano or Yamashita

Only one game has been played in the Kisei knockout since our previous report (October 24). On October 27, Yamashita Keigo, the winner of the A League, (B) beat Takao Shinji 9-dan, second in the S League, by resig. Yamashita will meet Shibano in the “best-of-three” playoff to decide the challenger, but Shibano is gifted one win, so one win will make him the challenger. 

Tsuruyama wins first title

Tsuruyama Atsushi 8-dan is an unusual example these days of a player achieving more success around 40 than around 20 (he was born on August 21, 1981). First of all, he gained seats in two Honinbo Leagues; now he has won his first title, the 5th SGW Golden Mean Cup. Actually, this is not a title a young player could win, as it is for Nihon Ki-in players from 31 to 60 who haven’t won a major title. In the final, he defeated Anzai Nobuaki 8-dan (aged 37); playing white, he won by resignation after 222 moves. This tournament uses the NHK format: 30 seconds per move, plus ten minutes to be used at will in one-minute units. It starts out with 16 mini-tournaments, each with eight players (actually, one of them had only seven, as the total number of players taking part was 127—one player was seeded into second round). Three successive wins earn you a seat in the main tournament, which is a 16-player modified Swiss; the two players with three wins after three rounds meet in the “final”, which is part of the fourth round. That means that you have to win seven games in a row to win first place.  First prize is ¥2,000,000 ($13,640 at $1 = ¥146.62). Winners cannot take part again. Incidentally, Tsururyama is the only player to have played in all five main tournaments.

Tomorrow: Women’s Meijin League; Sumire’s progress; Reo loses first game; Record win?

Categories: Japan,Main Page

The Power Report: China wins 1st Hoban Cup; Shibano wins Meijin title; 2022 Samsung Cup

Sunday November 13, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

China wins 1st Hoban Cup

I submitted my previous report (uploaded on October 25) in the midst of the final round. Ueno Asami had just won three games in a row, including a win over the world’s number one woman player, Choi Jeong 9-dan. In game 13, played on October 20, Zhou Hongyu 6-dan (B) beat her by resignation, so China won the 1st Cup with one player, Yu Zhiying, still in reserve. First prize is 100,000,000 won ($71,225 at $1 = 1404 won). Japan came second and Korea third. Ueno received a prize of for winning three games in a row.

Shibano wins Meijin title

The sixth game of the 47th Meijin title match was held at the Atami Sekitei Inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on October 24 and 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta Meijin, who was facing his second successive kadoban, played solidly in the opening. The challenger, Shibano Toramaru 9-dan, played aggressively, making attack after attack. In the middle game, a black group suddenly got cut off. It looked as if the fate of this group would decide the game: Iyama’s response was to play a tenuki, that is, to switch elsewhere.

There was an incident in this game that won’t appear in the game record. After Black 31, Shibano suffered a nosebleed. Usually it’s a breach of etiquette for the player whose turn it is to leave the go board, but, after seeking Iyama’s approval, Shibano returned to his room and somehow stopped the bleeding. He also changed his mask, as the previous one was spotted with blood. Of course, all this happened on his time, though Go Weekly doesn’t say how long Shibano was absent.

Iyama’s tenuki strategy worked well for him. Gradually he seized the initiative. Shibano was unable to find a good way of attacking the group Iyama had left to fend for itself. He resigned after 215 moves. The title match was now even. Iyama was displaying great tenacity, just as he did in last year’s Honinbo title match with Shibano.

The final game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on November 2 and 3. Iyama drew black. From the opening, Shibano launched fierce attacks on black, but Iyama displayed his customary skill at looking after his groups and took the lead. However, Shibano made a relentless attack on a large black group and was able to kill it. Iyama resigned after 202 moves.

After a gap of two terms, Shibano was Meijin again. Iyama still had three titles—the Honinbo, Oza, and Gosei—but he dropped to third place in the official rankings, after Ichiriki Kisei and Shibano Meijin. Shibano commented that beating Iyama in a big-three title match had been one of his major goals, so he was very happy at finally being able to pull it off. The top seven titles are now divided among five players.

2022 Samsung Cup

The highlight of this year’s Samsung’s Cup, the 27th, was the extraordinary performance of Korea’s Choi Jeong 9-dan. She has long been the world’s top woman player, but this time she surpassed herself, becoming the first woman to reach the final of an international tournament. In Round 2, she beat Japan’s number one, Ichiriki Ryo, then beat two players who have won international tournaments. Japan started out well, with three out of four players making the second round, but no one went further. Still, it was encouraging to see Nakamura Sumire win her first game against an 18-year-old Korean 4-dan. She was a late entry for the tournament when Yoda Norimoto was suspended and became unable to play (see story below). Selected results followed. 

Round 1 (Oct. 27, 28). Ichiriki Ryo 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Oh Yujin 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Kyo Kagen 9-dan (Japan) beat Han Woojin 5-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yang Dingxin 9-dan (China) (B) beat Shin Minjun 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Choi Jeong 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Sada Atsushi 7-dan (Japan) by resig.; Nakamura Sumire 3-dan (Japan) (W) beat Kwon Hyojin 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9-dan (Korea) beat Mi Yuting 9-dan (China); Fan Tingyu 9-dan (China) beat Kang Dongyun 9-dan (Korea).

Round 2 (Oct. 31, Nov. 1) Choi (W) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Byun Sangil 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Gu Jihao 9-dan (China) by resig.; Kim Myonghoon 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9-dan (China) by half a point; Kim Jiseok 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Xu Haohong 8-dan (Ch. Taipei) by half a point; Yang (W) beat Kyo by resig.; Lee Hyeonjin 6-dan (Korea) (B) beat Nakamura by 1.5 points; Park Jeonghoon 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Tan Shui 9-dan (China) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Fan Tingyu 9-dan (Korea) by 1.5 points.

Quarterfinals (Nov. 2, 3). Kim Myonghoon (W) beat Kim Jiseok by resig.; Shin (W) beat Park by resig.; Choi (B) beat Yang by resig.; Byun (W) beat Lee by resig. Semifinals (Nov. 4, 5). Choi beat Byun; Shin plays Kim in the other semifinal—it must have been played by now, but the result is not given on the Nihon Ki-in HP.

Tomorrow: Fujisawa defends Women’s Honinbo; Iyama makes good start in Oza; Kisei challenger: Shibano or Yamashita; Tsuruyama wins first title


Upsets and Big Wins during the Pandanet AGA City League Finals

Monday November 7, 2022

The 10th year of the Pandanet AGA City League brought some of its strongest competition yet. The final rounds were played after the US Go Congress this year. Ithaca faced off against Canwa Vancouver 2 and Chicago faced New York City. Results and games are linked below, bold denotes winner.

Ithaca defeated Canwa Vancouver 2 in this years finals by 2-1. The B League has changed in the last few years as the number of strong players playing has changed in the last few years. The 10 team League duked it out through seven rounds this year. As not all of the teams played each other, by the time the season came to close the top two teams had not played each other. With almost matching results during the season, a final round was scheduled. Canwa Vancouver has played teams from the A and B leagues over the years. With the perennially strong Canwa Vancouver 1 team so close it is easy for them to train. Ithaca on the other hand came out of the gorges to run through their opponents. Over the years these three have shown their strength at many tournaments, as a team they have become formidable. The finals showed this off and it was close. Canwa Vancouver scored a strong win on the first board (W+R). Ithaca came back on the other boards with good wins over their opponents (W+33.5 and B+4.5).
Board 1: Alan Huang 7d (B) vs Leo Tian 6d (W)
Board 2: Hongkui Zheng 7d vs Nick Jin 5d
Board 3: Aaron Ye 7d vs Kevin Wang 5d

Chicago upset New York City this year by 2-1. New York City has won the previous three years and were the favorites going in this year. As the final round approached it showed Chicago out front with NYC and Canwa Vancouver 1 at their heels. After a very close set of tie breaks NYC took on Chicago. This is Chicago’s second year in the A League after being in the B League for a few years. Some important changes to their top boards have brought a renewed strength with their wins. The three final games were slow and carefully played out. Boards 2 and 3 (B+R and B+11.5) were finished within a few minutes of each other. Both teams and viewers watched Board 1 finish out its exciting finish (B+5.5).
Board 1: Tim Song 1p (B) vs Ryan Li 3p (W)
Board 2: Calvin Sun 1p vs Stephanie Yin 1p
Board 3: Albert Yen 8d vs Michael Chen 8d


Pandanet AGA City League Registration is open for the 11th year

Monday November 7, 2022

Have you talked to your club yet? Sat them down and had a serious chat? Have you convinced them to play in this season’s Pandanet City League? You should! Before you go to club this week review the latest rules and dates for the leagues and chat with them about registering. This long running tournament brings the best across North America to compete for top prizes and glory for their city. Can your team defeat our recent winningest teams; Chicago, Ithaca, Wachington DC 2, or New York City 4?


Registration for SDGC 13×13 Go Tournament now open

Monday November 7, 2022

By popular demand, the San Diego Go Club has added a 13×13 go tournament to the upcoming King Cup – California State Go Championship weekend.

photo: perfect setting for small-board go

The 13×13 five-round tournament will be played on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, November 27, 2022, at the San Diego Chess Club in Balboa Park. The tournament is intended for beginner go players (20+ kyu), both adults and youth, to give them experience in tournament competition on a smaller board with faster games. No handicaps will be given in games.

Click here for registration and complete information; registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

There is no entry fee for this tournament, but American Go Association membership is required. “Costs for this tournament will be borne by the San Diego Go Club which believes in encouraging participation in go,” says club president Ted Terpstra. All players will get a free pizza lunch as well as two free go books. Youth will also get a coupon for a free meal at Rubio’s Coastal Grill. Noted Southern California go professional and go teacher, Hai Li, will be the tournament director.

Check-in on Sunday, November 27 is from 9:30-9:45 a.m. Rounds will be at 10 & 11 a.m. and 1, 2, & 3 p.m. An awards ceremony for all sections will follow competition.

The Open and Handicap sections of the King Cup – California State go Championship on Saturday and Sunday, November 26 & 27 already have more than 30 entrants including a 7-dan and four 6-dans competing for the $400 first prize (total prize pool of over $1,000). There is a separate registration for these sections here.


Vermont goes with the flow

Monday November 7, 2022

Top left (l-r): 4-0 winners Nanjia Jiang and Micah Feldman, with TD Peter Schumer; bottom: 3-1 finishers (l-r): Shiyang Qi (4 dan), Ron Weinstock (2 kyu), Aaron Mitton (11 kyu), Jonathen Green (2 kyu), Douglas Huch (3 kyu), with TD Schumer in front.

Last weekend’s Vermont Go with the Flow Tournament attracted 26 players from New York and New England. “The weather was perfect, game play almost as good,” reports organizer and TD Peter Schumer. In first place was Micah Feldman 3D at 4-0, while second place went to Nanjia Jiang 10K, also 4-0. “Everyone got a prize!” says Schumer. Top place winners got go sets including first prize of board, bowls, and slate and shell stones from Japan.


2022 Chicago Rapid breaks record before it begins

Sunday November 6, 2022

The 2022 Chicago Rapid Championship scheduled for Nov. 12 will be bigger and better than ever, according to event coordinators.

“It’s happening!” said organizer Albert Yen. “The Chicago Rapid will be bigger, stronger, and better than ever! Early registration has already surpassed the previous record turnout of 84 players, and we still have almost a week to go!” 

The Championship will feature the longstanding arena-style handicap division for players from beginner to mid-dan, as well as a rapid-format Open division for high-dan players. Other features include:

• Downstairs room available for game reviews, kibbitzing, eating, and Youth tournament

• Professional Tim Song (2018 U.S. Open Champion) and Shawn Ray (Clossius) to give instant reviews in the downstairs room 

• Live streaming of the Open section on Twitch by professional commentators

• Free lessons for youth and their parents by Simon Guo

• Prizes include $500 for first place, $300 for second place, equipment from Yellow Mountain, free lessons with professional Alex Qi and top Go teachers in the U.S.

• Special prize raffles for early bird registrants and those who play 4 games

• Dinner party afterwards at the venue

• 10% discount at Tealicous and Yellow Mountain Imports for all attendees 

Visit the tournament website to register. 

“The question is not whether we’ll hit triple digits” said club president Mark Rubenstein. “It’s who will get a special prize for being the first player #100 at any Evanston Go Club tourney!”