American Go E-Journal

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