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The Power Report: Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo; Meijin League Update; Lead shared in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League concludes; Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense

Thursday January 21, 2016

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2016.01.21_40kisei1_4

Judan challenger: Iyama or Yo: The new tournament year at the Nihon Ki-in got off to a good start on January 7. Most of the interest focused on the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament. The Judan is the only top-seven title Iyama Yuta doesn’t hold; if he becomes the challenger, he has a chance of achieving a simultaneous grand slam. In his semifinal, Iyama (B) beat Imamura Toshiya 9P by resignation. His opponent in the play-off to decide the challenger to Ida Atsushi will be Yo Seiki 7P of the Kansai Ki-in. In his semifinal, Yo’s opponent, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B), forfeited the game because of an illegal move when he recaptured a ko immediately, without making a ko threat. (To be precise, Yo’s ko threat was a ko capture in a position that was a double ko; Shida, who was in his last minute of byo-yomi, should have captured the other ko.) Last year Yo lost the play-off to decide the Oza challenger to Iyama, so he will be seeking revenge. This chance comes on January 21.

Meijin League Update: The first game of the second round of the 41st Meijin League was played on January 7. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Hane2016.01.21_meijin-league Naoki 9P by resignation. At this point, Ko, on 2-0, took the provisional lead. On January 11, Takao Shinji 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and joined Ko in the provisional lead.

Lead shared in Honinbo League: The first game in the fourth round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on January 7, with Ichiriki Ryo 7P (B) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. On January 14, Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Motoki 2016.01.21_honinbo-leagueKatsuya 7P by resig. This was Motoki’s first loss, so he now shares the lead with Yo; both are on 3-1. Takao also has only one loss, so he has a chance of joining them in the lead.

Women’s Meijin League concludes: The final round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was held on January 7. Aoki Kikuyo 8P had already won the league in the fifth round, but she won her final game as well to finish with a perfect score. Results: Aoki (W) beat Fujisawa Rina 3P by resig.; Okuda Aya 3P (B) beat Kato Keiko 6P by resig.; Suzuki Ayumi 6P (B) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 2.5 points. The title match with Xie Yimin will start in March.2016.01.21_womens-meijin

Iyama makes good start in Kisei defense: The first game of the 40th Kisei title match was held at the Konjakutei inn in Higashiyama Hot Spring in the city of Aizu-wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture on January 14 and 15. The defending champion Iyama Yuta (aged 26) drew white in the nigiri to decide the colors. The challenger Yamashita Keigo 9-dan (aged 37) made a positive start, playing aggressively in the opening. The game was decided by a ko fight in which Yamashita sacrificed a group in order to win a ko started after White invaded a black position. Iyama took the lead in this exchange and hung on for a win, rebuffing some do-or-die attacks by Black. Yamashita resigned after 202 moves. The second game will be played on January 28 and 29.

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The Power Report (3): Iyama wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off; Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan; Promotions

Wednesday December 30, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.12.28_Agon Kiriyama

Iyama wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off: The 17th Japan-China Ago 2015.12.28_AgonKiriyama play-off (right) was held at the Shangri-la Hotel Chengdu in the city of Chengdu in China on December 25. Iyama Yuta 9P (left) put an end to a long series of defeats for Japan by beating Huang Yunsong 4P of China. Taking white, Iyama won by resignation. Earlier in the year, Huang won the 2nd Globis Cup; in the final of the Chinese Agon Kiriyama Cup, he beat Chen Yaoye. The game was broadcast live on Chinese TV. After winning the first four play-offs, Japan lost the next twelve, so Iyama’s win was a much-appreciated Xmas present for Japanese fans. First prize is five million yen and second is two million.

Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan: Thanks to good results in the professional qualifying tournament for 2016, Antti Mikael 2015.12.28_antti-tormanenTormanen has qualified as professional shodan as of April 1, 2016. Aged 26, Tormanen (right) has qualified as a Foreign Nationality Special Professional. His record in the qualifying tournament was eight wins to seven losses. He is the first Westerner to become a professional at the Nihon Ki-in since the late Hans Pietsch 6P in 1997. (See our original 12/8 report here.)

Promotions
To 7-dan: Akedo Kazumi (120 wins) (as of December 18). Akedo was born on June 27, 1947. He became 1-dan in 1968 and is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in.
To 4-dan: Son Makoto (50 wins) (as of December 4).

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The Power Report (2): Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League; Korea wins team tournament; Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24; Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League

Tuesday December 29, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League: The third round of the 71st Honinbo League was played on December 10 and 17. Motoki Katsuya 7P, the dark horse of the league, continued his good form and retained the sole lead. In contrast, former Honinbo Cho U has made a dismal start, with three losses. Cho’s decision to move to Taiwan to improve his form is not working out yet.
(December 10) Motoki (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P by 1.5 points; Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by half a point. (December 17) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig.

Korea wins team tournament: The Golden Dragon City Cup World Team Championship is an unusual team tournament that includes consultation games. It started out two years ago as the Zhugang Cup, but in its second term changed its name to the above. Three-player 2015.12.28_Yo So Yoda consultingteams compete and in the first term, only the final was a consultation game; this time the semifinals were also consultation games. This year’s tournament was held in Guangzhou City from December 16 to 22. The semifinalists were the top teams in a five-round Swiss with 16 teams. These included nine teams that had won their way through the preliminaries and seven seeded teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei. Another unusual feature of this tournament is that, besides their regular teams, Japan, China, and Korea also fielded ‘wild card teams’, made up of players over 29 who had won world titles or who had made outstanding contributions to go. The Japanese wild card team consisted of Cho Chikun, Kobayashi Koichi, and O Rissei, and the regular team of Yoda Norimoto 9P, So Yokoku 9P, and Yo Seiki 7P.
In the Swiss System tournament, China took first place with five wins; its team was made up of its number one to three players, that is, Ke Jie, Shi Yue, and Zhou Ruiyang. Its record was 14-1, with only Zhou dropping a game. Second was Korea, third was Japan, and fourth the Korean wild card team. Just for the record, the 5th to 16th places were as follows: China wild card, Australia, Chinese Taipei, China Hong Kong, Japan wild card, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France, Israel, and Singapore. In the semifinals, Korea beat Japan and China beat Korea wild card. In the final, Korea (white) beat China by half a point. In a play-off for third place, Korea wild card beat Japan.

Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24: Iyama Yuta’s winning streak, which started in May and included wins in the Gosei, Meijin, Oza, and Tengen title matches, has finally come to an end. At 24 successive wins, Iyama is in equal second place in the tournament records with Rin Kaiho, Hon. Tengen. Top is Sakata Eio, 23rd Honinbo, with 29 wins in a row. The only information published was that Iyama’s winning streak came to an end with a loss in a TV tournament. Probably this was in the 63rd NHK Cup, in which he was slated to play the winner of a game between Kono Rin 9P and Matsumoto Takehisa 7P in a quarterfinal. We won’t know for sure until the game is televised.

Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League: A win in the fifth round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League has given Aoki Kikuyo 8P the league victory regardless of the result of her sixth game. On December 17, Aoki beat Mannami Nao, improving her score to 5-0. Even if Fujisawa Rina 3P beats Aoki in the final round, tying her on 5-1, Aoki takes precedence thanks to her number two rank in the league (there are no play-offs). Aoki has won the Women’s Meijin title five times, but the last time was in 2006. The title match with Xie Yimin, who will be aiming at her ninth win in a row, will start in March.
Games in December: (Dec. 7) Fujisawa Rina 3P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by resig. (Dec. 17) Aoki Kikuyo (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by resig.; Chinen Kaori 5P (W) beat Okuda Aya 3P by 1.5 points.

Tomorrow: Iyama wins Japan-China Agon Kiriyama play-off; Finland’s Tormanen becomes pro shodan; Promotions

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The Power Report (1): New Meijin League gets under way; Kansai Ki-in moves; Hane defends Crown title; Yoshihara to challenge for Women’s Kisei

Monday December 28, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.12.28_Hane wins Crown

New Meijin League gets under way; Kansai Ki-in moves: The first games in the 41st Meijin League were played on December 3. In a match-up between heavyweights, Takao Shinji 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig. Ko Iso 8P (B) beat league newcomer Hirata Tomoya 7P by resig. On December 10, Cho U (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. On December 17, Murakawa Daisuke (B) beat Uchida Shuhei 7P by resignation, completing the first round. Incidentally, this was one of the last games played at the headquarters of the Kansai Ki-in in the Nihon Bunka Kaikan (Japan Culture Hall). After 47 years at this venue, the Kansai Ki-in is moving to a new address: 4th & 5th Floors, Heiwa Building, Kitahama Itchome, Chuo-ku, Osaka 541-0041.

Hane defends Crown title: The final of the 56th Crown title, which is open to Nagoya professionals, was held on December 4. Taking white, Hane (right) rebuffed the challenge of Ogata Masaki 9P, forcing a 2015.12.28_Yoshihararesignation after 150 moves. This is Hane’s fifth Crown title in a row; overall, he has won it 12 times. That takes his tally of titles to 25, which is ninth in the all-time records.

Yoshihara to challenge for Women’s Kisei: The play-off to decide the challenger to Xie Yimin for the 19th DoKoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title was held in the Ryusei Studio in the basement of the Nihon Ki-in at Ichigaya on December 7. Yoshihara Yukari 6P (W) defeated Kato Keiko 6P by resig. Yoshihara (left) won this title three times from 2007 to 2009, then lost the next two matches to Xie. At present, Xie has held the title for three years in a row.

Tomorrow: Motoki retains lead in Honinbo League; Korea wins team tournament; Iyama’s winning streak ends on 24; Aoki wins Women’s Meijin League

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The Power Report: Iyama regains sextuple crown; Surprise leader in Honinbo League; Women’s Meijin League; Judan semifinalists; Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title

Sunday November 29, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama regains sextuple crown: The third game of the 41st Tengen title match was held at the Munakata Yurix* in Munakata City, 2015.11.29_41tengen-IyamaFukuoka Prefecture on November 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta (right) forced Takao Shinji (left, in white shirt) to resign after 147 moves. Iyama took a 2015.11.29_41tengen_02decisive lead in the first large fight of the game and wrapped it up by killing a large group. This win won back the title he lost to Takao on December 19 last year. He also once again held six of the top seven titles; this is his third sextuple crown. Overall, this is his 34th title, and his winning streak is now 24, which puts him in equal second place in modern tournament records with Rin Kaiho, Hon. Tengen. With his twelfth successive win in title matches, he also equals another record, one set by Sakata Eio. Iyama’s cumulative record in title matches is 100 wins to 49 losses, a winning percentage of 67.1%. Click here for Go Game Guru’s report, with game records and more photos.
* the Munakata Yurix is an elaborate complex of facilities including a large library, planetarium, various halls, and sporting facilities.


Surprise leader in Honinbo League: A surprising player has taken the sole lead after just two rounds in the 71st Honinbo League. The2015.11.29_honinbo-league final game of the second round was played on November 26, and league newcomer Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P, the top-ranked player in the league, by 1.5 points. Motoki is the only player on 2-0.

Women’s Meijin League: In a game played on November 26, Chinen Kaori 5P picked up her first win. Playing white, she beat Kato Keiko 6P by resignation. Chinen was already doomed to lose her league 2015.11.29-women's-meijin-leagueplace, but this win ensured that she had the company of Kato (both are on 1-4).

Judan semifinalists: In the Judan tournament, in which the focus of interest is Iyama’s attempt to go for a genuine grand slam, two more semifinalists have been decided. Imamura Toshiya 9P beat Ichiriki Ryo 7P and will face Iyama in one semifinal. Shida Tatsuya 7P beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P and will meet either Yo Seiki 7P or Takao Shinji 9P in the other semifinal.

Xie regains Women’s Honinbo title: After a gap of two terms, Xie Yimin has won back the Women’s Honinbo title. The fifth game of the 2015.11.29_34fhoninbo5_234th title match was played at the Nihon Ki-in on November 27. Taking white, Xie (right) won by resignation after 272 moves. Fujisawa Rina (left) had looked like defending her title when she won the first two games, but then Xie made a stubborn fightback to take the next three. As she also holds the Women’s Meijin and Women’s Kisei titles, Xie once again has a triple crown.

Retirement: Ogoshi Ichiro 8P retired as of November 30. Born in Oita Prefecture on November 7, 1954, Ogoshi became a disciple of Kitani Minoru and made pro 1-dan in 1976. He reached 8-dan in 1999. After retirement, he plans to devote himself to spreading go in Kushiro City, Hokkaido.

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The Power Report (2): Pair Go tournament for professional couples; Iyama tops most-wins list; Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama

Wednesday November 25, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.11.24_Married couples final

Pair Go tournament for professional couples: The second Professional Married Couples Pair Go Tournament was held at the Nihon Ki-in on Sunday, November 22. If you write the date 11/22 and take the first syllable of the numbers in Japanese, you get the word “ii fufu,” which means “a good married couple,” so this is an apposite date for this tournament. Last year, eight pairs took part; that increased to 13 this year, but the same pairs reached the final (right): Suzuki Ayumi 6P and her husband Rin Kanketsu 7P and the Mimuras, Kaori 3P and Tomoyasu 9P (at left). The latter took their revenge for their loss last year, playing white and securing a resignation after 206 moves. First prize is one million yen and second 400,000.

Iyama tops most-wins list: Thanks to his winning streak, Iyama Yuta has worked his way to top place in the most-wins list. After his Oza win, his record for the year is 39-9. That’s a winning percentage of 81%, which is astonishing considering the level of his opponents. The top players are given below.
1. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 39-9
2. Kyo Kagen 3P: 38-9; Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 38-16
4. Shibano Toramaru 2P: 36-5
5. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 35-20
6. Ida Atsushi Judan: 32-18
7. Motoki Katsuya 7P: 29-10; Ogata Masaki 9P: 29-12; Kono Rin 9P: 29-12-1 no contest; Tsuruta Kazushi 3P: 29-12; Mutsuura Yuta 2P: 29-13
12. 25th Honinbo Chikun, Son Makoto 3P: 28-14
14. Akiyama Jiro 9P: 27-9; Cho Riyu 8P: 27-10
16. Koyama Kuya 2P: 25-12; Ko Iso 8P: 25-17; Fujisawa Rina: 25-21

Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama: The final of 17th Agon Kiriyama Cup, a sister tournament to the Japanese title, was held in the City of Taiyuan. Taking white, the 18-year-old Huang Yunsong 4P beat Chen Yaoye 9P by resignation. Huang, who won the 2nd Globis Cup U-20 in May, will meet Iyama Yuta in the Japanese-Chinese playoff on December 25.

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The Power Report (1): Women’s Meijin League; Honinbo League; Iyama wins Oza, regains quintuple crown; Terayama repeats in Young Carp

Tuesday November 24, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.11.24_womens-meijin

Women’s Meijin League: Two important games were played in the 28th Women’s Meijin League last week. On November 16, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, (W) beat Mannami Nao 3P by 6.5 points. Fujisawa had to win this game to keep alive her chances of becoming the challenger. She goes to 3-1, in equal second place with Okuda Aya 3P. Mannami drops to 2-2, so all she can aim at is keeping her place. The tough thing for Fujisawa and Okuda is that they are ranked equal 5th in the league. The leader is Aoki Kikuyo 8P, who is ranked second. In my previous report, I mentioned that Aoki just had to win two of her remaining three games to become the challenger, as she would take precedence in a tie. She played the first of those three games on November 19. Taking black, she beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by 1.5 points. That 2015.11.24_honinbo-leagueimproves her score to 4-0 and improves her odds to 1 in 2, as she now just has to win one game out of two. Her remaining opponents are Mannami and Fujisawa. The above game was Aoki’s seventh win in a row.

Honinbo League: One game in the 71st Honinbo League was played on November 19. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resignation. Kono improves his score to 1-1 and Cho is 0-2. Cho’s decision to return home to Taiwan is not paying off yet.

Iyama wins Oza, regains quintuple crown: The third game of the 63rd Oza title match was held at the Hotel Okura Kobe in Kobe City,2015.11.24_Oza 3 Iyama Hyogo Prefecture on November 19. In dominating form, Iyama Yuta (black, at left) pounced on a misreading by the titleholder, Murakawa Daisuke (right), and seized the initiative. Iyama’s flawless play then denied Murakawa any chance to get back into the game and he was forced to resign after just 135 moves. Murakawa was unable to match the precision of Iyama’s reading; after a reign of just one year, he surrendered the title he took from Iyama last year. With this win, Iyama regains his quintuple crown after a gap of 11 months. This is his third Oza title and his 33rd title overall. It is also his 23rd successive win. Go journalists are starting to refer to the record set by Sakata Eio, 23rd 2015.11.24_Young carp final, Terayama (left)Honinbo, in 1963 and 1964 of 29 successive wins. What the two streaks have in common is that many of the wins were in title matches or tournament finals, so the defeated opponents were mainly top players.

Teranishi repeats in Young Carp: The semifinals and final of the 10th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup Young Carp Tournament, open to Nihon Ki-in players under 31 and under 8-dan, were held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 22. In the semifinals, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P and Teranishi Rei 4P (B) beat last year’s winner Motoki Katsuya 7P; the margin in both games was 2.5 points. In the final, Teranishi (B) forced Shida to resign after 159 moves. Teranishi (at left) also won the 5th cup. First prize is three million yen.
Tomorrow: Pair Go tournament for professional couples; Iyama tops most-wins list; Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama

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The Power Report (2): Iyama still on track; Iyama wins second straight in Oza and Tengen; Honinbo League: Round Two starts; Japan eliminated from LG Cup

Thursday November 19, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.11.18_63oza2 Yuki joins in game review. Iyama left

Iyama still on track: Iyama Yuta has become the first player to reach the semifinals of the 54th Judan tournament, so he is still on track to secure an unprecedented septuple crown, though of course he still has some distance to go. In the first of the quarterfinals, played on November 5, Iyama (B) defeated Yuki Satoshi 9P by resignation. His semifinal opponent will be the winner of a game between Ichiriki Ryo 7P and Imamura Toshiya 9P. The pairings in the other quarterfinals are Yo Seiki 7P vs. Takao Shinji Tengen and Kobayashi Satoru 9P vs. Shida Tatsuya 7P.

2015.11.18_Iyama wins Oza 2Iyama wins second straight in Oza and Tengen: The second game of the 63rd Oza title match was played at the Yakage-ya inn in the town of Yakage in Okayama Prefecture on November 12. Iyama (white) won by resignation after 164 moves, so he is within one win of regaining the title he lost to Murakawa Daisuke last year. In the middle game, Iyama (left) commented that his play may have been a little unreasonable. However, Murakawa failed to play severely enough to punish him for it. The third game will be played on November 19. The above game was on a Thursday, the usual day for professional play. The following Monday, November 16, Iyama won the second game of the 41st Tengen title match, thus extending his career-best winning streak to 22. Taking white, Iyama beat Takao Shinji Tengen by half a point after 254 moves. Takao had taken the lead in the middle game, but played badly in the latter part of the game, letting Iyama pull off an upset. The third game is scheduled for November 25. photo: Yuki joins in game review; Iyama at left

Honinbo League: Round Two starts: Two games in the 71st Honinbo League were played on November 12. In a game between title-holders, Takao Shinji Tengen (W) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resignation. In the other game, Ichiriki Ryo 7P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resignation. The large-avalanche joseki appeard in the top left corner and the small-avalanche joseki in the top right corner. All four players are now on 1-1.

Japan eliminated from LG Cup: The quarterfinals of the 20th LG Cup were held in Korea on November 16. Japan’s last remaining representative, Yo Seiki 7P, was forced to resign in his game with Pak Yeong-hun 9P of Korea. Other results: Kang Tong-yun 9P (Korea) (W) beat Ke Jie 9P (China) by resignation; Tuo Jiaxi 9P (China) (B) beat Weon Seong-jin 9P (Korea) by resignation; Shi Yue 9P (China) beat Kim Ji-seok 9P (Korea) by 1.5 points.

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The Power Report (1): New members of the Meijin League; Women’s Honinbo: Xie fights back; Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger; Yamashita’s 900th win

Wednesday November 18, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2015.11.18_40th Kisei challenger

New members of the Meijin League: Two of the three vacant places in the 41st Meijin League were decided on October 29. Uchida Shuhei 7P (B) beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by 3.5 points, so the latter failed to regain his place. Uchida will make his second appearance after an absence of three years. Hirata Tomoya 4P (W) beat So Yokoku 9P, also by 3.5 points. The 21-year-old Hirata won his first league place and secured an automatic promotion to 7-dan (as of the following day). So Yokoku was also a member of the previous league. The final vacant seat was decided on November 5. In a clash between Nagoya players, Hane Naoki 9P (W) beat Ida Atsushi Judan by resignation. Hane also immediately regained his league place. At 39 years three months, he will be the oldest member of the league (Takao is two months younger).

2015.11.18_34fhoninbo4 XieWomen’s Honinbo: Xie fights back: The third game of the Women’s Honinbo title match was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Ichigaya, Tokyo on October 30. Taking black Xie Yimin (left), Women’s Meijin, defeated the titleholder Fujisawa Rin by resignation. The middle game featured a large exchange that may be the highlight of the series so far. After that, the lead switched back and forth, but Fujisawa made a misjudgment in the endgame, letting Xie take a small lead. The fourth game was played at the same venue on November 11. Playing white, Xie evened the score, forcing a resignation after 214 moves. Actually, the position seemed to be favorable for Fujisawa after a middle-game trade, but she suffered from a hallucination later in the game that let Xie pull off an upset. As a six-time winner of this title, Xie now seems to have the momentum, so Fujisawa will have to pull out all the stops in the deciding game, scheduled for November 27, if she is to defend her title.

Yamashita becomes Kisei challenger: The first game of the play-off to decide the challenger for the 40th Kisei title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya on Monday, November 9. Taking white, Yamashita (right) forced Murakawa to resign after 176 moves. This gives him his third successive crack at Iyama’s Kisei title. Understandably, considering his numerous recent defeats by Iyama, Yamashita said he was going to ignore the past and just focus on the new match. He also commented that the only way to beat Iyama was to eliminate all errors in his own play.

Yamashita’s 900th win: The above win was Yamashita’s 900th as a professional. He has lost 407 games, had one jigo and one no-result. At 37 years, two months, he is the youngest player to reach this landmark (second is Takao Shinji at 38 years one month); he is also the quickest, having taken 22 years seven months (again Takao is second, at 23 years eight months). In the category of winning percentage, however, Takao, on exactly 70% to Yamashita’s 68.9%, keeps top place. Just for reference, Cho Chikun, at 1470, has the most wins.

Tomorrow: Iyama still on track; Iyama wins second straight in Oza and Tengen; Honinbo League: Round Two starts; Japan eliminated from LG Cup

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The Power Report: Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament; Honinbo League; Murakawa reaches Kisei play-off; Women’s Meijin League; Obituary: Hiroe Katsuhiko

Thursday November 12, 2015

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament: The term “haya-go” is usually translated as “rapid go,” and a haya-go in the NHK format actually 2015.11.12_O Rissei Haya-gotakes around 90 minutes. In the Over-40 Lightning Go Tournament, which is open to veteran Nihon Ki-in players, the term “lightning” is justified, as the time allowance is ten seconds per move (plus three minutes’ thinking time). This is actually the second term of this unofficial tournament, but I think I missed the first last year. In the original, the name reads “OVER40 Haya-go Tonamento-sen,” but, if the report in Go Weekly is correct, this should be “40 or over.” First, 56 players competed in four preliminary blocks, held on October 27. These were won by O Meien 9P, Nakaonoda Tomomi 9P, Oya Koichi 9P, and O Rissei 9P; they qualified for the main tournament, held on November 7. Cho Sonjin, the winner of the first tournament, lost to Nakaonoda in the final of his block. In the semifinals, held on the morning of November 7, the time expanded to 30 seconds per move plus ten minutes’ thinking time, that is, the NHK format. O Meien beat Oya and O Rissei beat Nakaonoda. In the final, held in the afternoon of the same day, Rissei (W) beat Meien by resignation (photo). First prize is 500,000 yen.
Honinbo League: Good starts for Ida and Motoki: As a former challenger, Ida Atsushi Judan probably feels he has a lot to prove in the Honinbo League, especially against a junior player. In his opening game in the 71st league, played on October 29, Ida (B) defeated Ichiriki Ryo 7P by resignation. In his debut game, the 20-year-old Motoki Katsuya, a newly minted 7-dan by virtue of winning his league place, beat veteran player Cho U 9P, also by resignation. Motoki had white. This completes the opening round of the league.

Murakawa reaches Kisei play-off: Yamada Kimio 9P’s charge through the knock-out section of the Kisei tournament was halted when he ran into Murakawa Daisuke Oza, second-place winner in the S League, on October 29. Taking black, Murakawa won by 2.5 points. That meant that for the third year in a row, the play-off to decide the challenger would pit Murakawa against Yamashita. The big difference is that previously, as the winners of the old A and B Leagues, they met on even terms. This time Yamashita starts the play-off with a one-win advantage, so the only way Murakawa can become the challenger is by winning two in a row. (This play-off is referred to by Go Weekly as “an irregular best-of-three,” the fact that there can never be three games played justifying the adjective.)

Women’s Meijin League: Fujisawa suffers setback: The fourth round of the 28th Women’s Meijin League was completed on November 2 when Okuda Aya 3P (W) defeated Fujisawa Rina by resignation. This was Fujisawa’s first loss, putting her on 2-1, so she dropped into a tie for third place with Mannami Nao 3P. The sole lead is held by Aoki Kikuyo 8P, on 3-0, and Okuda is second. Thanks to her number-two ranking, Aoki just has to win two of her remaining three games to win the league. See chart at left for standings.2015.11.12_Womens Meijin league chart


Obituary: Hiroe Katsuhiko
Hiroe Katsuhiko died of an eating disorder on October 27 at the age of 75. Born in Gifu Prefecture, Hiroe was a disciple of Sakai Toshio 8P. He qualified as 1-dan in 1960 at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and reached 7-dan in 1981. He was promoted to 8-dan when he retired in 2006. Hiroe Hiroyuki 9P is his son.

 

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