American Go E-Journal » Columns

The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #14

Saturday December 7, 2019

by William Cobb

“The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner” is a film that is hard to forget, though that may be because I was a Cross Country runner in college. Since moving to a very small town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas I am discovering another kind of loneliness: that of the go player living where there are no other players within less than a full hour’s drive away. I play lots of games on DragonGo, but it is definitely not the same. There is something important about sitting across the board from another player and placing actual stones on a hard piece of grid-marked wood. Go is a lot more than a fascinating intellectual activity of analyzing tactical and strategic possibilities in a very complicated situation. There is an intimacy of contact and involvement with another human being and real objects that is impossible over the internet. Insofar as go can function as a path to enlightenment it doesn’t happen with an internet connection. The online involvement of the players is just not as real or engrossing, nor is the handling of the stones when it is replaced by clicking a mouse. I really miss these physical and psychological feelings that make playing with another person on an actual set such an enjoyable and enlightening experience. I may have to start making that harrowing drive across the most harrowing roads I have ever encountered.

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock and Karoline Li

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The Power Report: A gain and a loss for women’s go; Ida defends Crown; Hirata wins Young Carp; Promotion; Obituaries

Saturday December 7, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

A gain and a loss for women’s go
Let’s give the bad news first. The sponsors of the Women’s Meijin tournament have announced that they are terminating the tournament. The current titleholder, Fujisawa Rina, will officially hold the title until the end of March 2020. No reason was given.
The good news: The Nihon Ki-in has announced the founding of a new tournament, the Hakata Kamachi Cup Women’s Open Tournament. It will be open to all women professionals in Japan. A preliminary round will start in December to choose the 16 players to compete in the main tournament, which will be held from February to April next year. The semifinals, final, and play-off for third place will be held in Fukuoka on April 13 and 14. First prize is 7,000,000 yen (about $65,000), second 2,000,000, third 1,000,000, and fourth 600,000 yen. The main sponsor is the Medical Corporation Saitama Giant Tree Association (Kyoju no Kai); chairman of its board is Kamachi Ken’ichi, who lends his name to the tournament. As far as I can work, the association’s main business is running the New Kuki (City) General Hospital. This is the second women’s tournament with a medical sponsor, following the Hollyhock Cup, which is sponsored by the Aizu Central Hospital.

Ida defends Crown
The Crown (Okan) title is open to members of the Central Japan or Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in. This year the challenger was Ogata Masaki 9P, who won this title from 1988 to 1991. In the final, played on October 20, Ida Atsushi Okan drew white and won by 1.5 points, winning the title for the fourth year in a row. First prize is 1,700,000 yen (about $15,700).

Hirata wins Young Carp
The Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp tournament is open to players 30 and under and 7-dan and under. The final of the 14th Cup was held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 24. Hirata Tomoya 7P (W) beat Matsuura Yuta 7P by 3.5 points. Hirata is a fitting winner, as he hails from Hiroshima. First prize is 3,000,000 yen (nearly $28,000).

Promotion
To 9-dan: Ko Iso (200 wins, as of Nov. 4.)

Obituaries
Izumitani Masanori
Died of prostate cancer on October 18, aged 77. Born on January 3, 1942 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Became a disciple of Ito Tomoe 7P. Qualified as 1-dan in 1961, reached 7-dan in 1996. Retired in 2018 and promoted to 8-dan. His son is Hideo 8P. His disciples include Konagai Masaru 8P. Izumitani was a director of the Overseas Dep’t. of the Nihon Ki-in for a number of years and also made some instructional tours overseas, including attending the 3rd Go congress at Mt. Holyoke in 1987 as the official representative of the Nihon Kiin.

Ogawa Tomoko
Ogawa Tomoko 6P died in a Tokyo hospital of an undisclosed illness on November 15. According to the Nihon Ki-in, she had been suffering from lower back problems since October and had taken official leave of absence as of October 30. She had returned home after a hospital stay, but her condition suddenly worsened on the 14th.
She was born in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture, on April 1, 1951, but spent her childhood in Nagoya. She learnt go from her father at the age of 6. She became well known when she won the All-Japan Amateur Women’s Championship at the age of 14; her pageboy hairstyle (okappa) or bob cut added to her fame—she was called, not quite accurately, “the okappa Honinbo.” In 1966, after finishing junior high, she became a disciple of Kitani Minoru. She made 1-dan in 1970 and was promoted to 6-dan in 1995. She won four women’s titles (in the days when there were fewer of them): the 25th Women’s Championship in 1979 and the 26th in 1980; the Women’s Honinbo in 1986; and the Women’s Kakusei Cup in 1987. She became even better known to the public when she served as assistant commentator on the NHK Cup for ten years. In 2008, she became the second woman professional (after Sugiuchi Kazuko) to win 500 games. In 1977, she married the actor Yamamoto Kei, who had taken go lessons from her. They appeared together in a number of TV commercials. She served for two years as president of the Professional Go Players Association and for six years as a Nihon Ki-in director. She published life-and-death problems continuously for 29 years in the Sports Hochi newspaper. She was the author of many books, including the Ishi Press book “The Endgame,” written with James Davies. She was one of the most popular professionals and whatever she did, she always looked serene and competent.

This post has been updated to reflect Izumitani Masanori’s attendance at the 1987 U.S. Go Congress.

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 32: Worrying about life and death

Friday December 6, 2019

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock return with their latest AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo game commentary, Game 32 of the popular series.

Redmond talks about the new era in Japan, as, after 30 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne, Emperor Akihito abdicated earlier this year — the first Japanese emperor to do so since 1817 — marking the end of the Heisei era and the inception of the Reiwa era, and his son and successor, Emperor Naruhito, was enthroned.

In Game 32, Black plays the mini Chinese Opening, which was also played in Game 31, with the colors reversed. “A very similar move comes up in this game,” says Redmond, “illustrating why the popularity of the mini Chinese has been reduced. It’s another exciting game in which, after a lot of fighting, it ends up in a half-point difference.” Redmond warns Garlock that “You’re going to be a bit more worried this time, I think, about the life and death of some of these groups.”

The series will continue with Friday releases this month, with AG-AG games 33 and 34, as well as a commentary on a game Redmond played with Ishida Yoshio last summer. AG-AG 34 was originally streamed live on Twitch on December 3; follow the AGA’s Twitter and Facebook feeds for announcements of future commentary streaming in this series. “The live streaming brings these commentaries to a broader audience and enables fans to interact with us in real time,” says Garlock. “Special thanks to Senior Producers Michael Wanek and Andrew Jackson for all their work on this series, and to new producer Steven Hu and editor Allen Moy.”
NOTE: Live streams are currently planned for December 9 and 11, both at 7p EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel; be sure to follow the channel and get notified of live streams.

[link]

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The Power Report: New members of Meijin League; Ko Iso wins 2nd SGW Cup; Lee Se-dol announces retirement

Friday December 6, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

New members of Meijin League
Four of the eight members of the Honinbo League drop out each year but only three of the nine members of the Meijin League. That makes it a good league to get into, as you have a better chance of keeping your place. The new members for the 45th league have recently been decided. On October 31, Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resig. in the play-off for a place. The 21-year-old Kyo has been a top player for a couple of years now, but he will be making his debut in this league. He also has seats in the Kisei S League and the Honinbo League. He is the first player younger than Iyama Yuta to have seats in all three top leagues.
The second seat was decided on November 7. Rin Kanketsu 8P (W) beat Adachi Toshimasa 6P by 2.5 points. Rin makes a comeback to the league after a gap of seven years.
The play-off for the third seat, played on November 18, was the one that attracted most attention, as it featured a clash between the top woman player, Fujisawa Rina, and one of the top younger players (= post-Iyama), Ichiriki Ryo. So far, no woman player had secured a seat in a league. Fujisawa was in outstanding form and won eight games in a row in this tournament to reach the play-off. However, she was no match for Ichiriki. Playing white, she did give him a scare with a bold counterattack in a bad position, but in the end she had to resign after 241 moves. Ichiriki will make his debut in the Meijin League. 

Ko Iso wins 2nd SGW Cup
The SGW Cup: Golden Mean Tournament is open to players from 31 to 60 who have not won a title. The main tournament is a four-round Swiss for the 16 players who won seats through the preliminary tournament. It was held on November 3 and 4. Ko Iso 9P scored 4-0 and won his first official title. First prize is 2,000,000 yen (about $18,500).

Lee Se-dol announces retirement
If Lee Chang-ho was the top player of the 1990s, Lee Se-dol, with 18 international victories, was clearly the top player of the first decade and a half of this century. The peak of his career came with his 6-2 victory in the only modern jubango, playing Gu Li, in 2014. He underestimated the strength of the first AI go-playing program AlphaGo and was chagrined to lose 1-4, but in retrospect winning a game in the match came to be seen as a triumph, as he is the only player to beat one of the Alpha programs. He is still only 35, but he has brought down the curtain on his go career. It is not a surprise, as he has hinted retirement was coming and he took a lengthy leave of absence a while back.

Tomorrow: A gain and a loss for women’s go; Ida defends Crown; Promotion; Obituaries

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The Power Report: Ueno wins 38th Women’s Honinbo; Choi wins Bingsheng Cup; Kono to challenge for Kisei

Thursday December 5, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ueno wins 38th Women’s Honinbo
As described in my previous report, Fujisawa Rina made a good start in her defense of her Women’s Honinbo title, winning the first game, played on October 9, by 3.5 points, but that turned out to be her sole win of the series. The second game was played at the “old inn” Kaneyu in Noshiro City, Akita Prefecture, on October 27. Taking black, Fujisawa made a fierce attack on a white group and seemed on the verge of winning when Ueno made an exquisite counterattack, which she followed up with a superb shinogi (rescue operation) for an endangered group. Black resigned after 158 moves.
In the third game, played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in, on November 6, Fujisawa again took the lead, but Ueno was able to stage an upset by starting a complicated ko fight. Fujisawa resigned after 235 moves.
The fourth game was played at the same venue on November 15. Ueno (W) won by resignation after 200 moves, so she took the title and the first prize of 5,500,000 yen (about $51,000). Once again, Fujisawa seemed to have the advantage at one stage, but Ueno again complicated the game by setting up a ko. Fujisawa ignored a ko threat that turned out to be more potent than she had expected. White was able to live inside her territory, so she had to resign.
The women’s go world is now dominated by two players: the 18-year-old Ueno with this title and the Women’s Kisei and the 21-year-old Fujisawa with the Women’s Hollyhock Cup, the Women’s Meijin, and the Senko Cup.
Note. In my previous report, I mentioned that Ueno was the first woman to top the most-wins list. On Oct. 11, Shibano Toramaru displaced Ueno at number one, and the following week Ichiriki Ryo pushed her down to third position, which she has since maintained. She was number one for four months.

Choi wins Bingsheng Cup
The 10th Qionglong Mountain Bingsheng Cup World Women’s Weiqi Championship was held in Suzhou City in China in late October. Three players from Japan took part in the 16-player tournament. Xie Yimin 6P and Ueno Asami 3P were eliminated in the first round, but Fujisawa Rina 4P made the semifinals. This is the best result so far by a Japanese woman player in this tournament and the best internationally for 12 years. Incidentally, the player who beat her in the semifinal, Zhou Hongyu, is just 17 years old and is the winner of the Chinese King of the New Stars title, which is open to male and female participants. The cup was won by Choi Jeong 9P of Korea for the third year in a row and the fourth time overall. Her prize is 300,000 yuan (about $42,600). Results are given below. (The time allowance is two hours each, with the last five minutes going to byo-yomi.)

Round 1 (October 30)
Lu Minquan 5P (China) (B) beat Yang Zixuan 3P (Chinese Taipei) by resig.
Yu Zhiying 6P (China) (B) beat Oh Yoojin 7P (Korea) by resig.
Zhou Hongyu 5P (China) (W) beat Ueno Asami 3P (Japan) by resig.
Wang Chengxing 5P (W) beat Cho Seungah 3P (Korea) by resig.
Li He 5P (China) (B) beat Hei JiaJia 7P (Oceania) by resig.
Fujisawa Rina 4P (Japan) (W) beat Stephanie Yin (Yin Mingming) 1P (North America) by resig.
Choi Jeong 9P (Korea) (B) beat Ariane Ougier 4D (Europe) by resig.
Rui Naiwei 9P (China) (W) beat Xie Yimin 6P (Japan) by 1.5 points.

Round 2 (October 31)
Fujisawa (W) beat Lu by resig.
Choi (B) beat Yu by 1.5 points.
Zhou (B) beat Wang by resig.
Rui (W) beat Li by resig.

Semifinals (November 1)
Choi (B) beat Rui by resig.; Zhou (W) beat Fujisawa by resig.

Final (November 3)
Choi (B) beat Zhou by resig.

Kono to challenge for Kisei
Ichiriki Ryo enjoyed superb form in this year’s Kisei tournament, winning all seven of his league games and then three in a row in the final knock-out tournament that decides the challenger, including a win over Kono Rin in the first game of the final “best-of-three.” In contrast, Kono scored only 3-2 in the S League and had to rely on his higher rank to come out on top in a four-way tie. As winner of the S League, however, he started with a one-win advantage, so he had to win only one game, which he did. Incidentally, because this match is in theory a best-of-three (in practice, it’s limited to two games), nigiri to choose colors was held before both games. Kono also challenged for the Kisei in 2017, but lost 2-4 to Iyama. He also lost by the same score in this year’s Honinbo title match and the 2014 Meijin title match, so his first task is to break the third-win barrier. Iyama has held the Kisei for seven years in a row; one more successful defense and he will match Kobayashi Koichi’s record. The match will start on January 9.

Full results in the final knock-out stage (the first result is repeated from my previous report):
(Oct. 9) Suzuki Shinji (winner of C League) (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P (winner of B Leagues) by 5.5 points.
(Oct. 21) Ichiriki (winner of A League) (B) beat Suzuki by resig.
(Nov. 4) Ichiriki (B) beat Takao Shinji 9P (2nd in S League) by resig.
(Nov. 11) Ichiriki (B) beat Kono (winner of S League) by 2.5 points.
(Nov. 14) Kono (W) beat Ichiriki by resig., making his score 2-1.

Tomorrow: New members of Meijin League; Ko Iso wins 2nd SGW Cup; Lee Se-dol announces retirement

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The Power Report: Nong Shim Cup: Yang wins seven in a row; Hane wins 1,000th game; Shibano leads in Oza

Wednesday December 4, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Nong Shim Cup: Yang wins seven in a row

The opening round of the 21st Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup was held in Beijing in mid-October and the second round being played in Korea late in November. China has made the best start, with their top batter, Yang Dingxin, remaining undefeated almost to the end of the second of the second round. Iyama Yuta was finally able to put a stop to his seemingly irresistible progress. The third sround will start in Shanghai on February 17, with Iyama playing Park Junghwan of Korea. Both Japan and Korea are down to their last player, while China still has four in the shed. Results of the first two rounds:

Round One (Beijing)
Game 1 (Oct. 15). Weon Seongjin 9P (Korea) (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 9P (Japan) by resig.
Game 2 (Oct. 16). Yang Dingxin 9P (China) (B) beat Weon by resig.
Game 3 (Oct. 17). Yang (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P (Japan) by 3.5 points.
Game 4 (Oct. 18). Yang (B) beat Kim Jiseok 9P (Korea) by resig.

Round Two (Busan).
Game 5 (Nov. 22). Yang (B) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8P (Japan) by resig.
Game 6 (Nov. 23). Yang (W) beat Lee Donghoon 9P (Korea) by 1.5.
Game 7 (Nov. 24). Yang (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P (Japan) by resig.
Game 8 (Nov. 25). Yang (W) beat Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) by resig.
Game 9 (Nov. 26). Iyama Yuta 9P (Japan) (B) beat Yang by resig.

Hane wins 1,000th game
On October 24, Hane Naoki (B) beat Katayama Yasuo 8P by resig. in Preliminary A of the 61st Crown (Okan) title and became the 27th player to win 1,000 games. He had 520 losses, 3 jigo, and 1 no-contest, for a winning percentage of 65.6. It took him 28 years six months, which is the fourth fastest (Yamashita Keigo’s 25 years seven months is the fastest). At 43 years two months, he is the fifth youngest (record was set by Yuki Satoshi at 39 years two months).

Shibano leads in Oza
Shibano Toramaru’s prospects of becoming a multiple title-holder look good, as he has taken the lead in his challenge to Iyama Yuta for the 67th Oza title. This is the first title match between these two. To date, they had played only one game; this was in the Meijin League in February this year, and it was won by Shibano. The first Oza game was held at the Westin Hotel Osaka in Osaka City on October 25. This is Iyama’s home ground, but, playing black, Shibano won by half a point after 271 moves. The game was close throughout, as attested by an AI program that players following the game referred to. Iyama did not make any obvious mistakes, but Shibano edged him in the endgame.

The second and third games were played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on November 16 and 18. In the second game, Iyama (black) evened the score, forcing a resignation after 211 moves. He convincingly outplayed the challenger, so this win should have bolstered his confidence, but . . . In the third game, Shibano won by 1.5 points after 262 moves. This was a tough game for Shibano, so he had to fight tenaciously. The fourth game is scheduled for December 9. Iyama is facing kadobans in two title matches.

Tomorrow: Ueno wins 38th Women’s Honinbo; Choi wins Bingsheng Cup; Kono to challenge for Kisei

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The Power Report: New Honinbo League; Kyo leads in Tengen; Korea repeats in Gratitude Cup

Tuesday December 3, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

New Honinbo League

The 75th Honinbo League got off to a start on October 10 and has now completed the second round. Two players got off to good starts: Kyo Kagen and Shida Tatsuya, both on 2-0.

Results to date:

(Oct. 10) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Yokotsuka Riki 7P by resig.
(Oct. 17) Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(Oct. 24) Shida Tatsuya 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 6.5 points.
(Oct. 31) Shibano Toramaru Meijin (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8P by resig.
(Nov. 7) Kyo (W) beat Yamashita by resig.; Ichiriki (W) beat Hane by resig.
(Nov. 14) Shida (B) beat Yokotsuka by resig.
(Nov. 21) Shibano (W) beat Kono by resig.

Kyo leads in Tengen

Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan), the challenger, got off to a good start against Iyama Yuta in the 45th Tengen title match. The first game was played at the Miyako Hotel Gifu Nagaragawa in Gifu City in the prefecture of the same name on October 11. Taking black, Kyo won by resignation after 179 moves. Kyo played boldly, building a moyo by walling off the center, but Iyama invaded and skillfully lived in the center, giving him the lead. However, he later played some dubious moves, so Kyo took the lead back. Again, both sides made mistakes, but Iyama made the last one; he lost a group and had to resign.

The second game was played at the Niseko Hot Spring Ikoino Yuyado Iroha (the latter part of the name means “Relaxation Hot Water Inn ABC”) in the town of Niseko in Abuta County, Hokkaido, on October 21. The game started out with solid play by both, but Iyama (black) accelerated in the middle game, so Kyo fell behind. Kyo was unable to make a dent in his lead, so he resigned after 161 moves. This was Iyama’s first win over Kyo in a title match (he lost the Gosei title 0-3 to him last year).

The third game was played at the Hotel Marital Sousei Kurume in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture, on November 22, so there was a gap of a month in the match. Kyo (black) drew ahead in a melee late in the middle game and won by resignation after 157 moves. He needs just one more win to take the title. The fourth game will be played on December 9.

Korea repeats in Gratitude Cup

The 6th Gratitude Cup International Young Stars Igo Tournament was held in Shima City, Mie Prefecture, on October 14 and 15, with five-player teams from Japan, China, Korea, and Chinese Taipei taking part. So far, the domestic and international Gratitude Cups have all been played in Ise City, but this year it moved to the Shima Mediterranean Village, a resort with white houses and red roofs designed to look Mediterranean. Despite the new venue, the result was the same as last year, with the final order being Korea, China, Japan, and Chinese Taipei. In the first section of the tournament, the teams all play each other; the top two proceed to the final and the bottom two to a play-off for third place. Again like last year, China had the best record in the first section with three team wins, but Korea beat it 3-2 in the final. In the third game in the first section, Japan started well against Korea, with Shibano Toramaru beating Shin Minjun on board one and Fujisawa Rina prevailing over the world’s number one woman player, Choi Jeong, but they got no support from the other players.

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The Power Report: Sakata and Cho Nam-chul enter Hall of Fame; Sumire continues to do well; Ichiriki does well in MLily Cup

Monday December 2, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sakata and Cho Nam-chul enter Hall of Fame

The Go Hall of Fame committee met on October 8 to choose new players to be elected to the go pantheon. This was the 16th induction and two players were chosen: Sakata Eio (23rd Honinbo Eiju) and Cho Nam-chul 9P, the father of professional go in Korea and the founder of the Korean Baduk Institute (= Ki-in).

Sumire continues to do well

The ten-year-old Nakamura Sumire, the youngest professional ever in modern Japan, continues to enjoy good results. When I submitted my last report, published on October 10, her official record was four wins to two losses. She has now improved that to 12-5, a record that any new professional—seven months have passed since her debut—would be satisfied with. When she was playing—and losing—exhibition games with top players, her elevation to 1-dan may have struck some as premature, but now, competing against members of her peer group, she seems to be in her element. She was, after all, assessed and deemed qualified by top players like Cho U and Kobayashi Satoru, who probably know a thing or two about go talent. Her career is developing rapidly. The number of games you play is one index of your success. The more you win, the more you play: Sumire is now competing at the pace of two games a week. All her games are broadcast on the Nihon Ki-in’s server and usually draw twice as many viewers as other games.

Here are her results since my last report.

On October 10, Sumire lost to Li Xuanhao 7P (B) of China in the first round of the 4th MLily Cup. She had been given a seeded seat as a sponsor’s wild card. One of her groups came under severe attack; she needed to make eye shape, but then she would fall behind in territory, so she gambled and played a big move elsewhere; unfortunately, she was unable to save the group, so she resigned after 149 moves. Sumire is popular overseas and a number of players from other countries played practice games with her. Ko Reibun 7P, the Japanese team captain, reported that in one of these games she played superbly to score a win against Wang Chenxing 5P, one of the top Chinese women players.

On October 17, Sumire played Yamada Shiho 7P in Preliminary C of the 59th Judan tournament (unless otherwise stated, games were played at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka). After 341 moves, Sumire (B) won by 26.5 points.

On October 24, Sumire played Takabayashi Masahiro 7P in Preliminary C of the Honinbo tournament. Taking black, she won by resignation after 173 moves. Sumire turned up for this game wearing glasses, as her sight has declined recently.

On October 28, Sumire (B) beat Tamura Chiaki 3P by resig. in the first round of the preliminary tournament for the 7th Women’s Hollyhock Cup. The game was played at the Kansai Ki-in.

On October 31, Sumire played Takagi Junpei 2P (aged 26) in the preliminary round of the 45th Kisei title. Taking white, she won by resignation after 160 moves. Her opponent took the lead in the first fight, but she hung on tenaciously, then played a life-or-death move that secured her an upset win.

On November 4, Sumire (B) lost to Tsukuda Akiko 5P by 5.5 points in the preliminary for the 39th Women’s Honinbo tournament. At home, before the game, Tsukuda’s children said to her: “You have a tough opponent today.” She maintained parental dignity by prevailing in a 300-move struggle.

On November 7, Sumire (B) beat Tanemura Sayuri 2P by resig. in Preliminary C of the 59th Judan tournament. Her opponent played a little slackly in the early fighting and let her take the initiative. This was her tenth official win to four losses. Sumire: “I reached this mark more quickly than I expected.” She qualified for Preliminary B.

On November 11, Sumire (W) beat Takao Mari 1P by resig. in the preliminary of the 45th King of the New Stars title. The game was played at the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in.

On November 14, Sumire (W) beat Udani Shunta 2P by resig. in Preliminary C of the 76th Honinbo tournament. Thanks to a misjudged move by Sumire, Udani took the lead, but late in the game he suffered a hallucination. Sumire picked up a lucky win, but even so Udani commented that she was much stronger—“like a different person”—than when he played her in a study group in May. This was Sumire’s third successive win in Preliminary C, so she qualified for Preliminary B. There she will play Hane Yasumasa 9P, with the winner proceeding to Preliminary A. This game was also her sixth win in a row against male players in official games, a streak which is still alive. (For readers who want to confirm this, the sequence is: Furuta and Yamamoto in my previous report [Oct. 17] and Yamada, Takabayashi, Takagi, and Udani above.

On November 17, the first two rounds of the Young Bamboo (Wakatake) Cup, a tournament open only to players 40 or under at the Kansai branch of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka, were held. Sumire lost in the first round to Yoshikawa Hajime 3P. Games in this tournament are (presumably) not official, so this result is not counted in her official tally. (Some corrections to my previous report: The Young Carp became an official tournament as of the 6th Cup in 2011, so Sumire’s win and loss count in her official tally. The date of the games was September 23. Also, the game with Yamamoto Kentaro was on October 3, not October 2.)

Ichiriki does well in MLily Cup

The first three rounds of the 4th MLily Cup World Open Championship (“m” is short for “meng,” which means “dream”) were held at the Chinese Qiyuan (= Ki-in) in Beijing from October 10 to 13. Japan had four representatives taking part; of these, three were eliminated in the first round, but Ichiriki Ryo 8P made it to the quarterfinals, scheduled for March next year. This is the first time for two years that a Japanese player has won three or more games in an international tournament; the last time was the 22nd LG Cup, in which Iyama Yuta won four games and reached the final. Nakamura Sumire was given a wild-card seed by the sponsors; this was her debut in an international tournament.

The Chinese-sponsored tournament was a triumph for China: apart from Ichiriki, all the seven quarterfinalists were Chinese. (China did very well in the qualifying tournament held in May and, including its seeded players, had 46 of the 64 seats in the main tournament. Full results are given below:

Round 1 (Oct. 10). Ichiriki (W) beat Yu Zhiying 6P (China) by resig.; Baek Hyunwoo (amateur) (Korea) (W) beat Mutsuura Yuta 7P by 7.5 points; Li Xuanhao 7P (China) (B) beat Nakamura Sumire 1P (Japan) by resig.; Tao Xinran 8P (China) (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P (Japan) by 5.5; Ke Jie 9P (China) (B) beat Wu Guangya 7P (China) by resig.; Xie Ke 7P (China) (B) beat Artem Kachanovskyi 2P (Ukraine) by resig.; Ilya Shikshin 3P (Russia) (B) beat Yi Lingtao 7P (China) by resig.; Meng Tailing 7P (China) (B) beat Liu Zhaozhe 5P (China) by resig.; Wang Wei 4P (China) (W) beat Gu Li 9P (China) by 1.5; Mi Yuting 9P (China) (B) beat Zhou Hongyu 5P (China) by resig.; Yang Dingxin 9P (China) (B) beat Fan Yin 8P (China) by resig.; Xie Erhao 9P (China) (W) beat Zhou Zhenyu (amateur) (China) by resig.; Tan Xiao 9P (China) (W) beat Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig.; Lu Liyan 3P (China) (W) beat Wang Zejin 6P (China) by 1.5; Tu Xiaoyu 5P (China) (B) beat Gu Zhihao 9P (China) by 0.5; Tong Mengcheng 8P (China) (B) beat Jiang Weijie 9P (China) by 0.5; Fan Tingyu 9P (China) (W) beat Liao Yuanhe 8P (China) by resig.; Zhao Yan (amateur) (China) (B) beat Li Chengshen 4P (China) by 2.5; Zhang Tao 7P (China) (B) beat Zhen Zijian 7P (China) by resig.; Ding Hao 6P (W) (China) beat Huan Yunsong 7P (China) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) (B) beat Gu Lingyi 7P (China) by resig.; Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (B) beat Li Qincheng 9P (China) by resig.; Li Xiangyu 5P (China) (W) beat Jiang Mingjiu 7P (North Am.) by resig.; Kim Jiseok 9P (Korea) (W) beat Andy Liu 1P (North Am.) by resig.; Li Weiqing 7P (China) (W) beat Dang Yifei 9P (China) by resig.; Park Younghoon 9P (Korea) (B) beat Kim Dayoung 3P (Korea) by resig.; Shin Minjun (Korea) (W) beat Peng Liyao 7P (China) by resig.; Byun Sangil 9P (Korea) (B) beat Ma Tianfang (amateur) (China) by resig.; He Yuhan 6P (China) (W) beat Tong Yulin 4P (China) by resig.; Wang Yuanjun 9P (Chinese Taipei) (W) beat Oh Yujin 6P (Korea) by resig.; Xu Jiayang 8P (China) (B) beat Yang Yi 5P (China) by resig.; Shi Yue 9P (China) (B) beat Chen Yusen 5P (China) by resig.

Round 2 (Oct. 11). Ichiriki (W) beat Lu by resig.; Xie Erhao (W) beat Tan by 0.5; Meng (B) beat Li by resig.; Ke (W) beat Shi by resig.; Xie Ke (W) beat Yang by resig.; Xu (B) beat Wang Yuanjun by resig.; Mi (B) beat Tao by resig.; Baek (B) beat Shikshin by resig. (thanks to winning two games, Baek qualified as a pro in Korea); Byun (W) beat He by resig.; Tong (B) beat Tu by resig.; Park Yonghoon (W) beat Shin Minseo by resig.; Ding (B) beat Shin Jinseo by resig.; Park Junghwan (B) beat Li by resig.; Fan (B) beat Zhao by 4.5; Kim beat Li by resig.; Wang Wei (W) beat Zhang by resig.

Round 3 (all results by resig.) (October 12) Ichiriki (B) beat Ding; Mi (W) beat Byun; Xu (B) beat Tong. (October 13) Xie Ke (W) beat Paek; Meng (B) beat Park Yonghoon; Xie Erhao (W) beat Kim; Fan (W) beat Wang; Ke (W) beat Park Junghwan.

Quarterfinal pairings: Mi vs. Xie Erhao, Ichiriki vs. Xie Ke, Ke vs. Fan, Xu vs. Meng

Tomorrow: New Honinbo League; Kyo leads in Tengen; Korea repeats in Gratitude Cup

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50 years aGO: November 1969

Wednesday November 20, 2019

This month we start a new feature, as we look back fifty years in world Go.

by Keith Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On November 14, 1968, the Nihon Kiin celebrated Rin Kaiho’s victory as the 8th Meijin. He towers above the dignitaries in our photo , but also notable is the late Go Seigen 9 dan, fourth from the left and , at far right, Rin’s teacher, Goro Fujita 6 dan.

As was his custom, Fujisawa Shuko won the first year the Oza became a title match. He’s shown here, at left, turning aside the challenge of Otake Hideo, then 8 dan, on November 12, 1968. Otake was the first of the Kitani school disciples to make his presence felt.

Go Review also heralded the “Big Three’ of the younger generation, 50 years ago this month, but these three – Ishida Yoshio “the Computer”, Kato Masao “ the Killer”, and Takemya Masaki would become better known as the “Three Crows “ of the Kitani school.

Finally, William Pinckard returned home to New York after a 6-month stay in Tokyo, with a 2 dan diploma from Iwamoto 9 dan. Pinckard is well known in the west for his writings about go history and culture, particularly his wonderful “Japanese Prints and the World of Go” available from Kiseido.

Please forward any ideas for future months to the journal, ejournal@usgo.org. Photos are borrowed from Go Review.

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The Power Report: Shibano to challenge for Oza title; Son wins King of New Stars; Cho U wins Agon Kiriyama Cup

Thursday October 17, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Shibano to challenge for Oza title

This is turning into a big year for Shibano Toramaru. Wrapping up the Meijin series by the fifth game enables him to give his undivided attention to the next title match on his calendar. In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 67th Oza title, held on September 20 at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo, he defeated Kyo Kagen 8P (W) by resignation after 195 moves. The title match with Iyama Yuta will start on October 25. At 19 years 11 months, he is the youngest-ever Oza challenger (the previous record was 20 years four months, set by Ichiriki Ryo in in 2017).

Son wins King of New Stars

The best-of-three final of the 44th King of the New Stars tournament featured a clash between Son Makoto 7P and Koike Yoshihiro 4P, two promising players of the younger generation. For Son, it was his last chance, as he had been promoted to 7-dan, and this tournament is restricted to players under 26 and under 7-dan (pairings were made on August 1, 2018, before Son earned his promotion by winning a seat in the Meijin League). He also made the final in 2017, but lost 0-2 to Shibaano Toramaru. In the first game, played on September 30, Son (B) won by 5.5 points. In the second, played on October 7, Son (W) won by resignation. Both games were played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. First prize is 2,000,000 yen (about $18,700).

Cho U wins Agon Kiriyama Cup

The final of the 26th Agon Kiriyama Cup was held at the headquarters of the Agon sect in Kyoto on October 5. Cho U, then still Meijin, (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8p by resignation. This is the fifth time Cho has won this title, the last time being the 19th cup. Ichiriki, the recent king of fast go, is now down to two haya-go titles, the Ryusei and the NHK Cup.

Promotions

To 9-dan: Sakai Maki (200 wins, as of Sept. 20)

To 8-dan: Tsuruyama Atsushi (150 wins, as of Sept. 27)
To 4-dan: Takeuchi Kosuke, Tsuneishi Takashi (both 50 wins, both as of Sept. 13)

To 3-dan: Ueno Asami, Nagashima Kozue (both 40 wins, both as of Sept. 20)

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