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The Power Report: Meijin League; 32nd Women’s Meijin league; Shin Minjun wins LG Cup

Thursday March 4, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Meijin League
After three rounds of the 46th Meijin League, Ichiriki Ryo holds the provisional lead on 3-0, but Hane Naoki, on 2-0, is also undefeated. Shibano, the previous Meijin, has got off to a bad start on 0-3 and will have to focus on retaining his league place rather than on becoming the challenger. Results this year follow.
(Jan. 7) Ichiriki (B) beat Yo Seiki 8P by resig.; Hane Naoki (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.
(Jan. 21) Motoki Katsuya 8P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru by half a point; Kyo Kagen (B) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by resig.
(Feb. 4) Hane (W) beat Yo by resig.
(Feb. 11) Ichiriki (W) beat Kyo by resig.; Anzai (B) beat Kono by resig.
(Feb. 18) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Shibano by resig.

32nd Women’s Meijin league
With the addition of a new sponsor, this tournament had resumed after a gap of one and a half years. Suzuki Ayumi and Ueno Asami share the lead in the seven-player league, with both on 3-0. Results to date:
(Jan. 21) Nyu Eiko 3P (W) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 3.5.
(Jan. 25) Ueno Asami (B) beat Xie Yimin 6P by resig.
(Feb. 1) Suzuki Ayumi, Women’s Kisei, (B) beat Kato Chie 2P by 9.5; Xie (W) beat Tsuji Hana 1P by 2.5.
(Feb. 4) Suzuki (B) beat Mukai by resig.
(Feb. 8) Nyu (B) beat Kato by 7.5.
(Feb. 11) Ueno (W) beat Mukai by resig.; Xie (W) beat Nyu by resig.; Kato (B) beat Tsuji by resig.
(Feb. 18) Ueno (B) beat Tsuji by 6.5; Suzuki Ayumi 7P (W) beat Nyu by resig.

Shin Minjun wins LG Cup
The best-of-three final for the 25th LG Cup was held at the beginning of February. Ke Jie 9P (aged 23) of China made a good start but Shin Minjun (aged 21) of Korea came back strongly to take the next two games and win his first major international title (he won the 6th Globis Cup in 2019). First prize is 300,000,000 won (about $270,000). Below are the results from the quarterfinals on.
Quarterfinals (Nov. 9); Park Junghwan 9P (Korea) (B) beat Yang Dingxin 9P (China) by resig.; Ke Jie 9P (China) (W) beat Weon Seongjin 9P (Korea) by resig.; Shin Minjun 9P (Korea) (W) beat Lee Taihoon 7P (Korea) by resig.; Byan Sangil 9P (Korea) (B) beat Kang Dongyun 9P (Korea) by resig.
Semifinals (Nov. 11). Shin (W) beat Park by resig.; Ke (W) beat Byan by resig.
Game 1 (Feb. 1). Ke (W) by resig.
Game 2 (Feb. 3). Shin (W) by resig.
Game 3 (Feb. 4). Shin (W) by 3.5.

Next: Sumire’s progress; Takemiya wins 1200 games; Yoshida Mika first woman player to win 700 games


The Power Report: Kyo to challenge for Judan title; Ichiriki shares lead in Honinbo League

Wednesday March 3, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kyo to challenge for Judan title

Kyo Kagen

The play-off to decide the challenger for the 59th Judan title, held by Shibano Toramaru, was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on Jan. 28. Taking black, Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan) 8P beat Yo Seiki (Yu Chengqi) 8P by resig. after 147 moves. This will be Kyo’s chance to take revenge for his loss in last year’s Oza title match. The match starts on March 2.

Incidentally, this tournament acquired an extra sponsor as of January 1: Daiwa House Manufacturing, based in Osaka. (The main sponsor since the tournament was founded has been the Sankei Newspaper.) The official name of the tournament now is: Daiwa House Cup Judan Tournament. There has been no increase in the prize money of 7,000,000 yen so far (the reason may be that the new sponsor joined halfway through the current term).

Ichiriki shares lead in Honinbo League

As the sole undefeated player, Ichiriki Ryo Tengen held the lead after the midway round of the 76th Honinbo League, but a fifth-round setback suffered at the hands of Shibano Toramaru Oza has thrown the lead into a three-way tie, with Ichiriki, Shibano, and Hane Naoki all on 4-1. Results this year:

(Jan. 7) Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(Jan. 14) Shibano (B) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.
(Feb. 4) Shibano (W) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Ko Iso (W) beat Sada Atsushi 7P by resig.
(Feb. 11) Hane (W) beat Tsuruyama by resig.
(Feb. 18) Onishi Ryuhei 7P (B) beat Kyo Kagen by resig.

Next: Meijin League; 32nd Women’s Meijin league; Shin Minjun wins LG Cup


The Power Report: Ueno wins Women’s Kisei; Chunlan Cup

Monday March 1, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ueno wins Women’s Kisei

Ueno Asami

Ueno Asami, who is still a teenager (she turned 19 on October 26) has confirmed her ranking as the number two woman player in Japan by becoming a dual title-holder again. In the 24th Women’s Kisei best-of-three title match, she made a bad start but fought back to take the title from veteran player Suzuki Ayumi (aged 37). In the final game, Ueno scored a decisive win, capturing a group when Suzuki made an overaggressive cut in an attempt to maintain territorial parity. After the game, Ueno revealed that she prepared for the third game with intensive study of life-and-death problems, including competing with her younger sister, Risa 1P, to see who could solve 100 problems more quickly—she won three times out of five. On the morning of the game, she followed her usual routine before a game of skipping rope: 777 times (it took her about ten minutes). First prize is 5,000,000 yen (about $48,000 at $1 = 104 yen). She lost this title to Suzuki last year; she also holds the Senko Cup. Results:

Game 1 (Jan. 21). Suzuki (B) by resig.
Game 2 (Jan. 28). Ueno (B) by resig.
Game 3 (Feb. 8). Ueno (W) by resig.

Chunlan Cup

The quarterfinals and semifinals of the 13th Chunlan Cup were held in January (Details of the first two rounds are given in my report of August 25). Like all international events these days, games were played on the net. As in many international tournaments, the final (schedule not yet decided) will be Korea vs. China, pitting the world’s top-rated player, Shin Jinseo 9P of Korea), against Tang Weixing 9P of China. On the site “Go Ratings,” Tang is listed as no. 32 in the world; this is a little hard to understand, as he won the 24th Samsung Cup in 2019 and the 8th Ing Cup in 2016. Results follow.

Quarterfinals (Jan. 18): Ke Jie 9P (China) (B) beat Hsu Hao Hong 6P (Chinese Taipei) by resig.; Tang (W) beat Park Yeonghun 9P (Korea) by resig.; Lian Xiao 9P (China) (B) beat Byan Sangil 9P (Korea) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Fan Yuting 9P (China) by resig.

Semifinals (Jan. 20): Tang (W) beat Ke by resig.; Shin (B) beat Lian by resig.

Next: Kyo to challenge for Judan title; Ichiriki shares lead in Honinbo League


The Power Report: Korea wins Go Legends National Competition; Ing Cup

Saturday February 27, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Legends Yoda (l) & Kobayashi (r)

Korea wins Go Legends National Competition
This is a special event that was held in January in conjunction with the 22nd Nong Shim Cup. It pitted teams with two former stars from Korea, China, and Japan against each other, with the games, which were not official, being held on the net. It was won by Korea with 6-2; China came second with 5-3; and Japan came third with 1-7. Prizes from 1st to 3rd were: 50,000,000 won (about $45,000, at $1 = 1100 won), 25 million won, and 15,000,000 won. Note that I didn’t have access to all the details of the games.

Round 1
(Jan. 15) China vs. Korea; Cho Hun-hyun 9P (Korea) (B) beat Chang Hao 9P by resig.; Lee Changho 9P (Korea) (B) beat Nie Weiping by 15.5.
(Jan. 16) Japan vs. China; Nie (China) (B) beat Yoda Norimoto 9P by 4.5; Chang beat Kobayashi Koichi.
(Jan. 17) Japan vs. Korea; Lee Changho 9P (Korea) (B) beat Kobayashi by 8.5; Cho beat Yoda.

Round 2
(Jan. 22) Japan vs. Korea; Cho beat Kobayashi; Yoda (B) beat Lee by 1.5.
(Jan. 23) Japan vs. China; Nie (W) beat Kobayashi by 4.5; Chang (W) beat Yoda by resig.
(Jan. 24) Korea vs. China: 1-1

Ing semi-finalist Ichiriki

Ing Cup
Japanese go fans were encouraged by the outstanding performance last year of Ichiriki Ryo in international tournaments, especially his three successive wins in the 9th Ing Cup, which took him to the semifinals. However, managing your time skillfully is part of the challenge when playing in this tournament, and here he got into trouble, leading to a 0-2 loss to Xie Ke 9P of China. The time allowance is three hours per player, with no byo-yomi. However, you can buy extra time twice, at the rate of 20 minutes for two stones. Ichiriki was doing well in both games but had to buy extra time twice in the first game and once in the second game. He commented: “I’m still not strong enough at converting a lead into a win. Things didn’t go the way I wanted, including my management of my time.”

In the other semifinal, Shin Jinseo 9P of Korea, currently the world’s top-rated player, beat Zhao Chenyu 8P of China 2-0. Dates for the final, also best-of-three, have not yet been decided.

Incidentally, the Nihon Ki-in does not recognize Ing Cup games as official games, because of differences in the rules, such as buying time with stones instead of having byo-yomi. Also, the Ing Rules recognize suicide moves, which can be used as ko threats. Ironically, this rule was not applied this time, as the games were played on the net and the software couldn’t be modified in time.

Semifinals (best-of-three)
Game 1 (Jan. 10). Xie Ke (W) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Shin Jinseo (B) beat Zhao Chenyu by resig.
Game 2 (Jan. 12). Xie (B) beat Ichiriki by 3; Shin (W) beat Zhao by one point.

Next: Chunlan Cup; Ueno wins Women’s Kisei


The Power Report: New restrictions on players; Pro catches virus; Iyama dominates Kisei but Kono survives first kadoban

Thursday February 25, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

New restrictions on players
As of Jan. 1, new rules came in effect at all three branches of the Nihon Ki-in limiting the freedom of players in order to insure no one resorts to help from AI programs. Players engaged in games are not allowed to leave the building even during lunch and dinners breaks. They are not allowed to use smoking corners during the game either. Each playing venue has a rest area. Just for the record, lunchtime is from 11:45 to 12:30, and the dinner break is from 5:30 to 6:15. The Kansai Ki-in has not followed suit because it doesn’t have enough space to provide rest areas.

Kisei: Iyama plays first

Pro catches virus
On Jan. 8, the Nihon Ki-in announced that an unnamed professional had become ill with COVID-19 on Dec. 30. The Ki-in did extensive tracing of possible contacts at the Ki-in and concluded that there were no problems. The Ki-in also took medical advice to strengthen its preventive measures.

Iyama dominates Kisei but Kono survives first kadoban
This year Kono Rin made his second successive challenge to Iyama Yuta for the Kisei title. It is actually his fifth best-of-seven with Iyama, as he also challenged for the 39th Meijin title in 2014, the 41st Kisei title in 2017, and the 74th Honinbo title in 2019. The four matches above, including the 44th Kisei, were all won by Iyama 4-2.

The first game of the 45th Kisei was played at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo on January 13 and 14. In the nigiri, Kono drew black. Iyama took the lead, but he made an attempt to capture a black group that threw the position into confusion, giving Kono a chance to take the lead. After a spectacular trade, however, Iyama just managed to hang on to his lead. Kono resigned after White 244.

The second game was played in the Shokoji Temple in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture, on January 22 and 23. When the players and officials arrived for the game, they found that the city had just had its heaviest snowfall for 36 years. In some places, the snow was 120 centimeters deep. It was a little cold, but the players praised the refreshing clearness of the air. Playing black, Iyama built a lead in the opening, but Kono struck at a chink in his armor, leading to a large-scale life-and-death struggle. Iyama came out on top in the fighting, so Kono resigned after move 143. Already his challenge was in trouble.

The third game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in Nishiumi City, Nagasaki Prefecture, on February 5 and 6. In the middle game, Iyama (white) played a fiendish move that none of the players following the game predicted. This move enabled him to take the initiative and secure the lead. Kono resigned after 186 moves. The pressure of his bad performance in this match seemed to be affecting his other games: as of mid-February he had yet to win a game this year and his score was 0-6.

The fourth game, which was a kadoban (a game that could lose a series) for Kono, was played at the Hotel Kagetsuen in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on Feb. 16 and 17. Taking white, Kono got off to the better start on the first day. Iyama went all out on the second day and seemed to catch up, but his aggressive play left some chinks in his armor that were exploited by Kono. Using the threat of an attack on a thin black group, he built up a large center. Iyama resigned after White 212.

Next: Korea wins Go Legends National Competition; Ing Cup


The Power Report: Best performers of 2020

Sunday February 21, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

This reports focuses on the players with the best performances in various categories last year.

Most wins
Because of a multiple tie for 9th place, the top ten is actually the top eleven. Some other results of interest have been added. Note that three women players make the top eleven. The increase in tournaments for women gives them more playing opportunities and more prize money. It could be argued that this is a golden age for professional women’s go in Japan.
1. Ichiriki Ryo Tengen: 53-13
2. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 38-14
3. Kyo Kagen 8P: 36-23
4. Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 35-15; Shibano Toramaru Oza: 35-21 
6. Ueno Asami, Senko Cup-holder: 34-23 
7. Onishi Ryuhei 7P: 32-15
8. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 30-20
9. Seki Kotaro 3P: 29-8; Mutsuura Yuta 7P: 29-13; Nyu Eiko 3P: 29-16
15. Xie Yimin 6P: 26-19
17. Kono Rin 9P: 25-22
19. Mukai Chiaki 5P: 24-13
22. Suzuki Ayumi, Women’s Kisei: 23-14
27. Nakamura Sumire 1P: 21-17 (7th among women players)

Most consecutive wins
1. Chotoku Tesshi 3P: 14
2. Ichiriki: 11
3. Mutsuura: 10
4. Iyama, Ichiriki, Kyo Kagen, Kanazawa Hideo 8P, Motoki Katsuya 8P: 9

Best winning percentage (over a minimum of 24 games)
1. Ichiriki: 80.3
2. Seki: 78.38
3. Kanazawa: 76
4. Anzai Nobuaki 7P: 73.68 (28-10)
5. Hirata Tomoya 7P: 73.53 (25-9)
6. Iyama: 73.08
7. Onishi: 72.73
8. Mizokami Tomochika 9P, Takei Takashi 7P: 72.41 (both 21-8)
10. Ida Atsushi 8P: 71.05 (27-11)

Prize-money promotions 
The following players from 1- to 6-dan earned promotions based on prize money earned during the year. The top two from 1-dan to 5-dan are promoted a rank, but only one 6-dan is promoted. Players who earned promotions by other means during the year, that is, by cumulative wins or challenging for a title or winning a seat in a league, are excluded, so the players below are the “top” among the rest. Promotions are dated to January 1.
To 7-dan: Numadate Sakiya
To 6-dan: Koike Yoshihiro, Yanagisawa Satoshi
To 5-dan: Hirose Yuichi, Otake Yu
To 4-dan: Cho Zuiketsu, Ueno Asami
To 3-dan: Muramoto Wataru, Chotoku Tesshi
To 2-dan: Terada Shuta, Fukuoka Kotaro 

Most prize money won
For the 10th year in a row, Iyama topped the list of prize-money winners and once again reached the enviable bench mark of 100,000,000 yen (approx. $961,000 at $1 = 104 yen). Actually, the first time he came first was the only time he fell short of this mark, but, with 91,000,000, not very short. The most he has made is 172,000,000 in 2015 and the least is 106,000,000 (these figures are rounded off). Just for the record, only three other players have reached seven figures: Kobayashi Koichi (three times), Cho Chikun (four times), and Cho U (four times). Note the figures below include tournament prize money and game fees but not other income, such as for doing public commentaries or lectures, appearance money, teaching, book royalties, etc. 
1. Iyama Yuta: 128,519,441
2. Ichiriki Ryo: 48,609,332
3. Shibano Toramaru: 47,412,860
4. Fujisawa Rina: 27,410,030
5. Kono Rin: 26,927,300
6. Yamashita Keigo: 20,993,400
7. Kyo Kagen: 20,962,681
8. Ueno Asami: 17,545,862
9. Cho U: 11,969,400
10. Hane Naoki: 11,722,000

54th Kido Prizes  
The magazine Kido is defunct, but its prizes live on and were announced on February 10. They are open only to Nihon Ki-in players. This time they were dominated by Ichiriki Ryo, who won five of the seven prizes he was eligible for.
Most outstanding player: Iyama Yuta Kisei, Meijin & Honinbo.
Outstanding player: Ichiriki Ryo Tengen & Gosei
New star: Seki Kotaro, King of the New Stars
Women’s prize: Fujisawa Rina, Young Carp titleholder, Women’s Honinbo, Women’s Meijin, Women’s Hollyhock Cup holder, Hakata Kamachi Cup holder
International Prize: Ichiriki
Most wins: Ichiriki (53)
Best winning percentage: Ichiriki (80.3%)
Most consecutive wins: Chotoku Tesshi
Most games played: Ichiriki (66)

Kansai Ki-in prizes
The following prizes were announced on January 29. They were dominated by Yo Seiki, who matched Ichiriki in number of prizes won
Most outstanding player: Yo Seiki 8P (aged 25)
Most Wins: Yo (43)
Best winning percentage: Yo (86%)
Risen Prize (fighting spirit): Sada Atsushi 7P
Dogen Prize (special merit): Seto Taiki 8P
New star: Okawa Takuya 2P (aged 19)
Most successive wins: Yo (22)
Yamano Prize (for popularizing go): Tobita Saki 2P
Nagai Prize (outstanding player under 30): Nishi Takenobu 5P
Yoshida Prize (most wins against Nihon Ki-in players): Yo (24)
Taniguchi Prize (to encourage players under 26): Abe Yoshiki 3P (aged 24)

Kansai Ki-in prize-money promotions
The Kansai Ki-in has a more limited system than the Nihon Ki-in: the top three prize-money earners from 1- to 4-dan go up a rank on January 1. In order of earnings they are:
1. Hong Akiyoshi: to 4-dan
2. Nishi Takenobu: to 5-dan
3. Taniguchi Toru: to 5-dan


The Empty Board: Philosophical Reflections on Go #17

Wednesday February 17, 2021

By William Cobb

Have you ever tried to do something really fast? I can think of several things I would want to do as fast as possible: spit out something that tastes really bad, get out of a house that is on fire, run in a race, get out of the shower when the hot water suddenly gives out. Of course, there are things you wouldn’t want to do as fast as possible: finish the last bite of chocolate cake, listen to your favorite songs or sing them or play them. There are some activities that you naturally savor and linger over, not wanting them to end so quickly you can’t enjoy them. Where does playing go fit here? EJ reader Joe Mihara made a comment recently that Chris Garlock passed on to me: “What fun is Go if you have no time to think? I thought that the ’thinking’ was what was fun about the game?” This seems obvious to me.

I know that some people like to play “blitz” go, slapping down the stones as fast as they can. It can be wildly exciting, but only if you are not concerned about understanding what is happening during the game. Many go players are a little unhappy about having only forty-five minutes to play their moves in a game in most tournaments as there is so much to consider—and it is interesting, even enjoyable, to consider as many of the possibilities for every move as you can. It seems odd to suggest playing a game of go under circumstances that make it impossible to know what is happening in the game. In fact, I think that taking time to think about most things you do as you do them is a good idea. Trying to get through a fascinating process as fast as you can just makes no sense. Even if the only thing you care about is winning, how can you enjoy winning if you have virtually no awareness of how it happened? The issue is whether the process or the result is what you care about. To me, one of the most attractive things about go is that the rules make you lose half the time and win half the time. All there is to enjoy is the process.

photo by Phil Straus; photo art by Chris Garlock


50 years aGO – February 1971

Sunday February 14, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister


On February 2 Ishida Yoshio finally played his third game – picking up his second win — in the Honinbo League, over Sakata Eio.  By the end of the month, Kato Masao had played twice as many games, with a 4-2 record, while Fujisawa Hosai led the league with a perfect 4-0 record. (Game record here).

Also on February 2, Otake Hideo defeated Hashimoto Utaro to even up the Judan title at 2-2.  Otake is pictured making the sealed move (which proved to be a mistake, though not a fatal one).  However, on February 11 Hashimoto, the 64-year-old veteran of the atom bomb game, defeated his youthful opponent to win the title.  Interestingly, he also won the first Judan title, and veteran Fujisawa Shuko, who just regained the Meijin title last year, had won the first Meijin as well. (Game records here: Judan 4 & Judan 5)

Speaking of old and new, on February 18th a match occurred in the Nihon Kiin Championship Tournament.  On the right is 70-year-old Hayashi Yutaro 9 dan.  On the left is a 14-year-old 4 dan named Cho Chikun.  The score was a lot closer than the age difference; a half point to the elder.  (Game record here).


The Power Report: Sumire’s progress; Ida wins 5th Crown

Saturday February 13, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire’s progress

First of all, some good news for Nakamura Sumire fans. On August 15, she scored a commendable win over Takao Shinji in a practice game played on the net. Takao was playing in his capacity of coach of the national team. Taking white, Sumire won by 1.5 points. It’s not an official result, of course, but pros take all their games quite seriously.

In the September 14 issue of Go Weekly, it was announced that Sumire would be transferring to the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on January 1. The timing is right for her, as she had finished elementary school and will proceed to junior high in April. Sumire: “I thought that I wanted to study hard in Tokyo, where there would be many strong players and rivals. I will do my best to improve, even if only a little.” Her father, Nakamura Shinya 9P, commented: “Sumire has been saying that she wanted to test herself in Tokyo. . . . She won’t forget her feelings of gratitude to all the people who helped her in the Kansai. I hope she will do her best.”

Incidentally, the magazine also mentioned that a fan with an anime-style portrait of Sumire on it had gone on sale.

Results since my previous report are given below.

(Sept. 7) Sumire (W) beat Tsukuda Akiko 5P by 6.5 points (Prelim. A, 24th Women’s Kisei tournament). This win earned Sumire a seat in the main tournament for the second year in a row.

(Sept. 14) In the preliminary tournament for the 15th Hiroshima Aluminum Cup Young Carp Tournament, Sumire won three games in one day and qualified for the main tournament. This tournament is open to players under 31 and under 8-dan. The time allowance is 30 seconds per move with ten minutes of thinking time to be used in one-minute units (the NHK Cup format). She beat three woman players: Honda Mariko 1P, Miyamoto Chiharu 1P, and Omori Ran 1P.

(Sept. 17) Sumire beat Ishida Atsushi 9P (Preliminary C, Oza tournament). Go Weekly noted that her record since the resumption of professional play in June was now 8-2.

(Oct. 1) Sumire (W) lost to Takahashi Masahiro 7P by resig. (Prelim. B, 69th Oza tournament).

(Oct. 8) Sumire (W) beat Ueno Risa 1P by 6.5 points (main tournament, 24th Women’s Kisei). With Sumire being 11 and Ueno 14, this was a game between the two youngest players at the Nihon Ki-in, for which the combined age of 25 was probably a record. They became pros at the same time, but this was the first official game between them. Sumire also played in the main tournament last year, but on more favorable terms, as she had to play only one game in the qualifying tournament. This is her first win in the main section of a tournament.

(Oct 26) Sumire (B) lost to Aoki Kikuyo 8P by 8.5 points (24th Women’s Kisei).
(Oct. 29) Sumire (W) beat Kori Toshio 9P (Prelim. C, 77th Honinbo). This was her fourth win over a 9-dan in 11 encounters.
(Nov. 16) Sumire (B) lost to Tsuji Hana 1P (46th King of the New Stars preliminary).
(Nov. 19) Sumire (B) beat Taguchi Misei 1P by resig. (Prelim. B, 32nd Women’s Meijin).
(Nov. 21) Sumire (W) lost to Ueno Asami, Women’s Honinbo, by resig. (round 1, main tournament, 15th Young Carp).
(Dec. 3) Sumire (B) lost to Iwamaru Taira 7P by 7.5 points (Prelim. C, 77th Honinbo).
(Dec. 10) Sumire (B) beat Nakajo Chihiro 1P by resig.; Sumire (W) beat Mizuno Hiromi 5P by resig. (both in Prelim. B, 32nd Women’s Meijin)
(Dec. 17) Sumire (W) beat Miyamoto Chiharu 1P by 32.5 points (8th Women’s Hollyhock Cup prelim.)

Sumire’s results for the year were 21 wins to 17 losses

Ida wins Crown title for 5th straight year

This year, the 19-year-old Otake Yu 4P challenged Ida Atsushi 8P (aged 26) for the 61st Crown title. The game was played at the Nagoya headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on November 26; taking black, Ida won by resignation after 181 moves. He won the Crown title for the fifth year in a row. First prize is 1,700,000 yen (about $16,300).


To 2-dan: (Ms.) Moro Arisa (30 wins; as of Sept. 4); (Ms.) Kato Chie (30 wins, as of Oct. 30)

To 4-dan: Fujimura Yosuke (50 wins; as of Sept. 8); Kazama Jun (50 wins; as of Nov. 13)


Inoue Kunio 9P retired as if October 5. Born in Tokyo on January 19, 1948, he became a disciple of Suzuki Goro 9P in 1955, then switched to the Kitani school in 1966. He made 1-dan in 1968 and reached 8-dan in 1988. After his retirement, he was promoted to 9-dan.


Sakai Masanori 5P died on September 15. Born in Hiroshima Prefecture on October 12, 1929, he became a disciple of Iyomoto Momoichi Hon. 8P. He became 1-dan in 1950 and reached 4-dan in 1974. He retired in 1996 and was promoted to 5-dan.

Kosugi Kiyoshi 9P died on September 27. Born on February 2, 1939, he was taught by his father Kosugi Chokufu 7P. He became 1-dan in 1957 and reached 8-dan in 1991. He was promoted to 9-dan after his retirement in 2004. With James Davies, he was the author of 38 Basic Joseki in the ISHI press Elementary Go Series. The late Kosugi Masaru 9P was his younger brother.

Asano Hideaki 8P died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Nov. 10. Born on January 14, 1945, he entered the Kitani school. He made 1-dan in 1966 and reached 7-dan in 1997. He retired in 2011 and was promoted to 8-dan.


The Power Report: Ichiriki wins Tengen; Shibano defends Oza; Ke Jie wins Samsung Cup

Friday February 12, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki wins Tengen

Ichiriki (r) beats Iyama

After failing in five challenges to Iyama Yuta for top-seven titles, Ichiriki Ryo finally prevailed in his sixth challenge, which was for the 46th Tengen title. He now has two top-seven titles to his name.

First of all, Ichiriki had to overcome the redoubtable resistance of Kono Rin 9-dan, whom he defeated in the play-off to decide the challenger. The game was played on September 4, and Ichiriki (W) won by resignation. The results in the title match are detailed below. Ichiriki made a lucky start by scoring a half-point win, but Iyama fought back to take two games in a row. At this point, it looked like the same old story, but Ichiriki has acquired some tenacity. He scored two successive wins and won his second top-seven title, to add to the Gosei he won earlier in the year from Hane Naoki. Iyama, with his major triple crown of the three top titles, is still indisputably the number one, but Ichiriki is competing for the number two position with Shibano Toramaru.

Game 1 (Oct. 8). Ichiriki (B) by half a point.
Game 2 (Oct. 20). Iyama (B) by resig.
Game 3 (Nov. 27). Iyama (W) by resig.
Game 4 (Dec. 7). Ichiriki (W) by resig.
Game 5 (Dec. 16). Ichiriki (B) by resig.

Shibano defends Oza title

The 68th title match pitted two of the new leaders of Japanese go against each other: the 22-year-old Kyo Kagen 8P and the 20-year-old Shibano Toramaru Oza. The latter’s play in the Oza title match showed that he had recovered from the shock of losing the Meijin title. He managed to fend off Kyo’s challenge while dropping just one game, though he did seal his victory with a half-pointer.

Game 1 (Oct. 23). Shibano (W) by resig.
Game 2 (Nov. 6). Shibano (B) by resig.
Game 3 (Nov. 17). Kyo (B) by 5.5 points.
Game 4 (Dec. 3). Shibano (B) by half a point.

Ke Jie wins Samsung Cup; Ichiriki carries the flag for Japan

Four players from Japan took part in the 25th Samsung Cup, which, like other international tournaments these days, was played on the net. Ichiriki Ryo 8P and Kyo Kagen 8P were seeded for Japan. Sada Atsushi 7P won a seat in the open section and Mimura Tomoyasu 9P in the senior section respectively of the Japanese qualifying tournament. Once again, Ichiriki led the way for Japan, reaching the quarterfinals with two wins (the first win was on time, but he was ahead). Fittingly, the final featured the top two ranked players in the world: Shin Jinseo, who is number one, and number two, Ke Jie. The latter won 2-0, but Shin was handicapped in the first game by a move that was made accidentally. The cord of his mouse touched the “touch panel” of his notebook computer and triggered a ridiculous move: Black’s move 21 on the 1-8 point. There was a technical problem in the 21st Nong Shim Cup (see the first installment of this report), which led to a replayed game, but Shin not appeal, something that the Samsung rules for this tournament did not allow for anyway. In the second game, Shin took the lead but fell victim to an upset in the endgame. Ke picked up his fourth victory in the Samsung Cup and his eighth international victory overall. First prize is worth 300,000,000 won (about $272,000).

Selected results:

(Round 1, Oct. 27). Ichiriki Ryo 8P (Japan) (W) beat Gu Jihao 9P (China) on time; Shi Yue 9P (China) (W) beat Sada Atsushi 7P (Japan) by resig.; Kang Jihoon 2P (Korea) (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P (Japan) by 1.5 points; Choi Jaeyoung 5P (Korea) (W) beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by resig.;

Round 2 (Oct. 28). Ichiriki (W) beat Shin Minjun by resig.; Ke Jie 9P (China) (W) beat Cho Hanseung 9P (Korea) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) (W) beat Lian Xiao 9P (China) on time.

Quarterfinals (Oct. 30). Xie Erhao 9P (China) (B) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Yang Dingxin 9P (China) (B) beat Li Weiqing 8P (China) by resig.; Ke (B) beat Li Xuanhao 8P (China) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9P (Korea) (W) beat Shi Yue by resig.

Semifinals (Oct. 31). Shin (W) beat Xie by resig,; Ke (W) beat Yang by resig.

Game 1 (Nov. 2). Ke (W) by resig.
Game 2 (Nov. 3). Ke (B) by half a point.

Tomorrow: Sumire’s progress; Ida wins 5th Crown