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The Power Report: Iyama leads Meijin League; Sumire’s progress; Nyu tops wins list

Sunday April 12, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama leads Meijin League

On 4-0, Iyama Yuta is the only undefeated player in the 45th Meijin League. This is one of those leagues where the higher-ranked players, with one exception, Iyama, do badly. The bottom three players are the only ones with just one loss. Recent results:

(March 19) Cho U 9P (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.; Iyama Yuta Kisei (W) beat Ichiriki Ryo 8P by resig.

(April 2) Murakawa Daisuke Judan (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig.

Sumire’s progress

On March 26, Nakamura Sumire 1P (W) lost to Muramoto Wataru 2P, a fellow member of the Kansai HQ (Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in) by 4.5 points in Preliminary C of the 46th Gosei tournament.

On April 2, Sumire played her first game as a sixth-grader, but was not successful. Taking white, she lost by resignation (191 moves) to Takei Takashi 7P (Kansai HQ). The game was in Preliminary C of the 47th Tengen tournament.

On April 6, Sumire played three games on the Net in the female preliminary for the 11th Gratitude Cup, which became an official tournament as of this term. In the first, starting at 10 a.m., she beat Kato Chie 1P; in the second, starting at 1 p.m., she beat Nyu Eiko 2-dan; in the third, starting at 6 p.m., she lost to Xie Yimin 6P. The win over Nyu is significant, as she has been one of the top woman players recently.

At this point, Sumire’s record for the year was 7-10, which makes her cumulative record 24-17. However, the numbers match up only if I repair an omission in my report published on February 21. I overlooked a game played on January 16 in Preliminary B of the 76th Hoininbo tournament. Hane Yasumasa 9P (W) beat Sumire by 5.5 points. In the same report, “Yoshida” in the February 10 game is a mistake for “Furuta.”

Nyu tops wins list

Kyo Kagen

It’s still early days yet, but it’s worth noting that a second woman player has topped the most-wins list, following the lead of Ueno Asami last year. Nyu Eiko has 15 wins to three losses. Following her, on 13-3, are the three players who were in contention in the final round of the Honinbo League: Kyo Kagen, Shibano Toramaru, and Ichiriki Ryo. Kyo’s loss in the Honinbo play-off ended a winning streak of his at nine.

Tomorrow: Discovery Cup: new tournament for young players; Amateur wins seat in Kisei C League; Amateur wins seat in Kisei C League

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Redmond on Shusaku vs. Sanchi, 7p Sunday night

Saturday April 11, 2020

The votes are in and Shusaku vs. Sanchi was the people’s choice for Sunday night’s live commentary by Michael Redmond 9. Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel at 7p EDT to see Redmond and Chris Garlock review Honinbo Shusaku’s first castle game. “His opponent is the 9th Yasui Sanchi (Shuntetsu), a strong fighter,” says Redmond. “They have opposite game plans, in that Shusaku has Black and tries to play solidly, while Yasui starts by avoiding the Shusaku opening and plays aggressively.”
Also, the Redmond/Garlock “Alphago to Zero” March 12 Twitch stream has now been released on the AGA’s YouTube channel. The two talked about what it was like to provide the English-language commentary for the 2016 match for a global audience with intense media attention, and took questions from viewers. “Their passion for this game is infectious,” said CalmExit.

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The Power Report: Murakawa evens score in Judan; Iyama wins NHK Cup; Shibano to challenge for Honinbo title; Ichiriki follows two professions

Saturday April 11, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Murakawa evens score in Judan

Murakawa Daisuke Judan

The second game of the 58th Judan title match was held at the Kansai Ki-in in Osaka on March 26. Taking white, Murakawa Daisuke Judan beat Shibano Toramaru Meijin by 2.5 points after 310 moves. The titleholder seems to have taken the lead in the endgame. This was the first title-match game to be played at the Kansai Ki-in for six years; normally a public commentary would have been held but was cancelled because of the coronavirus. The third game is scheduled for April 16.

Iyama wins NHK Cup

Iyama took revenge on Ichiriki Ryo in the final of the 67th NHK Cup, which was telecast on March 22 (it was his fourth final in a row). Ichiriki had beaten Iyama in the final last year, but this time he was outfought and outmaneuvered Taking white, Iyama secured a resignation after 128 moves, winning the title for the third time. I think this is Iyama’s 59th title. His record against Ichiriki is now 19 wins to eight losses, though the latter still leads 4-2 in fast games.

Shibano to challenge for Honinbo title

Shibano Toramaru Meijin

The final games in the sixth round of the 75th Honinbo League was held in late March. On March 23, Shibano Toramaru Meijin (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point, and, on March 26, Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yokotsuka Riki 7P by resig. This left three players in the running to win the league: Shibano and Kyo Kagen 8P, both on 5-1, and Ichiriki Ryo 8P, who was on 4-2. Since they were not playing each other, there were various possibilities: either Shibano or Kyo could win outright or there could be a two-way or three-way tie. The best Ichiriki could hope for was a tie.

Following recent practice, all the games in the final round were held on the same day, April 3. All three players in contention won, so the result was a tie between Shibano and Kyo. A play-off was held on April 6 and was won by Shibano, whose marvelous form since last year is continuing. He will now make his second challenge for a big-three title; theoretically, he could quite soon hold four top-seven titles. Ichiriki took third place in the league and Hane Naoki 9P came fourth with 4-3. Kono, Yamashita, Shida Tatsuya 8P, and Yokotsuka all lost their seats. Details of the final round are given below.

Round 7 (April 3). Ichiriki (W) beat Kono by 1.5; Shibano (W) beat Yokotsuka by 3.5; Hane (B) beat Yamashita by 6.5; Kyo (B) beat Shida by resig.

Play-off (April 6). Shibano (B) beat Kyo by resig. after 259 moves.

Ichiriki follows two professions

Ichiriki Ryo has established himself as one of the top professionals in Japan, but he has a second string to his bow. In March, he graduated from the Social Science College of Waseda University and, as of April 1, became an employee of the Kahoku Shinpo newspaper company. The newspaper is primarily focused on Sendai, the capital of Miyagi Prefecture, but is also read throughout the six northeastern prefectures. It was founded and run by Ichiriki’s great great grandfather; four generations of his family have served as presidents of the company, so, as an only child, Ichiriki seems to be expected to follow in their footsteps when his father retires. However, for the time being he has been assigned to the Tokyo office of the newspaper so that he can continue to focus on his go career, though he will also work as a reporter. There’s an anecdote reported on the Net that his father permitted him to become an insei only after confirming there was no prohibition on following two professions. (There are pros who have also worked as lawyers or accountants and at one time the great Fujisawa Shuko [Hideyuki] ran a real-estate office.)

Tomorrow: Iyama leads Meijin League; Sumire’s progress; Nyu tops wins list

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Your choice: Redmond commentary vote

Thursday April 9, 2020

Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock continue their Sunday night live game commentary series this Sunday, April 12 at 7P EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel. And you get to choose the game!
Viewers have asked for a classic game, so the choice is between Shuwa vs Inseki and Shusaku vs. Sanchi. Click here to vote.

One option: Shuwa vs Inseki: Honinbo Shuwa played a challenge match against Inoue Inseki, also known as Genan Inseki, when Inseki wanted to become Meijin. Inseki was thought to have chances against Honinbo Jowa (previous meijin, against whom he would probably be playing with Black without komi, while he had little success against Shuwa. The one dan difference in ranks meant sen-ai-sen, or Shuwa taking White once in 3 games, but Inseki found ways to avoid that, in the hope of winning with White and making a strong claim to be Meijin.

Another option: Shusaku vs. Sanchi: Honinbo Shusaku’s first castle game. His opponent is the 9th Yasui Sanchi (Shuntetsu) a strong fighter. They have opposite game plans, in that Shusaku has Black and tries to play solidly, while Yasui starts by avoiding the Shusaku opening and plays aggressively.

You win, either way! Click here to vote, and tune in at 7P EDT this Sunday, April 12 at 7P EDT on the AGA’s Twitch channel.

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Redmond on AG-AG Game 40 Sunday night on Twitch

Saturday April 4, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel Sunday night at 7p EDT to catch Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. “With so many of us sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re happy to be able to connect with go players around the world,” said Garlock. Tune in at 7p on Sunday, April 5; viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.
PLUS: Check out Redmond’s brand-new YouTube lesson on The Direct 3-3 Invasion Keep it Simple!

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Redmond on AlphaGo Game 39 Sunday night on Twitch

Saturday March 28, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel Sunday night at 7p EDT to catch Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. “Michael Redmond always makes sense no matter how hard he tries to deal with the impossible and I love him for that,” says Thumper. Tune in at 7p EDT on Sunday, March 29; viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.

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AlphaGo vs. AlphaGo; Game 37: Into thin air

Sunday March 22, 2020

In this game, “the attacking side suddenly abandons the attack and sacrifices some stones,” says Michael Redmond 9P in his latest AlphaGo game commentary with Chris Garlock. “The attack sort of disappears into thin air.” At the same time, the defending side is trying to sacrifice some stones as well, “so it’s a very unusual fight,” Redmond says, “it wouldn’t happen among human players, I don’t think.” Oh, “And the endgame gets a bit exciting, too.”

The commentary originally streamed live on the AGA’s Twitch channel; follow it to get notified of upcoming live streams.

[link]

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50 years aGO – March 1970

Sunday March 22, 2020

by Keith Arnold, hka with Patrick Bannister

The Third British Go Congress took place on March 21 and 22. A visiting Japanese 4 dan, a Mr. Akiyama, won the British Open Championship, narrowly defeating John Diamond 3 dan who was declared British National Champion. Mr. Diamond would go on to serve as BGA President and win the British Championship 8 times.

European Horst Mueller, 3 dan, played a televised game with Iwamoto 9 dan on March 26th. Iwamoto praised the visitor for his efforts, losing by 3 points in the 5 stone game. Perhaps Mr. Mueller was already working on the German translations included in the “GO; International Handbook and Dictionary” written by John Tilley and first published in the summer of 1970.

Finally we feature this glorious photo of two top Japanese matches. In the foreground, Hashimoto Shoji holds the white stones against Ishida Yoshio in the All Japan Pro Best 10. In the background, Sakata Eio defends the challenge of Ishida’s fellow Kitani disciple, Kato Masao, who takes black in one of the final games of the 25th Honinbo League. The games were played on March 4, I could only find the record of the Honinbo League match (below).

[link]

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Redmond on AG-AG Game 38 Saturday night on Twitch

Friday March 20, 2020

Tune in to the AGA’s Twitch channel Saturday night at 8p EDT to catch Michael Redmond 9P and Chris Garlock with their latest live game commentary on the AlphaGo vs AlphaGo series. “I see you guys are having new teaching tools!,” said Nat Cole, referring to Redmond’s ability to draw on the board using OGS. “It’s much more effective than when we had to go off on the a, b, c, d, e points. Thank you for doing that!” “Great stuff!” added Ian Eccleston. “I renewed my AGA membership to help support this content.” Tune in at 8p on Saturday, March 21; viewers will be able to ask Redmond and Garlock questions during the live commentary.

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The Power Report: Sumire’s results; Kido Prizes; Shibano wins Shusai Prize; Postponements; Promotion; Obituary: Kubouchi Shuchi 9P

Wednesday March 18, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire’s results
This year Nakamura Sumire 1P is finding things a bit tougher than last year. Since my previous report, she has suffered two losses, so her record this year is 4-6. Her birthday was on March 2, so the first game below was her last as a ten-year-old.

On Feb. 24, Sumire (B) lost by resig. to Sakaguchi Ryuzo 9P after 176 moves (Prelim. C, 27th Agon Kiriyama Cup, played at the Nihon Ki-in Kansai HQ).

 On March 5, Sumire (W) lost to Horimoto Mitsunari 4P by resig. after 197 moves (Prelim. C, 46th Meijin tournament, same venue as above).

Kido Prizes
The 53rd Kido Prizes were chosen by a committee of representatives from the go media on February 17. As the list following shows, there were few surprises.

Most Outstanding Player: Iyama Yuta
Outstanding Player: Shibano Toramaru
New Star: Son Makoto, King of the New Stars
Women’s Prize: Ueno Asami
International Prize: Not awarded
Most Wins: Shibano Toramaru (52)
Best Winning Percentage: Ichiriki Ryo (77.05%)
Most Successive Wins: Ichiriki & Fujita Akihiko (16)
Most Games Played: Shibano Toramaru (70)

Shibano wins Shusai Prize
On February 12, Shibano Toramaru was chosen as the recipient of the 57th Shusai Prize. This prize is awarded to an outstanding player with good future potential.

Postponements
The corona virus is continuing to affect go tournaments and not just international ones. Among the tournaments that have been postponed are: the 3rd World Go Championship (sponsored by the Nihon Ki-in), the 7th Globis Cup, and the 9th Ing Cup. The international preliminary for the LG Cup, which was scheduled for Seoul in April and which usually attracts about 300 players, has been cancelled; instead, the seats in the main tournament that were at stake were allocated to participating countries based on their past results, with the method of selection being left up to each country. This measure indicates that the organizers are still hopeful of being able to hold the main tournament later this year.

Promotion
To 8-dan: Shuto Shun (150 wins, as of Feb. 25)

Obituary: Kubouchi Shuchi 9P
Kubouchi Shuchi died of old age on January 21, 2020. He was born on January 25, 1920, so he was just four days short of his 100th birthday. A native of Osaka, he became a disciple of Kubomatsu Katsukiyo, hon. 9-dan. He qualified as 1-dan in 1935 and reached 9-dan in 1960. He was one of the leading members of the Kansai Ki-in. He played in four Meijin Leagues and three Honinbo Leagues. My memory may not be reliable, but I seem to recall that in his heyday Kubouchi was fond of playing the 5-4 point, which usually led to exciting games.

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