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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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The Power Report: Shibano starts well in Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

Tuesday March 17, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Shibano starts well in Judan

The 58th Judan title match got off to a start on March 3, with the first game being played at the Osaka University of Commerce. The defending titleholder, Murakawa Daisuke, played well in the opening and early middle game to take an early lead in territory, but the challenger, Shibano Toramaru Meijin, pulled off an upset in the middle game. Taking white, he won by 3.5 points after 276 moves. The second game will be played on March 26.

75th Honinbo League

After the completion of the fifth round, three players shared the lead on 4-1: Shibano Toramaru Meijin, Ichiriki Ryo 8P, and Kyo Kagen 8P. A crucial game was played on March 12 in which Kyo Kagen beat Ichiriki Ryo, so Kyo has the provisional lead with 5-1. At the other end of the league, Yamashita Keigo has lost his fifth straight game and has already lost his league place.

(Feb. 20) Kono Rin 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.; Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.

(March 5) Shida Tatsuya 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki Gosei by resig.

(March 12) Kyo beat Ichiriki.

45th Meijin League

With one game to go in the March round, the lead is shared by Iyama Yuta and Ichiriki Ryo, who are both on 3-0. They will meet in the April round, so there will then be a sole leader. With 0-4, Yamashita Keigo 9P is doing almost as badly as in the Honinbo League. At least as far as leagues concerned, Yamashita, with a combined 0-9 record, must be undergoing one of the worst slumps of his career.

(Feb. 20) Iyama Yuta Kisei (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Judan by resig.

(Feb. 27) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.

(March 5) Rin Kanketsu 8P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo by resig.

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

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The Power Report: Iyama overcomes Kono fightback in Kisei title match; Yoda resumes playing; Top four decided in 1st Hakata Kamachi Cup; New pair wins Professional Pair Go Championship

Monday March 16, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama overcomes Kono fightback in Kisei title match

Iyama

As noted in my previous report, Iyama Yuta won the first three games in the 44th Kisei title match, but Kono saved the first kadoban. In the fifth game, which was played at the Hotel Kagetsuen in the town of Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, on February 26 and 27, Kono continued his fightback. Taking white, he won by resignation after 232 moves. Kono had fallen behind in territory, but managed to pull off an upset. Iyama was apparently quite crestfallen at his failure to convert his early lead into a win. With this win, Kono reached his “norm”against Iyama: two wins.

The sixth game was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on March 5 and 6. Taking white, Iyama won by 3.5 points after 262 moves. The game featured hectic fighting from the outset, but Kono was let down by a slack move with Black 137—White had a good counter that he had overlooked. This decided the game and gave Iyama the series 4-2. By winning his eighth Kisei title in a row, he matched the record set by Kobayashi Koichi. It also matches Iyama’s personal record set in the Honinbo title. He can now aim at becoming the first player to win two titles ten times. Whatever happens after this, his victory ensures that Iyama remains the number one player for another year.

Kono

For the fourth time, the third win in a best-of-seven challenge to Iyama proved elusive for Kono. Aged 39, he cannot expect many more chances to take a top-three title.

Yoda resumes playing

In my previous report, I gave the details of the suspension from play of Yoda Norimoto by the Nihon Ki-in. Since then, Yoda has sued the Nihon Ki-in at the Tokyo District Court. On March 11, the Nihon Ki-in announced that the suspension would be lifted until the result of the court hearing has been given. It is expected at the end of April.

Top four decided in 1st Hakata Kamachi Cup

The first and second rounds of the new Hakata Kamachi Cup were held at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on February 15 and 16. The final four—Ueno Asami, Fujisawa Rina, Mukai Akiko, and Nyu Eiko–were players who have been prominent in women’s go recently, but there were some notable results on the way. Competing in the main tournament were the ten players who qualified in the preliminary round, five seeded players, and one wild card, Hei Jiajia (aka Joanne Missingham) of Taiwan. It’s unusual for an overseas player to be given a seat in a domestic tournament, but Hei is popular with local fans. Full results are given below. (The semifinals and final are scheduled for April 13 and 14.)

Round 1 (Feb. 15) Ueno Asami, Women’s Honijnbo, (B) beat Yashiro Kumiko 6P by resig.; Nakazawa Ayako 5P (B) beat Cho Chen 2P by resig.; Xie Yimin 6P (W) beat Tsukuda Akiko 5P by resig.; Mukai Chiaki 5P (B) beat Mannami Nao 4P by 1.5 points; Hei Jiajia 7P (Taiwan) (B) beat Omori Ran 1P by resig.; Nyu Eiko 2P (B) beat Tatsumi Akane 3P by resig.; Tsuji Hana 1P (B) beat Inaba Karin 1P by resig.; Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Hollyhock Cup-holder, (B) beat Moro Arisa 1P by resig.

Round 2 (Feb. 16) Ueno (B) beat Nakazawa by resig.; Mukai (W) beat Xie by resig.; Nyu (B) beat Hei by half a point; Fujisawa (B) beat Tsuji by resig.

New pair wins Professional Pair Go Championship

The semifinals and final of the Professional Pair Go Championship 2020 were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on March 1. Because of the corona virus, there were no spectators, although Pair Go tournaments thrive more than ordinary tournaments on the close contact between players and spectators. For their part, the organizers were probably relieved at being able to complete the tournament schedule. A live commentary was broadcast on the Net. In one semifinal, the pair of Okuda Aya 4P and Murakawa Daisuke Judan beat Chinen Kaori 6P and Motoki Katsuya 8P; in the other, Suzuki Ayumi 7P and Yo Seiki 8P beat Yoshida Mika 8P and Onishi Ryuhei 5p. In the final, Okuda & Murakawa (W) beat Suzuki & Yo by 10.5 points.

Tomorrow: Shibano starts well in Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

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50 years aGO – February 1970

Saturday February 22, 2020

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

Humbled by drafting this column in the midst of John Power’s latest excellent reports from Japan, we bring you a slightly less up-to-date view of the Honinbo and Meijin leagues. Fifty years ago, Fujisawa Shuko 9 dan and Kajiwara Takeo 9 dan led the Meijin league and Sakata Eio 9 dan led the Honinbo League. 

In this photo (right) of the competition in the Honinbo league from February 4, we see Kato Masao 6 dan in the foreground against Kano Yoshinori 9 dan.  Kato, of course, is well-known in the West, and Kano has a place as well, as author of the 4-volume graded go problems for beginners.  Behind in the center we see the first tournament 9 dan, Fujisawa Hosai, taking on Hisai Keishi 6 dan.  Finally, in the game on the right, Takagawa Kaku 9 dan takes on Fujisawa Shuko 9 dan.  Takagawa had already held the title for nine straight years and published two English texts – How to Play Go, and Vital Points of Go.  Game records can be found here: Katō v Kano; Takagawa v Shuzo; Hōsai v Hisai.

We can’t leave my favorite player Shuko without comment.  In the photo at left, we see him winning by half a point in the first game of the first All Japan First Place Tournament, which would later become the Gosei.  Shuko had a penchant for making the finals of tournaments in their first year, and usually won them. His opponent is Otake Hideo, who, as the current Judan, we will call 10 dan. The game record is here.

photos courtesy Igo Club

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The Power Report: Amateur makes Kisei C League; Cheating discovered in Korean qualifying tournament; Virus upsetting tournament schedule; Promotions; Yoda suspended for six months

Saturday February 22, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Amateur makes Kisei C League

For a number of years now, the top four place-getters in the Net Kisei tournament for amateur players have earned places in the professional Kisei qualifying tournament, called the First Tournament. So far the best performance by an amateur had been three wins, but this year Kurita Yoshiki won five games in a row and secured a place in the C League. In the final, held on February 13, he beat Sotoyanagi Sebun 3P playing with black. The C League is an irregular Swiss System: there are five rounds, but players drop out with their third loss.

Cheating discovered in Korean qualifying tournament

On January 14, one of the competitors in the Korean professional qualifying tournament was discovered to be cheating. The player (gender unknown) had concealed a small camera inside his or her clothing and had a wireless earphone hidden in a bandage. An accomplice outside the venue was relaying the moves suggested by an AI program. The player was immediately disqualified; after an emergency meeting of the officials on January 17, it was decided to proceed with a criminal prosecution.

Virus upsetting tournament schedule

The corona virus still shows no signs of letting up in China and is daily getting worse in Japan, so it is beginning to take a toll in deferments of international tournaments. As noted above, the second game of the Wild Fox final was put off, even though it’s a Net tournament. The 13th Chunlan Cup, scheduled to start on February 24 in Taizhou City in China, has likewise been postponed indefinitely. We can expect other casualties. There is no word yet on the Nihon Ki-in’s World Go Championship, scheduled for March 17~19 in Tokyo.

Promotions

To 7-dan: Iwamaru Taira (120 wins, as of Jan. 24)
To 2-dan: Aoki Hirotaka (30 wins, as of Feb. 7)

Yoda suspended for six months

The mills of the Nihon Ki-in grind slowly; whether or not they grind fine is another matter, but they have caught up with Yoda Norimoto. In the E-Journal issue of August 23 last year, I reported that the sponsors of the Masters Cup had cancelled it because of distaste for criticism Yoda was making of the Ki-in administration in tweets and via the Ki-in’s mailing list. When the medium was criticized as inappropriate, Yoda withdrew his tweets, but did not apologize to the persons who felt they had been libeled. Kobayashi Satoru 9P, chairman of the board of directors, said at the time that in due course Yoda would be punished for disturbing and defaming the Nihon Ki-in and causing it to lose a sponsor. On February 12, the Ki-in announced that a board of directors meeting had decided that he would be suspended from tournament participation for six months (from this day to August 11). The decision was announced at a press conference attended by Kobayashi and Obuchi Morito 9P, a director. They said the decision had been transmitted to Yoda through his lawyer. The next day, Yoda turned up to play a previously scheduled game, but was denied access to the playing room. It’s hard to get a full picture, but Yoda’s criticism was said to be related to the dismissal in May 2018 of his wife Hara Sachiko 4P as a director for—what else?–slandering other candidates in an election, though the timeline doesn’t seem to match.

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The Power Report: Nakamura Sumire receives Kansai prize, scores 20th win; Shin Jinseo wins LG Cup; Fourth-generation professional

Friday February 21, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Nakamura Sumire receives Kansai prize, scores 20th win

On January 27, Sumire was awarded the 2019 New Power Prize by the Association for Promoting the Kansai Cultural Sphere. The committee gives a number of prizes to Kansai figures who have had a national impact. Iyama received prizes in 2011 and 2018. Sumire was busy playing on the 27th, so Goto Shungo 9P, a Nihon Ki-in director, attended in her place. Sumire did send a video message.

Sumire has made a slow start this year, starting out with one win to four losses, but she has now improved her score to 4-4. Her cumulative record is a commendable 21-11; at this rate, she could earn promotion this year. Below are her 2020 results. (Unless otherwise indicated, games were played at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in.)

(Jan. 13) Miyamoto Chiharu 1P (B) beat Sumire by 2.5 points (Hakata Kamachi Cup preliminary). (Miyamoto also beat her in the Young Carp tournament last September.)
(Jan. 23) Iwamaru Taira 6P (B) beat Sumire by 10.5 points (semifinal of 46th Kisei First Tournament. (This win earned Iwamaru promotion to 7-dan—see below.)
(Jan. 27) Sumire (W) beat (Ms.) Osuga Seira 1P by resig.; Yahata Naoki 2P (B) beat Sumire by resig. (both games in the 7th Globis Cup preliminary round).
(Jan. 30) O Keii 3P (B) beat Sumire by resig. (Women’s Hollyhock Cup preliminary, played at the Nagoya headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in).
(Feb. 3) Sumire (W) beat Yanagawa Hiromasa 7P by 7.5 points (Preliminary C, 46th Gosei tournament).
(Feb. 10) Sumire (W) beat Yoshida Naoyoshi 4P (Preliminary C, 46th Meijin tournament).
(Feb. 13) Sumire (W) beat Ono Ayako 1P by resig. (5th Senko Cup preliminary, played at the Kansai Ki-in).

Shin Jinseo wins LG Cup

Shin Jinseo 9P (aged 19) has been the world’s top-rated player for a while without winning a major international tournament, but he redressed that in the 24th LG Cup. After beating Ke Jie 9P of China in the semifinal, he beat Park Junghwan 2-0 in an all-Korean final. In Game 1 (Feb. 10), he won by resig. with white; in Game 2 (Feb. 12), he won by resig. with black. First prize is 300,000,000 won (about $253,000). The venue was probably in Korea, but I checked three Net sites without being able to confirm this.

Fourth-generation professional

The 2020 Women’s Special Qualification Exam (actually a tournament) concluded on February 8. It was won by the 13-year-old Cho Kosumi, who scored seven wins to one loss. The results have to be ratified by a screening committee and then by a Nihon Ki-in directors meeting, but these are formalities, so Cho should start her professional career on April 1. As a professional, she could hardly be more of a blue blood: her father is Cho U 9P, former Kisei; her mother is Kobayashi Izumi 6P, daughter of Kobayashi Koichi 9P, also a former Kisei, and Kobayashi Reiko 6P, the former Kitani Reiko; her great-grandfather is Kitani Minoru 9P, a legendary player of the mid-20th century. Kosumi is the first fourth-generation professional at the Nihon Ki-in and the second in Japan. The Sekiyama family at the Kansai Ki-in was the first to have four generations of professionals. Incidentally, all the members of Kosumi’s family mentioned above have won titles: the family haul is 125 titles.

Tomorrow: Amateur makes Kisei C League; Cheating discovered in Korean qualifying tournament; Virus upsetting tournament schedule; Promotions; Yoda suspended for six months

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The Power Report: Suzuki wins Women’s Kisei title; Shibano to challenge for Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

Thursday February 20, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Suzuki wins Women’s Kisei title

In the last year or so, women’s go has been dominated by two players, Fujisawa Rina (Women’s Hollyhock Cup, Women’s Meijin, Senko Cup) and Ueno Asami (Women’s Honinbo, Women’s Kisei). This year things may be different. In the 23rd DoCoMo Cup Women’s Kisei title match, Suzuki Ayumi 7P, who at 36 qualifies as a veteran, challenged the 18-year-old Ueno Asami. Suzuki won the match 2-1 and took her first title for 16 years (she won the Strongest Woman Player tournament in 2003 and 2004). The first game was played at the Hotel Sun Life Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on January 16. Ueno is known for her fighting strength, but in this game Suzuki (W) outplayed her. She won by 3.5 points after 241 moves.

In the second game, played in the Ryusei Studio at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on Jan. 27,Ueno took revenge. Playing white, she fought fiercely and secured a resignation after 144 moves.

The deciding game was played at the same venue on February 10. Ueno (W) seemed to be doing well in the first part of the game, but little by little Suzuki overhauled her and secured the lead. She won by 3.5 points after 285 moves. Winning her third title after a gap of sixteen years is quite an achievement. Like many of the women professionals, Suzuki has been busy with child-rearing in recent years; she has two daughters, Yuzuki (five) and Yuri (two). Yuzuki was happy for her win; Yuri was happy because her mother brings home sweets for them when she’s won a game. Her husband is Rin Kanketsu 8P, who commented: “With [my wife] now falling behind, now taking the lead, any number of times I thought my heart was going to stop.”

Shibano to challenge for Judan

The play-off to decide the challenger for the 58th Judan title was held at the Kansai headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on January 30 and featured a clash between the current top two: Iyama Yuta and Shibano Toramaru. Taking white, Shibano won by resignation; it was the first time he had qualified for the main section of the Judan (the best 19—the seeding process is too complicated to describe), so he made the most of his opportunity. The title match with Murakawa Daisuke will start on March 3. At 20 years three months, Shibano will be the youngest-ever challenger for the Judan title (the previous record, 20 years 11 months, was set by Ida Atsushi 8P). If Shibano wins, he will draw (almost) even with Iyama as a triple crown-holder.

75th Honinbo League

After two games in the fifth round, Shibano Toramaru and Ichiriki Ryo have the provisional lead on 4-1, but they are closely followed by two players on 3-1: Hane Naoki 9P, and Kyo Kagen 8P. However, Kyo and Hane meet in this round. 2020 results:

(Jan. 9) Ichiriki (W) beat Shida Tatsuya 8P by resig.

(Jan. 16) Shibano Toramaru Meijin (B) beat Kyo Kagen 8P by resig.; Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig.

(Jan. 23) Yokotsuka Riki 7P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 10.5 points.

(Feb. 6) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Yokotsuka by resig.

45th Meijin League

After three rounds, Kyo Kagen has the sole lead with 3-0. However, Ichiriki and Iyama Yuta, who had byes in the second and third rounds respectively, are also undefeated. Results so far this year:

(Jan. 9) Cho U 9P (B) beat Rin Kanketsu 8P by resig.

(Jan. 16) Iyama Yuta Kisei (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.

(Jan. 30) Kono (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke Judan by resig.; Kyo Kagen 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki Gosei by resig.

(Feb. 13) Ichiriki (B) beat Yamashita by resig.; Kyo Kagen (W) beat Cho U by resig.; Murakawa (W) beat Hane by half a point.

Tomorrow: Nakamura Sumire receives Kansai prize, scores 20th win; Shin Jinseo wins LG Cup; Fourth-generation professional

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The Power Report: Iyama close to defending Kisei title; Iyama ahead in international final; Park wins New Year’s Cup

Wednesday February 19, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Iyama close to defending Kisei title

Iyama Yuta made a great start in the 44th Kisei best-of-seven, racing to a 3-0 lead, but Kono Rin picked up his first win in the fourth game, so Iyama won’t be counting his chickens. In his previous challenges to Iyama for big-three titles—the 26th Meijin, the 41st Kisei, and the 74th Honinbo—Kono scored two wins each time. He can still improve on that record, but each game is a kadoban for him.

The title match got off to a start on January 9 and 10, with the first game being played at the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo. Iyama, who drew black in the nigiri, won by 5.5 points. Kono started well, taking the initiative in the opening, but he made an error of judgment in the crucial fight, and this cost him the game.

The second game was played at the Renkeiji Temple in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, on January 20 and 21. Iyama (W) took the lead in the opening, but Kono caught up in the middle game. However, Iyama again secured the lead in the endgame. Kono resigned after 198 moves. There was a complication under the surface that became clearer later. After playing move 114, Iyama began muttering bitter self-recriminations; after the game, he said he had overlooked a simple counter by black. Fortunately, Kono was out of the room at the time; when he came back, Iyama reverted to a poker face. Kono took his move on trust and didn’t think to query it, so Iyama got away with his blunder.

The third game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture on February 1 and 2. In a word, Iyama (B) simply outfought Kono and forced him to resign after 153 moves.

The fourth game was played at the Kyushu National Museum, Dazaifu City, Kyushu, on February 14 and 15. Kono (B) won by resignation after 231 moves, thus saving his first kadoban. The fifth game will be played on February 26 and 27.

Iyama ahead in international final

The 1st Wild Fox Contest for Supremacy is an online tournament run by a Chinese server, Wild Fox, and has a top prize of 500,000 yuan (about $71,700). It was open to the 32 top-ranked players on the server. As no. 30, Iyama just made the cut, but he has done very well, winning eight games in a row to make the final, a best-of-three in which he started off with a win. In order, he beat Son Tengyu, Li Weiqing, Tang Weixing, Jiang Weijie, Chen Zijian, and Xie Ke to reach the semifinals; there he beat Chen Yaoye 2-0. His opponent in the final is Tong Mengcheng. The first game was played on January 29, with Iyama eking out a win by half a point. The second game of the best-of-free was scheduled for February 12 but has been deferred because of the corona-virus crisis in China.

Park wins New Year’s Cup

The 8th CCTV New Year’s Cup, which celebrates the Chinese New Year, is an invitational mini-tournament for one player each from China, Japan, and Korea. This year it was held in Zhengdu City with a first prize of 800,000 yuan (about $112,000). Game conditions follow the NHK format. With three participants, the tournament is an irregular knock-out. After drawing lots, the pairing for the first game (Jan. 20) was Park Junghwan 9P of Korea versus Ke Jie 9P of China. Taking white, Park won by 1.5 points and went through to the final. The first-game loser gets a second chance. In the second game (Jan. 21), Ke (W) beat Shibano Toramaru by resig. The loser of this game is the only player who doesn’t get to play two games; Shibano suffered the same fate last year, though his opponent then was Park. In the final (Jan. 22), Park (B) beat Ke by resig., winning this tournament for the third year in a row.

Tomorrow: Suzuki wins Women’s Kisei title; Shibano to challenge for Judan; 75th Honinbo League; 45th Meijin League

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The Power Report: 2019 review

Tuesday February 18, 2020

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Most wins
Shibano Toramaru, the youthful new Meijin, topped this list for the third year in a row. Considering the level of his competition now, as he’s playing top-flight opponents in leagues and title matches, that’s a significant achievement and testimony to his great form for most of the year. Also significant are the two best results ever attained by female players, with Ueno Asami and Fujisawa Rina coming third and fourth respectively. In particular, their good results against male players show that the level of women’s go is steadily rising. Here are the top 12.

  1. Shibano Toramaru: 52 wins, 18 losses
  2. Ichiriki Ryo 8P: 47-14
  3. Ueno Asami, Women’s Honinbo: 44-25
  4. Mutsuura Yuta: 38-20; Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Hollyhock Cup: 38-28
  5. Otake Yu 3P: 36-12
  6. Kono Rin 9P: 35-18
  7. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 34-27
  8. Suzuki Shinji 7P: 33-15; Son Makoto 7P: 33-19
  9. Kyo Kagen 8P: 32-17
  10. Xie Yimin 6P: 31-23

Most successive wins

  1. Ichiriki Ryo, Fujita Akihiko 7P (twice): 16
  2. Kono Rin: 13
  3. Yokotsuka Riki 7P, Fujisawa Rina: 12
  4. Hane Naoki Gosei: 11
  5. Shibano Toramaru, Adachi Toshimasa 6P, Muramoto Wataru 2P (twice), Nyu Eiko 2P: 10

Best winning percentage

  1. Ichiriki: 77.05
  2. Otake Yu, Fujita Akihiko (30-10): 75
  3. Shibano Toramaru: 74.29
  4. Oomote Takuto 3P (20-7): 74.07

2019 Prize-money promotions
There are three ways to earn promotions. One is through cumulative wins, which is the slow way. The fast way is through a tournament success, which will enable a low-ranked player to skip some intervening ranks. The conditions are fairly complicated, so here is a summary. Promotion to 7-dan: challenging for one of the bottom four (Oza, Tengen, Gosei, Judan) of the top seven titles; winning the Agon Kiriyama Cup or the Ryusei tournament; winning a place in the Kisei S League or the Honinbo or Meijin League. To 8-dan: winning one of the bottom four of the top seven titles; challenging for one of the top three titles (Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo); coming second in an international tournament. To 9-dan: winning a top-three or an international title; winning one of the bottom four of the top seven titles a second time. In theory, a new 1-dan could go straight to 9-dan by this system. In practice, however, it’s unlikely because it would take close to two years to go from the first qualifying round to a top-three title match, during which time a player strong enough to do this would have already made 2-dan or 3-dan.
The third way to get promoted is by coming first or second in the prize-money list for each dan from 1-dan to 5-dan; the top 6-dan is also promoted. Only prize money won in the top seven titles is counted. These promotions take effect on January 1 and are based on the previous year. (Players who earn promotions through the cumulative-wins system are not considered.) The promotions for 2019 are given below.

To 7-dan: Adachi Toshimasa
To 6-dan: Terayama Rei, Yo Chito
To 5-dan: Onishi Ryuhei, Koike Yoshihiro
To 4-dan: Otake Yu, Hirose Yuichi
To 3-dan: Seki Kotaro, Torii Yuta
To 2-dan: Chotoku Tetsushi, Sakai Yuki

Top prize-money winners for 2019 (in yen)

  1. Iyama Yuta: 108,259,237 (about $984,000)
  2. Shibano Toramaru: 67,669,600
  3. Ichiriki Ryo: 36,847,129
  4. Cho U: 32,272,656
  5. Fujisawa Rina: 26,593,572
  6. Yamashita Keigo: 26,177,458
  7. Kono Rin: 25,230,600
  8. Hane Naoki: 21,004,400
  9. Ueno Asami: 20,777,172
  10. Kyo Kagen: 19,044,240

Top news of 2019
The readers of Go Weekly chose the following as the hottest news topics of the year.

  1. Shibano Toramaru’s breakthrough
  2. The blossoming of Nakamura Sumire
  3. The rising dragon Ueno Asami
  4. Iyama Yuta stays on top
  5. The new Gosei Hane Naoki
  6. Death of Ogawa Tomoko
  7. Busy year for Fujisawa Rina
  8. Retirement of Lee Sedol
  9. Cho U’s win in China-Japan Agon Kiriyama Cup
  10. Ichiriki’s success rapid-go titles
    Just missing the top ten was Sakai Hideyuki retiring from go to resume his medical career.

Tomorrow: Iyama close to defending Kisei title; Iyama ahead in international final; Park wins New Year’s Cup

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Players wanted for new international Pair Go Handicap Tournament

Monday February 17, 2020

The AGA is looking for one male player and one female player to play as a pair in the new Pair Go Handicap Tournament at the Pair Go World Cup 2020 in Tokyo, Japan from July 1 to July 6, 2020. Both players must be American citizens and have been continuous members of the AGA for one year. Room and board are provided by the tournament, and 50% of the cost of airfare will also be covered, with players expected to bear 50% of airfare and other travel costs.

Eligible interested players (male, female, or pairs) should contact AGA Pair Go Coordinator Hajin Lee at hajin.lee@usgo.org no later than February 26.

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