American Go E-Journal » Japan

50 Years aGO – November 1971

Wednesday November 24, 2021

by Keith L. Arnold, hka, with Patrick Bannister

On November 4, Sakata Eio won the first game in his defense of the Ōza title against Hashimoto Shōji 9d. He completed the defense on November 17. (Game records: Game 1, Game 2)

Back in the USA, Takao Matsuda won the New York Championship on November 20 and 21. Future AGA President John Stephenson was promoted to shodan after winning the kyu championship.

Go Seigen made a trip to the US, visiting Hawaii as well as New York from the 15th to the 20th and San Francisco on the 22nd. New York Champion Matsuda was one of the few players to manage a win against him – on three stones. The game was featured in Go Review.

As mentioned previously in this column, the “new” (and current) Nihon Ki’in building was opened on November 22.

Finally, in Europe, the International Go Master Tournament was held in Yugoslavia from the 26th to the 29th. The clear champion with a perfect 6-0 record was Jürgen Mattern of Germany.

Sakata Eio wins Ōza title match Game 1

Image 1 of 3

Photos courtesy of Go Review

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The Power Report: Iyama starts with win in Oza challenge; Sumire’s progress; First snap AI inspection; The ideal and the real ; Most wins/ Most successive wins; Promotions

Wednesday November 10, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Yokohama Royal Park Hotel

Iyama starts with win in Oza challenge
The 69th Oza title match, a best-of-five, got off to a start on October 29. The defender is Shibano Toramaru, whose target is to win the title for the third year in a row. So far he has won six titles. The challenger is Iyama Yuta, who is hoping to pick up his fifth concurrent title. He holds the Kisei, Meiin, Honinbo, and Gosei titles.
   The venue was a special playing room on the 65th floor of the Yokohama Royal Park Hotel in Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture. This is probably the highest venue for a title-match game.
   Iyama drew black in the nigiri. In the opening, he set up four low, territorial positions, so White found himself setting up a large moyo. During fighting that started when Iyama tried to reduce the moyo, Shibano made a misjudgment and fell a little behind. He went all out and caught up enough to make the game a half-pointer, but then he made a mistake in the endgame and had to resign soon after. The game lasted 205 moves. The second game will be played on November 12.

Sumire’s progress
   Having been eliminated from a number of tournaments, this seems to be a season of lean pickings for Nakamura Sumire 2P. Since September 2 (see my report of September 28), she has played only five games, the first two of which she lost. Because of that she dropped into third place in the most-wins list for two weeks, but she regained second place after winning two games in one day.
(Sept. 27) Sumire (W) lost to (Ms.) Moro Arisa 2P by 5.5 points (16th Young Carp preliminary).
(Oct. 4) Sumire (B) lost to Kobayashi Koichi by 5.5 (Prelim. B, 70th Oza).
(Oct. 21) Sumire (W) beat Kobayashi Chizu 6P by 15.5; Sumire (W) beat Shimosaka Miori 3P by 3.5. (Both games in Prelim. B, 33rd Women’s Meijin)
(Oct. 25) Sumire (B) beat O Keii 3P by resig. (25th Women’s Kisei, main tournament).

First snap AI inspection
   The first snap inspection to prevent AI-assisted cheating (see my report of September 28) was carried out on September 23. Led by the director responsible for organizing tournaments, Aoki Kikuyo 8P, a number of Nihon Ki-in employees entered a playing room where eight games were being played just as play was about to resume after the lunch break. They ordered the players to suspend their games and inspected their persons and their belongings with a metal detector. The rule is that devices such as smart phones and tablets have to be handed over to the staff before playing. Fortunately, there were no untoward discoveries.

The ideal and the real
    Hino Shota, aged 16, has just qualified as a professional. His responses at a news conference held on October 5, contrasted ambition and realism. Asked about his future goals, he replied: “In the future, I want to become a player who can star in world championships. My goal for the time being is to make the best eight in the Kings of the New Stars tournament.”

Most wins
  The competition from second place down is quite fierce, but, with under ten full weeks to go, it’s hard to see anyone overtaking Ueno in first place. (Results below are as of Oct. 29.)
1. Ueno Asami: 43-21
2. Nakamura Sumire: 37-16
3. Fukuoka Kotaro 2P: 36-11
4. Fujisawa Rina: 35-11
5. Kyo Kagen: 34-16
6. Motoki Katsuya 8P: 32-14
7. Seki Kotaro 7P: 31-10; Nyu Eiko 3P: 31-14
9. Ichiriki Ryo: 30-14

Most successive wins
6: Enda Hideki 9P; Oomote Takuto 3P. In recent weeks, a number of good winning streaks have come to an end. The main ones are listed below.
Kyo Kagen, Fujisawa Rina: 11; Horimoto Mitsunari: 10; Seki Kotaro: 9.

Promotions
To 8-dan: Suzuki Isao (150 wins; as of Oct. 5)
To 7-dan: Kanno Masashi (120 wins, as of Sept. 24)
To 5-dan: Koyama Kuya (70 wins, as of Sept. 24)
To 3-dan: Ito Kenryo (40 wins; as of Oct. 15)

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The Power Report: Kyo wins Agon Kiriyama Cup; Big win for Fujisawa Rina; New Honinbo League starts; Seki makes good start in Tengen title match

Sunday November 7, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Agon Kiriyama Cup: Kyo (l) beats Iyama
Seki Kotaro 7P

Kyo wins Agon Kiriyama Cup
   The final of the 28th Agon Kiriyama Cup was held in the Kagyu-An (Snail Pavilion) at the Kyoto headquarters of the Agon Sect on October 2. Taking white, Kyo Kagen Judan won by resignation after 214 moves. He won this title for the first time. Iyama missed out on winning it for the sixth time.

Big win for Fujisawa Rina
Fujisawa Rina scored one of the most impressive wins of her career when she played Ichiriki Ryo Tengen in the final preliminary round of the 60th Judan tournament on September 23. Taking black, she won by resignation and also won a seat in the main tournament of the Judan. This was her first win in four games with Ichiriki. One of those losses was the final play-off for a place in the Meijin League last year?Ichiriki prevented Fujisawa from making history by becoming the first woman to play in a Meijin or Honinbo league. Ueno Asami had already won a place in the main tournament, so Fujisawa became the second woman in the best 16. Just for the record, it’s 17 years since a woman last accomplished this feat.
   On October 25, Fujisawa (B) beat Son Makoto 7P by 4.5 points, making her the first woman ever to win a game in the main tournament of the Judan. She has made the best eight, so she needs just three more wins to become the challenger.
   Backtracking a little, Fujisawa played her final game in the C League of the 46th Kisei tournament on October 4. Playing white, she beat Cho Zuiketsu 4P by resig. This took her score to 3-2, so she retained her seat in the league.

New Honinbo League starts
The new Honinbo League got off to a start on October 4 and the first round has now been completed. Results to date follow
(Oct. 4) Sada Atsushi 7P (W) beat Shibano Toramaru 9P by resig.
(Oct. 8) Ichiriki Ryo (W) beat Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P by resig.
(Oct. 11) Yo Seiki 8P (B) beat Kyo Kagen Judan by half a point.
(Oct. 14) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Motoki Katsuya 8P by resig.

Seki makes good start in Tengen title match
   The first game of the 47th Tengen title match, in which Seki Kotaro 7P is challenging Ichiriki Ryo, was played at the Genji-Ko, a modern Japanese-style inn in Minami-Chita Hot Spring Village, Chita Peninsula, Aichi Prefecture, on October 5. This inn is, in its own words, “built around the themes of ‘The Tale of Genji’ and the first Japanese inn to be themed on scents.” Playing white, Seki forced Ichiriki to resign after 130 moves. There is a big gap before the second game, which will be played on November 16.

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The Power Report: Fujisawa defends 40th Women’s Honinbo; Meijin title match tied; Iyama and Shibano win games in Chinese League

Thursday November 4, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa Rina

Fujisawa defends 40th Women’s Honinbo
There was a fresh pairing in the 40th Women’s Honinbo best-of-five, with Hoshiai Shiho 3P making her title-match debut by challenging Fujisawa Rina. The two are close in age — the title-holder is 23 and the challenger 24 — and are good friends.
The first game was held at the Kashoen inn in Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture, on September 28. Taking white, Fujisawa won by half a point. In retrospect, this was the challenger’s best game of the match: she had the lead going into the endgame, but made an oversight.
The second game was played at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on October 8. Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 181 moves.
The third game was played at the same venue on October 22. Fujisawa (W) won by resignation after 190 moves. Incidentally, Kobayashi Izumi 7P made her debut as referee with this game.
This is Fujisawa’s fifth Women’s Honinbo title. Actually she has played in the title match for eight years in a row, but this is the first time that she has successfully defended the title.

Meijin title match tied
The fourth game of the 46th Meijin title match was held in the Gora Kansuiro, a traditional Japanese inn in Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture, on September 28 and 29. Taking black, Iyama Yuta played a masterly game and ended up capturing one of his opponent’s groups. Ichiriki Ryo resigned after Black 167. This evened the score in the best-of-seven at 2-2.
The fifth game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture on October 12 and 13. Playing black, Ichiriki forced a resignation after 189 moves. In the middle game, Iyama started a ko fight in which the burden on him was greater than on his opponent. In return for finishing off the ko, White let Black attack a large group. The group was big enough that it seemed to have a lot of aji, but Ichiriki played with great precision. Iyama managed to get a ko, but he ran out of ko threats and had to resign. As in this year’s Honinbo title match, Iyama was now faced with a kadoban.  The sixth game was played at the Atami Sekitei inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture on October 19 and 20. Go Weekly’s comment on the game was that Iyama’s reading was just a little superior to Ichiriki’s. White resigned after 159 moves.

46th Meijin; Ichiriki (l) vs Iyama

Iyama and Shibano win games in Chinese League
The morning after he won the fourth game of Meijin title match, that is, on September 30, Iyama Yuta had to hurry back to Tokyo, as he was playing a game at the Nihon Ki-in in the A division of the Chinese team tournament. Playing on the top board, Iyama (W) defeated Ding Hao 8P, ranked no. 4 in China, who represented a Guangzhou team. Shibano Toramaru played two games in the league.
On September 28, he lost to He Yuhan 6P, but the following day he beat Chen Yishun 4P (sorry, but I don’t know how to read the team names). Iyama’s record in this league is 2-0; Shibano’s is 1-2. (For details of Iyama’s first game in the league, see my report of August 16.)

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The Power Report: Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei; Iyama to challenge for Oza; Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars

Tuesday November 2, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki to challenge for Kisei
   First, here is the result of the final game in the 46th Kisei S League, which was played on September 20. Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. This was Kono’s first win in the league; Yamashita ended up on 0-5. (The league chart is given in my report of September 22.) In the knock-out tournament that follows the leagues, Shibano Toramaru reached the “best-of-three” play-off to decide the challenger, but faced a difficult task here. As the winner of the S League, Ichiriki Ryo was awarded a one-win advantage, that is, Shibano had to win the first two games, while Ichiriki needed just one win. The play-off started and ended on October 25. Taking black, Ichiriki won by resignation after 121 moves. Other results in this stage follow.
(Sept. 23) Son Makoto 7P (winner of B League) (W) beat Numadate Sakiya 7P (winner of C League) by resig.
(Sept. 30) Shibano (B) (winner of A League) beat Son by 2.5 points.
(Oct. 21) Shibano (W) beat Yo Seiki 8P (second in S League) by resig.

Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars

Iyama to challenge for Oza
The play-off to decide the challenger to Shibano Toramaru for the 69th Oza title was held at the Kansai Headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in in Osaka on September 20. Taking black, Iyama Yuta beat Ichiriki Ryo by resig. after 231 moves. The best-of-five starts on October 29.

Sotoyanagi wins King of the New Stars
So far, only one woman player has won a tournament open to both male and female players: that was Fujisawa Rina, who made the breakthrough in the 15th Young Carp tournament last year (she beat Son Makoto 7P in the final). However, Ueno Asami has long been noted for her good results against male players, so when she reached the final of the 46th King of the New Stars, fans had high hopes she would emulate Fujisawa. Her opponent was Sotoyanagi Sebun 3P; this was his last chance, as he just barely made the age qualification; he is now 26 (born on Dec. 23, 1994, but he was 25, the cut-off point, when the draw for the opening round was made). (The other condition is that a player be under 7-dan). In a program on the Nihon Ki-in’s Youtube channel, Yokotsuka Riki 7P commented that probably 95% of the fans watching were rooting for Ueno, something Sotoyanagi would have been well aware of.
   All of the games were played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The best-of-three got off to a start on September 20, with Sotoyanagi drawing black in the nigiri. He took the lead in the middle game, but Ueno made a desperate attack in which she ripped off half a dozen stones. Sotoyanagi countered with a do-or-die move of his own and retook the lead. Ueno resigned after Black 281. Sotoyanagi commented that he thought he was 1.5 points ahead at the end.
   The second game was played on October 9. Ueno (B) took the lead in a ko fight and forced a resignation after 261 moves.   
The third game was played on October 15. Sotoyanagi drew white in the nigiri. Compared to the other two games, this one was a little one-sided. Sotoyanagi took the lead in the opening and held on to it throughout. Ueno resigned after 272 moves.
   Ueno is still only 19 (her birthday is October 26), so she will have more chances to win this title. Not so Sotoyanagi, as noted above. He was quite self-deprecating in the winner’s interview, commenting that this was the first and maybe the last time that he would appear on a major stage. His professional career got off to a late start, as he didn’t qualify as 1-dan until he was 19. However, he has fans in his home prefecture of Iwate and was happy that he finally had an achievement to repay them for their support. His first prize is two million yen.


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The Power Report: Snap inspections planned by the Nihon Ki-in; Upcoming book: “Fuseki Revolution: How AI Has Changed Go”; Promotions; Obituary

Tuesday September 28, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Snap inspections planned by the Nihon Ki-in
On Sept. 16, the Nihon Ki-in decided that in order to maintain the fairness of official tournaments, it would hold snap, unannounced inspections of the personal belongings of players engaged in official games. Led by a member of the board of directors, officials would make a temporary halt to play in a specified area (such as one floor) and examine players’ belongings. Any players with devices with communication functions would forfeit their games, and their names would be made known within the Ki-in. Any players refusing to permit an inspection of their belongings would be treated in the same way.
Some background: As of October 1, 2018, Nihon Ki-in players were forbidden to take electronic devices into playing areas, being required to put them into lockers. As of Jan. 1 this year, players were forbidden to leave the playing area at meal times. A portion of playing areas were set aside as rest areas, and rest rooms were included in the playing area. (See my report of Feb. 25, 2021.)

Upcoming book: “Fuseki Revolution: How AI Has Changed Go”
A book on the influence of AI on go theory will be published soon by Kiseido. The title is “Fuseki Revolution: How AI Has Changed Go” and the author is Shibano Toramaru. (Full disclosure: I am the translator.)

Promotions
To 9-dan: Katayama Yasuo (200 wins; as of Sept. 17). Katayama is a member of the Nagoya (Central Japan) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He was born on July 28, 1964 and became 1-dan in 1981. His career score is 491 wins to 471 losses, 11 jigo and 1 no-contest. It’s interesting to see that the 200 wins required for promotion to 9-dan make up just over 40% of all his lifetime wins.  To 8-dan: Mitani Tetsuya (150 wins; as of Sept. 17). His lifetime tally is 330 wins to 216 losses and 2 no-contests. The wins for his latest promotion are just 27% of his career wins.  
To 7-dan (120 wins): Kobayashi Izumi (as of Aug. 17); Ohashi Hirofumi (as of Aug. 17); Xie Yimin (as of Aug. 20)
To 2-dan (30 wins): Ikemoto Ryota (30 wins; as of Aug. 6); Kondo Toshiki (as of Sept. 7)

Obituary
Saijo Masataka 9-dan died on August 6. Born on Jan. 5, 1941 in Chiba Prefecture, Saijo became a disciple of Sakai Yasuo 8P. He became 1-dan at the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in in 1964 and reached 8-dan in 1981. He retired in 2004 and was promoted to 9-dan. Saijo made many trips overseas to teach go and in particular was a familiar face at the European Go Congress for many years.

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The Power Report: Sumire’s progress; Most wins; Most successive wins; Kiyonari reaches 1,000 wins

Monday September 27, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Sumire’s progress
(August 2) Sumire (B) beat Antii Tormanen 1P by 6.5 points (Prelim. C, 48th Tengen tournament).
(Aug. 5) Sumire (W) lost to Muramatsu Daiki 6P by resig. (Prelim. A, 60th Judan tournament).
(Aug. 12) Sumire (B) lost to Suzuki Ayumi 7P by 3.5 points (round 2, main tournament, 6th Senko Cup)
(Aug. 19) Sumire (B) lost to Abe Yoshiki 3P by resig. (C League, 46th Kisei tournament). This was her third loss, so Sumire dropped out of the league.
(Aug. 26) Sumire (B) lost to Iguchi Toyohide 8P by 3.5 points. (Prelim. C, 48th Tengen tournament).
(Aug. 30) Sumire beat Kato Tomoko 6P (Prelim. A, Women’s Kisei). This win secured a seat in the main tournament (the top 16). (= 31-13)
(Sept. 2) Sumire beat Komatsu Hideko 4P (Prelim. C, 70th Oza tournament).

Most wins
As usual, we give this list after the Sumire update, as it shows how well she and other female players are doing. There are five women in the top ten.
1. Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei: 39-18
2. Nakamura Sumire 2P: 34-14
3. Fukuoka Kotaro 2P: 32-9
4. Kyo Kagen Judan: 30-12
5. Seki Kotaro 7P: 29-9; Motoki Katsuya 8P: 29-12
7. Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 28-10
8. Tsuneishi Takashi 4P: 27-6; Ichiriki Ryo Tengen: 27-9
10. Nyu Eiko 3P: 26-13; Xie Yimin 7P: 26-16
12. Iyama Yuta Kisei: 24-11; Shibano Toramaru Oza: 24-17

Most successive wins
8: Kyo Kagen
7: Seki Kotaro
6: Fujisawa Rina
The above winning streaks are ongoing. Onishi Kenya had a streak of 7 that stopped last week.

Kiyonari reaches 1,000 wins
Kiyonari Tetsuya 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in scored his 1,000th official win on August 4. His record at that point was 1,000 wins to 514 losses, a winning rate of 64%. He is the 29th Japanese player to reach this mark and the 6th at the Kansai Ki-in. Kiyonari will turn 60 on November 27, so a professional mile stone is being closely followed by a personal one.  Kiyonari took second place in the NHK Cup in 1995. He won the Kansai Ki-in No. One Position title twice. He also came second in the King of the New Stars in 1980. His predecessors at the Kansai Ki-in are: Hashimoto Shoji, Honda Kunihisa, Yuki Satoshi, Imamura Toshiya, and Sonoda Yuichi.

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The Power Report: Fujisawa wins Senko Cup; The 79-year age gap; New Honinbo league members; Three-way tie in international tournament; Shin Jinseo wins Chunlan Cup

Thursday September 23, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa wins Senko Cup
The final rounds of the 6th Senko Cup were held in the Guest Pavilion Akekure (Dawn and Dusk) at the Crefeel Koto hotel in East Omi City, Shiga Prefecture, on September 10 and 12. This tournament is a little unusual in that the previous winner does not defend the title but starts out again in the main tournament. The winner of the 5th Cup was Ueno Asami; she reached the final, so the result was the same as if she were defending the title. She was joined in the final by her main rival, Fujisawa Rina. The latter prevailed in the final, so she won this title for the third time. First prize is 8,000,000 yen (just under $73,000 at $1 = 109.62 yen), which makes this the most lucrative domestic female title. Second prize of 4,000,000 yen is also quite generous. Fujisawa now holds five of the six women’s titles, the other four being the Women’s Honinbo, the Women’s Meijin, the Women’s Hollyhock, and the Hakata Kamachi Cup. The lone hold-out is the Women’s Kisei, held by Ueno. Fujisawa also holds the Young Carp title. This is her 19th title; she is rapidly catching up with XieYimin (27 titles).

Results:
Semifinals (Sept. 10). Ueno Asami (B) beat Xie Yimin 7P by resig.; Fujisawa (B) beat Suzuki Ayumi 7P by resig.
Final (Sept. 12). Fujisawa (W) beat Ueno by resig.

The 79-year age gap
On September 9, Sugiuchi Kazuko 8P, at 94 the oldest active go player, was paired against Fukuoka Kotaro 2P, at 15 one of the youngest professionals at the Nihon Ki-in. The gap between the two was 79 years. Taking black, Fukuoka won by resignation. After the game, he commented: “Sugiuchi Sensei’s posture and movements were very natural and struck me as beautiful. I’m glad I had a chance to play her.’ The biggest gap ever in a professional game was 80 years, set when her husband, the late Sugiuchi Masao, then 95, played Onishi Ryuhei 1P, then 15.

New Honinbo league members
The four vacant seats in the 77th Honinbo League have been decided, and two have gone to Kansai Ki-in players. On August 26, Sada Atsushi 7P (KK) (W) beat Koyama Kuya 4P by 2.5 points. Sada makes a comeback to the league immediately after dropping out of the previous league.
On September 2, Yo Seiki 8P (KK) (W) beat Ko Iso 9P by resig. and won a seat for the sixth time after a gap of two terms. On the same day, Motoki Katsuya 8P (W) beat Koike Yoshihiro 6P by resig. This will be his fourth appearance in the league; he won the 72nd league.
In the game for the last open seat, played on September 9, Tsuruyama Atsushi 8P (B) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by resig. Tsuruyama also made an immediate come back to the league. He commented that he was happy to make his second league; one appearance could be dismissed as a fluke, but not two.

Three-way tie in international tournament
The 2021 6th Hulu Island Weiqi Cultural Festival China-Japan-Korea Tournament was held from September 12‾14 on the net. It is a team tournament, with three-player teams from China, Japan, and Korea competing. It features former top players, though one member of the Japanese team might object to the first adjective. Each team won one match and lost one and each scored three individual wins, so the result was a three-way tie for first. Chinese rules were used, and the time allowance was one hour plus one minute x 5. Prizes were 300,000 yuan (about $18,450 at one yuan = 15.3 cents), 200,000, and 100,000. Results follow:

Round One) Korea 2-China 1
Yoo Chang-hyeok 9P (B) lost to Yu Bin 9P by half a point.
Lee Chang-ho 9P (B) beat Chang Hao 9P by resig.
Cho Hun-hyeon 9P (B) beat Nie Weiping 9P by resig.

Round Two) China 2-Japan 1
Nie Weiping 9P (W) lost to Kobayashi Koichi 9P by resig.
Yu Bin (B) beat Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resig.
Chang Hao 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by half a point.

Round Three) Japan 2-Korea 1
Kobayashi Koichi (W) beat Cho Hun-hyeon by 4.5 points.
Kobayashi Satoru (B) beat Yoo Chang-hyeok by resig.
Takao Shinji 9P (B) lost to Lee Chang-ho by 2.5 points

Shin Jinseo wins Chunlan Cup
Shin Jin-seo 9P of Korea, the world’s top-rated player, beat Tang Weixing 9P of China 2-0 in the best-of three final of the 13th Chunlan Cup (the tournament started in July last year). In the first game, played on the net on Sept. 13, Shin (W) upset his opponent’s lead and won by half a point. The second game was played on Sept. 15; taking black, Shin won by resig. after 173 moves. First prize is $150,000.
Shin was born on March 17, 2000, and this is his fourth international title (see below for the other three). The other three are given below. Shin has a reputation for surpassing AI, which has earned him an interesting nickname: “shinko chino,” which means “Shin-built intelligence.” That is a pun on the term “jinko chino,” which means “artificial intelligence.”
Shin’s other titles: 4th Globis Cup (2017); 31st TV Asia (2019); 24th LG Cup (2020, this tournament began in 2019).

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The Power Report: Hoshiai’s first challenge; Ichiriki takes lead in Meijin; Ichiriki wins Kisei S League

Wednesday September 22, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Hoshiai Shiho 3P

Hoshiai to make first challenge
The play-off to decide the challenger to Fujisawa Rina for the 40th Women’s Honinbo was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on August 23. Taking black, Hoshiai Shiho 3P (right) beat Koyama Terumi 6P by resignation. She will make her first challenge for a title. She may be a new name for some readers, but actually she is one of the best-known women players in Japan, as she has been serving as the MC of NHK’s TV tournament telecast on Sundays. Hoshiai turned 24 on September 4. The title match begins on September 28. Her opponent, Koyama Terumi, deserves praise for reaching the play-off. In an era of domination by young stars, the 51-year-old Koyama revived memories of her younger days when she won the Women’s Meijin title four times (1996‾98, 2005).

Shiki-sai Ichiriki or Four Seasonal Colors Ichiriki

Ichiriki takes lead in Meijin title match
This year’s 46th Meijin title match features what is undoubtedly the strongest pairing in current tournament go in Japan. Iyama held the top three titles and has continued to lord it over the go world despite entering his 30s. The challenger, Ichiriki Ryo, has been the in-form player in recent months and has looked the most likely to dethrone Iyama. However, although he has won 14 titles, he has not yet won one of the big three, unlike his closest rival, Shibano Toramaru. This match is his chance to rectify that.
The first game of the match was held at its customary venue of the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, on August 26 and 27. Iyama drew white in the nigiri. Both players played aggressively, so the game featured fierce fighting throughout, making this a spectacular start to the title match. However, Ichiriki’s strategy at an important point in the middle game was a little dubious, so Iyama took the lead. Ichiriki made an all-out attempt to capture a large group, but White cut off a black group and won the capturing race with a brilliant combination, one that he apparently worked out 25 moves in advance. Ichiriki resigned after move 212.
The second game was played at the Shiki-sai Ichiriki or Four Seasonal Colors Ichiriki in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture, on September 8 and 9, Ichiriki being written with the same characters, “one strength,” as in the player’s name. Although there’s no connection between the family that founded the inn and Ichiriki’s family, it was a pleasant coincidence for Ichiriki (the venue would have been chosen before the organizers knew who the challenger would be). The game was a real rough-and-tumble affair, with various moves supposed to be bad style, such as empty triangles and moves pushing through a knight’s move, appearing in the messy infighting. Iyama (B) delivered what Go Weekly called “unlimited punches,” with Ichiriki sometimes absorbing the impact, sometimes dodging lightly. Ichiriki had an edge, but in the endgame he missed a move that would have secured a win, so the game became a half-pointer. However, Iyama later made a mistake, so the half point went in Ichiriki’s favor. This was Ichiriki’s first win in a two-day game?he lost 0-4 when he challenged Iyama for the 42nd Kisei title in 2018.
The third game was played at Kakujoro inn in Tahara City, Aichi Prefecture, on 15 & 16 September, with Hane Naoki acting as referee. Ichiriki (B) got into trouble when he came under a severe attack, but he was able to pull off an upset. Iyama resigned after move 225. The fourth game will be played on September 28 and 29.  

Ichiriki wins Kisei S League
In a repeat of his Meijin League performance, Ichiriki Ryo has won the S League of the 46th Kisei tournament without dropping a game. Second place was taken by Yo Seiki 8P of the Kansai Ki-in. Results since my last report are given below.
(Aug. 16) Murakawa Daisuke 9P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.
(Aug. 23) Ichiriki (B) beat Takao Shinji by resig.
(Sept. 16) Yo Seiki 8P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by 2.5 points.
The final-round game between Kono Rin and Yamashita Keigo has yet to be played.

The winners of the other leagues have also been decided, though not all the games have been played yet. In the B League play-off, Son Makoto 7P, who won the B2 League with 6-1, defeated Shida Tatsuya 8P, who won the B1 League with 5-2. The game was played on September 6, and Son, taking black, won by resignation. The knock-out to decide the challenger looks like this: Numadate Sakiya 7P, winner of the C League, plays Son Makoto; the winner then plays Shibano Toramaru, winner of the A League; the winner plays Yo Seiki 8P, who came second in the S League; the winner then plays Ichiriki in a “best-of-three” in which Ichiriki has a one-win advantage, so he needs to win only one game to become the challenger.

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The Power Report: Ichiriki perfect in Meijin; Ueno into King of the New Stars final; Iyama wins Gosei, 65th title

Monday September 20, 2021

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ichiriki

Ichiriki’s perfect record in Meijin League
The final round of the 46th Meijin league was held on August 6. There was no suspense at the top of the league, as Ichiriki had taken an unbeatable lead of 7-0 in the previous round, but at the other end there were issues of demotion still to be decided. Kyo Kagen, Hane Naoki, Yamashita Keigo, and Shibano Toramaru were sure of their places. Yo Seiki, who had a bye in the last round, was the only player sure of dropping out. That meant that out of Kono Rin, Motoki Katsuya, and Anzai Nobuaki, two would have to drop out. Complete results for the final round follow:
Ichiriki Ryo Tengen (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by resig.
Kyo Kagen Judan (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by half a point.
Motoki Katsuya (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
Anzai Nobuaki 9P (B) beat Shibano Toramaru Oza by resig.

The position became simplified when Motoki won his game. He improved his score to 4-4 and took 5th place. Anzai needed not just to win but also to have Motoki (and Kono) lose, in which case there would be a play-off with Motoki for the sixth seat. This happens only when the players have the same rank, so this rule applies only to the three newcomers to the league, who are all ranked 7th. That’s why Anzai didn’t get a play-off with Shibano, although they finished on the same score. Shibano’s luck in keeping his place with a 3-5 score is indicative of how the Meijin League favors the status quo. In the Honinbo League, a score of 4-3 is sometimes not enough to keep your place. Incidentally, Kono is enduring one of the worst slumps of his career, the loss above being his 11th in a row. This was his 10th Meijin League in a row and the first time he lost his seat.

Ueno makes King of the New Stars final
On August 9, Ueno Asami, Women’s Kisei, (W) beat Nishi Takenobu 5P in the semifinal of the 46th King of the New Stars tournament by 4.5 points. This made her the second woman player to make the final. The first was Aoki Kikuyo 8P (then 7P) in the 22nd title. The other finalist is Sotoyanagi Sebun 3P; the best-of-three starts on September 20.

Iyama

Iyama wins Gosei, once again
The fourth game of the 46th Gosei title match was held at the Niigata Grand Hotel in Niigata City on August 17. Taking white, Iyama Yuta won by resignation after 198 moves and so survived a kadoban. He played quite aggressively and did not seem to fall behind at any stage. The highlights of the game were two brilliancies played by Iyama. One was a surprising move adding a stone to three captured white stones, but giving White leverage that he used in his second brilliancy. Incidentally, the referee for this game was Cho U. Aged 41, Cho was making his debut in this role. He was also the referee for the first game in the Meijin title match (see below). It’s a little unusual to choose as referees players who are still competing at the top. Cho is slated to play Iyama in the semifinal of the 69th Oza tournament; if he won that game, he would meet Ichiriki in the final to decide the challenger. (As it happened, Iyama beat Cho.) Actually, it’s not just Cho. The other three members of the group popularly called “the top four of the Heisei (1989-2019) era,” that is, Takao Shinji, Hane Naoki, and Yamashita Keigo, are also serving as referees for the Meijin title match.
The fifth game was held at the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo on August 29. Iyama drew white in the nigiri and continued where he left off in the fourth game. He took the edge in the middle game, so Ichiriki felt that he had to stake the game on attacking a large white group. When this attack failed, he resigned. The game lasted 180 moves.
Iyama regained the title that he had held for six years in a row (2012‾2017: 37th to 42nd). He lost it to Kyo Kagen in 2018, who lost it to Hane Naoki in 2019, who lost it to Ichiriki Ryo in 2020. Perhaps a new dynasty will start. Iyama once again becomes a quadruple title holder. This is his 65th title, so he moves ahead of Sakata Eio into sole second place on the all-time list:.
Most titles won
1. Cho Chikun: 75
2. Iyama Yuta: 65
3. Sakata Eio: 64
4. Kobayashi Koichi: 60
5. Otake Hideo: 48
6. Kato Masao: 47
7. Cho U: 41
8. Yoda Norimoto: 36
9. Rin Kaiho: 35
10. Xie Yimin: 27

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