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The Power Report: Another Ueno makes pro; Yang wins LG Cup; China’s overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup

Monday March 18, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Another Ueno makes pro
Following older sister Asami’s successful defense of her Women’s Kisei title, related in my previous report, there was more good news for the Ueno family when younger sister Risa qualified as professional 1-dan. Risa took first place in the 2019 women’s tournament for qualification as a professional with a score of 7-1. The tournament concluded on February 8. She will be 12 years nine months old when she starts her career on April 1, which makes her the fourth youngest ever at the Nihon Ki-in. She will make her debut along with the ten-year-old Nakamura Sumire. Her success has also attracted a lot of attention and a press conference was held on the 15th. Like her elder sister (who is 17), she is a disciple of Fujisawa Kazunari 8P, so Fujisawa Rina could reproach her father for creating yet another rival.
Thanks to the example of her older sister Asami, Risa learnt go at the age of four and became an insei in the second year of elementary school. Asked if she respected her older sister, she answered: “M’m, I guess so . . . We’d probably quarrel, so we almost never play with each other.”
There are various routes to professional shodan, with Nakamura Sumire’s path being the newest one (see article below), and two other female players also qualified as 1-dan. They are both from the Central Japan or Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in and both were recommended for promotion by the insei instructor. Takao Mari (aged 17) and Hane Ayaka (aged 16) both scored 9-3 in a league for the top four inseis. Takao actually took first place because of her higher ranking. Hane is the third daughter of Hane Naoki 9P and Shigeko 1P. Her style is aggressive, in contrast to her father, and, like Fujisawa Rina, she is a third-generation professional.

Yang wins LG Cup2019.03.18_Yang Dingxin
The best-of-three final of the 23rd LG Cup was an all-Chinese affair, with Shi Yue 9P (aged 28) playing Yang Dingxin 7P (aged 20; at right). Game One (Feb. 11) was won by Shi (B) by resig., but Yang bounced back, winning Game Two (Feb. 13) by resig. and Game Three, for which he had white, also by resig. First prize is 2019.03.18_NongShim Iyama L Park300,000,000 won (a little over $264,000).

China’s overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup
The third and final stage of the 20th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup was held in Seoul, but it was over very quickly. In Game 10, played on Feb. 18, Park Junghwan 9P, the last player for Korea, beat Iyama Yuta 9P, the last player for Japan. Park had black and won by resig. The next day, however, China’s second player, Dang Yifei 9P, (B) beat Park by 1.5 points, giving China an overwhelming victory. Scores were: China 8-1; Korea 2-5; Japan 1-5. First prize is 500,000,000 won (nearly $441,000).

Tomorrow: The amazing career of 9-year-old Nakamura Sumire

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The Power Report: Kido Prize winners announced; Top prize-money winners in 2018; Iyama wins 56th Shusai Prize, Ishida wins Okura Prize

Sunday March 17, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Kido Prize winners announced
The 52nd Kido Prizes will be awarded at a ceremony scheduled for March 26. They are awarded to the top Nihon Ki-in performers of 2018 in various categories and are named after the predecessor of the magazine “Monthly Go World.” They were selected by a committee of go journalists on February 5.
Most outstanding player: Iyama Yuta, quintuple crown. Iyama has now won this prize for seven years in a row.
Outstanding players: Cho U (won the Meijin title), Kyo Kagen (won the Gosei title)
New Star: Ueno Asami (won a women’s title in her second year as a pro)
Women’s Prize: Fujisawa Rina (won three women’s titles)
International prize: Shibano Toramaru (for beating Ke Jie in the Japan-China Ryusei play-off)
Most wins: Shibano Toramaru (46-23)
Best winning percentage: Fujita Akihiko (83.67%)
Most successive wins: Koike Yoshihiro (19)
Most games played: Shibano Toramaru (69)

Top prize-money winners in 2018
As usual, Iyama was far ahead of anyone else. His income dropped by ¥13,000,000 from last year owing to his loss of two titles from his septuple crown, but it’s considered a major achievement to top one hundred million yen. There’s a big drop to the next player in the list, but Ichiriki is doing well when you consider he’s also a university student. This year only one woman player made the top ten compared to two last year.
1. Iyama Yuta: ¥146,960,000 (about $1.3 million) (top for the eighth year in a row, clearing one hundred million yen for the seventh year in a row)
2. Ichiriki Ryo 8P: ¥51,617,199 (2nd for second year in a row)
3. Cho U: ¥41,519,000
4. Yamashita Keigo: ¥32,838,813
5. Shibano Toramaru: ¥22,266,400
6. Fujisawa Rina: ¥21,897,900
7. Kyo Kagen: ¥20,288,300
8. Kono Rin: ¥18,696,277
9. Hane Naoki: ¥12,746,400
10. Motoki Katsuya: ¥12,485,000

Iyama wins 56th Shusai Prize, Ishida wins Okura Prize
Both these prizes were decided on February 12. The Shusai Prize is awarded to a player with outstanding results in the previous year and who has a promising future. For the seventh year in a row, it went to Iyama Yuta, which is a new record.
The 48th Okura Kishichiro Prizes were awarded to three amateur players who have played a prominent role in spreading go and to Ishida Yoshio, otherwise known as 24th Honinbo Shuho.

Tomorrow: Another Ueno makes pro; Yang wins LG Cup; China’s overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup

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The Power Report: Murakawa to challenge for Judan; Park wins NY’s Cup; Honinbo League; Meijin League: Iyama falters

Friday February 22, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.02.22_57judan Murakawa

Murakawa to challenge for Judan: 
The play-off to decide the challenger to Iyama Yuta for the 57th Judan title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on January 31. It matched Takao Shinji 9P, who was aiming at a comeback as Judan after a gap of four years, and Murakawa Daisuke 8P (right) of the Kansai Ki-in, who was aiming at making his second successive challenge. The two players seemed to be evenly matched, as past results were 6-6. Murakawa drew black in the nigiri and won the game by resignation after 173 moves. He will be hoping to improve on his performance last year, when he was unable to take a game off the titleholder. He did beat Iyama 3-2 in the 62nd Oza, which so far is the only top-seven title he has won. He commented that his style has changed since last year, through his study of AI go. The title match starts on March 5.

Park wins NY’s Cup: The 7th CCTV New Year’s Cup is an invitational tournament 2019.02.22_Shibano (R) loses to Parkfounded by the Chinese TV channel to commemorate the Chinese New Year. This year the world’s number one and number two, Park Junghwan 9P of Korea and Ke Jie 9P of China, were joined by Shibano Toramaru 7P of Japan, who was standing in for Iyama Yuta, who was too busy with title games to take part. The tournament is an irregular knockout, with the players drawing lots to decide who plays in the first game. The loser of that game meets the third player, with the winner going on to the final. The loser of the second game is the only one who doesn’t get two chances. Park, who in recent months, has regained his former position as the world’s top-rated player, stumbled in the opening game but resurfaced in the final and took revenge. Games are played by the NHK format, and first prize is 800,000 yuan (about $118,000). Park also won this tournament last year.
(Jan. 31) Ke (B) beat Park by 1.5 points.2019.02.22-honinbo-league
(Feb. 1) Park (B) beat Shibano by resig.
(Feb. 2) Park (B) beat Ke by 7.5 points.

Honinbo League: No one has an unbeaten record in the 74th Honinbo League, so six of the eight players are probably still in contention. Having played one more game and scored 4-1, Ichiriki Ryo 8P is doing well, but of the three players on 3-1, two are ranked higher than he is. Those two, Yo Seiki 8P and Shibano Toramaru 7P, will clash in the 6th round in March.
Most recent result:
(Jan. 31) Ichiriki Ryo 8P (W) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by resig.2019.02.22-meijin-league

Meijin League: Iyama falters: With only two and a half rounds out of nine in the 44th Meijin League played, it’s early days yet, but it’s beginning to look tough for Iyama Yuta to become the challenger. In his third game, with new star Shibano Toramaru, he suffered his second loss. One consolation for him, though, is that only one player is undefeated. That’s Kono Rin, who will play Suzuki Shinji in his third-round game. If the other members of the league cooperate by beating each other, Iyama may yet have a chance.
Recent results:
(Feb. 7) Shibano Toramaru 7P (W) beat Iyama Yuta by 1.5 points; Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by half a point.

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The Power Report: Kisei: Yamashita evens score, Iyama takes lead again; Fujisawa Rina attains historic goal; World Go Championship preliminaries; Ueno Asami defends Women’s Kisei

Monday February 18, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.02.18_43kisei2 Yamashita

Kisei: Yamashita evens score, Iyama takes lead again: The second game of the 43rd Kisei title match was played at Yumeminato Tower in Sakaiminato City, Tottori Prefecture, on January 21 and 22. The name of the tower translates as Dream Port Tower; it is a sightseeing facility with an observation deck (details can be found on the Net under the English or the Japanese name). The key to this game was the opening: Yamashita Keigo (right), who had white, took advantage of a slack move by Iyama Kisei to seize the lead and was able to rebuff Iyama’s attempts to get back into the game. Black resigned after 164 moves. It’s unusual for Iyama, who usually starts slowly and carefully, to fall behind on the first day.
The third game was played at the Olive Bay Hotel in the city of Saikai in Nagasaki Prefecture on February 2 and 3. Taking white, Iyama won by resignation after 252 moves. Iyama seemed to take an edge in the opening; Yamashita attacked aggressively, but Iyama kept control of the game. Yamashita eventually managed to start a large ko, but didn’t have enough ko threats to win it.
The fourth game was played at the Former Tanaka Residence in Kawaguchi City, Saitama Prefecture, on February 13 and 14. The venue is a house with a Western wing built in 1921 and a Japanese wing built in 1934. It was designated a cultural treasure in 2006. Taking black, Iyama won by resignation after 183 moves. Yamashita will face his first kadoban in the fifth game, scheduled for February 27 and 28.

Fujisawa Rina attains historic goal: Fujisawa Rina reached a goal that has long been a target for women players. In a 2019.02.18_Fujisawa Maingame in the first round of the main tournament (a knockout) of the 45th Tengen title, played on January 21, she became the first woman professional to win a game in the final section of a top-seven title. Playing white, she beat Takahashi Masumi 3-dan by resig. Starting with Honda Sachiko in 1979, ten women players had reached the final section, called “the main tournament,” a total of 12 times, but had lost in the first round each time. For Fujisawa, the 13th time was “third time lucky”; she had reached the main tournament in the 43rd and 44th Gosei tournaments. Four more wins and she will be the challenger. Incidentally, the number of seats in the main tournament varies according to the tournament from 16 to “around 32” (which means that some players may be seeded into the second round of the knockout).

World Go Championship preliminaries:  The international preliminaries for the thirdWorld Go Championship were held at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo from January 25 to 29. Eight-nine players vied for the three seats in the eight-player main tournament that were at stake.
The senior preliminary was won by Yu Chang-hyeok 9P of Korea, who beat Yuki Satoshi 9P (Japan) in the final. Incidentally, Jimmy Cha (Cha Minsu) played in this preliminary; as far as I know, this is his first international appearance for some time. The gener2019.02.18_Ueno defends WKiseial preliminary was split into two sections, both of which were won by Chinese players: Jiang Weijie 9P and Liao Yuanhe 7P. The eight-player tournament will start on March 18.

Ueno Asami defends Women’s Kisei: As the current women’s number one, Fujisawa Rina looked like a tough challenger for the 17-year-old Ueno Asami (left), but the titleholder had other ideas. The second game of the 22nd Women’s Kisei title match was held in the Ryusei Studio at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on January 28. Taking black, Ueno forced Fujisawa to resign after 243 moves. The game featured fierce fighting from start to finish, but Ueno showed that her surprise victory in this title last year was no fluke. Xie Yimin is still going strong, so the Japanese women’s go world looks like entering a period of three strong rivals.

Tomorrow: Murakawa to challenge for Judan…

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Strong players under 20 wanted for 6th GLOBIS

Saturday January 26, 2019

The AGA is seeking a representative from North America to participate in the 6th GLOBIS Cup U-20 World Go Championship to be held in Tokyo, Japan between April 18-22. To be eligible, the player must be under 20 years old as of Jan. 1, 2019. Food and lodging will be paid for (including for a chaperone if the player is under 18), but NOT the cost of getting to and from Japan. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please write to tournaments@usgo.org no later than Sunday, Feb. 3. Depending on the number of entries received there may be a preliminary tournament sometime between Feb. 4 and Feb. 15 to make the final selection.
– Jeff Shaevel, AGA National Tournament Coordinator 
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The Power Report (4/4): Ishida Yoshio scores 1100th win; 2018 stats and recent promotions

Wednesday January 23, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Ishida Yoshio scores 1100th win: In a game in Preliminary C of the 45th Gosei tournament, Ishida Yoshio 9P (also known as 24th Honinbo Shuho) (W) beat Tsurumaru Keiichi 7P by resignation. This was his 1100th official win (to 692 losses and one no-result). He is the 15th player to reach this landmark.

Promotion: To 4-dan: (Ms.) Okuda Aya (50 wins, as of January 18)

2018 statistics: Here are some of the statistics for last year.
Most wins: 1. Shibano Toramaru 7P (second year in a row): 46 wins, 23 losses; 2. Ichiriki Ryo 8P, (Ms.) Fujisawa Rina 4P: 43-23; 4. Fujita Akihiko 6P: 41-8; Onishi Ryuhei 3P: 41-11; 6. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 40-23
7. Mutsuura Yuta 7P: 37-18; 8. Koike Yoshihiro 3P: 36-12; 9. Seki Kotaro 2P: 35-15; (Ms.) Ueno Asami 2P: 35-20; (Ms.) Nyu Eiko 2P: 35-23; Iyama Yuta: 35-26; 13. Kyo Kagen Gosei: 32-13; Kono Rin 9P: 32-16; 15. Hane Naoki 9P: 30-17
Best winning percentage: 1. Fujita Akihiko: 83.67%; 2. Onishi Ryuhei: 78.85%; 3. Koike Yoshihiro: 75%
Most successive wins: 1. Koike Yoshihiro: 19; 2. Seki Kotaro: 15; 3. Onishi Ruhei: 14

Promotions based on 2018 prize-winnings
These promotions are based on the prize-winnings list, but note that there may be players who won more but were promoted by other means, that is, cumulative wins or entering a league, etc. Only prize money for the top seven titles is counted. One 6-dan is promoted, accompanied by two each from the lower ranks. Promotions take effect as of January 1, 2019.
To 7-dan: Fujita Akihiko
To 6-dan: Tsuruta Kazushi, Adachi Toshimasa
To 5-dan: Yo Chito, Ito Masashi
To 4-dan: Onishi Ryuhei, Koike Yoshihiro
To 3-dan: Otake Yu, Hirose Yuichi
To 2-dan: Shibano Ryunosuke (older brother of Toramaru), (Ms.) Kaneko Maki

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The Power Report (3/4): Ueno makes good start in Women’s Kisei; Xie to challenge for Women’s Meijin

Tuesday January 22, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.01.20 Ueno left

Ueno makes good start in Women’s Kisei: The first game in the 22nd Women’s Kisei title match was held at the Hotel Sunlife Garden in Hiratsuka City, Kanagawa Prefecture, on January 17. The defending champion Ueno Asami (W, at left in photo) beat Fujisawa Rina by 2.5 points after a marathon 310 moves. The challenger took the lead in territory early on, but 2019.01.20 Xie WMeijinUeno attacked tenaciously and finally overhauled Fujisawa in the endgame. The second game will be held on January 28.

Xie to challenge for Women’s Meijin: Xie Yimin 6P (left) may be titleless for the first time in over a decade, but you can’t keep her out of the action. In the play-off to decide the challenger for the 31stWomen’s Meijin title, she beat Koyama Terumi 6P by resignation after 179 moves. She will challenge Fujisawa Rina for the title. Koyama, who has won this title four times, was hoping to play in her first title match for 13 years.
Tomorrow: Ishida Yoshio scores 1100th win; 2018 stats and recent promotions

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The Power Report (2/4): League updates; Judan challenger

Monday January 21, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal2019.01.20 Honinbo league

Honinbo League: The fourth round of the 74th Honinbo League has been completed. Instead of one player breaking clear, the position has become complicated, with four players sharing the lead. On January 7, Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Anzai Nobuaki 7P by half a point. That improved Yamashita’s score to 2-2, so he is still in the running to win the league (he’s also helped by his number one ranking). Anzai goes to 0-4, so he looks unlikely to retain his league seat. However, the narrow margin shows that he is not being outclassed. In the second game, played on January 10, Yo Seiki 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. Yo and Hane are now both on 3-1. The only undefeated player at this point was Ichiriki Ryo 8P, who was on 3-0. On January 17, he played Shibano Toramaru 7P; taking white, the latter beat him by resignation, so both went to 3-1. On the same day, Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resignation. Kono improved to 2-2, but Ko went down to 0-4. Ko also looks like losing his place, but being ranked number two gives him a slight advantage over Anzai.

Meijin League: Two games in the second round of the 44thMeijin League were played on January 10. Kono Rin 9P (B) beat2019.01.20 Meijin league Mutsuura Yuta 7P by resig. and Shibano Toramaru 7P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by 2.5 points. Two more games were played on January 17, and one of them could have a big effect on the league. Suzuki Shinji 7P (B) beat the favorite, Iyama Yuta, by half a point. In the other game, Son Makoto 7P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resignation. On 2-0, Kono is the provisional leader.

 

 

Judan challenger: Murakawa or Takao: The first semifinal of the 57th Judan tournament was played on December 27, with Takao Shinji 9P (W) beating Yamashita Keigo 9P by 2.5 points. The second was held on January 7. Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Onishi Ryuhei 4P by resig.
Tomorrow: Ueno makes good start in Women’s Kisei; Xie to challenge for Women’s Meijin

 

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The Power Report (1/4): Chen Yaoye wins 1st Tianfu Cup; Iyama makes good start in Kisei

Sunday January 20, 2019

by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal

Chen Yaoye wins 1st Tianfu Cup: The semifinals of the 1st Tianfu Cup were held on December 21 and the best-of-three final on December 23, 25, and 26. In one semifinal, Chen Yaoye 9P of China (W) defeated Park Junghwan 9P of Korea by resig. In the other, Shin Jinseo 9P of Korea (B) beat Jiang Weijie 9P of China by resig. In the first game of the final, Chen (W) won by resig.; in the second, Shin (W) won by 2.5 points. In the deciding game, Chen (B) won by resig. Chen, who turned 29 on December 16, won his third international title; Shin missed the chance to take his first. First prize is 2,000,000 yuan (about $292,000).

Iyama makes good start in Kisei: The first game of the 43rd2019.01.20 Yamashita 1st move in Kisei Kisei best-of-seven title match was held at the familiar venue of the Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo in Bunkyo Ward on January 10 and 11. It featured a familiar pairing: Yamashita Keigo challenging Iyama Yuta Kisei for the fourth time, including three times in a row from 2014 to 2016. Iyama has held this title for six years in a row; Yamashita (at right in photo, making the first move) has won it five times, including four years in a row. Besides that, Iyama has made one unsuccessful challenge and Yamashita has made unsuccessful challenges to Hane Naoki 9P and Cho U 9P.
Yamashita drew black in the nigiri. Yamashita started out by taking the lead in territory, then fell behind, and then upset Iyama’s lead. However, Yamashita apparently thought he was still behind, so he started a risky fight and perished. He resigned after 172 moves. If he had played more peacefully, he would have had a good chance of winning.
The second game will be played on January 21 and 22.

Tomorrow: League updates; Judan challenger

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2019 Osaka go camp dates announced

Monday January 14, 2019

The 7th Osaka Go Camp has been announced for June 23 – July 112019.01.14_osaka-camp. Ryo Maeda 6p, long a favorite at the annual U.S. Go Congress, is once again the host and chief organizer.

The camp includes league games in the mornings and teaching programs — in English — with professionals in the afternoons. On days off, there are organized day trips to places like downtown Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, as well as a two-day trip to Ise and Iga. There will also be a friendship tournament with the Ise Go club, and sightseeing includes Ise grand shrine and Ninja museum. A few events will be held at the Kansai-Kiin, where most of the camp’s professionals — including Maeda — are from.

 

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