American Go E-Journal » Japan

Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P in World Go Championship final

Wednesday March 22, 2017

Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P are facing off for the title in the Nihon Kiin’s “World Go Championship.” The final 2017.03.16_World GO Championshipmatches are being broadcast live now (10p EST) on YouTube, with commentary by Michael Redmond 9P and Anti Tourmanen 1P.  has been posted. Park Junghwan beat DeepZen and Mi Yuting beat Iyama Yuta in the second round, leaving both 2-0. Click here for Round 2 commentary (Part 1); Part 2 is here

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Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P win first round in Nihon Kiin World Go Championship

Tuesday March 21, 2017

Park Jeong Hwan 9P and Mi Yuting 9P prevailed in the first round of the Nihon Kiin’s “World Go Championship,” held on March 21; the video commentary by Michael Redmond and 2017.03.21_1st World Go Championship2017.03.16_World GO ChampionshipAnti Tourmanen has been posted. This round features Deep Zen Go vs Mi Yuting 9P and Park Jeong Hwan 9P vs Iyama Yuta 9P; click here for commentary Part 1 and commentary Part 2. The tournament continues through March 23 in Osaka, Japan.  The Nihon Kiin is providing live commentaries on YouTube (LIVE as of 11p EST 3/21) by Redmond and Tourmanen.
Note: this post has been updated to reflect that Park Jeong Hwan won in the first round, not Iyama Yuta, as initially reported. 

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The Power Report: Latest news from Japan

Tuesday March 21, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

Fujisawa and Hane win Pair Go: The final of the Professional Pair Go Championship 2017 was held at the Nihon Ki-in’s Tokyo headquarters on March 5. Taking black, the pair of Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, and Hane Naoki 9P beat Suzuki Ayumi 7P and Cho Chikun, 25th Honinbo, by 1.5 points.  An estimated 1350 go fans somehow managed to fit
into the Nihon Ki-in to view the tournament.

Iyama makes good start in Judan defence: The first game of the 55th Judan title match was held at Osaka 2017.03.21_55Judan1 Yo left Kiyonar sitting Yuk IyamaiUniversity of Commerce on March 7. Winning this title last year was what secured Iyama his grand slam of the top seven titles. Having lost the Meijin title, he is now down to six, but he will looking for a chance to repeat his grand slam, so he needs to hang on to all his current titles. He faces the challenge of one of the new stars of Japanese go, Yo Seiki 7P. Aged 21, Yo is a member of the Kansai Ki-in and hails from Taiwan, where he is known as Yu Cheng-ch’i (Yu Zhengqi in Pinyin). Playing black, Iyama Yuta defeated Yo by resignation after 197 moves. Apparently Yo had winning chances in the middle game but was unable to make the most of them. The second game will be played on March 30.

2017.03.21_Fujisawa wins WMeijinFujisawa Rina wins Women’s Meijin: The second game of the 29th Women’s Meijin title match was held at the same venue as the first Judan game on March 8. Playing white, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, beat the defending champion Xie Yimin by 1.5 points. This gave Fujisawa her second concurrent title and reduced Xie to three titles. She had held this title for nine years in a row but missed out on becoming the first woman to win a title for ten years in a row.

Iyama defends Kisei title: The sixth game of the 41st Kisei title match was held at2017.03.21_41Kisei6 Iyama Ryugon, a high-class Japanese inn in Minami Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture, on March 9 and 10. In the middle game, Kono Rin 9P (B) launched a challenge but made a miscalculation, so at one stroke the game turned in Iyama Yuta Kisei’s favor. Kono made a fierce attack in an attempt to catch up, but was parried by Iyama. Kono resigned after 150 moves, so Iyama defended his title with a 4-2 score. Having held the Kisei title for five successive terms, he qualified for the title of Honorary Kisei (to be assumed when he turns 60 or retires, whichever comes first). He is the third player to earn the honorary title, after Fujisawa Shuko (Hideyuki) and Kobayashi Koichi. Iyama also maintained his sextuple crown. The Kisei prize money is 45 million yen (just under $400,000).

Iyama finally wins NHK Cup: The NHK Cup was the only official title that Iyama Yuta had not won. He finally put that to rights in the final of the 64thCup, telecast on March 19, when, playing white, he defeated Ichiriki Ryo by resignation after 184 moves. This was his third final, but his first for four years. It is his 42nd title, which puts him in 6th place in the all-time lists. Ichiriki also came second in the 62nd NHK Cup.

Honinbo League (March 8) Takao Shinji Meijin (W) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by resig.; Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Cho U 9P by 4.5 points. Thanks to his win, Motoki improved his score to 5-1, giving him the sole lead. His main rivals are Hane Naoki 9P and Ko Iso 8P, who are both on 4-2. In the final round, scheduled for April 6Motoki plays Ko and Hane meets Cho. Even if he loses, Motoki will qualify for a play-off.

Meijin League: (March 9) Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. (March 13) Yo Seiki 7P (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig. Kono Rin 9P and Iyama Yuta share the lead on 2-0. Yo Seiki is in last place, but he finally picked up his first win, making his score 1-3.

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Yuta Iyama, Mi Yu Ting, Park Jeong Hwan & DeepZenGo to battle in Nihon Ki-in’s new “World Go Championship” next week

Wednesday March 15, 2017

A brand-new event, the “World Go Championship”, will be held next week, March 21-23 in Osaka, Japan.  Four top players, Iyama2017.03.16_World GO Championship Yuta (Japan), Park Jeon Hwan (Korea), Mi Yuting (China), and DeepZenGo (representing AI) will fight it out for the title.  The Nihon Kiin will provide streaming and live commentaries on YouTube by Michael Redmond and Anti Tourmanen.  Click here for details and the broadcast schedule.

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The Power Report: Iyama one win away from defending Kisei; Fujisawa Rina makes good start in Women’s Meijin challenge; Honinbo League

Monday March 6, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.03.06_41kisei5_08

Iyama one win away from defending Kisei: The fifth game of the 41st Kisei title match was held at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on March 1 and 2.  Playing black, Iyama forced a resignation after 165 moves. That took his score to 3-2, so he is just one win away from defending his title. The game was marked by fierce fighting throughout, so it became a competition in reading. In the end, Iyama brought down a big white group. Incidentally, the game showed the increasing influence of the AI program Master in two places in the opening. Both of the moves in question were played by Iyama, but, although it didn’t come out in this game, Kono is also said to have been strongly influenced by AI go. The sixth game will be played on March 9 & 10.

Fujisawa Rina makes good start in Women’s Meijin challenge: The first game of the 29th Women’s Meijin title match was played at the Arisu Pavilion at Heian Women’s University in Kyoto on March 1. Fujisawa Rina, the 18-2017.03.06_29fmeijin_05year-old holder of the Women’s Honinbo title, is challenging Xie Yimin, holder of the other four women’s titles. Xie has dominated women’s go in Japan for a decade and has picked up 26 titles in the process (more than twice as many as any other woman player). Fujisawa has won just three titles so far, but she has established herself as the number two woman player. The two have met twice in titles match (the 2016and 2015 Women’s Honinbo) and won one each. The Heian Women’s University includes go as a regular subject in its curriculum. It has now hosted the first game of this match for six years in a row and has also appointed Xie as a Guest Professor. Fujisawa drew black in the nigiri. In the middle game, the game seemed to tilt a little in Xie’s favor, but Fujisawa fought back and took the lead, so Xie resigned after move 217. Since this match is a best-of-three, starting with a win is a big advantage. Xie already faces a kadoban. The second game will be played on March 8.

Honinbo League
(March 1) Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by 5.5 points; Ko Iso 8P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. This loss cost Hane his share of the lead. Motoki Katsuya 7P has the provisional lead on 4-1; Hane and Ko follow him on 4-2.

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The Power Report: China scores overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup; Promotions; 50th Kido Prizes; Lee Sedol wins exhibition match

Thursday March 2, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.03.02_Nong Shim Iyama loses to Pak

China scores overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup: Thanks to seven wins in a row, the best winning streak in this tournament’s history, by their first player, Fan Tingyu, China dominated the first two rounds of the 18th Nong Shim Cup. In the last game of the second round, Korea’s Pak Junghwan finally put a stop to the streak, but both Korea and Japan were down to their last player, while China still had four. The final round started in Shanghai on February 21. In Game 10, Pak (W) beat Iyama Yuta of Japan by resignation. In Game 11, the second Fan on the Chinese team, Fan Yunruo 5P (W), beat Pak by 1.5 points, so China secured a one-sided victory. Win-loss totals were: China 8-1, Korea 2-5, and Japan 1-5. China has now won the cup four years in a row.

Promotions
To 3-dan: Takahashi Masumi (40 wins; as of Feb. 3); Osawa Kenro (40 wins; as of Feb. 21)
To 9-dan: Onda Yasuhiko (200 wins; as of Feb. 14)

Iyama wins Shusai Prize: On January 31, Iyama Yuta was awarded the 54th Shusai Prize, which honors the outstanding player of the previous year. This is the fifth year in a row he has won it.

50th Kido Prizes: The magazine Kido lives on in the form of the annual Kido Prizes, awarded to the outstanding Nihon Ki-in players of the previous year. The winners for 2016 were chosen on February 13 by a panel of representatives of the go-sponsoring media.
Winners are: 
Most outstanding player: Iyama Yuta, for winning all top seven titles; Outstanding player: Takao Shinji, for winning the Meijin title; New face: Onishi Ryuhei, for winning the King of the New Stars; Women’s prize: Xie Yimin, for winning four women’s titles; International prize: not awarded; Most wins: Ichiriki Ryo (47); Best winning percentage: 2017.03.02_Sedol-Iyama_04Onishi Ryuhei (39-10, 79.59%); Most successive wins: Adachi Toshimasa 4P (15); Most games played: Ichiriki Ryo (66).

Lee Sedol wins exhibition match: Lee Sedol was invited to Japan by the Japanese Shogi Federation to play a ceremonial role at the start of Electric King title match. His job was to “shake the pieces.” As far as I can work out, not being a shogi player, this is the equivalent of the nigiri for deciding black and white in a game. The Nihon Ki-in took advantage of his visit to arrange the Korea-Japan Exhibition Match between Lee and Iyama Yuta. It was played at a Tokyo hotel on February 26. Lee (B) won by resig. after 227 moves. The game started at 5:30 pm and finished at 8:34 pm.

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The Power Report: Xie defends Women’s Kisei; 42nd Meijin League; 72nd Honinbo League; Professional Pair Go Championship 2017

Tuesday February 28, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.02.28_Xie wins Womens Kisei

Xie defends Women’s Kisei: The third and deciding game of the 20th Women’s Kisei title match was held in the Ryusei Studio at the Tokyo headquarters of the Nihon Ki-in on February 6. Taking black, Xie Yimin beat Nyu Eiko 1P by resig. after 161 moves. Both sides fought hard, and the game ended up as a large capturing race, won by Xie. This gave her the match 2-1. This is her fifth victory in a row, so she qualified for the title of Honorary Women’s Kisei (for use when she turns 60). She also has earned Honorary Women’s Honinbo and Meijin titles. This is her 26th title. The 17-year-old Nyu may have failed in her first title challenge, but she pushed Xie hard (the latter won the previous four Women’s Kisei title matches 2-0), so she put up a creditable performance. She will surely be back.

42nd Meijin League: (Feb. 2) Kono Rin 9P (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.; Sakai Hideyuki 8P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by half a point; Cho U 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke 8P by resig. This loss put Murakawa on 2-1, costing him his share of the lead. (Feb. 16) Yamashita (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.  Joint leaders of the league are 2017.02.28_leaguesIyama Yuta and Kono Rin, who are both on 2-0 (the lead is provisional, as they have both had their byes and have played one game fewer than the other
players).

72nd Honinbo League: (Feb. 2)  Motoki Katsuya 7P (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 4.5 points. This win gave Motoki the provisional lead on 4-1, ahead of Hane Naoki and Ko Iso, both on 3-1. (Feb. 9) Hane (W) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by resig. This put Hane level with Motoki. (Feb. 16) Takao Shinji Meijin (B) beat Ko Iso by half a point; Cho U (B) beat
Yuki Satoshi 9P by 1.5 points. After starting out with three losses, Takao has  now won two games, so his chances of retaining his league place have improved.

Professional Pair Go Championship 2017: Thirty-two top players took part in this tournament, the opening three rounds of which were held at the Nihon Ki-in on February 12. In the semifinals, the team of Fujisawa Rina and Hane Naoki beat Mannami Nao 3P and Yamashita Keigo and Suzuki Ayumi 7P/Cho Chikun beat Okuda Aya 3P/Yamashiro Hiroshi 9P. The final will be played on March 5.

Tomorrow: China scores overwhelming win in Nong Shim Cup; Promotions; 50th Kido Prizes; Lee Sedol wins exhibition match

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The Power Report: Title-award ceremony for Fujisawa Rina; Ke Jie wins Chinese New Year’s tournament; 41st Kisei title match tied

Monday February 27, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.02.27_Fujisawa Rina

Title-award ceremony for Fujisawa Rina: On January 27, the 18-year-old Fujisawa Rina attended the ceremony for the conferral of the 35th Women’s Honinbo title, held at the Daiichi Hotel Tokyo. Our photo shows her dressed in a furisode kimono receiving a commemorative cup. Her senior Shuko disciple Takao Shinji Meijin gave a congratulatory address, and the ceremony was attended by many young players.

Ke Jie wins Chinese New Year’s tournament: The CCTV New Year’s Cup is a special tournament organized by China’s top TV channel to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The top players from China, Korea, and Japan are invited to compete for a prize of 800,000 yuan (about $116,000). Now in its fifth year, it started out as a domestic tournament but was upgraded to an international one the following year. This year it was held in Beijing from January 29 to 31. The tournament is an irregular knock-out. The players draw lots to see who plays in the first game. The third player plays the loser of that game; the winner then meets the winner of the first game in the final. To win this tournament, you have to win two games; the player drawn into the second game is the only one who, if he loses, doesn’t get another chance. The time allowance follows the NHK format (30 seconds per move, plus ten minutes of thinking time to be used in one-minute units). The tournament is 2017.02.27_41kisei3 Iyama's upsettelevised live on CCTV’s public sports channel and usually attracts an audience of 1%-plus. That may not sound like much, but it translates into ten million viewers. This year Iyama Yuta of Japan and Ke Jie of China met in the first game; taking black, Iyama won by resignation after 233 moves. In game two, Ke beat Pak Junghwan of Korea (I don’t have the details). In the final, Ke took revenge on Iyama, playing white and securing a resignation after exactly 200 moves. Iyama commented: “I was about four points ahead on the board, so I made an all-out attack, then resigned.”  This is Ke’s second successive victory.

41st Kisei title match tied: This year’s Kisei title match is proving to be a hard-fought one and it is now down to a best-of-three. The third game was played at the Yamaya Inn in Kawagoe City, Saitama Prefecture, on February 8 and 9. Kono Rin, the challenger, built a lead on the first day taking white and played thickly on the second day in an attempt to wrap up the game. However, Iyama Yuta Kisei fought on with remarkable tenacity and eventually pulled off an upset win by 1.5 points. This gave him a 2-1 lead. In a title match, you have to win your “good” games; often a failure like this could be very costly.  The fourth game was played at the Gyokushoen Inn in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on February 15 and 16. This time Kono returned the “favor,” staging an upset after Iyama had taken the lead. Iyama (white) resigned after 179 moves. The fifth game will be played on March 1 and 2.
Tomorrow: Xie defends Women’s Kisei; 42nd Meijin League; 72nd Honinbo League

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2017 dates set for Maeda’s Osaka Go Camp and Japan Go Congress

Monday February 13, 2017

Ryo Maeda’s annual Osaka Go Camp will be held June 25th to July 13th in Osaka, Japan. This year’s camp will have new 2017.02.12_maeda-campcontent, says Maeda, a 6-dan pro from the Kansai-Kiin who’s been a regular attendee at the US Go Congress for the past 17 years. “We have league games in the mornings and full teaching programs in the afternoons by professional players every day, ” he says. The teaching programs will be in English. “On holidays, we will also organize some day trips to places like downtown Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, and a two-day trip to Kyoto, Friendship Tournament with Kyoto Go players and sightseeing.”

The second Japan Go Congress will be held July 14th to July 17th in nearby Takarazuka City, so camp participants can participate in both, if they want.

Register by the end of February and receive a 5,000-yen discount (only available for those who participate in the Osaka Go Camp for the full term).

“I promise that everyone can improve quite a lot through the Camp and the Congress and will have a lot of fun!” adds Maeda.

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The Power Report (3 of 3): Yo to challenge for Judan; Meijin League; Honinbo League

Monday February 6, 2017

by John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal2017.02.06_Yo Seiki becomes Judan chall

Yo to challenge for Judan: The first semifinal in the 55th Judan tournament was held on December 26. Imamura Toshiya 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. The second was held on January 9. Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi in Pinyin) (W) beat Yamashita Keigo 9P by 1.5 points. This was a lucky win for Yo (right). When the micro-endgame started, Yamashita was half a point ahead, but he played an invalid ko threat that cost him a point and a move. This meant that the final to decide the challenger was an all-Kansai Ki-in affair for only the second time in the history of this tournament (the first time was Sonoda Yuichi vs. Yuki Satoshi in the 27th Judan). The play-off was held on January 26 and the result couldn’t have been closer. After 317 moves, Yo edged Imamura by half a point. This gives Yo another crack at an Iyama-held title. The first game will be played on March 7.

Meijin League: The first league games of the new year were played on January 11.
Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by resig.; Cho U 9P (W) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
(January 19) Murakawa Daisuke 8P (W) beat Yo Seiki 7P by resig.
(January 26). Iyama Yuta (W) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig. This game was decided in 104 moves. There’s little doubt that Iyama is the overwhelming2017.02.06_leagues favorite in the league, though he shares the lead after two rounds with Murakawa.

Honinbo League: 
The last game of 2016 didn’t make our previous report. On December 22, Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Cho U 9P by resig. On January 11, two games were played. Motoki Katsuya 7P (B) beat Mitani Tetsuya 7P by resig.; Ko Iso 8P (B) beat
Yuki Satoshi 9P by resig. On January 19, Yamashita Keigo 9P (B) beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig. Hane’s loss meant there was now no undefeated player in the league. On 3-1, Hane shares the lead with Motoki and Ko Iso. On January 26, Takao Shinji Meijin finally picked up his first win in the fourth round when, taking white, he beat Cho U 9P by resig. Cho is now 2-2.

Promotion
To 7-dan: Kuwamoto Shinpei (120 wins, as of Dec. 23)

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