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August 22nd, 2005

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Ch’oe Ch’eol-han wins Zhonghuan Cup

Well, undoubtedly the biggest pro news of this weekend was that 20-year-old Korean 9-dan Ch’oe Ch’eol-han defeated 22-year-old Yi Se-tol, winner of 6 previous international titles, to take his first international title. Ch’oe, taking White, won the Zhonghuan Cup when Yi resigned. Ch’oe, holder of the Koreak Kuksu title for the past 2 years, is currently tied for top place on the Korean pro listing for number of game wins this year, at 42 wins, and is rated at number 4 in the world on the Pro Go Ratings. Yi Se-tol is at number one, taking the top spot from Yi Ch’ang-ho just last month. Both players were students at the Baduk academy of Kwon Kap Yong in Seoul, which currently has over 100 insei students of pro strength. Ch’oe will be celebrating his victory by visiting this academy and taking the students pizza.

Other news from the Korean pro arena is that the challenger decision tournament for the Kiseong title is now underway. 2 games have been completed so far, with lower-ranked players eliminating 9-dans in both games. In the most recent game (last weekend), 5-dan Pak Cheong-sang eliminated 9-dan Ch’oe Kyu-pyeong. Pak is currently 4th on the Korean win-loss table.

The Japanese big-title scene seems to have started up again this weekend, with matches from the preliminaries for a number of next year’s big titles being played. Friday’s games included preliminaries for next year’s Meijin, Kisei, Gosei and Tengen titles. The biggest news of the weekend on the Japanese scene is probably for next year’s Honinbo title. Each Honinbo tournament gets played out over the course of three years, with 4 participants being chosen for the challenger’s league to replace those relegated from the league the previous year. These participants are usually chosen between April and September in the second year of the tournament (after the relegated players are determined after the previous tournament’s league ends in April. From October, until April of the third year, the league is in full swing, with the challenger vying for the title from May to July. The big news is that the second-last league position has been claimed. So Yokoku, 7-dan defeated Honda Kunihisa in the final play-off for the vacant position. The final spot will be occupied by either Yamada Kimio (8-dan), or Kobayashi Satoru, 9-dan, who is currently in good form. Kobayashi defeated Yuki Satoshi 9-dan, in the semi-finals of the last pool to qualify for the final league position playoff. Reaching the Honinbo league means automatic promotion to 7-dan, but no-one qualifies for that this year. So is the lowest ranking qualifier for the league, and he has been 7-dan since 2001.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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