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October 24th, 2005

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Korea ekes out victory in New Stars Match; Yashiro takes first title

International:

The quarter-finals and semi-finals of the LG Cup were the major focus of attention on the international go scene last week. With 6 Chinese players in the last 8, they were strong favourites for berths in the final (since at least 2 semifinalists were guaranteed to be Chinese). However, 1 of the other 2 players (both Korean) was Yi Se-tol, who has been in terrific form internationally the last 18 months (his international record over this period is 30 wins to 4 losses). Unsurprisingly, Yi proceeded to one of the semi-finals, along with Gu Li, holder of the Chinese Mingren title. The other half of the draw was a little more open, and finally 15 year-old 5-dan Chen Yaoye and Piao Wenyao (4d) proceeded to the semifinals. Chen reached his first international final by defeating Piao, and now has the potential to break a number of records if he wins, including youngest ever winner of an international title, and youungest ever 9-dan, since winning the LG Cup qualifies for a 9-dan promotion in China (and Japan).

Although Gu’s form has been rather dismal of late, he pulled out all the stops in his game against Yi, and his victory over him signalled the end of a 25-game run of consecutive victories against Japanese and Chinese pros in international tournaments – another record. With Chen and Gu both in the final, China is, of course assured of victory in another international title. (Information from Go4Go.net)

In the Asian New Star Match, it was a tight call between China and Korea in the end, with just 1 win seperating the 2 teams. Korea were the eventual victors, with 18/24 wins, while China were left gritting their teeth at 17/24. China and Korea both beat Japan 6-2, and, although Lin Zhihan (7d) managed to pull off a half-point victory over Korean Cho Hanseung (8d), while China beat Taiwan 8-0, China were kept from victory when they could not pull off a draw against Korea on the final day, but rather lost 5-3. Besides Lin’s victory, Taiwan could score only one more win, with 4-dan Chen Shien forcing Japanese 7-dan Kono Rin to resign. Japan scored 11 wins.

Japan:

Cho U missed another opportunity to claim the Meijin title last week, with Kobayashi Satoru claiming a 1.5 point victory as White in the game played last Wednesday and Thursday in Kobe City. Kobayashi is still facing kadoban at 3-2 in the best-of-7 series. This game in the title match clashed with Cho’s scheduled game in the 61st Honinbo League last Thursday, so now Cho will face O Meien today instead. Cho’s schedule is getting tighter as time goes on. He begins his defence of his Oza title this week as well (in Meguro, Tokyo), where he is facing Yamashita Keigo Tengen on Friday in the first game of the best-of-5 title match. Cho will undoubtedly be disappointed that he could not wrap up the Meijin title before beginning defending the Oza. The next game in the Meijin title match will be on 3-4 November.

In the 31st Meijin preliminaries, Han Zenki (7d) claimed one of the 3 vacant spots in the 9-player Meijin league on Thursday by defeating 9-dan Enda Hideki. O Rissei (9d) was eliminated for contention for one of the other spots by Takao Shinji Honinbo, while O Meien (9d) put paid to Kanda Ei’s hopes. Takao will face O for one of the vacant positions, while Ko Iso (4d) faces Kono Rin (7d) for the final open berth and a promotion to 7-dan on Thursday.

In the prelims for the 32nd Tengen tournament, Cho Chikun bt Oya Koichi (9d) by resignation to qualify for a spot in the final knockout tournament.

Takao Shinji Honinbo reached the semi-finals of 25th NEC Cup, eliminating Hane Naoki Kisei by a half-point. He will face Cho Sonjin in the semi-final.

In the 53rd NHK Cup, a surprise win by Imamura Yoshiaki (8d) was broadcast yesterday. Imamura eliminated defending champion, Cho U.

Yashiro Kumiko (5d) claimed her first title on Thursday, making a clean sweep of defending Female Honinbo, Chinen Kaori. Yashiro won the 3rd game of the best-of-5 final by resignation to claim the 24th Female Honinbo title.

Xie Yimin (2d) defeated Umezawa Yukari(5d) to claim the last semi-final berth in the Women’s Saikyo tournament. She will face Kobayashi Izumi next.

Yamashiro Hiroshi(9d) defeated Nakane Naoyuki(8d) by resignation to claim the right to challenge Hane Naoki for the Okan (Crown) title. It seems the title match is just 1 game.

Korea:

Last Tuesday, Cho Hunhyun (9d) was eliminated from the 1st Siptan tournament by 4-dan Hong Sung-ji. Hong, taking White, won by 1.5 points

In the 10th Cheonweon, 1-dan Park Jeonggeun continued his streak of good form, eliminating 6-dan Kang Jisung by 3.5 points to reach the final of the tournament. The Korean Cheonweon does not have a title match, rather the previous years’ winner (in this case, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han) is only seeded into the last 16 (this year, Ch’oe was eliminated in the first round). Park also eliminated well-known Cho Hanseung(8d) in the first round, and Park Yeonghun Gisung in the second round, to reach the final. Park will face either 9-dan An Choyeong, or rising star 3-dan Ko Geuntae, in the final.

9th SK Gas Cup: Ko Geuntae (3d) forced 6-dan female pro, Pak Chi-eun to resign in the playoff to determine the winner of League B. Ko will now face 4-dan Kang Dong-yun in the best-of-3 final, after the other positional play-offs have been completed.

2005 Korean Baduk League: Team Bomyang managed to pull off a draw thanks to 1-dan Kim Jinwoo defeating 9-dan Jiang Zhujiu of Team No. 1 Fire Insurance. With 6 matches out of 7 completed for each team, Team Net Marble is still undefeated, and it seems sure they will win the league.

In the Samkukji tournament, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han’s dominance last week was replaced by Kim Juho’s. The 6-dan representative for Team Mgame, who ousted Ch’oe the previous week, won 5 successive games before finally succumbing to Team CyberOro’s Park Jungsang (5d) on Thursday. Park was defeated the next day by An Tal-hun (6d), who represents Team Tygem. As things stand now, Team CyberOro is in serious trouble. Pak Yeong-hun Gisung, their only remaining representative will have to win 5 consecutive gamesto clinch the title for them, against players of the caliber of Yi Chang-ho Wangwi, Mok Chin-seok, Cho Hanseung and An Tal-hun. The other 2 teams are still relatively even.

China:

The focus on the Chinese pro go scene this week will be the 2nd Xiaoqi Cup, where the first round was played yesterday. 8 matches were played to select 8 players to proceed to join the 8 players seeded into the last 16 from last years’ tournament. The results saw a few big names eliminated: Luo Xihe (9d) eliminated 8-dan female, Zhang Xiang; Ma Xiaochun (9d) was eliminated by Ding Wei (8d); Liu Jing beat fellow 8-dan Hu Yaoyu; Huang Yizhong (6d) lost to Mingren title-holder and finalist in this years’ LG Cup, Gu Li; Zhou Ruiyang (3d) beat 5-dan Wang Xi; Shao Weigang (9d) bt Dong Yan (7d); Cao Hengting (5d) defeated Chang Hao (9d); Zhou Heyang (9d) beat Fang Zhao (7d); Nie Weiping stayed in the running by defeating 7-dan Liu Xing by 5 points; Peng Quan beat fellow 6-dan Wang Yao; Yu Bin also continued, eliminating Niu Yutian (7d); Qiu Jun (7d) was ousted by Wang Lei (5d); top Taiwanese pro Zhou Junxun (9d) was also eliminated, losing to Wang Yuhui, 7-dan; and Xie He (6d) won his battle against Liu Shizhen (also 6d). The matches of the last 16 will be held tomorrow, and the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Taiwan:

In the 1st round of the final stage of the 6th CMC TV Cup, 2-dan Lin Yuxiang caused a bit of an upset by eliminating one of Taiwan’s top players, 7-dan Dai Jiashen.

(Images of Chen Yaoye and Kobayashi Satoru courtesy of Gobase)

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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