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November 7th, 2005

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Wang dominates Jeongganjang; LEMON reaches 10d* on IGS

International

Wang Xiangyun, who won the Women’s Individual Tournament in China at the end of September, defeating a number of pro’s to score 8 wins in 9 games, was awarded professional 1-dan status for her achievement, as I mentioned at the time. What I did not know, was that the winner of the tournament also qualifies for the Chinese National Go squad, which represents China at the Jeongganjang Cup. Wang, who trained at Nie Weiping’s Go academy since the age of 12, had failed to qualify for professional status at the regular qualifying tournaments for the 4 previous years.

In any case, her pro career kicked off this week at the Jeongganjang Cup – a ladies’ team tournament between Korea, China and Japan. With no previous pro experience, she astounded spectators by dominating the entire first phase of the tournament, winning the first 4 games for Team China. She defeated, in turn: 5-dan Shinkai Hiroko of Japan, holder of the Female Strongest title; Kim Eun-sun, a Korean 2-dan; 3-dan Japanese Mannami Kana, last year’s winner of the Female Kisei title; and 3-dan Korean Yi Ta-hye. The first 3 games were by modest margins (2.5-4.5 points), while Yi was forced to resign in the last game. Not a bad pro record: 4-0! Wang also won a large piece of ginseng worth over 20000 RMB provided by the sponsors for winning at least 3 consecutive games.

The next phase of the tournament will be held in Korea from 18-24 December.

Another interesting tit-bit for the week was something I came across accidentally on IGS last week: for the first time ever to my knowledge, IGS has a 10d*. I was on IGS to take a look at the 6th game of the Meijin title match (more on that later), when I saw the second game on the game list, featuring 10d*, LEMON. Since it is common knowledge that a number of pro’s play on IGS, I was naturally curious who it might be. A little investigation paid off: LEMON is one of the usernames of Cho Chikun – for some other usernames of top IGS players, check out this page by Alexandr Dinerchtein, the 1-dan Korean pro from Russia.

Late October saw the International Baduk Team Championship held in Seoul, Korea – 13 3-player amateur teams from Asia and Europe as well as teams from Australia, Argentina and USA participated. Each player in the tournament was given an individual placement, besides the team results, and the individual tournament was won by a Mr. Noh from the Philippines, mainly due to a fortuitous draw, it seems: he won all six of his games, but was never drawn to face a player from the top-3 placed teams: Korea, China and Japan (in that order). Taiwan claimed fourth place.

The next upcoming event on the international scene is the World Pair-Go Championships, hosted by Japan. This tournament, which will be covered live on IGS this weekend (11-12 November), features 32 pairs, 11 of them from Japan. Other countries all have only one team, with 8 European teams, 7 Asian teams, and the other 6 teams from U.S.A., Canada, Turkey, Mexico, Cuba, and Australia. Some of the better-known participants in the tournament are the German pairing, Pei Zhao and Christoph Gerlach, Czech Ondrej Silt (an insei at the Nihon Ki-in for 3 years), the American pair (who won the US Pair Go Champs earlier this year) 13-year-old Cherry Shen, and Joey Hung, and finally, top Japanese amateur Hiraoka Satoshi, who won the Incheon World Amateur Baduk Championships in 1993, the World Amateur Go Championships in 1994, and the 53rd Japanese amateur Honinbo title this year.

Japan

Well, the question on everyone’s thoughts at the moment in Japan is: “Can Kobayashi pull off the great comeback?”. A tight sixth game this week saw Kobayashi scrape a half-point victory against Cho U, to pull back to 3-3 in the title match after trailing 3-0. This Wednesday and Thursday see the final showdown of the 30th Meijin title.

Yamashita Keigo is to challenge for the 30th Kisei title early next year: taking Black, he defeated Yuki Satoshi by 3.5 points in the challenger decision playoff last Thursday. The first game of the best-of-7 final against title-holder Hane Naoki will be held in Berlin, Germany, on 15-16 January 2006. Yamashita must have the psychological edge: he was won 17 of their 26 previous matches.

While Yamashita’s challenge for the Kisei title only starts in January, he is busy in the meantime with 2 other titles: he is challenging Cho U for the Oza title, while concurrently attempting to defend his own Tengen title against challenger Kono Rin. The first match of his title defence takes place today.

In the preliminary stages of the 32nd Tengen tournament, Iyama Yuta, Kobayashi Koichi, and Takemiya Masaki (amongst others) qualified for the challenger decision tournament, with Kobayashi eliminating Otake Hideo.

In the Honinbo league games on Thursday, the newcomers continued their good form: Hane Naoki Kisei defeated Yoda Norimoto Gosei, while So Yokoku (8d) defeated Cho Sonjin (9d) – both games were won with Black by half a point. Hane and So now both have 2-0 scores after facing Cho Sonjin and Yoda.

Yuki Satoshi was eliminated from the NHK Cup in his first match: he resigned against his opponent Kataoka Satoshi (9d) in the match broadcast yesterday.

The best-of-3 final for the Kansai Ki-in 1st place kicked off on Thursday, with Yokota Shigeaki winning the first game by resignation. His next game against Nakano Yasuhiro takes place on Saturday.

Korea

Well, this month’s Korean ratings are out, and for the first time Yi Se-tol is top of the list. 2 of the more old-school players made some good progress on the ratings: Cho Hun-hyeon moved up 3 to #6, and Seo Pong-su (aka Seo Bongsoo) improved 13 spots to end at #24. Rui Naiwei seems to be the top of the heap among the women at #30, narrowly edging out Pak Chi-eun 6-dan (#32) and Hong Min-p’yo 4-dan (#36). In addition, well-known Cho Hye-yeon dropped out of the top 50. The full list, courtesy of the GoGoD archivists, is available here.

Cho Hun-hyeon’s improvement on the national rating list may indicate an improvement in performance, but that did not prevent 4-dan (and #18 on the list) Paek Hong-seok from eliminating him in the first round of the Gisung challenger decision tournament on Thursday.

Team Mgame’s Yi Sang-hun was not able to claim victory for his team against Team Tygem’s last representative, Cho Han-seung in the Samkukji, being forced to resign. Neither could Team Mgame’s last-resort back-up plan, Yi Ch’ang-ho. Yi also had to throw in the towel, giving a tightly fought victory to Team Tygem – just how tight can be seen by the fact that the maximum possible number of games for the tournament were played, with Yi Sang-hun, 8-dan, being the only undefeated player in the tournament.

The battle for the 1st Siptan title grew tenser this week, with the holders of the 3 premier Korean titles now the only ones left in the running: Pak Yeong-hun Gisung eliminated 7-dan Song T’ae-kon to claim his position in the best-of-3 final, while Yi Ch’ang-ho defeated 4-dan Hong Seong-chi to set-up a semi-final between the Wangwi titleholder and Ch’oe Ch’eol-han Kuksu.

On the other hand, the Ch’eonweon best-of-3 final will this year be contested between a 1-dan and a 3-dan. 1-dan Pak Cheong-keun (aka Park Jeonggeun) created a stir when he qualified for the final in October, but now he has been joined by rising star and SK Gas Cup finalist, Ko Keun-t’ae (aka Ko Geuntae) 3-dan, who claimed his spot in the final with an upset win by resignation against 9-dan and Korean #12, An Cho-yeong. Ko himself is placed at #21 on the rating list this month, while Pak Cheong-keun is not even in the top 50. The winner of the 10th Ch’eonweon title will join an elite list of previous winners: Yi Ch’ang-ho, Yi Se-tol, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han, Pak Yeong-hun, and Song T’ae-kon (note that 4 of these 5 were the semi-finalists in the Siptan title discussed above).

Last week I mentioned a new rapid-game Korean pro tournament. The new info I have is that the tournament is called the Yeongnam Cup (named after the sponsoring Korean daily newspaper), with 25 million won prize money for the winner and 7 million won for the runner-up. The first game of the final between Cho Han-seung and Pak Yeong-hun takes place next Tuesday.

Finally, in the Korean Baduk League, Song T’ae-kon’s Team Bomyang suffered a 4-0 thumping by Pak Yeong-hun’s Team Holy Construction last week. Ending the league with only one victory, Team Bomyang ends the year at the bottom of the league, just below seventh-placed Team Park Land.

China

The only notable activity in Chinese domestic Go last week was the semi-finals in the Chinese Agon Cup. Both finalists in this years’ LG Cup, top world player Gu Li, and newcomer Chen Yaoye, had a chance to claim a spot in the final, and to potentially face each other there, but, while the Mingren title-holder Gu Li successfully despatched 6-dan Liu Shizhen, 5-dan Chen was unable to defeat 7-dan Qiu Jun, instead losing by 3.5 points. The final of this tournament, which will also decide who will represent China in the annual Japan-China Agon Cup playoff, will be held on Saturday.

Taiwan

The biggest news from Taiwan is that 4-dan Chen Shien claimed victory in the first game of the best-of-3 final of the 5th Donggang Cup, where he faced 7-dan Dai Jiashen the Sunday before last. The next game, where Chen has what seems to be his first chance to pick up a pro title, is tomorrow.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

1 Comment »

This entry was posted on Monday, November 7th, 2005 at 12:43 pm and is filed under Pro News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Wang dominates Jeongganjang; LEMON reaches 10d* on IGS”

  1. dael says:

    Cool prize. Big piece of ginseng.

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