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November 15th, 2005

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China wins Pair-Go Champs; Cho U retains Meijin; Jianqiao Cup underway

International:

The 16th International Amateur Pair Go Championships were held this past weekend in Japan, and China won the tournament in a field of 32 teams. Second and third went to Korea and a team from Japan, respectively. The Chinese team emerged undefeated, but had a lucky road to the final after the 4th placed team (also from Japan) including top amateur Hiraoka Satoshi defeated the second- and third-placed teams so that the Chinese team never faced them. Hiraoka’s team lost to the Chinese team in the last game, a game where the title was up for grabs. Cuba withdrew from the tournament at a late time, and was replaced by a 12th Japanese team. All 12 Japanese teams were placed in the top 20. The other spots remaining in the top 20 went to Germany’s Christoph Gerlach and Zhao Pei (who pulled off a bit of a coup by beating the Korean team and placing 8th), and Chinese Taipei (12th), Czech Republic (14th), USA (17th), Poland (18th) and Thailand (20th). The reason so many Japanese teams are entered in this tournament is that this tournament also serves as the “All Japan Pair Go Championship” – the top placed Japanese team is crowned as the top Japanese amateur Pair Go team.

The Samsung Cup quarter-finals were all set to start today, but there’s a lot of TV coverage of summits and other political activity on Korean TV channel KBS today. To counter this, the quarter-finals scheduled for today were moved to yesterday to ensure good TV coverage. In the first quarter-final, Yi Ch’ang-ho eliminated Yu Ch’ang-hyeok (aka Yoo Changhyuk). The other quarterfinal, one of two China-Korea clashes in the quarter-finals saw Yi Se-tol continue his recent slump. He seems to have missed a sequence which allowed his opponent Luo Xihe (9d) to defend against a threatened capture by capturing some cutting stones – this exchange scored Luo about 6-7 points, and after that, Yi no longer got a chance (details on this at go4go.net. The other quarterfinals are tomorrow: Ch’oe Ch’eol-han faces Cho Hun-hyeon in the all-Korean top-half of the draw, while Chinese 8-dan Hu Yaoyu faces Kim Myeong-wan in an attempt to ensure a Chinese finalist in the Samsung Cup.

Japan’s youth lose out in Chinese visit: 7 young Japanese pros recently visited China, and played a 6-round team tournament against young Chinese representatives. There were 6 rounds in just 3 days, putting the Japanese pros under pressure, but the Chinese countered by using different players for each round. As a result, the depth of the upcoming Chinese generation was greatly illustrated by their 29-13 record against the visiting Japanese group. Even rising star Iyama Yuta could only pull off a 1-5 score in his 6 games (source: Go4Go.net).

Japan:

Cho U retains Meijin title: last week, Cho U cruised to a comfortable win in the seventh and decisive game in the 30th Meijin title match, clinching the title 4-3 when Kobayashi was forced to resign. Cho has become only the second person to win a best-of-7 title match after the opponent comes back to 3-3 from a 3-0 deficit – the first was Hane Naoki Kisei, who did just that against challenger Yamashita Keigo last year. Also last week, Takao Shinji defeated O Meien to claim the last open berth in the 31st Meijin league.

Yamashita Keigo’s defence of his Tengen title kicked off to a good start last Monday, defeating Kono Rin by komi to claim a 1-0 lead. The second game is on Thursday. In the preliminaries for the next challenger decision tournament, 2 of the 5 players qualifying were Michael Redmond (9d) and Sakai Hideyuki(7d).

The fact that 2 places are still unfilled in the Gosei challenger decision tournament, did not stop the rest of the players stepping onto the battlefield last week. Kono Rin was one of the first casualties, going down in the first round against Cho Chikun Judan. Top female Yamada Kimio, one of the few women to have held an open pro title (in her case the 45th Oza), also left in the first round, defeated by Yuki Satoshi. 7-dan Cho Riyu was eliminated by Nakaonoda Tomomi (9d), and Yamashita Keigo and O Rissei both defeated their 6-dan opponents. The 2 open places in the tournament will be finalised this Thursday – the favourites for the spots are Kobayashi Satoru and So Yokoku.

Probably the most interesting pairing of the latest Ryusei tournament was broadcast on Sunday: in round 2 of block D, two 7-dans, Iyama Yuta and Han Zenki squared off. Iyama won the game by resignation.

On Saturday, Yokota Shigeaki won the Kansai Ki-in 1st place tournament, by clinching the title match 2-0. He defeated Nakano Yasuhiro (9d) by 1.5 in the second game.

On the female Japanese pro scene, Aoki Kikuyo (8d) beat Kato Keiko (4d) to claim a spot in the final of losers’ section of the female Meijin. Her opponent will be either 6-dan Kobayashi Izumi or Inori Yoko (5d). The winner of the final will face Yoshida Mika (8d), who won the winners’ section, to determine who will challenge title-holder Koyama Terumi (5d).

Thursday sees the second semi-final of the Women’s Saikyo tournament, between Kobayashi Izumi 6d and 2-dan Xie Yimin. The winner will face Konishi Kazuko(8d) in the final.

Kobayashi Izumi is also still in with a chance in the female Kisei tournament – her first game in the final phase of this tournament, against 7-dan Kusunoki Mitsuko, was broadcast last Wednesday. Kobayashi clinched a victory by resignation.

Korea:

In the inaugural Siptan tournament, Yi Ch’ang-ho beat Ch’oe Ch’eol-han by resignation to qualify for best-of-3 final against Pak Yeong-hun. Yi Ch’ang-ho also claimed a victory against 8-dan Yun Hyeon-seok in the Kuksu challenger decision tournament to win the winners’ section of the tournament.

The SK Gas New Stars Cup final, a best-of-3 match between the winners of the 2 5-player leagues, 4-dan Kang Tong-yun (aka Kang Dongyun) and 3-dan Ko Keun-t’ae (aka Ko Geuntae), started yesterday.
Kang won the first game by resignation – the next games will be tomorrow and on Friday.

With the final match of the 10th GS Caltex Cup underway, the preliminary stages of the 11th GS Caltex Cup, to select 5 players to qualify for the final 16, take place this week. 8 players compete in a knockout for each of the 5 positions. The first round of each mini-tournament took place yesterday, the semi-finals take place tomorrow, and the finals are on Friday. (This is with a few exceptions – for example, Ko Keun-t’ae has not played his first round game yet, because of the SK Gas Cup final mentioned above). Notable results from the 1st round are: Song T’ae-kon (7d) eliminated 9-dan Jiang Zhujiu (Rui Naiwei’s husband). [Jiang, like Rui, is a 9-dan Chinese pro, currently playing in Korea. Jiang also has permanent resident status in North America, and after winning the North American Masters tournament in 1995, has defended it successfully every year since.]; Pak Chi-eun (a top Korean female pro) lost to 9-dan Yun Seong-hyeon; 17-year-old 1-dan female Yi Ha-jin eliminated 6-dan Yi Hyeon-uk (aka Lee Hyeonwuk); 6-dan Kim Chu-ho was eliminated by 5-dan Pak Cheong-sang (both players are in the Korean top 20); another 1-dan to oust a 6-dan was Yi Kang-wuk, who defeated Korean #16, Yi Heui-seong (aka Lee Heesong); finally, 6-dan Cho Hye-yeon was eliminated by 2-dan Kim Chi-seok.

In the second last match of this years’ Korean Baduk League (barring playoffs), Ch’oe Ch’eol-han’s Team Bohe trounced Cho Hun-hyeon’s Team No.1 Fire Insurance 4-0. The final match this week is between Team Pmang and undefeated Team Net Marble. The league positions are determined based on points, with 1 point for a draw, 2 points for a 3-1 win, and 3 points for a 4-0 win. If Team Net Marble score a 4-0 win in their final match, they will win this years’ league. A draw is not enough, and a 3-1 win will put them tie with Team Holy Construction on 11 points. What happens then is unclear.

China:

The major activity in Chinese pro Go this week was the 3rd Jiangqiao Cup – a ladies-only tournament. According to Go4Go.net, the preliminary stage of this tournament was particularly brutal, with Wang Xiangyun, whose excellent performance in the Jeongganjang Cup we discussed in the last Pro News update, and two of her Team China teammates Fan Weiqing and Xu Yin, all falling by the wayside, victims of up-and-coming even younger players. 8 players proceeded from the preliminaries to the final stage, where they joined 8 seeded players in a 16-player knockout with a best-of-3 final.

The final stage began last Wednesday, and after 3 rounds in 3 days, the finalists had been selected by Friday. The same finalists as last year: Zhang Xuan (8-dan) and Zheng Yan (2-dan). The best-of-3 final began yesterday, and the next 2 games are tomorrow and on Thursday. Zhang, who is married to top Chinese pro Chang Hao, won the first game by resignation, taking White.

Taiwan:

In Taiwan, two titles were decided in the last week.

In the 5th Donggang Cup, Chen Shien managed to claim a victory by resignation in the second game of the best-of-3 final against Dai Jiashen last Tuesday – this gave him a 2-0 victory.

The league in the 1st Taiwanese National Championshop (Guoshou) was also completed last Tuesday.
The crucial game was between Xiao Zhenghao (4d) and Huang Xiangren (4d) – Huang’s demotion was in the offing, while Xiao was trying to clinch victory without a play-off. Xiao forced Huang to resign in the end, securing victory in the league with a 7-1 record. Lin Zhihan (7d) and Chen Shien (4d) both ended with 6-2 records, and are participating in a play-off today to determine the final league positions. Meanwhile, losing finalist in the Donggang Cup, Dai Jiashen, is one of the 4 players demoted from the league, with his 3-5 record.

(Image of Cho U courtesy of Gobase).

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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