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February 13th, 2006

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Yi Se-tol to wed; Cho and Suzuki Pair-Go Champs; Masaki wins 1000 games

Well, they say better late than never…

International:

In Europe, the big event this past weekend was the European qualifying stage of the Toyota Denso World Go Oza. It seems 73 players from 28 countries participated in the qualifying event to pick the 3 Europeans who would qualify for the final 32 in the World Go Oza. Among the 73 players, 3 professionals took part: Guo Juan, a 5-dan Chinese pro now living in Europe, and Svetlana Shikshina and Alexandr Dinerchtein, both Russians who play professionally in Korea. Guo and Dinerchtein, the 2 highest-rated players in Europe, were seeded directly into 2 of the 3 8-player pools which would be used to select the 3 qualifiers. The other 22 places were allocated based on the results of a 4-round Swiss tournament held among the other 71 players – players with 3 or 4 wins qualified for a berth in a pool. Cristian Pop did well to win the Swiss tournament, which meant he got to be placed in the pool without a pre-seeded professional, along with second-placed Ilja Shikshin (Svetlana’s younger brother). Svetlana ended 6th in the Swiss tournament (after being beaten by a top German player and ex-insei, Benjamin Teuber) and was eliminated by fellow-Russian 6-dan Alexej Lazarev, in the first round of the pool won by Guo Juan. Alexandr Dinerchtein also won his pool. Cristian Pop met with his first loss in the first round of the 3rd pool against Czech 6-dan Vladimir Danek. This turned out to be good news for Ilja Shikshin, who managed to win his pool after an excellent 7 successive wins.

The North American representative for the 19th Fujitsu Cup will be the brother of the representative for the 18th Fujitsu Cup. Jiang Mingjiu (9p), brother of Jiang Zhujiu (9p), claimed victory in the 16-player knockout tournament to decide the representative. His brother is now playing professional Go in Korea, along with his wife, Rui Naiwei (9p). Jiang Mingjiu defeated 1-dan pro, Hui Ren Yang, to claim the North American representative’s berth. Jiang Mingjiu also won one of the North American berths for this years Toyota-Denso World Go Oza.

The 1st Kangwon-Land Cup kicked off last-week, a ring contest (similar in format to the Nongshim and Jeongganjang Cups) between China and Korea, each country represented by a 6-player team. The opening ceremony was last Sunday, when Korea unexpectedly sent Yi Se-tol in first to represent them. This was partly explained when Yi announced that he intends to marry later this year. However, he also wanted to be involved in this pioneering event, so it seems he intended to play first so that once his involvement was over, he could focus on the wedding arrangements. This announcement was quite surprising, since 22, Yi’s age, is generally considered very young for marriage in Eastern Asia. His fiancee is a member of the Kim clan.Yi Se-tol and his fiancee

This tournament uses a fast time format, with 30 minutes main time per player, with a sudden death 60-seconds byo-yomi. The winning team will claim 150 million won, the other team gets 50 million won. (There’s about a thousand won in an American dollar).

In any case, Yi Se-tol got off to a good start, easily despatching Chinese 4-dan Piao Wenyao in a very short game lasting just an hour and a half. However, Chen Yaoye struck back in the second game for China, claiming a 1.5 point victory against Yi. In the next round, Chen defeated Korean 4-dan Hong Sungji by 2.5 points. Chen was stopped in his tracks the next day, when 9-dan Korean An Joyeong managed to defeat him in a complex semeai. An followed that up in the last game of the first phase the next day, scoring a half-point victory over 5-dan Wang Xi. An, known for his excellent endgame ability, has now been nicknamed the “Prince of the Half-point”.

The second phase of the tournament begins on 20 March in Hangzhou, China, and while China will enjoy the homeground advantage, Korea have their slight 3-2 lead to cling to.

This Thursday is the 1st Judan-Siptan playoff – the 10-dans of Korea and Japan respectively, Cho Chikun and Yi Ch’ang-ho, face each other. Stay tuned!

Japan:

Cho U Meijin (and Oza) and 3-dan Ayumi Suzuki managed to defeat a team which perhaps looked a little bit better on paper, Yamashita Keigo and Kobayashi Izumi (Women’s Saikyo) on Saturday, 4 February, to claim the 2006 Pro Pair Go Ricoh Cup. Cho and Suzuki, taking White, managed to force a resignation in 180 moves.

Just before the North American berth for the 19th Fujitsu Cup was decided, Cho Chikun and Yamashiro Hiroshi claimed Japanese berths for the final stage of the international Fujitsu Cup. Japan has 4 unseeded berths up for grabs, and Yuki Satoshi claimed one in January. Yamashiro defeated 7-dan Yamada Takuji for his berth, while Cho Chikun forced a resignation against 9-dan Kataoka Satoshi. This game featured Cho’s trademark style of making a seemingly unreasonably deep invasion of an opponent’s moyo, and then miraculously saving all his weak groups. As macelee says on his website, go4go.net, “For us amateurs, it is probably not a good idea to emulate his style.”

The last berth will be decided today, in a match between Yamashita Keigo and 7-dan Sakai Hideyuki.

Hane Naoki now faces kadoban after a spirited challenge by Yamashita Keigo in his effort to reclaim the Kisei title. Yamashita won the 3rd game of the best-of-7 title last Thursday, giving him a clear 3-0 lead. If Hane can hold on to his title by reacting with 4 successive wins, he will join a very small elite group of tenacious fighters in Japanese go history.

The developments in the Meijin league over the last 2 weeks: Kobayashi Satoru beat Yoda Norimoto; Han Zenki beat Ko Iso; and Yamada Kimio beat Imamura Toshiya. This means Imamura is now on 0-3, and that Kobayashi and Takao Shinji are currently the only unbeaten players, both on 2-0.

The 61st Honinbo league suddenly became a lot more open when Cho U lost to Yoda Norimoto by 3.5 points last Thursday. If Hane Naoki beats O Rissei on Thursday (as expected), Hane and Cho will be neck and neck at 4-1 after 5 of the 7 rounds.

In the preliminaries of the 62nd Honinbo tournament, Takemiya Masaki claimed victory over fellow 9-dan Fukui Masaaki, to claim his 1000th professional win, a feat only achieved by seven other Japanese pro’s before: Sakata Eio, Rin Kaiho, Kato Masao, Kobayashi Koichi, Cho Chikun, Otake Hideo and Hane Yasumasa. Takemiya took just over 40 years to tally up his 1000 wins, needing 1603 games, including 2 draws.

Takemiya will also be in action in the 32nd Tengen challenger decision tournament this Thursday, where he faces Honda Kunihisa in a first-round match. Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen, was eliminated in his first round match against Komatsu Hideki(9d) last Thursday, and the Thursday before that, Takao Shinji beat Yuki Satoshi in their first-round game.

While Cho Chikun and challenger Yamashita Keigo wait for the start of the 44th Judan title match on 8 March, the final preliminaries to decide who will qualify for the 8 unseeded berths in the challenger decision tournament for the 45th Judan begin on Thursday. Some of the players in action on Thursday are Kobayashi Koichi, Kim Sujun, and Rin Kaiho.

And in the Oza preliminaries, Takao Shinji Honinbo proved victorious over Cho Sonjin on Thursday, to claim a berth in the challenger decision tournament. Kobayashi Satoru also claimed a berth, while O Meien was eliminated in a berth semi-final by 9-dan Kudo Norio. Michael Redmond has a chance to claim a berth this Thursday, when he faces another 9-dan, Yata Naoki.

The second-round matches of the 31st Gosei challenger decision tournament have now all been completed, with Otake Hideo, Honorary Gosei, Cho U, and 9-dan Kiyonari Tetsuya claiming the last 3 quarterfinal berths. Otake defeated O Rissei, Cho beat 8-dan Ko Mosei, and Kobayashi Koichi was eliminated by Kiyonari. This Thursday sees the first quarter-final, between Yuki Satoshi and Ryu Shikun.

The NHK Cup quarter-finals are being broadcast this month, and the first one showed Kono Rin being eliminated by 8-dan Imamura Yoshiaki. Yesterday, the second quarterfinal was broadcast, and that saw Moriyama Naoki eliminating Ryu Shikun.

This Saturday, Kobayashi Satoru will take on Yamada Kimio, and after a 3-week wait, Cho Sonjin will finally know who his opponent will be in the final of the 25th NEC Cup.

This past Thursday, another game was played in the Okan challenger decision tournament, and Hane Yasumasa (9p) was eliminated by 8-dan Nakane Naoyuki. Hane is the father of the current Kisei, Hane Naoki. The Okan tournament is a smaller tournament than many other titles, only being open to members of the Nagoya branch of the Nihon Ki-in. It is also unusual because the title match only consists of one game.

Last Wednesday, TV viewers saw challenger Mannami Kana score first blood in the Female Kisei title match. She defeated current title-holder Chinen Kaori. The next game of the best-of-3 title match will be broadcast on Wednesday,

The next day, challenger Aoki Kikuyo similarly managed to get off to a good start in the first game of the Female Meijin title match. She managed to beat the current title-holder Koyama Terumi. The next game of their 3-game title match is also on Wednesday.

Korea:

In an intensive 10-hour 3rd game of the Kuksu title-match on Saturday, Yi Ch’ang-ho managed to come back from the loss of a large group to claim victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-5 match. The next game will be held on Wednesday.

The 3 last quarter-finalists in the BC Card cup have also been finalised this month: Lee Yeongku (4d) beat Cho Hye-yeon in his second-round match, while Won Sungjin (7d) claimed a large 10.5 point victory against 4-dan Choi Wonyong. Jin Siyoung became the only player ranked lower than 3-dan to make the quarter-finals: the 1-dan defeated the other 2 2-dans in his section of the draw for the quarter-final spot (one of his opponents was On Sojin).

Meanwhile, in the SK Gas Cup, Lee Yeongku was not so lucky, losing his League B game against fellow 4-dan Yun Junsang. The next game in the tournament is a League A game between 4-dan Lee Minjin and 3-dan Kim Kiyoung tomorrow.

Ch’oe Ch’eol-han defeated Kin Seungjun last Thursday to ensure a cracker of a semi-final in the Maxim Cup: Ch’oe will face Pak Yeong-hun in the one semi-final. The other semi-final features
Yi Se-tol taking on 9-dan Yun Seunghyeon.

8 of the 12 available berths in the 11th Ch’eonweon have already been decided this month, with the other berths not yet being decided because of busy schedules amongst some of the involved players.
Berths have gone to Yoo Jaeho (1p), Kim Juho (6p), Lee Jaewong (4p), Heo Yeongho (5p), Cho Hye-yeon (6p) (who beat Pak Chi-eun in the final of their pool), Cho Hanseung (8p), Choi Myeonghun (9p) and Mok Jinseok (9p). In the other, undecided pools, both Song T’ae-kon and Ch’oe Ch’eol-han claimed victories in their first-round matches.

After being eliminated from the winners’ bracket by Cho Hye-yeon in the semi-finals, Rui Naiwei managed to claim victory in the loser’s bracket of the 11th female Kuksu by defeating Pak Chi-eun (6p) in the final. Cho meanwhile won the winner’s bracket, so Rui will get another chance to best her in the best-of-3 final.

China:

The semi-finals of the challenger decision match of the 20th Tianyuan will be held on Friday: the one semi-final sees the rising star teenager Zhou Ruiyang taking on Chen Yaoye, while in the other Kong Jie faces Luo Xihe. The winner of the tournament will challenge the current Tianyuan title-holder, 7-dan Gu Li (Gu also currently holds 3 other Chinese titles).

The final stage of this year’s Xinren Wang (New Star) tournament was held last week, with 16 players qualifying. Zhou Ruiyang, despite his excellent performance in orther major tournaments, was eliminated in the semi-finals by 4-dan Li Zhe. The other final berth was taken by Wang Yao. The best-of-3 final was played on 3 consecutive days: Li won the first game on Thursday, Wang the second, and Li claimed the 13th Xinren Wang title and the winner’s prize of 30, 000 RMB on Saturday. This was Li’s first title, and by winning the title, he claims the record of being the youngest pro Go title-winner in China, at 17 years old. All 3 games were won when White resigned.

Taiwan:

The CSK Cup is a 5-player team tournament between Korea, China, Japan, and Taiwan, but it seems that, like last year, the 4 top Taiwanese pros active in Japan have already been selected for the Taiwanese team. That leaves one berth open for the rest of the Taiwanese go professionals. Chen Shien defeated last year’s berth-winner, Zhou Junxun (9p) in the final of the qualifying tournament yesterday, by a half-point to claim that final berth. Zhou comfortably beat Lin Zhihan (7p) to qualify for the final last Tuesday.

The preliminaries to select 5 players for the challenger decision tournament for the Taiwanese Tianyuan are underway. 5-dan Yang Zhude and 7-dan Dai Jiashen both recorded wins to advance to the next round in their pools, but Guoshou titleholder Xiao Zhenghao, was unable to defeat Chen Yongan (5p). As a result, Xiao has been relegated to the first-round losers’ pool, where he still has a chance to grab a berth in the final stage.

In the league of the Wangjia (the Taiwanese Oza), Xiao Zhenghao Guoshou suffered another loss, this time against 5-dan Chen Shien.

The broadcasts of the CMC TV Cup the last 2 Sundays saw defending champion Lin Zhihan grab a semi-final berth in the tournament while 4-dan Xia Daming (and holder of the New Star Match title) was deprived of the same opportunity by 2-dan Yang Mengyun. Lin’s semi-final against Yang will be broadcast in 2 week’s time.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

1 Comment »

This entry was posted on Monday, February 13th, 2006 at 12:40 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 “Yi Se-tol to wed; Cho and Suzuki Pair-Go Champs; Masaki wins 1000 games”

  1. Steve says:

    Interestingly, John Power points out that the Pro Pair Go final featured a husband and wife playing on opposite teams: Cho U and Kobayashi Izumi. One might expect them to play together instead, but the pro pair go teams are decided by selecting top players in Japan, and pairing them randomly at an opening function.

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