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February 17th, 2006

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Aoki claims female Meijin; Kido prize details

International:

The third and final stage of the 7th Nongshim Cup to be held in Shanghai, China, will be the international Go focus between Tuesday and Friday next week. The current defender going into this phase is Korea’s 8-dan Cho Han-seung. On Tuesday he will face China’s Kong Jie, and the winner will face Japan’s last hope, Yoda Norimoto Gosei. The other players waiting in reserve are China’s Chang Hao and Korea’s Yi Ch’ang-ho.

Japan:

On Monday, Yamashita Keigo (9p) claimed the last Japanese berth for the Fujitsu Cup by beating Sakai Hideyuki (7p). He joins the other qualifiers, Cho Chikun, Yamashiro Hiroshi, and Yuki Satoshi, as well as the 3 seeded players (the holders of the top 3 Japanese titles), Hane Naoki Kisei, Cho U Meijin and Takao Shinji Honinbo. This means that all the Japanese players in the Fujitsu Cup are 9-dans. In last year’s Fujitsu Cup, Japan had 8 representatives, while this year there will be seven. This is likely due to the poor Japanese showing in the final stage last year, with no Japanese players reaching the quarterfinals.

Challenger Aoki Kikuyo (8p) claimed her 10th title on Wednesday, when she followed up her half-point victory over title-holder Koyama Terumi in the first game of the Female Meijin title match, with another victory of 1.5 points. The second game of the Female Kisei title match was also broadcast on Wednesday, but there Chinen Kaori fought back to level the title match against challenger Mannami Kana. The deciding game of the title match was played last Thursday, but will only be broadcast on Wednesday.

The match on the Japanese title scene to look forward to next week is the fourth and potentially final game of the Kisei title match. Challenger Yamashita Keigo is in a very strong position, leading 3-0 against title-holder Hane Naoki.

In one of yesterday’s games in the Judan preliminaries, Rin Kaiho defeated Kataoka Satoshi. This game is interesting because it features a rarely-seen tesuji: “patting the raccoon’s belly”, or, as it seems the Chinese call it, “The Beautiful Bird Catches the Butterfly”. This tesuji was also attempted in the international Kangwon-Land Cup, but didn’t quite work there because of the outside situation. Check out the tesuji and links to the games at this forum on Go4Go.net.

The Kido prizes are an annual set of awards to Japanese go players that were named after the Nihon Ki-in’s dan-level magazine. The magazine stopped publication in 2000, but the prizes continue. Some prizes are determined purely on game results, but others are awarded by a selection committee, consisting of go journalist from media groups that sponsor Go.

For 2005, Cho U was selected the Most Outstanding Player for the third year in a row, as well as being awarded the International Prize. In addition Hane Naoki Kisei and Takao Shinji Honinbo were awarded Outstanding Player awards. Iyama Yuta was given the New Star award, while Women’s Honinbo Yashiro Kumiko was awarded the Women’s Prize.

Kobayashi Satoru had the most wins for 2005, with 46 wins, closely followed by So Yokoku. Kobayashi also came second in all the other statistics categories: he had the second-highest winning percentage (74.2%), played the second most pro games at 62, and had the second longest winning streak (15 games). Iyama Yuta’s 40-13 record topped the winning percentage stakes (75.5%), Cho U played the most games (63), and Takemiya Masaki’s 16-game winning streak was the longest for 2005. For more details, see the John Power report I extracted this info from on the Nihon Ki-in website (click here)

Finally, 7-dan Hiroe Katsuhiko retired on 31 January, just before his 65th birthday. He has been a pro since 1960. His son, Hiroe Hiroyuki, is a 9-dan.

Korea:

Yi Ch’ang-ho was resigned early in the 4th game of the Kuksu title match after making a serious reading error. So Ch’oe Ch’eol-han breathes again. The score is now 2-2, and the deciding game will be played on the second of March.

Next Monday, the Women’s Kuksu title match also gets underway. This year, defending champion Cho Hye-yeon faces Rui Naiwei.

Rui must have the psychological edge after beating Cho on Wednesday to win the female pool in the Etland Cup preliminaries. The other 3 pools were also decided this week, with 4-dan Hong Sungji defeating Park Seungcheol(5d), An Cho-yeong (9p) beating Kim Seungjun (9p), and Seo Bongsoo (9p) beating O Kyuchul (9p) in the finals.

An Cho-yeong will also be in action next Wednesday in the deciding game of the Gisung challenger decision match against Song T’ae-kon. The winner of that game will face title-holder Pak Yeong-hun.

China:

Players in the quarterfinals of the Ricoh Cup had about 40 days to prepare for their matches, and in the end it was Gu Li, Kong Jie, Chang Hao, and Wang Xi who emerged victorious. Gu (7p) and Kong (7p), China’s #1 and #2, defeated #7 Wang Lei and #3 Zhou Heyang respectively. Wang Xi (5p), China’s #10 beat #6 Luo Xihe, while Chang Hao (9p,#9) defeated the lone dark horse, Liu Shizhen (6p), who is not placed in the Chinese top 30.

And today’s Chinese pro action is the semi-finals of the Tianyuan challenger decision tournament.

Taiwan:

In the Taiwanese prelims for their lone Toyota-Denso Cup berth, Xiao Zhenghao Guoshou beat Lin Zhihan this week to qualify for the finals.

Meanwhile, Chen Shien suffered his first defeat in this year’s Wangjia league on Tuesday, resigning against 4-dan Huang Xiangren. Chen’s score is now 2-1, and Huang’s is 2-2.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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