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History of Topics 2002

30 September
24 September
18 September
11 September
03 September

30 September

Yoda takes 2-0 lead in 27th Meijin title match

  Yoda Norimoto has got off to a roaring start in his defence of the his Meijin title and has taken a 2-0 lead. The second game was played at the Clover Inn Tomoe in Hagi City ("hagi" means "clover"), Yamaguchi Prefecture on 25,26 September 2002. The game concluded at 8:21 pm on the second day after 295 moves, with Yoda (white) coming out 2.5 points ahead.
  The third game will be played in Omachi City in Nagano Prefecture on 2 & 3 October.

24 September

King of the New Stars Title

  The first game of the 27th King of the New Stars best-of-three title match was held on 16 September. Playing white, Cho U 7-dan defeated Takao Shinji 7-dan by 3.5 points after a marathon game that lasted 349 moves.
  The second game is scheduled for 30 September.

Yamashita and Cho U tied in Kisei B league

  A key game was played in the Kisei B league on 19 September. Playing black, Yamashita Keigo 7-dan defeated Awaji Shuzo 9-dan by 3.5 points. This meant that Yamashita drew level with Cho U - they are both on 3-1. However, thanks to his higher ranking (no. 2), Cho U has an advantage. If he wins his final game, he will win the league regardless of Yamashita's result. Yamashita, who is no. 5, needs to win his final game and also needs Cho to lose. Cho's last-round opponent is Cho Chikun Oza and Yamashita's is Cho Sonjin 9-dan.
  The winner of the league will meet Ryu Shikun in the play-off to decide the challenger to O Rissei Kisei.

27th Kisei A League (6 June to October 2002)
Rank Player/Opponent RS HN MT IY YN NT Score
1 Ryu Shikun 7-dan -   1 1 1 1 4-0
2 Hane Naoki Tengen   - 0 1 1 1 3-1
3 Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan 0   - 0   0 0-3
4 Ishida Yoshio 9-dan 0 0 1 - 0   1-3
5 Yoda Norimoto Meijin 0 0   1 - 1 2-2
5 Nakaonoda Tomomi 8-dan   0 1   0 - 1-2

27th Kisei B League (13 June to October 2002)
Rank Player/Opponent CC CU AS CS KS YK Score
1 Cho Chikun Oza -   1 0 0 0 1-3
2 Cho U 7-dan   - 0 1 1 1 3-1
3 Awaji Shuzo 9-dan 0 1 - 0   0 1-3
4 Cho Sonjin 9-dan 1 0 1 - 0   2-2
5 Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan    1 0   1 - 0 2-2
5 Yamashita Keigo 7-dan 1 0 1   1 - 3-1

18 September

Yoda's good start to Meijin title defence

  The first game of the 27th Meijin best-of-seven title match was held in Beijing on 11 & 12 September. Playing white, Yoda Norimoto, the defending Meijin, held the lead throughout, and Cho Chikun, the challenger, eventually resigned after 276 moves.
Yoda took the lead in the very first fight, in the top left corner. Thereafter, Cho resorted to a large-moyo strategy, which is usually considered his forte. Cho caught up quite a bit in the endgame, whittling Yoda's lead down to about one and a half points, but right at the end he blundered and had to resignaiton.
  Yoda has thus got off to a good start in his title defence and now has five wins in a row against Cho in Meijin title matches. If Cho doesn't make a comeback in the second game, his challenge could be a short-lived one.
  The second game will be played in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on 25 & 26 September.

Japan to field strongest team yet in Nong Shim Cup

  The teams to compete in the 4th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup have all now been announced. For the first time ever, Japan is fielding all its top title holders, making the team this time its strongest ever. In the past, the holders of the top three titles have not usually taken part in this tournament (or its predecessor) because of their busy schedules, but Japan must have become tired of its string of failures.
  The Japanese team is O Rissei Kisei & Judan, Yoda Norimoto Meijin, Kato Kensei Honinbo (Kato Masao has assumed the same name as when he was Honinbo before), Kobayashi Koichi Gosei, and Cho U 7-dan. Yoda also holds the NEC Cup and the Kakusei title, Kato has the Ryusei title, and Cho U is the current NHK champion, so this team has a total of nine titles. The risk Japan runs, of course, is that if it team does not do better than previous teams it won't have any excuses.
  The Korean team is made up of Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan, Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan, Yun Hyeon-seok 7-dan, Kim Seung-chun 7-dan, and Pak Yeong-hyeon 3-dan. Of these, Yi was seeded, while the other four won their places through a qualifying tournament. Kim and Yun are not yet well known, but they have both challenged for Korean titles. On paper, this team, with Yu Ch'ang-hyeok missing, is not as strong as recent Korean teams, but any team with Yi and Cho in it will be hard to beat.
  The Chinese team is made up of Chang Hao 9-dan, Luo Xihe 9-dan, Kong Jie 6-dan, Gu Li 5-dan, and Hu Yaoyu 6-dan. This is also a formidable line-up.
  The tournament will be held in three rounds: Beijing, 22 to 25 October (four games); Pusan, 23 to 28 November (six games); and Shanghai, 20 to 23 January (four games).

Ryu wins Kisei A league

  Ryu Shikun 7-dan has already won the 27th Kisei A league, even though there is still one round to go. Ryu became unbeatable, because of his number one ranking, when he won his fourth-round game and his only rival, Hane Naoki, lost his. Fans had expected their fifth-round clash to decide the league, but now it will be an anticlimax. Even if Hane wins it, drawing level with Ryu on 4-1, there is no play-off in the Kisei league; as the higher-ranked player (based on results in the previous league), Ryu would take precedence.
  The two played their fourth-round games on 12 September. At the Nihon Ki-in headquarters in Tokyo, Ryu, playing white, defeated Nakaonoda Tomomi 8-dan by 7.5 points. In Nagoya, Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan, taking black, defeated Hane Naoki Tengen by 1.5 points. That took Ryu to 4-0 while Hane dropped to 3-1.
  Ryu is now one win away from a return match with O Rissei. His opponent in the play-off between the leagues will be either Cho U 7-dan or Yamashita 7-dan.

Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in

  Western professionals played only one game last week and that without success. In the Oteai or rating tournament, Hans Pietsch 4-dan (W) lost to Osawa Narumi 2-dan by resignation.
  On 8 September, a game between Michael Redmond 9-dan and Cho Chikun Oza in the 50th NHK Cup was telecast. Playing black , Michael lost by resignation.

11 September

China dominates 7th Samsung Cup

  Chinese players have scored what is probably their most notable triumph in an international tournament to date, taking six of the eight quarterfinal places in the 7th Samsung Cup, the opening rounds of which were played in Seoul on 28 and 30 August. The star for China was the 20-year-old Hu Yaoyu 7-dan, who defeated Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan in the second round; in the first round, Yi had eliminated another young Chinese star, the 19-year-old Qiu Jun 6-dan.
  The Samsung Cup has a unique system: sixteen of the players competing in the first round are seeded, but the other 16 places go to players who qualify in a preliminary tournament held in Seoul and open to all professionals. As we mentioned in an earlier report, 72 players from Japan participated, but without success. The seeded players didn't do very well, either, with no one getting past the second round.

Results to date

Round 1(28 August, Seoul)
  Luo Xihe 9-dan (China) (W) defeated Yang Chae-ho 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Zhang Wendong 9-dan (China) (B) d. Pak Chin-sol (?) 1-dan (Korea) by resig.; Peng Quan 5-dan (China) (B) d. Yamada Kimio 8-dan (Japan) by resig.; Cao Dayuan 9-dan (China) (B) d. Yi Se-tol 3-dan (Korea) by resig.; Hu Yaoyu 7-dan (China) (B) d. Pak Seung-mun 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; Hane Naoki 9-dan (Japan) (B) d. Seo Pong-su 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (W) d. Ch'oe 1-dan (Korea) by resig.; Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (Japan) (W) d. Yang I 7-dan (China) by resig.; Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) d. Duan Rong 7-dan (China) by 3.5; Pak Yeong-hyeon 3-dan (Korea) (W) d. Yu Bin 9-dan (China) by .5; Wang Yuhui 7-dan (China) (W) d. Ch'oe Ch'eol-han 3-dan (Korea) by 6.5; Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Wang Xi 4-dan (China) by resig.; Ch'oe Myeong-hun 8-dan (Korea) (B) b. Kong Jie 7-dan (China) by 2.5; Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (B) b. Qiu Jun 6-dan (China) by resig.; Yang Keon 6-dan (Korea) (W) d. O Meien 9-dan (Japan) by 4.5; Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (B) d. Takemiya Masaki 9-dan (Japan) by 6.5.

Round 2 (30 August, Seoul)
  Luo Xihe (China) (W) b. Yang 6-dan (Korea) by resig.; Hu Yaoyu (China) (W) b. Yi Ch'ang-ho (Korea) by resig.; Cho Hun-hyeon (Korea) (B) b. Peng Quan (China) by 1.5; Ch'oe Myeong-hun (Korea) (B) b. Zhang Wendong (China) by resig.; Wang Lei (China) (B) b. Kobayashi Satoru (Japan) by resig.; Chang Hao (China) (W) b. Yu Ch'ang-hyeok (Korea) by resig.; Cao Dayuan (China) (B) b. Pak Yeong-hyeon (Korea) by resig.; Wang Yuhui (China) (W) b. Hane Naoki (Japan) by 1.5.

Yi Ch'ang-ho vs. Chang Hao in Toyota & Denso Cup final

  Three rounds of the 1st Toyota & Denso Cup World Go Oza were held at the Nihon Ki-in in early September. Chinese players did very well, for the second international tournament in a row, taking three of the semifinal places, but the final will feature a clash between the Chinese and Korean number ones. In the second round, Fernando Aguilar of Argentina showed that his first-round win against Hasegawa Sunao 9-dan was no fluke by beating another professional 9-dan, Yo Kagen. In the third round, however, he ran into Yi Ch'ang-ho, who put a stop to his winning run.
  Japanese players were all eliminated in the third round. Japanese fans had been looking forward to the clash between Yamashita Keigo 7-dan and Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan in the second round, but Yi won a hard-fought game by 1.5 points.

Round 2 (2 September)
  O Rissei 9-dan (Japan) (B) defeated Chen Zude 9-dan (China) by resig.; O Meien 9-dan (Japan) (B) d. Yang Shihai 8-dan (Chinese Hong Kong) by resig.; Fernando Aguilar (Argentina) (B) d. Yo Kagen 9-dan (Japan) by 2.5; Yi Ch'ang-ho 9-dan (Korea) (W) d. Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (Japan) by 1.5; Wang Lei 8-dan (China) (B) d. Cho Hun-hyeon 9-dan (Korea) by 2.5; Yu Ch'ang-hyeok 9-dan (Korea) (B) d. Shao Weigang 9-dan (China) by resig,; Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (W) d. Pak Chi-eun 3-dan (Korea) by resig.; Chang Hao 9-dan (China) (B) d. Yi Se-tol 3-dan (Korea) by resig.

Round 3 (4 September)
  Wang Lei (China) (B) d. O Rissei (Japan) by resig.; Yi Ch'ang-ho (B) d. Fernando Aguilar (Argentina) by resig.; Chang Hao (China) (B) d. O Meien 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; Yu Bin 9-dan (China) (B) d. Yu Ch'ang-hyeok by 4.5.

Semifinals (6 September)
  Chang Hao (W) d. Wang Lei by resig.; Yi Ch'ang-ho (W) d. Yu Bin by resig.

O Rissei retains league place

  O Rissei Kisei and Hikosaka Naoto 9-dan ended in a tie for 6th place in the 27th Meijin league, so a play-off was held on 5 August. Playing black, O forced a resignation and so kept his place. Hikosaka has to start out again in the final

Kisei leagues

  The following games have been played in the Kisei leagues recently.

A league
  (22 August) Hane Naoki Tengen (B) beat Ishida Yoshio by 5.5 points.
  (5 September) Yoda Norimoto Meijin (B) beat Ishida Yoshio 9-dan by 6.5 points.
  In this league, only Hane and Ryu, both on 3-0, are in contention.

B league
  (22 August) Cho Sonjin 9-dan (B) beat Awaji Shuzo 9-dan by resig.
  (29 August) Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (B) beat Cho Chikun Oza by resig.
  (5 September) Kobayashi Satoru 9-dan (W) beat Cho Chikun by resig.
  Cho U 7-dan (B) beat Cho Sonjin 9-dan by resig.

  Cho U, on 3-1, has the lead in this league, but Yamashita Keigo, on 2-1, has also lost only one game.

58th Honinbo league

  The four vacant places in the new Honinbo league have been filled. The first went to Rin Kaiho, Honorary Tengen (he qualified for this title when he turned 60), who beat Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan in a play-off held on 8 August.
  The second went to Yamashita Keigo 7-dan, who beat O Rissei Kisei in a play-off, held on 22 August, by 7.5 points. Yamashita will be making his debut in the league.
  The third place went to Ryu Shikun 7-dan, who beat Ishida Yoshio 9-dan on 29 August. Ryu is in all three leagues. The fourth place was won by Kobayashi Koichi Gosei, who beat Yamada Kimio 8-dan on 5 September.
  The league will get under way in October.

Chinen to challenge for Women's Honinbo

  Chinen Kaori, holder of the Women's Kisei title, will attempt to make a comeback in the Women's Honinbo title, which she held for three years in a row (1997-99). In the play-off to decide the challenger, held at the Nihon Ki-in on 4 September, she defeated Koyama Mitsuru 5-dan (B) by resignation. Actually, Chinen was very lucky to win this game; her opponent had a lead of about ten points on the board, but made a slip on one of the last moves before beginning the dame.

Westerners at the Nihon Ki-in

  Recent results of Western professionals at the Nihon Ki-in are given below.
  (29 July) Yamashita Keigo 7-dan (W) beat Michael Redmond by 4.5 points (2nd prelim. section, Oza tournament).
  (12 August) Hans Pietsch 4-dan (B) beat Katsura Atsushi 3-dan by resig.
  (1st prelim. section, Honinbo tournament).
  Sasaka Shiro 8-dan (B) b. Catalin Taranu 5-dan by 2.5 (Gosei preliminary).
  (21 August) Mannami Kana 2-dan (B) defeated Hans Pietsch 4-dan by 7 points (Oteai).
  (26 August) Hans Pietsch (W) beat Tsutsui Katsumi 4-dan by resig.; Pietsch (W) beat Hosaka Mayu 2-dan by 1.5 (16th Fujitsu Cup qualifying, 1st prelim. section)
  (28 August). Ko Iun 4-dan (W) beat Hans Pietsch by 8 points (Oteai).
  (29 August) Michael Redmond 9-dan (B) beat So Yokoku 7-dan by resig. (3rd prelim. round, Meijin tournament).
  Yamamori Tadanao 4-dan (B) beat Catalin Taranu 5-dan by resig.
  (5 September) Michael Redmond 9-dan (W) beat Ishii Mamoru 9-dan by resig. (2nd prelim. section, Tengen tournament).


To 2-dan: Iyama Yuta
To 5-dan: Umezawa Yukari

03 September

Cho matches Sakata's record

  Everyone knew it was just a matter of time before Cho topped the most prominent record in Japanese go: Sakata's lifetime tally of 64 titles won. Well, Cho hasn't actually topped it yet, but he has drawn even. He achieved this feat on 17 August when he defeated Ishida Yoshio in the final of the 35th Haya-go Champioship. The game hasn't yet been televised, and usually results are not published until they are, but in view of the magnitude of his achievement an exception was made.
  Cho won his first title, the 5th Shin'ei (New Stars) in 1973. What is most impressive about his record is that nearly half of his titles, 29, are big-three ones (Kisei, Meijin and Honinbo)
  Cho will have a chance to top Sakata's record this autumn when he challenges Yoda for the Meijin title.

Kobayashi defends Gosei title

  Kobayashi Koichi brought all his skill and experience to bear in the fourth game of the 27th Gosei title match. Taking white, he dominated the play and forced the challenger, Yuki Satoshi 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in, to resignaiton after 148 moves. He thus defended the title 3-1.
  After a three-week interval from the third game, in which Yuki scored his first win, the fourth game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on 21 August. Kobayashi seized the initiative in the opening and thereafter prevented Yuki from displaying his strength.
  This is Kobayashi's ninth Gosei title and his 55th title overall.

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