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History of Topics 2004

15 October
12 October
04 October

15 October

Cho evens score in Meijin title match

  The fourth game of the 29th Meijin title match was played at the Sapporo Grand Hotel on 13 and 14 October. Playing black, Cho U Honinbo won by 7.5 points and so evened the score in the series at 2-2. The game finished at 7:23 p.m. after 260 moves.
  This is a result that Yoda Norimoto Meijin will bitterly regret. According to the satellite-TV commentary by Michael Redmond 9-dan, Yoda took a clear lead on the morning of the second day, but then played some slack moves. The first slack move, which he lamented most after the game, actually still left him ahead, but it was the beginning of a slippery slope. Cho played patiently and succeeded in complicating the game; he made no mistake when he got a chance to take the lead.
  The fifth game will be played in Izu on 21 and 22 October.

Chinen evens score in Women's Honinbo title match

  Cho's wife Kobayashi Izumi was in the opposite position in the 23rd Women's Honinbo title match. She had taken the lead in the first game, but in the second game, played on 13 October, she let the challenger, Chinen Kaori 3-dan, draw even with her. Playing white, Chinen forced a resignation after 158 moves.
  This was the second time that a husband and wife played title-match games on the same day.

6th Nong Shim Cup starts

  The 6th Nong Shim Spicy Noodles Cup has got under way with the Beijing Round. Japan made a good start when Mimura Tomoyasu 9-dan (black) defeated Han Chong-chin 5-dan of Korea by resignation on 12 October, but the next day, playing white, he lost by resignation to Zhou Heyang 9-dan of China. Zhou continued by defeating An Tal-hun 6-dan of Korea; taking white, Zhou forced a resignation. Korea has made a poor start, but it has a lot of strength to come.
  The final game of this round is being played on the 15th.

12 October

Mizokami wins King of New Stars title

  The third game of the 29th King of the New Stars (Shinjin-O) title match was held in the Yugen room, the top playing room, at the Nihon Ki-in on 6 October. Playing white, Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan defeated Sakai Hideyuki 6-dan of the Kansai Ki-in by half a point. This was his second win in a row in the title match by that margin.
  Mizokami thus secured his first victory in this title. There are three junior titles open to players under 30 and under 8-dan, and Mizokami has now won all of them. The other two are the NEC New Stars tournament, which he won in 2001, and the New Stars tournament, which he won in 2002.
  Four other players have pulled off this feat: Yoda Norimoto Meijin, Komatsu Hideki 9-dan, Yamashita Keigo 9-dan, and Takao Shinji 8-dan.
  This result was a disappointment for the Kansai Ki-in, which was hoping for its third success in this title. The two previous winners, Imamura Toshiya 9-dan (the 9th title) and Yuki Satoshi 9-dan (the 18th title) came to Tokyo to cheer Sakai on, but in vain. Actually, Sakai had plenty of chances to win, but he went for a safe win instead of choosing the most aggressive moves. That made the game close, and some slack moves by Sakai gave Mizokami the lead. At the end, Sakai miscounted and thought that he was ahead, which perhaps affected his play.

Takao wins Ryusei title

  The Ryusei is a haya-go (fast go) tournament, in which the games in the final section are telecast on cable TV. First prize is five million yen and second is two million yen.
  The final of the 13th Ryusei tournament was telecast on 26 September. Takao Shinjin 8-dan (W) defeated Yamada Kimio 8-dan by resignation to score his second victory in this tournament. It is his sixth title: he has also won the King of the New Stars, the New Stars, and the NEC New Stars (twice). That's highly commendable, but the time has come for him to set his sights on one of the top seven titles.

60th Honinbo League starts

  Two league debutants got the 60th Honinbo league off to a start on 7 October. Playing black, Takao Shinji 8-dan defeated Han Zenki 7-dan by resignation.

The Redmond report

  Michael Redmond 9-dan achieved the distinction of representing Japan in the 13th Fujitsu Cup in 2000, but unfortunately he has been eliminated in Preliminary A of the qualifying tournament for the 18th Cup.
  Playing the rising new star Han Zenki 7-dan with black, he lost by resignation. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in on 4 October. Dropping out with him were Takemiya Masaki and Cho Chikun.

Yamada wins 600th game in record time

  On 4 October, Yamada Kimio 8-dan became the 38th professional in Japan to win 600 games. He reached this total in 15 and a half years, which is a new record, as is his winning percentage at this point of 73.3.

Hane wins 11th Agon Kiriyama Cup

  The final of the 11th Agon Kiriyama Cup was played at the headquarters of the Agon Sect in Kyoto on 9 October. Taking black, Hane Naoki Kisei beat Kobayashi Koichi by 3.5 points, thus winning this title for the first time.
  The Agon Kiriyama Cup is the only professional tournament in which amateurs can participate (12 places are available to the top eight in the Amateur Honinbo tournament and placegetters in a couple of other tournaments). The time allowance is 90 minutes each. First prize is ten million yen and second is three million yen.

04 October

Yoda takes lead in Meijin title match

  Yoda Norimoto Meijin scored a good win in the third game of the 29th Meijin title match, played in Nagoya on 29 and 30 September. Playing black, Yoda forced a resignation after 145 moves and so took a 2-1 lead in the series. The fourth game, scheduled for 13 & 14 October, could be crucial. So far, black has won every game; there will be a lot of pressure on the challenger to maintain this trend.

Kobayashi Izumi makes a good start to Women's Honinbo defence

  On the same day that her husband Cho U was starting the third Meijin title-match game against Yoda, Kobayashi Izumi played the first game of the 23rd Women's Honinbo title match. This is the first time ever in Japan that a husband and wife have played title-match games on the same day and one doubts that it has happened elsewhere.
  Kobayashi did better than her husband, defeating the challenger, Chinen Kaori 3-dan, to make a good start to her defence. Kobayashi had white and won by resignation.
  The second game will be played on 13 October. Once again, husband and wife will be playing title-match games on the same day.

Mizokami evens score in King of New Stars

  The second game of the 28th King of the New Stars title match was played at the Kansai Ki-in on 30 September. Local fans were very much hoping that the Kansai Ki-in player Sakai Hideyuki 6-dan would decide the match on home ground, but, taking black, he lost to Mizokami Tomochika 7-dan by half a point. That evened the score at 1-1; the deciding game will be played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo on 6 October.

Yamashita to challenge for Tengen title

  2004 hasn't been a great year for Yamashita Keigo, but he is certainly ending it on an upbeat note, with two successive title challenges.
  On 30 September, he won the play-off to decide the challenger for the 30th Tengen title, defeating Kim Shujun 7-dan (W) by 8.5 points. The game was played at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo.
  Yamashita will be hoping to take revenge on Hane Naoki, who beat off his Tengen challenge at the end of last year, then took the Kisei title from him at the beginning of this year.
  Yamashita has also become the challenger for the Oza title.
  The first Tengen game will be played on 4 November.

1st Zhonghuan Cup

  Here are the full details of the second round of the tournament that we reported as the 1st J.P. Morgan Cup. Actually, that company withdrew as sponsor, so the name changed, but we didn't realize this just from the Chinese name.
  Incidentally, every game in the second round was counted, which is a little unusual in international tournaments, in which players seem to resignaiton quite readily.

Round 2 (18 Sept., Taipei)  O Rissei (B) b. Kato by 1.5;
Yi Ch'ang-ho (W) b. Cho U by 4.5;
Yamashita(B) b. Lin by 2.5;
Pak (B) b. O Meien by 1.5.

  We also have details of the prize money. First prize is two million Taiwanese dollars, which is roughly $55,000. Second prize is 700,000 and third 300,000 Taiwanese dollars.

Iwata Tatsuaki scores 800th win

  Iwata Tatsuaki 9-dan has become the 21st modern Japanese professional to score 800 wins. He achieved this feat with a win over Enda Hideki 9-danin Preliminary B of the 44th Judan tournament on 23 September.
  Iwata is a member of the Central Japan (Nagoya) branch of the Nihon Ki-in. He became a professional in 1943.

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