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September 5th, 2005

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Meijin finalists lose in Kisei leagues

With the first game of the 30th Meijin best-of-7 final playing out on Wednesday and Thursday, the pressure is mounting on Cho U, defender of the title, and Kobayashi Satoru. Although Cho has a 5-3 historical record against Kobayashi, Kobayashi is enjoying a particularly good year, with a 32-6 record so far. Kobayashi, who won the Kisei and Gosei titles in 1995, is one of the few pros to have been suspended: in 2000, he was given a 8-month suspension for cutting Ryu Shikun 7-dan with a broken glass while drunk (apparently an accident). It seems the pressure is beginning to tell on both players, however: Cho lost his match against 8-dan Kato Atsushi in League A of the Kisei, while Kobayashi recorded his 6th pro loss of the year against Yamashita Keigo Tengen in League B. Of course, defeating a player of Yamashita’s caliber is never easy, so one cannot read too much into Kobayashi’s result.

Wednesday will also decide who will challenge Cho U for his other major title, the Oza. The challenger decision match is between Yamashita Keigo, and a less-known 9-dan pro, Nakaonoda Tomomi.

Kobayashi Izumi (6-dan) is also doing well in female tournaments: in the female Meijin tournament, she eliminated Aoki Kikuyo 8-dan, the highest ranked remaining player in the tournament. She is now one of the only two 6-dan’s remaining in the tournament, and is in a strong position to win the challenger tournament and have an opportunity to reclaim the title she lost to 5-dan Koyama Terumi earlier this year.

Yoda Norimoto Gosei was eliminated from the Judan tournament last Thursday: after being sent to the losers’ section by Takao Shinji Honinbo in the first round, he was eliminated by Yamashiro Hiroshi, a veteran who has been 9-dan for 20 years now. Another well-known player, Kobayashi Koichi, was eliminated from the Ryusei tournament by a more obscure 9-dan, Hikosaka Naoto.

In China, today or tomorrow will determine the challenger for the Mingren (the Chinese Meijin) title. The two 9-dan finalists Luo Xihe and Yu Bin played the first game of the best-of-3 challenger decision match on Saturday, with Luo winning by resignation.

The other news from China is about the 2nd Xiaoqi Cup. Nie Weiping, who was eliminated in the first round of the finals in last year’s first tournament, has once again qualified for the finals. 5-dan Wang Lei (who recently eliminated Chang Hao in the Samsung Cup prelims) also qualified for the finals, where he will join his namesake, 8-dan Wang Lei, who lost 1-2 to Kong Jie (7d) in the first tournament’s best-of-3 final earlier this year.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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