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September 12th, 2005

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4-dan in Agon Cup final; So promoted to 8-dan

Iyama Yuta, the 16-year old Japanese 4-dan, continued his string of upset wins in the Agon Kiriyama Cup on Thursday to claim a position in the final of this lightning go tournament. In his 3 knock-out matches in the last 16, Iyama has defeated Cho U Meijin, O Rissei (9d), and now Cho Chikun Judan in succession. In the final on 8 October, Iyama will face Cho U’s current challenger for the Meijin title, Kobayashi Satoru. If Iyama wins, he will be instantly promoted to 7-dan, and will be the youngest player ever to hold a Japanese pro title. The current youngest player is Cho Chikun, who won the New Stars tournament at age 17.

On the other hand, the trip up through the ranks isn’t always that quick: So Yokoku, who was recently mentioned in these articles when he was eliminated in the Samsung Cup preliminaries by Korean 7-dan amateur Kim Namhun, had to win 150 games as a 7-dan before finally gaining promotion to 8-dan this month. So currently has the second most pro victories by a Japanese pro this year, and his total is only 34, so getting promoted through the upper ranks in this manner is a slow process. Without winning one of the 7 major Japanese titles, the only way to now achieve 9-dan in Japan is by winning 200 games as an 8-dan.

Chang Hao, defending champion of the Chinese NEC Cup, must have breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday, when one of his toughest competitors for the cup, this year’s Mingren challenger Yu Bin (9d) was eliminated from the final 8. Yu was defeated by 9-dan Zhou Heyang. Chang Hao’s greatest remaining threat in the tournament is now Gu Li Mingren.

The big upset in Korean go today was the elimination of top player Pak Yeong-hun Gisung by 1-dan Park Jeonggeun. The 1-dan, taking Black, squeezed a victory, clinching his half-point win with a 1-point ko.

On the Japanese amateur scene, the amateur Honinbo title is always hotly contested, and this year was no different, with Hiraoka Satoshi, previous winner of the World Amateur Go Championships in 1994 as well as the 1st Incheon World Amateur Baduk Championship in 2003, facing 8-dan Nakazono Seizo, 5-time amateur Honinbo in the final. Despite Hiraoka’s international success, he had not been able to take the amateur Honinbo title in the 2 previous times he reached the final. Third time lucky, it seems – this year, Hiraoka won the 53rd tournament by a half-point margin.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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