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October 10th, 2005

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Iyama Yuta grabs 7-dan by winning Agon Cup

Well, this is a bumper issue of the pro news report, since I’ve been away for almost a week.

As the headline indicates, Iyama Yuta kept a clear head facing Meijin Challenger Kobayashi Satoru in the final of the Japanese Agon Kiriyama Cup. For Iyama, it wasn’t just the 10-million yen in prize money acting as bait. Taking Black, 16-year old Iyama’s 6.5-point victory made him the youngest player to ever hold a Japanese pro title. Furthermore, victory in the Agon Cup means an instant promotion to 7-dan, something that may otherwise take years with the promotion system currently employed by the Nihon Ki-in.

The best-of-3 Korean Prices Information Cup final started last Tuesday. In the first game, Pak Yeong-hun defeated Yi Ch’ang-ho. The second match takes place tomorrow.

On Thursday, the GS Caltex Cup final also continued. Yi Ch’ang-ho, needing one more victory to clinch the title, was unable to despatch Ch’oe Ch’eol-han, but was instead forced to resign in the 3rd game. The score in the final is now 2-1 to Yi. This has broken Yi’s unbeaten run of 17 games in this tournament: he has won the last two terms, with a 3-0 score in the final both times – very impressive, since he had to win his way through the last 16 each year instead of just facing a challenger in the final., so each year he has scored 6 consecutive wins. This year he got another 5. Besides the last 2 years, Yi has won this title 3 other times (also all 3-0) – if he wins this year, he will have taken the title for 6 of its 10 terms.

As is traditional, all the participants in the Kisei Leagues played their final league matches on the same day last Thursday. This is done to enhance the tension. With conclusion of the leagues, a play-off between the winners of Leagues A and B will be held to determine Hane Naoki’s Challenger. This year’s play-off will be between Yuki Satoshi, who won League A (including title-holders Cho U Meijin and Yoda Norimoto Gosei) unbeaten, and Tengen title-holder Yamashita Keigo. The 2 lowest-placed players in each league are demoted from the leagues each year – this year Honda Kunihisa, Imamura Toshiya, O Meien and Cho U Meijin will be demoted. Cho was tired with Yoda and O Meien with O Rissei, but both were demoted based on their lower rank in the previous years’ league.

The second game of the Female Honinbo title was also played last Thursday in Fukushima. 5-dan challenger, Yashiro Kumiko, forced Chinen Kaori to resign, giving her a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 final.

The 61st Honinbo league also kicked off last week. In the first game of the league, Hane Naoki Kisei defeated 9-dan Cho Sonjin.

In the NHK Cup, Kono Rin delivered a fine performance to eliminate Yamashita Keigo Tengen from the tournament.

In the Kansai Ki-in 1st place tournament, Nakano Yasuhiro qualified for the best-of-3 final by defeating Yamada Noriyoshi. The other semi-final will be held on Thursday.

In the SK Gas Cup (Korean New Stars), Kang Dongyun defeated fellow 4-dan, Yun Junsang, in the play-off to determine the winner of League A.

The Korean Baduk League yielded another draw this week, with Lee Yeongku (4d) saving the day for Team Net Marble, by defeating one of Team Hangame’s 9-dan representatives, Seo Bongsoo – one of the Korean stars of the 1980’s.

In the Siptan, Yi Se-tol, Pak Yeong-hun, and Ch’oe Ch’eol-han all won their games to advance to the next stage of the tournament to decide who will be the first Siptan title-holder.

The 2005 Samkukji, or Baduk Masters, started last week as well. This seems to be a team tournament with teams for each of the major internet Go servers in Korea: Tygem, Cyberoro, and Mgame. The teams are each led by a major title-holder – Yi, Pak and Ch’oe, mentioned above, lead the Mgame, Cyberoro and Tygem teams respectively. Yi Sang-hun (5d) lost his first game to Ko Geuntae (3d), who next lost to Kim Daeyong (2d), who in turn lost to 2-dan Son Geungi, who faces Ch’oe Ch’eol-han today. The major international team tournament. the Nongshim Cup starts tomorrow in Beijing, China.

The Taiwanese pro scene was also rather active last week. Another game completed in the Guoshou finalised 3 demotions from the league: Lin Shuyang, Zhou Pingqiang, and Huang Xiangren will be demoted from the league. 5 more matches remain in the league, with the winner still undecided. 2 of the remaining matches will be played today and tomorrow. Huang also met with disappointment in the Donggang Cup, where he resigned against Chen Shien in the semi-final. Chen’s opponent in the final will be determined between Dai Jiashen and Chen Yida tomorrow as well.

Finally, in the Gosei preliminaries, 9-dan Michael Redmond was eliminated by 8-dan Takanashi Seiken. The next preliminary match is likely to be a cracker: on Thursday, Takao Shinji Honinbo squares off with O Meien.

But, of course, the biggest match tomorrow, live from early on IGS, will be the 4th and potentially deciding game of the Meijin title between defender Cho U and challenger Kobayashi Satoru.

(Image of Iyama Yuta courtesy of Gobase)

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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