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October 31st, 2005

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Ko promoted to 7-dan; Cho goes 1-0 in Oza; Zhou causes upsets


The Jeongganjang Cup kicks off this week in Beijing, China. This tournament is the ladies’ equivalent of the Nongshim Cup, and shares the format used by that tournament and the Korean Baduk Masters. The first four games will be held from tomorrow until Friday, and then there’s a break until the second phase in Pusan, Korea sometime in December. The teams have been announced, with some of the better-known participants being Pak Chi-Eun (kr), Shinkai Hiroko (jp), Umezawa Yukari (jp), Chinen Kaori (jp), and Rui Naiwei (cn).


In Japan, the fight is on for the 4 remaining spots in next years’ Fujitsu Cup. The preliminaries kicked off on Thursday, with both Yuki Satoshi and Rin Kaiho getting off to good starts.

The 53rd Oza title match started last week, and Cho U once again started well in a title match, forcing challenger Yamashita Keigo Tengen to resign in the first game held in Meguro, Tokyo.

Unfortunately for Cho, his defence in the NHK Cup didn’t go as well – he was eliminated from the lightning-go tournament in his first game, losing to 8-dan Imamura Yoshiaki by resignation.

Ko Iso must be a delighted youngster: the 18-year old completed a 3-upset run in the Meijin final preliminaries by defeating Kono Rin in the final of group 1 (after previously eliminating Cho Sonjin (9d) and Hane Naoki Kisei). This means that Ko qualifies for a berth in next years’ Meijin league and is also promoted to 7-dan, effective immediately. Another recent promotion went to Sato Fumitoshi, who was promoted to 5-dan after 18 years as a 4-dan – for winning 70 games as a 4-dan.

Broadcast of this years’ female Kisei final tournament began with a minor upset last Wednesday – Osawa Narumi (3d) beat Okada Yumiko (6d) by resignation.

In the double-elimination Judan challenger decision tournament, Takao Shinji Honinbo claimed a victory by resignation against Mimura Tomoyasu to win the winner’s section of the tournament. In the losers’ section, So Yokoku (one of Takao’s earlier victims) was eliminated by Kobayashi Satoru.

Notable activity on the Japanese go scene this Thursday is: the Kisei challenger playoff between Yuki Satoshi and Yamashita Keigo Tengen; the first game of the best-of-3 final in the Kansai Ki-in 1st place tournament, between Nakano Yasuhiro(9d) vs Yokota Shigeaki(9d); and the kick-off of the Gosei challenger decision tournament. The challenger decision tournament has 31 participants this year, with 24 qualifying through the preliminary system. 22 have already qualified, while 2 games remain to select the final 2 spots – favourites for these berths are Kobayashi Satoru and So Yokoku.


In the next 4 games of the 2005 Baduk Masters, no team managed to claim two victories in a row. Mok Chin-Seok came in to deal with An Tal-hun, but went down in his next match to Pak Yeong-hun. Pak had to win 5 consecutive victories to claim victory for his Team CyberOro, but it was not to be, as he went down in his very next match to 4-dan Yun Junsang. Thursday’s match, in turn, saw Yun defeated by Team Mgame’s 2nd Yi Sanghoon – this one a 8-dan (the other one’s a 5-dan). Yi has a chance to claim victory for Team Mgame today, when he faces Team Tygem’s last representative, Cho Han-seung. If he fails, Mgame has a back-up plan in the form of Yi Ch’ang-ho.

In the Baduk League, Team Hangame scored a 3-1 victory over Park Land, the lone victory for Park Land coming when Korea’s #6, 6-dan Weon Seong-chin defeated Korean #14, Kim Seong-ryong. Ratings are according to the Hankuk Ki-won’s October Top 50 ratings.

In the 1st Siptan tournament, one of the semi-finals has been finalised: Song T’ae-kon, who beat 2-dan Kim Whansoo on Thursday, will face Pak Yeong-hun Gisung, who won his quarter-final against Yi Se-tol today. The semi-final will take place on Thursday.

The final stage of a new pro tournament kicked off this Saturday. Although details are sketchy, it seems the tournament is for rapid games, since the quarter-finals and semi-finals were both played on Saturday. The final will be a best-of-3 match. The final stage started with 8 big-name players. The quarter-finals went as follows: Yi Ch’ang-ho Wangwi bt. Yu Ch’ang-hyeok (once considered to be one of the world’s top 3 players); Cho Han-seung beat Ha Ch’an-seok (a top Korean pro in the 1970’s); Pak Yeong-hun beat Cho Hun-Hyeon; and Yi Se-tol beat Pak Chi-eun. In the semi-finals Cho Han-seung triumphed over Yi Ch’ang-ho, and Yi Se-tol once again got the short end of the stick from Pak Yeong-hun, losing by 10.5 points.


The talk of Chinese Go at the moment is definitely Zhou Ruiyang, a 14-year old 3-dan, who has only turned pro in the last couple of years. Zhou qualified for the 30-player final phase of the 2nd Chang-ki Cup (aka Xiaoqi Cup) over the internet, and has delivered some stunning results. In the first round,
he triumphed over China’s #10 player, Wang Xi. He topped that the next round, eliminating Gu Li, China’s top player. In the quarter-finals, he defeated Shao Weigang, the Chinese #15 – and all three victories were in the space of 5 days. Things won’t be getting easier for him though: in the best-of-3 semi-final, he now faces China’s #2 player, Kong Jie. What makes Zhou’s achievement more remarkable is that he has never attended a professional Go school, or been a student to a professional player. The other semi-final is between Chinese #3 Zhou Heyang and #9 Xie He.


In last weekend’s European Student Championships, victory went to Czech Jan Hora, with 5 wins out of 6. Second-placed Mera Csabo from Hungary defeated him, but lost a game to the 3rd-placed Merlijn Kuin (from Netherlands), so also only finished with 5 wins, losing out on tie-break. This is a very good result for Jan, since Mero is an ex-insei, and also one of the top 25 players in Europe, while Jan is only rated 57th.

(Image of Ko Iso courtesy of Gobase.)

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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