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December 9th, 2005

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Yi and Kim crowned Emperor and Queen of Baduk Masters; Kobayashi is Female Strongest


After a quiet week on the international front, fans of Chinese and Korean go can look forward to the best-of-3 semi-finals of the Samsung Cup, each semi-final pitting a top Chinese player against the Korean cream-of-the crop. The 3 games will be played next Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The first semi-final pits Yi Ch’ang-ho against Hu Yaoyu, and in the second Luo Xihe gets in the ring with Ch’oe Ch’eol-han.


Yesterday, Cho U’s wife, Kobayashi Izumi, claimed another title, this time the “7th Female Strongest” title. This is the first time she has claimed this title, despite having won the Female Honinbo and Female Meijin 3 times each before. In the final, 6-dan Kobayashi defeated 8-dan Konishi Kazuko.

The 31st Meijin league also kicked off yesterday, with 2 of the 3 newcomers to the league resigning their first games. Han Zenki was defeated by Kobayashi Satoru, while Ko Iso fell to Yamada Kimio. The other newcomer, Takao Shinji Honinbo, has not yet played his match against Sakai Hideyuki, while Yoda Norimoto got off to a good start by defeating 9-dan Imamura Toshiya.

In the Honinbo league, Hane Naoki kept up his strong form, gaining a 3-0 score by defeating O Meien (now on 0-3), while So Yokoku faltered, allowing O Rissei to defeat him, leaving them on 2-1 and 1-2 respectively.

The big match on the Japanese Go scene next week is “Kono’s big chance” – the 4th game of the 31st Tengen title match against Yamashita Keigo next Thursday. Meanwhile the tournament to decide the challenger in the 32nd Tengen tournament has gotten underway, with Cho Chikun advancing to the second round despite not all the qualifiers being finalised yet – there are still 3 vacant slots still to be filled. The 3 remaining slots will be decided by the winners of: Ko Iso (7d) vs Morita Michihiro (9d);
Ogata Masaki (9d) vs Yamashiro Hiroshi (9d); and So Yokoku (8d) vs O Meien (9d).

Speaking of Yamashiro Hiroshi, just over 10 days after he claimed his record 14th Okan title, the tournament to decide next year’s challenger has kicked off. The field of challengers consists of 12 players from the Kansai Ki-in. The most well-known currently is Hane Naoki Kisei, who holds the record for quickest promotion from professional shodan to 9-dan (a feat achieved in the days of the Oteai). Hane is in the same half of the tournament table as his father Hane Yasumasa – if things go well with their family, they will meet in the semi-finals.

Finally, 7-dan Honma Akia announced his retirement as of 22nd November. Honma, who turns 70 next year and has been a 7-dan since 1988, studied under Takahashi Shigeyuki, who was in turn a pupil of Honinbo Shusai. Shusai was the 21st and last hereditary head of the Honinbo house, as well as the last holder of the title of Meijin when it was awarded along with the rank of 9-dan – at that time there was only one 9-dan at a time in Japan.


The 2005 Baduk Masters “Emperor” and “Queen” tournaments were held yesterday and today. The Emperor tournament featured a 4-round 16-player Swiss league, with 2 rounds played each day. The competition was stiff, with Ch’oe Ch’eol-han only managing a 1-3 record. In the end, 4-dan Yi Yeong-ku claimed victory with 4 wins, while 2nd and 3rd were awarded to 7-dan Yu Jae-hyeong and 9-dan Kim Seong-ryong respectively.

The Queen tournament featured 8 players, including 6-dan Pak Chi-eun, Female Kuksu Cho Hye-yeon and Kim Eun-sun (2d), all players featuring well in the various Korean female pro tournaments. The victory finally went to Kim Eun-sun.

In the Maxim cup, another prominent female pro in Korea, 9-dan Rui Naiwei, was eliminated when she resigned against Jeong Daesang (9d). Rui Naiwei also lost her game in the first playoff match of the Korean Baduk League, but her team, Team Bohe, still managed a 1-3 victory over Team Hangame, including a 4th successive victory by team leader Ch’oe Ch’eol-han over Yi-Ch’ang-ho (after Ch’oe’s 3 victories in his comeback in the GS Caltex Cup final). Team Bohe have also won the first game of their next playoff match, this against Team Net Marble, to determine who will face team Holy Construction in the final.

The question on the Korean pro go scene next week will be whether 3-dan Ko Keun-t’ae can already claim his first major title next Wednesday. Ko has a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 final of the 10th Ch’eon-weon against Pak Jeong-geun, but both games so far have been decided by half a point.


The finalists for the 2nd Chinese Chang-ki Cup have been determined, with both semi-finals needing 3-games to be decided. Zhou Ruiyang, who caused a considerable stir with his upset victories on the way to the semi-finals, was defeated by 7-dan Kong Jie, despite winning the first game. In the other semi-final 9-dan Zhou Heyang managed to defeat Xie He (6d), although Xie did manage to claim victory in the second game. The final will take place next year.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 9th, 2005 at 1:18 pm and is filed under Pro News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “Yi and Kim crowned Emperor and Queen of Baduk Masters; Kobayashi is Female Strongest”

  1. Steve says:

    Another note, from, is that Kobayashi is the first player to win the Japenese female pro “Grand Slam”: the Female Meijin, Female Honinbo, Female Kisei, and Female Saikyo.

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