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December 19th, 2005

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Ko takes Ch’eonweon; Tengen up for grabs tomorrow; China-Korea Samsung Cup final

International:

The focus of international go last week was the 2 best-of-3 China-Korea clashes featured in the semi-finals of the 10th Samsung Cup held in Incheon, Korea. The upshot is that fans can look forward to another China-Korea clash in the best-of-3 final in January. Furthermore, both semi-final clashes took 3 games to resolve.

On Tuesday, Korea’s Yi Ch’ang-ho forced Hu Yaoyu (7p) to resign, but Ch’oe Ch’eol-han went down to Luo Xihe (9p). On Thursday the second game of both matches were played, with fortunes going the opposite way. Friday saw the deciding games of both matches, with fortunes swinging again, giving Luo and Yi their second victories and entry into the final. Luo took his game by 7.5 points, while Hu resigned against Yi.

Action moves to the South Korean capital, Seoul, for the best-of-3 final to be held between 10 and 13 January.

Yesterday, the next feature on the international pro go calendar kicked off: stage 2 of the Jeongganjang Cup (a ladies’ team tournament). In the first stage, the new Chinese 1-dan pro, Wang Xiangyun, who turned pro in August after winning a national tournament, dominated entirely: she won all 4 games of the first stage, getting her pro record off to a fantastic 4-0 start. In yesterday’s game, Japan’s 3-dan Osawa Narumi became Wang’s next casualty. Of course, China now holds a strong lead in the tournament, and the question is whether Korea’s 4-dan Lee Minjin will be able to defeat Wang in their game today. After today, there is a game each day until the second stage ends on Friday.

Japan:

In an otherwise busy week on the Japanese go scene, the Meijin and Honinbo leagues both took a break last week, but will continue this Thursday.

Last Thursday, a game between the first 2 winners of the Meijin title was held to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the tournament. The first winner, Otake Hideo, also holds the title of Honorary Gosei, for winning the Gosei title five years in a row, while his opponent, Rin Kaiho, holds the title of Honorary Tengen for doing the same with the Tengen title. Otake must have felt a small sense of satisfaction winning the game by resignation, after losing the title 4-0 to Rin in 1977.

In the Japanese preliminaries for the Fujitsu Cup, Sakai Hideyuki (7p) beat O Rissei (9p), and he will next face Yamashita Keigo Tengen for one of the 4 open berths remaining to Japan (Hane Naoki, Cho U and Takao Shinji are seeded into the tournament already as holders of Japan’s top 3 titles – the Kisei, Meijin and Honinbo).

Today may well be the last full day this year, that Yamashita Keigo can still be called Tengen. Yamashita fought back from Kono’s 2-1 lead, and managed to bring the score to 2-2 on Thursday, but Kono still has a final chance to grab his first major title and a promotion to 8-dan in the title-deciding game tomorrow.

Cho U Meijin was eliminated from the losers’ bracket of the Judan challenger decision tournament, resigning against Mimura Tomoyasu (9p) in the semi-final last Thursday, while in the Gosei challenger decision tournament, Yuki Satoshi eliminated Hane Naoki Kisei by resignation.

Yoda Norimoto Gosei won his first game in the challenger decision tournament of the 32nd Tengen, but Ogata Masaki was not so lucky, losing out to Okan title-holder Yamashiro Hiroshi in their game for a berth in the tournament. Ko Iso took the second-last berth, while O Meien and So Yokoku still need to play each other.

Takao Shinji won his first game in the Oza prelims, beating Yamada Kimio (8p), but Takemiya “Cosmic Go” Masaki lost his game against 8-dan Mizokami Tomochika.

In the NHK Cup, Yamada Kimio suffered another defeat, losing by resignation to Ryu Shikun (9p). On Christmas, Yoda Norimoto Gosei’s game against fellow-9-dan Moriyama Naoki will be broadcast.

The last 2 weeks in the Ryusei produced only one “upset”: last Sunday, Iyama Yuta (7p) lost to Nakamura Shinya (8p).

The 31st Shinjin O kicks off this week. The tournament features 33 players in a knockout field, with 2 berths still open. Some of the names in the tourney include Kono Rin, Cho Riyu, Iyama Yuta, and Ko Iso, who will be facing 3-dan Mitani Tetsuya on Thursday.

In the female Kisei, Shinkai Hiroko 5-dan was eliminated by 3-dan Mannami Kana, while in the female Meijin, Yoshida Mika’s opponent for the challenger decision match was decided. Yoshida, who won the winner’s bracket of the challenger decision tournament, faces the winner of the losers’ bracket. Aoki Kikuyo (8p), who was relegated to the losers’ bracket by Kobayashi Izumi, must have been glad that Kobayashi was eliminated from the losers’ bracket by 5-dan Inori Yoko, preventing a rematch in the losers’ bracket. Inori faced Aoki in the final of the losers’ bracket, but eventually had to resign. The Yoshida-Akio game will determine who challenges the title-holder, 5-dan Koyama Terumi.

The last 2 weeks saw the initial rounds of the 12th Ricoh Pro Pair Go Cup. This tournament is held annually, and features 16 pairs of pro’s. 16 male and 16 female pros are selected to participate each year, based on prize money and titles won, etc. The previous years’ winners are automatically paired together, and in this case, that team was Aoki Kikuyo and 9-dan Mimura Tomoyasu. The other 15 pairs are assigned randomly, with a lot-drawing at a gala ceremony. Some of this year’s pairings were Yashiro Kumiko Female Honinbo and Yoda Norimoto Gosei; and Yamashita Keigo Tengen and Kobayashi Izumi Female Saikyo. 3 games were held to reduce the field of 16 teams to 8 on 3 December – the games are very quick, with 30 seconds per move, plus 10 extra 1-minute thinking time periods per player. The defending champions were eliminated in this phase, with only 1 win in 3 games.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals were held last Monday. The first semi-final was Yamashita and Kobayashi vs. Yamada Kimio (8p) and Kato Tomoko (5p), with victory going to Yamashita and Kobayashi. In the other semi-final, Yuki Satoshi and Konishi Kazuko were defeated by Cho U Meijin and Suzuki Ayumi (3p). The final will be held on 4 February.

Korea:

Ko Keun-t’ae (3p) was leading the final of the Ch’eon-weon 2-0 against 1-dan Pak Jeong-geun until last Wednesday, when Pak came back from 2 half-point losses to claim a 2.5 point victory to bring the score to 2-1. However, Ko defeated Pak in the fourth game today to claim his first major title with a 3-1 victory.

The GS Caltex Cup has adopted a new format. In the past, the final stage has been a 16-player knockout, with the previous year’s champion automatically qualifying. However, as of the 11th tournament, it will use the traditional Japanese challenger’s league system: an 8-player league will be played who gets to challenge the winner of the 10th tournament, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han. The 3 other semi-finalists (Yi Ch’ang-ho, Pak Yeong-hun, Cho Han-seung) have been seeded into the league directly, while the other 5 places were assigned based on a preliminary tournament, with places going to On So-chin (2p), Yun Seung-hyeon (9p), Pak Jung-sang (5d), Yi Se-tol, and 9-dan Kim Seung-jun, who claimed the last berth on Friday.

The KBS Cup also seems to have new structure, with only 12 berths being competed for in the preliminary rounds – I’ll keep you updated as I get more info. 48 players are competing for the 12 berths, 4 to a berth. 23 players were eliminated last Wednesday, with results including Rui Naiwei’s elimination by Yi Chung-woo (5p); Ch’oe Won-yong(3d) defeating 2-dan On So-chin; Song T’ae-kon’s loss to 7-dan Yoo Chae-hyeong; Kim Myeong-wan’s victory over An Tal-hun (6p); Kim Hyokon (4d) defeating 9-dan Kim Il-whan; 9-dan O Kyu-chul’s loss to 2-dan Kim Whan-soo; and Pak Chung-sang’s defeat of Seo Pong-su (Seo Bongsoo).

The 10th New Stars SK Gas Cup is also getting started, with the 2 new 6-player leagues kicking off today. League A is likely to turn into a fight between On So-chin and Ko Keun-t’ae, while League B is much more open, but Kim Whan-soo and yi Yeong-ku are probably the players to watch there.

In the Korean Baduk League Team Bohe scored a 3-1 victory over Team Net Marble last weekend, with Rui Naiwei again the only player in the team to drop a match. As a result Team Bohe qualified for the final to be played over the last weekend, against Pak Yeong-hun’s Team Holy Construction. However, this time Rui was not the only loss. The team leader of Team Bohe, Ch’oe Ch’eol-han also went down against Pak Yeong-hun, resulting in a 2-2 draw. A re-match will be held this coming weekend.

China:

After a 3-month delay since the challenger decision match was completed, the final of the 18th Chinese Mingren title got underway last week. In the first game last Tuesday, defending champion Gu Li (7p) beat challenger Yu Bin (9p) by 2.5 points, playing White. The second game was held on Thursday, with Gu Li claiming a 2-0 lead after a convincing 15.5 point victory as Black. The remaining games of the best-of-5 final are scheduled for next year.

Finally, the finalists of the 11th Chinese NEC Cup were decided on Saturday. Gu Li defeated Zhou Heyang (9p) in a game lasting only 25 minutes, after Zhou miscalculated and resigned at move 88. The other game was also decided by resignation, with Xie He losing to 6-dan Liu Shizhen. Interestingly, in the 12 player knockout final phase of this tournament, only one of the ten games played so far has actually been scored at the end – and that one was decided by only half a point.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 19th, 2005 at 2:25 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 “Ko takes Ch’eonweon; Tengen up for grabs tomorrow; China-Korea Samsung Cup final”

  1. Steve says:

    The 3rd game of the Luo-Ch’oe Samsung Cup semi-final featured a triple-ko, where Luo surprised everyone by backing down from the potential no-result. Visit this article on Go4Go.net to find out more. Their site also features the game record.

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