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December 23rd, 2005

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Kono Rin grabs Tengen; Chinen on a roll


Most of today’s pro news is taken up by stage 2 of the ladies’ team tournament, the Jeongganjang Cup. At the last update, Chinese newcomer, 1-dan Wang Xiangyun, was dominating the tournament with 5 successive victories to her name. However, Monday saw her eventual defeat at the hands of Korean 4-dan Lee Min-jin. On Tuesday, Lee faced Japan’s Female Kisei, Chinen Kaori (4p), where Chinen scored a lucky half-point win. Chinen continued to dominate for the rest of the week, scoring victories by resignation on Wednesday and Thursday, against China’s 1-dan Fan Weijing, and Korea’s Lee Yeong-sin (4p). Today, Chinen Kaori faces China’s Rui Naiwei. At this stage, Korea and Japan have both lost 3 players, with China leading the tournament with only 2 losses. After today’s match, there will be another break before the final stage in Shanghai in 2006.

A new team tournament between China and Taiwan, the Yayi Cup, was held this week from Tuesday to Thursday. 5-player teams faced each other 3 times, with opponents changing each round. China won 13 of the 15 games, with only Zhou Junxun (9p) and Lin Zhihan (7p) of Taiwan managing to score victories for Taiwan: Zhou defeated China’s #3 player, Zhou Heyang (9p), while Lin ousted China’s #5 player, 8-dan Wang Lei. The rest of Team China was Yu Bin, Wang Xi and Huang Yizhong, while Team Taiwan was filled up by Chen Shien, Xia Daming and Ziao Zhenghao.


The Japanese Go news for this week is that Kono Rin has taken his first “Big Seven” title by defeating Yamashita Keigo 3-2 in the Tengen title match. Kono, who turned pro less than 10 years ago, also gains promotion to 8-dan for his victory. South Africans should know Kono as “that bloke who eliminated RoseDuke from the IGS Rapid Champs.”


Yi Se-tol defeated 8-dan Yun Hyun-seok to win the loser’s bracket of the 49th Korean Kuksu challenger decision tournament. He will now face Yi Ch’ang-ho in the best-of-3 challenger decision match. The winner there will face current title-holder Ch’oe Ch’eol-han in the final, so whoever wins, we’re in for a cracker of a final as well.

It seems the format for the Etland King of Kings Cup has been modified from previous years, but the details on how the next years’ tournament will be structured are not yet clear. What is clear is that 4 16-player knockouts are being held as preliminary qualifiers for some later stage, with the winner of each knockout proceeding. It seems as if one of the knockout pools features only women, including Rui Naiwei, Pak Chi-eun and Cho Hye-yeon, the 3 strongest female players in Korea. These knock-outs kicked off on Wednesday, with first round matches scheduled from Wednesday until today. The quarter-finals will be on Monday, and semi-finals on Wednesday. The finals are not yet scheduled. In the female knock-out, Russian Svetlana Shikshina was eliminated by fellow 1-dan Lee Hajin, and Pak Chi-eun faced Cho Hye-yeon in the first round, with Cho emerging victorious. Rui Naiwei and Kim Eunsun also proceeded to the next round. The only first round game in the pool not completed was Lee Minjin’s match, since she was facing Chinen Kaori in the Jeongganjang Cup when the rest of the matches were being played.

I said on Monday that a re-match would be held this weekend to resolve the tie between Team Bohe and Team Holy Construction in the final of the Korean Baduk League, but my information was incorrect. What actually happened was a play-off between the two team leaders on Monday: in that match, between Team Bohe’s Ch’oe Ch’eol-han and Team Holy Construction’s Pak Yeong-hun, Pak forced Ch’oe to resign, grabbing victory in the 2005 league for Team Holy Construction.

Posted by Steve in Pro News

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