On April 5, at the height of the cherry blossom season, a memorial was held at the Nihon Kiin in Tokyo to honor Go Seigen, who died on November 30 last year.
The altar was adorned with seasonal flowers patterned to represent a go board and stones, and with a smiling picture of Go Seigen taken when he was younger. Oikawa Shoichi, executive advisor and senior deputy chief editor of the Yomiuri Newspaper, and Rin Kaiho, honorary Tengen, delivered memorial addresses.
In all 300 people attended, including family members and professional and amateur go players, among whom was Nie Weiping, 9-dan, who flew over from China. To express their condolences, instead of offering flowers they offered stones, by placing one black or white stone apiece on a go board.
This ceremony was followed by a congenial social gathering in another room, where people traded recollections of Go Seigen and played rengo, with Chang Hsu (Cho U) and his wife Kobayashi Izumi presiding.
Those who attended the reception for the 28th World Amateur Go Championship in Tokyo in 2007 will recall the great impression that Go Seigen, who was invited as a special guest, made on the assembled players. At that event he presented the IGF with an ink inscription of the word chuwa, which he had chosen because its two characters (中和) expressed his deep love of the game of go, with its stress on harmony, and his sincere wish for a peaceful world through go. These are ideas will be passed on to multitudes of go players and should be handed down to eternity without end.
Ida takes lead in Judan: The second game of the 53rd Judan title match was held at the Kuroyon Royal Hotel in the city of Omachi in Nagano Prefecture on April 9. Omachi has become closely linked with the Judan tournament: this is the 22nd year in a row that a game from the title match game has been staged here. Omachi is a gateway to the Northern Alps and it has sought to establish itself as “the Alps go village.” Four years ago, Ida Atsushi was the game recorder for the Judan game held here and now he was playing in the title match, challenging Takao Shinji (right).
The game started with fierce fighting, and the first notable move was a move by Ida, playing black, that defied a go proverb by letting the opponent drive a wedge through some neighbouring stones (the proverb is, “don’t let yourself be split into two”). Despite this, Ida got off to a reasonable start. In the middle-game fighting, Ida took a small lead and managed to hold on to it to the end. He won by 2.5 points after 277 moves. After making a bad start in the title match, he has won two games in a row and now needs just one more win to take the title.
Ko Iso leads Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League last week. On April 6, Ko Iso 8P (B) beat Murakawa Daisuke by 3.5 points. On April 9, So Yokoku 9P (B) Cho U 9P by half a point. There are four players with only one loss in the league, but Ko holds the provisional lead by virtue of having completed five rounds. His score is 4-1; the other players are Rin Kono 9P on 3-1 and Yamashita Keigo 9P and Takao Shinji 9P, both on 2-1.
Quadruple ko: A game between Kono Rin 9P (left) and Mitani Tetsuya 7P (black) played in the main section of the Gosei tournament on April 6 was declared no-contest (by agreement between the players) because of a quadruple ko. There were two double kos in Black’s position, one in the top right, the other in the bottom left. So long as these kos continued, the game could not end, but it was so close that Black could not afford to add a stone inside his territory to finish off either ko.
This was the 24th no-contest in an official tournament at the Nihon Ki-in. Eleven of them were from quadruple kos, ten from triple kos, and one from a quintuple ko. The other two were from “chosei” or “eternal (or long) life” (an example is given on page 185 of The Go Players Almanac). Chosei is a hypothetical position that first occurred in a professional game in 1993 and then again in 2009. According to Wikipedia, it also appeared in a Korean game in 2013. Incidentally, a chosei is embedded in the floor of the concourse of Ichigaya Station (the closest station to the Nihon Ki-in), just before the ticket gates.
LG Challengers Cup: To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the LG Cup, an international tournament for players 18 and under was held at the Korean Kiwon (Ki-in) in Seoul on April 10 and 11. At stake was a seat in the main LG tournament, which starts on June 8. There were eight players from Korea, including inseis, and four each from Japan and China. Representing Japan were Ichiriki Ryo 7P, Kyo Kagen 3P, Fujisawa Rina 2P, and Mutsuura Yuta 1P. Three of these players were eliminated in the first round, but Kyo Kagen made it to the second day; he lost to the eventual winner of the tournament, Byan Sang-il 3P of Korea, in the semifinals.
One of the DC Cherry Blossom princesses checks out go at the DC Cherry Blossom Festival last Saturday in the nation’s capital; check out more of Gurujeet Khalsa’s great photos on his Facebook page.