Chunlan Cup Semifinals: In our last report, we gave the results in the quarterfinals of the 10th Chunlan Cup. The semifinals were held two days later, on Tuesday 27th. Zhou Ruiyang 9P (China) (W) beat Chen Yaoye 9P (China) by resig. and Gu Li 9P (W) beat Kim Ji-seok 9P [“Je-seok” in my previous report was a mistake] by resig. That gives an all-Chinese final. It’s good to see that Gu Li (right) seems to have recovered from his loss in the 10-game match with Lee Se-dol.
Chen Yaoye Wins Siyuan Cup World Mingren Championship: The first major go event of the new year was the 4th Siyuan Cup World Mingren (Meijin) Championship, held in the city of Xi’an in Shaansi Province in China from January 5 to 8. Xi-an is the city that was known as Changan when it was the capital of China in the early Han and Tang dynasties. This tournament pits the holders of the Meijin titles in Japan, Korea, and China against each other in an irregular knock-out. The players draw lots to see who plays in the first round; the winner of that game goes to the final, while the loser then plays the third player; the winner of that game goes to the final. Iyama Yuta of Japan was eliminated in the first round in the 1st and 2nd Cups, but did better this time. In the first round, playing white, he beat Pak Yeong-hun 9P of Korea by resig. after 137 moves. Pak (B) then lost to Chen Yaoye 9P of China in a marathon game lasting 306 moves. Pak calculated that he was losing by half a point, so he played a do-or-die move on move 196; that prolonged the game but widened his losing margin, so he resigned. In the final, Iyama, who had white, missed a number of chances to wrap up a narrow win. In the end, his lack of familiarity with the Chinese rules let Chen stage an upset by half a point. Iyama played an endgame move that was correct under the Japanese rules but not the best under the Chinese rules, in which the dame points are important.
Past results: Previously this tournament was known as the China Changde Cup World Mingren Weiqi Championship and was held in the city of Changde in Hunan Province. First prize is 300,000 yuan (about $48,400). Previous winners: 1st (July 24‾27, 2010). Gu Li 9P (China); 2nd (August 17‾20, 2011). Pak Yeong-hun 9P (Korea); 3rd (September 10‾13, 2012). Jiang Weijie 9P (China)
Suzuki to Challenge for Women’s Meijin: All the games in the final round of the 27th Women’s Meijin League were held on January 8 at the Nihon Ki-in in Tokyo. The result was that three players ended up on 4-2, but there is no play-off in this league: the top-ranked player takes precedence. This was Suzuki Ayumi 6P (right), ranked number three; actually she lost her last game, but still topped Aoki Kikuo 8P (league newcomer) and Mannami Nao 3P (also a league newcomer), the other players on 4-2. Suzuki will make her first challenge for the Women’s Meijin title, which Xie Yimin has held for seven years in a row. It will be Suzuki’s first title match for seven years. The results: Chinen Kaori 4P (W) beat Suzuki Ayumi by 7.5 points; Mannami Nao (B) beat Mukai Chiaki 5P by 6.5 points; Aoki Kikuyo (W) beat Ishii Akane 2P by resig.
If Mukai had won her game, she would have been the challenger. Final placings in the league are: Suzuki, Aoki, Mannami, and Kato Keiko 6P (who had a bye in the last round). Mukai, Chinen, and Ishii lost their places.
Meijin League: Two games were played in the 40th Meijin League on January 8. Takao Shinji Tengen (W) beat Kono Rin 9P by resig. and Yamashita Keigo 9P (W) beat Murakawa Daisuke Oza, also by resig. On 2-0, Takao provisionally leads the league; the other players mentioned above are all 1-1.
Honinbo League: In the first game of the fourth round of the 70th Honinbo League, Mimura Tomoyasu 9P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig. Mimura and Cho are both on 2-2. Ida Atsushi 8P has the lead with 3-0. He will play Ryu Shikun in this round.
Here are some of the statistics for the 2014 tournament year in Japan.
1. Kono Rin 9P: 50 wins 26 losses
2. Kyo Kagen 2P: 45-12
3. Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo: 40-14
4. Ichiriki Ryo 7P: 36-14
5. Takao Shinji Tengen: 34-23
6. Ida Atsushi 8P: 33-15
7. Yamashita Keigo 9P: 32-20
8. Shida Tatsuya 7P: 31-10; Iyama Yuta Kisei: 31-19
10. Kobayashi Satoru 9P: 28-11
Best winning percentages
1. Kyo: 78.95%
2. Imamura Yoshiaki 9P: 75.86 % (22-7)
3. Kataoka Satoshi 9P: 75.76% (25-8)
4. Shida: 75.61%
5. Fujisawa: 74.07%
Most successive wins
1. Kono: 19
2. Kyo: 17
3. Ichiriki: 16
4. Kyo: 13
The Central London Go Club A team — Franciso Divers, Michael Webster and Chuck Fisher — won the 2014 season of the online league and reclaimed the GoGoD shield from Edinburgh. The second division was won by the Cornish Rogues, who will be moving up to the first division next year. The next season of the online league is scheduled to start promptly in April.
- edited by Amy Su from a report on the BGA website.
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The special offer of two months of free access to BadukTV English has just been extended through January 31. Anyone who joins, renews or extends their membership with the AGA between now and then will receive two months of free access to BadukTV English thanks to a joint effort of the AGA, GoGameGuru and BadukTV. Baduk TV English takes the best of the 24-hour Korean cable channel Baduk TV, with lessons, game commentary and problems analyzed by professionals, and adds English subtitles. There are several hundred hours of material in the library already and new material all the time. After joining or renewing, click here to take advantage of the offer.
Germany: Matthias Terwey 4d (left) took the Essen 2015 on January 11. Behind him were Barbara Knauf 3d and Bernd Radmacher 4d. Poland: Also on January 11, the Polish Youth Championship – U16 playoff finished in Ozarow Mazowiecki with Stanislaw Frejlak 4d in first, Maksym Walaszewski 1k in second, and Julia Bednarska 18k in third. Netherlands: Frank Janssen 6d bested Rene Aaij 4d at the wintergo_2014 in Overasselt while Dick Riedeman 3d came third.
– Annalia Linnan, based on reports from EuroGoTV, which include complete result tables and all the latest European go news; photo courtesy of EuroGoTV
While five outstanding Korean professional go players were competing for medals at the World Mind Games in Beijing last month, 136 outstanding Korean amateurs competed in Seoul for the Amateur Guksu (or Kuksu) title, and the right to represent Korea at the next World Amateur Go Championship in Thailand. The competitors included some who are training in hopes of winning professional credentials in Korea's tough insei league, so the Guksu tournament was also viewed as a contest between this elite group and Korea's large general amateur population.
A double-elimination preliminary qualifier held on December 13 reduced the field from 136 to 64, who then competed in a six-round knockout on December 14 and 15. After four of the six rounds, three of the four survivors were insei: Kim Changhoon, Park Jaegeun (winner of the 2013 Korea Prime Minister Cup), and Song Jihoon. Song also won one of the two semifinal games, greatly improving on his performance the year before, when he had been retired in the first knockout round. But insei dominance was not complete. The winner of the other semifinal game was Hong Moojin, who ranked No. 2 in the junior (U40) tier of Korean amateurs, second only to 2013 Guksu and 2014 KPMC winner Wei Taewoong. Song, for his part, ranked No. 3 among the insei.
Could the third best insei beat the second best general amateur? The answer to that question, after a 247 move thriller in the final round, was yes -- by half a point. In a post-game interview Song Jihoon described his Guksu triumph as follows:
'I was lucky to win. All my games were tough, especially my second-round game against Song Hongsuk [who was 2009 amateur Guksu and 2010 world amateur champion] and the final game against Hong Moojin. The final game was a struggle all the way, with the lead constantly shifting back and forth, but Hong made the last mistake.'
Aged seventeen, Song Jihoon is regarded as a rising star among the insei. In October he and Kim Changhoon competed alongside pros in the Samsung Cup. His style of play is often compared to that of Lee Sedol, whom he hopes to emulate. To quote him again, 'I'm now preparing for the professional qualifying tournament by working on my opening, which is my weak point. Now that I've won the Guksu, I'm determined to win the world amateur championship and get the 40 professional qualification points that will be worth. Then I'll try to win a professional world title within five years of making pro.'
In the meantime, to further his training he has the ₩2-million Guksu first prize (roughly $1800 or €1500). Hong Moojin, who has already amassed 90 of the 100 points needed to qualify as a pro, received ₩700,000 as runner-up, and took over the No. 1 amateur rank, pushing Wei Taewoong down to No. 2. Last year Wei narrowly missed being world amateur champion. Can a different Korean do better this year? That question will be answered in Bangkok next June.
- James Davies