by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Yamashita Keeps Lead In Honinbo League: Yamashita Keigo (left) started out and ended badly in his Kisei challenge, but his form in other tournaments has remained good, especially in leagues, where he is bidding to win three in a row (starting with last year’s Kisei League). After six rounds in the 69th Honinbo League, he is the only undefeated player. He will meet his only remaining rival, Ida Atsushi 7P, in the final round in April, but Ida will have to beat Yamashita twice in a row, that is, in this game and then in a play-off, to become the challenger. Regardless of what happens, Ida has made a very good debut by winning five games to one loss against top-level competition.
Among the other league members, two top players are enjoying different fortunes. A sixth-round win ensured Cho U’s survival, but his defeated opponent in that game, Takao Shinji, has lost his place.
(February 13) Yamashita (B) beat Kono Rin 9P (W) by 1.5 points; Ida Atsushi 7P (W) beat Sakai Hideyuki 8P by 5.5 points.
(February 14) Yuki Satoshi 9P (W) beat Takao Shinji 9P by 1.5 points.
(February 20) Yo Seiki 7P (W) beat Cho U 9P by resig.
(March 6) Ida (B) beat Kono by resig.
(March 7) Yamashita (W) beat Sakai by resig.
(March 13) Cho U (B) beat Takao by 3.5 points.
Yamashita Takes Lead In Meijin League: As mentioned above, Yamashita seems to be unable to put a foot wrong in the leagues. After four rounds in the 39th Meijin League, he is the only undefeated
player, though his score is only 3-0, as he has already had his bye. His closest rival is Kono Rin 9P on 3-1, but the other two players to have had byes so far, Cho U 9P and Ryu Shikun 9P, also have only one loss. Yamashita’s games with Kono next month and Ryu in May will be significant.
(February 17) Yamashita (B) beat Ko Iso 8P by resig.
(February 20) Ryu Shikun (B) beat Takao Shinji by 1.5 points.
(March 6) Hane Naoki 9P (B) beat Cho U by resig.; Ko Iso (B) beat Murakawa Dai
suke 7P by resig.
(March 10) Kono Rin (W) beat Yuki Satoshi 9P by 2.5 points.
photo courtesy EGC 2014 website
TOMORROW: Takao Makes Good Start To Judan Challenge; Kato Evens Score In Women’s Meijin; New Tournament Launches
by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama Defends Kisei Title, Defeats Yamashita 4-2: Iyama Yuta swept to a 3-0 lead in the 38th Kisei title match, but then Yamashita made a comeback, saving two kadobans (games that can lose a series) to keep the match alive. However, the tide turned again in the sixth game, with Iyama outfighting Yamashita to defend his title 4-2. This is Iyama’s second Kisei title, his 7th big-three title and his 23rd title overall. He also maintained his sextuple crown.
To take up the story from my previous report, the fourth game was played at the Hokkaido Hotel in Obihiro City in Hokkaido on February 20 and 21. Yamashita (white) had his back to the wall, but he played in his usual aggressive fashion and took the lead in the middle game. He suffered a number of losses in the endgame, but just managed to hang on to a half-point lead. The game ended after 243 moves, with Yamashita looking relieved that he had kept the series alive. He comes from Hokkaido, so he also made local fans happy, and the sponsors were probably also relieved that the series hadn’t fizzled out. Incidentally, this win redressed the balance for Yamashita’s half-point loss in the first game.
The fifth game was played at the Atami Korakuen Hotel in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture on February 26 and 27. Yamashita took the lead in a fight centered on a ko and then coolly wrapped up the game. Playing black, he won by 3.5 points. He was still one game behind, but his successive wins put a lot of pressure on Iyama. On the evening of the first day, Go Seigen, who lives nearby in Odawara, visited the tournament venue to look at the game and to chat with the players. Go will turn 100 on May 19 and is already the longest-lived top player in history, but he still takes a keen interest in the go scene.
The sixth game was held at Ryugon, a traditional Japanese inn with a large pond and extensive garden, in South (Minami) Uonuma City, Niigata Prefecture on March 12 and 13. Iyama (B) played well and was never behind; he decided the game when he skilfully resurrected a group of three stones that he had ‘sacrificed’ in the opening. This secured a resignation after 229 moves.
This series was yet another good demonstration of Iyama’s fighting power. Yamashita is known for his fondness for fighting, but Iyama matched him blow for blow. Yamashita’s current results in other tournaments show that he’s in good form, but he was able to take only two games off Iyama.
The referee for the final game, Hane Naoki 9P, gave his view of Iyama. ‘He has stable strength in every field. He can handle any kind of game and has the confidence to trust his own judgement.’
photos: top right: Game 3; bottom left: Game 4. photos courtesy EGC 2014 website
This is the first in a 4-part series this week. TOMORROW: Yamashita Keeps Lead In Honinbo League; Yamashita Takes Lead In Meijin League
“Thank you very much for the problems link, especially the ebook (‘New on the AGA Website: Classic Chinese Problem Collection‘ 3/16 EJ)” writes Lee Frankel-Goldwater. “I think it’s been a challenge to have a good, and simple solution to mobile go problems while not connected to the internet. Appreciated.”
The novel “Cryptonomicon” by Neal Stephenson “has a 2-page scene involving a go board and a rambling digression using go as a metaphor in the middle of its 1100+ pages,” reports David Doshay. “Cryptography is one of the main themes of the book.” Doshay warns that “this book is not for folks bothered by swearing.”
The recent European Youth Go Championship (EYGC) and British Go Congress held in Bognor Regis, England saw Japanese professionals Minematsu Masaki 6p and Kobayashi Chizu 5p visiting the UK under the auspices of the Nihon Ki-in. As previously reported (Podpera Takes Top Prize at European Youth Go Championships, 3/9 EJ), they gave teaching sessions and reviewed games throughout the long weekend, finishing off on Monday March 4 with a full teaching day for adults as the European youth battled out the final rounds.
Additionally they both paid a visit on Thursday February 27, the evening before the start of the EYGC, to the Oxford City Go Club where Harry Fearnley had assembled 13 players from 20 kyu to 5 dan. They initially divided into two teams to play one against the other, each member of a team taking two consecutive turns before handing the baton to the next, and the pros used the moves in this game to make teaching points. After that, each pro took on 6 participants in a simul (right). Click here for Harry Fearnley’s full report of the Oxford visit, including more photos and the record of Fearnley’s game against Minematsu.
After the EYGC, Kobayashi alone went on to visit two more UK clubs: North London Go Club in Hampstead on Tuesday March 4 and Edinburgh University Thursday March 6.
I caught up with her at the North London venue, where 11 attended, from beginner to 6d. Club Secretary Michael Webster was our host. Proceedings started with a similar exercise to that at Oxford, but with only about eight present initially, we formed one team to play by turn –two moves each — against the pro while she made observations about our moves (left). This gave time for a couple of latecomers to find the Parish Church tucked away in the back streets of Hampstead, and we all then went on to look at some joseki, before most of us took on Kobayashi individually in a simul. During the simul she helpfully suggested better moves and at close of play made general suggestions about how I could play more effectively.
Between times I got the chance to ask Kobayashi her impressions of UK go and the EYGC in particular. She has long had a mission to spread the game and Japanese go culture in the western world, especially Europe, and particularly focusing on the young. In 2007 she lived in Vienna and has also spent time in Berlin and Paris, where she was heading after the UK tour. In 2008 she was appointed Special Advisor for Cultural Exchange for the Japanese Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs and later also became a director of the Nihon Ki-in. Talking about her work, she likened the promotion of go culture to the cultivation of a garden. She mentioned points of go etiquette during the evening too, such as opening an even game as black with a play to the top right corner and not rattling the stones in the bowl whilst thinking. She told me she saw much promise amongst the young players at the EYGC – some of whom, such as new Under-20 European Champion Lukas Podpera, she had already met – but emphasised that those aspiring especially to pro status should take professional go tuition at the earliest age possible. She related how her father, a strong amateur, had applied for insei at age 19 but was told, “too late.” For that reason he sent his children to learn young, with Kobayashi Chizu herself starting at age 6. She studied under Kitani Minoru and she and two of her brothers, Satoru and Kenji all became professionals. Of Oscar Vazquez 2d, Under-12 European Champion, she said he was “very calm” and had a reputation for “never making mistakes”.
The next day, Kobayashi took the long train ride north to Edinburgh in Scotland, where she appeared on the evening of Thursday March 7 at the Appleton Tower of the University. Boris Mitrovic, a postgraduate research student at the University’s School of Informatics and a challenger for the British Go Championship last year, hosted. There 15 sat around a single board (right), starting off with the same two-moves-each against Kobayashi exercise as at N. London, as she commented with instructive criticism. They then solved a few tsumego together, after which three or four pairs of the attendees each played the first few moves of games which became the subject of the pro’s comments. At the end of the evening – and the tour – Kobayashi was taken for a meal at the Favorit restaurant.
Click here for Kobayashi’s own photo album of her UK visit.
Report by Tony Collman, British correspondent for the E-Journal. Photos: Minematsu considers his next move against Harry Fearnley, by Oxford club member; Francisco Divers contemplates the position as Michael Webster looks on, while Kobayashi smiles at a comment by another onlooker, by Tony Collman; Katherine Power makes one of two consecutive moves for Kobayashi’s consideration at Edinburgh University, by Boris Mitrovic.
The 6th Strasbourg International Tournament will take place May 24 and 25 at the Collège Saint-Etienne. In addition to the main tournament, players may enjoy asian game demonstrations and an all-you-can-eat dinner on Saturday. There will be cash prizes for the top players and the top player with three wins. Registration is free for players below 10kyu and younger than age 18. The registration fee for all other players is 15 EU. For more information about the tournament including rules and full schedule, visit the official 6th Strasbourg International website.
—Annalia Linnan; for complete listings, check out the European Tournament Calendar
Last Week’s Quiz: Only one of you picked 1973 as the year of earliest New Jersey Open attendance in the field two weeks ago. Jeff Rohlfs (right) was working at Bell Labs when he attended the event held at his work location. The longtime player now lives in suburban Maryland. Brian Kirby, who is quickly becoming the new Phil Waldron of the quiz, missed the answer but correctly placed your quizmaster as making his first appearance in 1986, and did come up with Jeff as the possible winner. Another of Brian’s possibles, Ted Terpstra, good-naturedly complained that our blurb about the event attracting players from “all over the East Coast” failed to mention his visit from San Diego (though actually Ted was mentioned in the EJ’s first-day report, New Jersey Open Attracts Record Crowd for First Day of Play 3/1 EJ). Event organizer Paul Mathews also attended Opens when it was held at Bell Labs, but not as early as Jeff. Congrats to our sole correct answerer, quiz vet Reinhold Burger (although his nominee was Hal Small)
This Week’s Quiz: Last week’s question was fun but obscure, so this week, with Spring Training in the air, try this softball grand-daddy of US go queries: Who is the current AGA record-holder for most rated games (records going back to 1991)? Is it Martin Lebl, Chuck Robbins, Steve Barberi or Jeff Horn? Click here to submit your answer.
- Keith Arnold, HKA
Guanzi Pu (Sensei’s Library), a classic Chinese problem collection from 1660 of 1473 problems has just been added to the Learn Overview page, based on a post on L19 . It is one of the problem collections that is considered high dan/pro level, although it may be the easiest of those. Some problems are easy at the beginning, but ramp up. Includes a PDF with multiple problems per page, but doesn’t include the solutions, typeset by pwaldron. Also includes a PDF (ebook) version that includes all 1473 problems (plus a few extras) and answers from p2501 on L19.
- Greg Smith, AGA website team