by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Iyama close to defending Kisei title: The third game of the 39th Kisei title match was held at the Bella Vista Sakaigahama Hotel in Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture, on February 5 and 6. Yamashita Keigo 9P (right) held his own in the fighting and in fact finished the middle game with a slight edge over the titleholder, but he slipped up in the endgame. Playing black, Iyama Yuta Kisei secured a win by 1.5 points. This was his third successive win, so Yamashita will face his first kadoban in the fourth game. Fortunately for him, there is a two-week break, so he has time to recover mentally from his bad start. The game will be played on February 19 and 20.
Ida to challenge for Judan title: The play-off to decide the challenger for the 53rd Judan title was held at the Nihon Ki-in in Ichigaya, Tokyo, on February 5. Playing black, Ida Atsushi 8P (left) defeated Kobayashi Satoru 9P by resignation after 137 moves. The title match with Takao Shinji will start on March 5. This will be Ida’s second challenge for a top-seven title.
Meijin League: The February round, which is the third round, of the 40th Meijin League has already been completed. The two undefeated players, Takao Shinji Tengen and Ko Iso 8P, both lost their games, so there is now a four-way tie for first. Takao and Ko are joined by Cho U 9P and Murakawa Daisuke Oza. Third-round results are given below.
(February 5) Cho U (B) beat Takao Shinji by resig.; Kono Rin 9P beat Kanazawa Makoto 7P by resig.
(February 9) Murakawa Daisuke beat Hane Naoki 9P by resig.
(February 12) So Yokoku 9P (B) beat Ko Iso by resig.
Honinbo League: Yamashita Keigo 9P is keeping up the pressure on the leader of the 70th Honinbo League, Ida Atsushi 8P. Yamashita won his fifth-round game, so he goes to 4-1. Ida is undefeated and will meet Kono Rin 9P (right) in the fifth round on February 19. Cho U 9P also won his fifth-round game and, on 3-2, is next in line. Both Yamashita and Cho have already lost to Ida, so they have to rely on other players to pull him back.
(February 12) Cho U 9P beat Takao Shinji Tengen by resig.; Yamashita Keigo beat Mimura Tomoyasu 9P by 3.5 points.
To 8-dan: Rin Shien (150 wins)
To 4-dan: (Ms.) Kim Hyon-jon (50 wins)
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