by John Power, EJ Japan Correspondent
Ida loses sole lead in Honinbo League: Ida Atsushi 8P (right) seemed to be heading inexorably for a rematch with Iyama Yuta Honinbo, but he finally stumbled in the fifth round of the 70th Honinbo League. In a game played on February 19, Kono Rin 9P beat him by resignation. Ida’s loss means that Yamashita Keigo 9P pulls even with him on 4-1; we might see another play-off between these two. Cho U 9P and Kono, both on 3-2, are also in contention. In another game played on the same day, Yo Seiki 7P picked up his second win when he beat Ryu Shikun 9P; playing white, he forced a resignation. Yo improves to 2-3 and has an outside chance of keeping his league place. Ryu and Takao Shinji 9P, both on 1-4, have lost their places.
Yamashita keeps his Kisei challenge alive: Yamashita Keigo (left) finally picked up his first win in the 39th Kisei title match and survived his first kadoban (a game that can lose a series). The fourth game was held at the Zagyoso. The Zagyoso (which literally means ‘fishing-while-seated-villa’) was the retirement villa of a famous statesman, Saionji Kinmochi, who led the Japanese delegation at the Versailles peace conference; it was moved from its original location in Shizuoka to Meiji Village, a theme park in Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture that recreates traditional Japanese buildings. The game was played on February 19 and 20. Iyama (White) took the lead in the middle game when Yamashita made a misreading about a life-and-death position. His group didn’t die, but he had to add an extra stone and so fell behind. However, Iyama slipped up with an oversight of his own when he tried to wrap up the game. Yamashita played a brilliant atekomi tesuji and pulled off an upset. He won by 2.5 points after 224 moves. Yamashita will be greatly encouraged by this win, but, on 1-3, he is still in a tough position. The fifth game, to be played on February 25 and 26, will show whether he has really changed the flow of the match.
To 2-dan: Komatsu Daiki (30 wins). Komatsu is the son of Komatsu Hideki 9P and Komatsu Hideko 4P. The promotion took effect on the 17th.
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