by John Power, Japan correspondent for the E-Journal
Women’s Meijin League: Two important games were played in the 28th Women’s Meijin League last week. On November 16, Fujisawa Rina, Women’s Honinbo, beat Mannami Nao 3P by 6.5 points. Fujisawa had to win this game to keep alive her chances of becoming the challenger. She goes to 3-1, in equal second place with Okuda Aya 3P. Mannami drops to 2-2, so all she can aim at is keeping her place. The tough thing for Fujisawa and Okuda is that they are ranked equal 5th in the league. The leader is Aoki Kikuyo 8P, who is ranked second. In my previous report, I mentioned that Aoki just had to win two of her remaining three games to become the challenger, as she would take precedence in a tie. She played the first of those three games on November 19. Taking black, she beat Suzuki Ayumi 6P by 1.5 points. That improves her score to 4-0 and improves her odds to 1 in 2, as she now just has to win one game out of two. Her remaining opponents are Mannami and Fujisawa. The above game was Aoki’s seventh win in a row.
Honinbo League: One game in the 71st Honinbo League was played on November 19. Kono Rin 9P beat Cho U 9P by resignation. Kono improves his score to 1-1 and Cho is 0-2. Cho’s decision to return home to Taiwan is not paying off yet.
Iyama wins Oza, regains quintuple crown: The third game of the 63rd Oza title match was held at the Hotel Okura Kobe in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture on November 19. In dominating form, Iyama Yuta (black, at left) pounced on a misreading by the titleholder, Murakawa Daisuke (right), and seized the initiative. Iyama’s flawless play then denied Murakawa any chance to get back into the game and he was forced to resign after just 135 moves. Murakawa was unable to match the precision of Iyama’s reading; after a reign of just one year, he surrendered the title he took from Iyama last year. With this win, Iyama regains his quintuple crown after a gap of 11 months. This is his third Oza title and his 33rd title overall. It is also his 23rd successive win. Go journalists are starting to refer to the record set by Sakata Eio, 23rd Honinbo, in 1963 and 1964 of 29 successive wins. What the two streaks have in common is that many of the wins were in title matches or tournament finals, so the defeated opponents were mainly top players.
Teranishi repeats in Young Carp: The semifinals and final of the 10th Hiroshima Aluminium Cup Young Carp Tournament, open to Nihon Ki-in players under 31 and under 8-dan, were held at the Central Japan Newspaper Building in Hiroshima on November 22. In the semifinals, Shida Tatsuya 7P (B) beat Yo Seiki 7P and Teranishi Rei 4P (B) beat last year’s winner Motoki Katsuya 7P; the margin in both games was 2.5 points. In the final, Teranishi (B) forced Shida to resign after 159 moves. Teranishi (at left) also won the 5th cup. First prize is three million yen.
Tomorrow: Pair Go tournament for professional couples; Iyama tops most-wins list; Huang wins Chinese Agon Kiriyama
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