American Go E-Journal

The Power Report: China wins 1st Hoban Cup; Shibano wins Meijin title; 2022 Samsung Cup

Sunday November 13, 2022

By John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal

China wins 1st Hoban Cup

I submitted my previous report (uploaded on October 25) in the midst of the final round. Ueno Asami had just won three games in a row, including a win over the world’s number one woman player, Choi Jeong 9-dan. In game 13, played on October 20, Zhou Hongyu 6-dan (B) beat her by resignation, so China won the 1st Cup with one player, Yu Zhiying, still in reserve. First prize is 100,000,000 won ($71,225 at $1 = 1404 won). Japan came second and Korea third. Ueno received a prize of for winning three games in a row.

Shibano wins Meijin title

The sixth game of the 47th Meijin title match was held at the Atami Sekitei Inn in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture, on October 24 and 25. Taking black, Iyama Yuta Meijin, who was facing his second successive kadoban, played solidly in the opening. The challenger, Shibano Toramaru 9-dan, played aggressively, making attack after attack. In the middle game, a black group suddenly got cut off. It looked as if the fate of this group would decide the game: Iyama’s response was to play a tenuki, that is, to switch elsewhere.

There was an incident in this game that won’t appear in the game record. After Black 31, Shibano suffered a nosebleed. Usually it’s a breach of etiquette for the player whose turn it is to leave the go board, but, after seeking Iyama’s approval, Shibano returned to his room and somehow stopped the bleeding. He also changed his mask, as the previous one was spotted with blood. Of course, all this happened on his time, though Go Weekly doesn’t say how long Shibano was absent.

Iyama’s tenuki strategy worked well for him. Gradually he seized the initiative. Shibano was unable to find a good way of attacking the group Iyama had left to fend for itself. He resigned after 215 moves. The title match was now even. Iyama was displaying great tenacity, just as he did in last year’s Honinbo title match with Shibano.

The final game was played at the Tokiwa Hotel in Kofu City, Yamanashi Prefecture, on November 2 and 3. Iyama drew black. From the opening, Shibano launched fierce attacks on black, but Iyama displayed his customary skill at looking after his groups and took the lead. However, Shibano made a relentless attack on a large black group and was able to kill it. Iyama resigned after 202 moves.

After a gap of two terms, Shibano was Meijin again. Iyama still had three titles—the Honinbo, Oza, and Gosei—but he dropped to third place in the official rankings, after Ichiriki Kisei and Shibano Meijin. Shibano commented that beating Iyama in a big-three title match had been one of his major goals, so he was very happy at finally being able to pull it off. The top seven titles are now divided among five players.

2022 Samsung Cup

The highlight of this year’s Samsung’s Cup, the 27th, was the extraordinary performance of Korea’s Choi Jeong 9-dan. She has long been the world’s top woman player, but this time she surpassed herself, becoming the first woman to reach the final of an international tournament. In Round 2, she beat Japan’s number one, Ichiriki Ryo, then beat two players who have won international tournaments. Japan started out well, with three out of four players making the second round, but no one went further. Still, it was encouraging to see Nakamura Sumire win her first game against an 18-year-old Korean 4-dan. She was a late entry for the tournament when Yoda Norimoto was suspended and became unable to play (see story below). Selected results followed. 

Round 1 (Oct. 27, 28). Ichiriki Ryo 9-dan (Japan) (W) beat Oh Yujin 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Kyo Kagen 9-dan (Japan) beat Han Woojin 5-dan (Korea) by resig.; Yang Dingxin 9-dan (China) (B) beat Shin Minjun 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Choi Jeong 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Sada Atsushi 7-dan (Japan) by resig.; Nakamura Sumire 3-dan (Japan) (W) beat Kwon Hyojin 4-dan (Korea) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9-dan (Korea) beat Mi Yuting 9-dan (China); Fan Tingyu 9-dan (China) beat Kang Dongyun 9-dan (Korea).

Round 2 (Oct. 31, Nov. 1) Choi (W) beat Ichiriki by resig.; Byun Sangil 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Gu Jihao 9-dan (China) by resig.; Kim Myonghoon 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9-dan (China) by half a point; Kim Jiseok 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Xu Haohong 8-dan (Ch. Taipei) by half a point; Yang (W) beat Kyo by resig.; Lee Hyeonjin 6-dan (Korea) (B) beat Nakamura by 1.5 points; Park Jeonghoon 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Tan Shui 9-dan (China) by resig.; Shin (W) beat Fan Tingyu 9-dan (Korea) by 1.5 points.

Quarterfinals (Nov. 2, 3). Kim Myonghoon (W) beat Kim Jiseok by resig.; Shin (W) beat Park by resig.; Choi (B) beat Yang by resig.; Byun (W) beat Lee by resig. Semifinals (Nov. 4, 5). Choi beat Byun; Shin plays Kim in the other semifinal—it must have been played by now, but the result is not given on the Nihon Ki-in HP.

Tomorrow: Fujisawa defends Women’s Honinbo; Iyama makes good start in Oza; Kisei challenger: Shibano or Yamashita; Tsuruyama wins first title