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The Power Report: Ueno wins Women’s Meijin; Gu wins 1st Lanke Cup

Chris Garlock | Published on 8/30/2023

John Power, Japan Correspondent for the E-Journal


Ueno wins Women’s Meijin

The best-of-three title match for the Hakata Kamachi Cup 34th Women’s Meijin title finally got under way about a month after the league was decided (see above). Fujisawa Rina had held this title for five years in a row; Ueno Asami was making her second challenge for the only women’s title missing from her portfolio. These two players have dominated Japanese women’s go over the last half decade plus, though now they have been joined by Nakamura Sumire. In career encounters, Fujisawa leads Ueno 19-12 in all games played and has the edge 5-3 in title matches.

The first game was played at the Nihon Ki-in’s headquarters in Tokyo on April 14. Fujisawa (B) took the lead in the opening fighting and was expected to cruise to a win, but instead launched an attack on a large white group. Ueno outread her in the fighting and pulled off an upset win. Fujisawa resigned after White 214.

The second game was held at the same venue on April 17, just three days later. Ueno (black) again outplayed Fujisawa, and took the title with two straight wins. White resigned after 229 moves.


Gu wins 1st Lanke Cup

This is a new international tournament sponsored by the city of Quzhou in Zhejiang Province, China. The full name is the Quzhou-Lanke Cup World  Go Open. In the first stage, 32 players from around the world participated in a knock-out tournament played from May 5 to 9. The top two players then met in a final, played in mid-June.

The Japanese participants left Narita in the early afternoon on May 3 and arrived at Hanzhou Airport, where they met up with the Chinese Taipei players. They then had a four-hour trip by car and arrived at the tournament hotel, the Quzhou Oriental Hotel late at night. The 4th was a rest day; the draw was conducted at a banquet held in the evening. The tournament started on the 5th, with the opening three rounds being played at the Quzhou City Culture and Arts Center; the quarterfinals and semifinals were played at the Quzhou International Weiqi Cultural Exchange Center. The wealth of facilities seems to indicate that Quzhou City is trying to set itself up as a go mecca. There was intensive coverage by the Chinese media, which welcomed the return of in-person international competition in go.

There are many noteworthy points about this tournament. First, it is the first face-to-face tournament organized by China after the three-year-plus covid blank. Second, it is the richest Chinese tournament at present. First prize is 1,800,000 yuan (about $265,000) and the runner-up gets 600,000.  It seems to be the international version of a domestic tournament founded in 2006; it is held every two years and is now in its 9th term. Lanke (Japanese “ranka”) is a poetic name for go and also the name of a local mountain. It means “rotted ax handle”; it comes from a legend of a woodcutter who came across two old men (immortals) playing go; he stopped to watch the game. When it ended, he found that the handle of his ax had rotted away. Some Quzhou people believe that Lanke Mountain is where go originated.

The time allowance is two hours per player, followed by byo-yomi of one minute x 5. 

The five Japanese represenatives were eliminated in the first round. So Yokoku 9-dan, a fluent Chinese speaker, accompanied the team; he lamented the absence of Ichiriki and Shibano. The tournament was first scheduled for last December, when they could have taken part, but was shifted to May. Iyama’s opponent was Xie Erhao, who beat him 2-1 in the 22nd LG Cup final in 2018. According to So, Iyama is one of the few Japanese players the Chinese players recognize as being able to play them on equal terms, but they have developed countermeasures in group-study sessions. They concluded his forte is confused fighting, so they try to avoid incident and make the game an endgame contest. After his game here, Iyama lamented his inability to take control of the flow of the whole game.  

The tournament featured a fierce rivalry among the Chinese and Korean players. They met in 20 games and the score was even, at 10-10. However, in the final Gu Jihao of China beat Korea’s ace Shin Jinseo, so China took the top honors. This was Gu’s second big international title: he won the 22nd Samsung Cup in 2017.

Full results are given below. Note the big upset in the first round when a Chinese Taipei player beat China’s number one.


Round 1 (May 5) 

Xie Erhao 9-dan (China) (B) beat Iyama Yuta 9-dan by 2.5 points; Lian Xiao 9-dan (China) (W) beat Seki Kotaro 9-dan by resig.; Tan Xiao 9-dan (China) (B) beat Kyo Kagen (Xu Jiayuan) 9-dan (Japan) by 1.5 points; Wang Xinghao 8-dan (China) (B) beat Ida Atsushi 9-dan (Japan) by resig.; An Sungjoon 9-dan (Korea) (B) beat Yo Seiki (Yu Zhengqi) 8-dan (Japan) by resig.; Lai Junfu 8-dan (Ch. Taipei) (W) beat Ke Jie 9-dan (China) by resig.; Li Weiqing 9-dan (China) (B) beat Alexander Qi 1-dan (North America) by resig.; Jiang Weijie 9-dan (China) (W) beat Ali Jabarin 2-dan (Europe) by resig.; Gu Jihao 9-dan (China) (B) beat Han Seungjoo 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Shin Jinseo 9-dan (Korea) beat Li Qincheng 9-dan (China) by resig.; Ding Hao 9-dan (China) (W) beat Xu Haohong 9-dan (Ch. Taipei) by resig.; Li Xuanhao 9-dan (China) (W) beat Weon Seongjin 9-dan (Korea) by resig.; Park Junghwan 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Zhao Chenyu 9-dan (China) by resig.; Park Geunho 7-dan (Korea) (W) beat Cao Xiaoyang 5-dan (China) by resig.; Byun Sangil 9-dan (Korea) (W) beat Tang Weixing 9-dan (China) by resig.


(Round 2). Gu (W) beat Park Junghwan by resig.; An (B) beat Tao by resig.; Wang (B) beat Byun by resig.; Shin (B) beat Ding by resig.; Lian (B) beat Li Xuanho by resig.; Park Geunho (B) beat Xie by resig.; Tan (B) beat Lai by resig.; Li Weiqing (W) beat Jiang by half a point.


(Round 3) Shin (B) beat Li Weiqing by 1.5; Park (W) beat Wang by resig.; Tan (W) beat Lian by resig.; Gu (B) beat Park Geunho by resig.



Game 1 (June 14). Shin (W) by resig.

Game 2 (June 16). Gu (W) by resig.

Game 3 (June 17). Gu (B) by resig.

photo: Xie (L) beats Iyama


Tomorrow: Ichiriki wins Teikei Young Stars; Fujisawa becomes Hollyhock challenger; Ichiriki becomes Gosei challenger; Shibano wins New Ryusei Tournament; Ichiriki takes lead in 78th Honinbo title match; 28th LG Cup

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