Like many American go players, I’m a bit of a Cho U fan, which makes sense, since he is (arguably) Japan’s top pro. After a mild slump last year, he’s having an excellent year in 2007.
With yesterday’s game, he pulled ahead 3-1 in the Meijin title match. The game was fun, but surprising in a few ways: his opponent Takao played for territory, while Cho got a large wall facing the center. A big ko developed, and while Cho lost the ko, he got to kill a large group of Takao’s as compensation.
So Cho is now one game away from winning the Meijin, he swept the defense of the Gosei, he’s in the playoff to challenge for the Kisei, and he won the winner’s bracket of the Judan, meaning he only needs to win 1 of 3 games to challenge for that title.
By comparison, Takao is the titleholder of the Meijin, and defended the Honinbo. Yamashita Keigo is now defending the Oza, holds the Kisei, and will challenge Kono Rin for the Tengen. Despite being 51, Cho Chikun holds the Judan and is in the Kisei challenger playoff against Cho U. In all likelihood, the best year will go to whichever player wins the Kisei.