Friday, April 3, 2009

Xie Yimin Defended Her Female Meijin

One of the current strongest female player in Japan is Xie Yimin. Holding many titles in such young age, make her one of the Japanese promising player.

This year, as the title holder, she was challenged by Chinen Kaori for her Female Meijin title.

The first game was played in March 4, at Chiyoda, Tokyo.

In this game, Chinen Kaori played as black and Xie Yimin played as white. Chinen played the opening that was popularized by Lee changho. Black got a very nice thickness in the right side after the joseki they finished in move 26. I wonder if the sequence from move 27-32 is conidered as joseki. I saw a lot of Japanese player played this sequence (and I think the sequence is only favourited in Japan, I think Cho U played this sequence very much in the past). The pincer at move 33 was natural. It worked well with black's thickness in the right side.

board position up to move 83

The fight started a move 63, where black cut white's formation. It was clear that black was confident that she was able to killed white's group, due to her thickness in the right side, but Xie successfully saved her group in move 118.

The game went pretty good for Xie Yimin after that, as she successfully handle Chinen's attack in the left side. Xie won the game after she revived her group in the bottom, using the cut she got after black defended her threatened group in the left.

Xie Yimin, Female Honinbo won the first game by resignation.

The second game was played in March 17. This time, Chinen Kaori payback the first game, by winning the second game by 3.5 points margin.

Board position up to move 88

The game started by Chinen successfully created a moyo in the left side up to move 38. Xie invaded the moyo in move 41 and successfully reduce the moyo. The only problem Xie got was that she ended in gote. Up to move 80, I think the opening was slightly better for Chinen.

I think Xie's move at move 83 was not very good. She tried to split white's stones at H15 and G11, it was success and she completely saved her earlier invading group, but I personally think the aji was bad as Chinen had a probe stone at R17. The move also made her group in the right became thin.

Chinen played a very good yose and eventually won the game after 290 moves.

The last and deciding game was played in April Fool day.Xie Yimin played as black and Chinen Kaori played as white.

The game started with Chinen (for the third time in this title match) playing for thickness in the left side. The sequence from move 21-36 is worth to learn, as it usually appears in a game.

Board position up to move 87

Chinen's move at move 66 was excitin. She took territory without leaving aji. It's a good decision, comparing to using iken-tobi in this situation.

A fight started at move 92. Chinen threated Xie's group in the middle and in the upper right corner, but surprisingly, Chinen sacrificed the attacking group, for a moyo in the left. Looking the dangerous moyo created, Xie played the famous tesuij at move 147 and tried to gave life to the group. A sabaki started. In the end, Xie gave life to the group and won the game, as Chinen Kaori resigned at move 207.

Xie Yimin defended her title that she took from Kato Keiko last year. The prize money for first placer is ¥5,100,000.