Great news to all Westerner. The highest ranked Western professional, Michael Redmond (9dan) recently beat top Japanese title Master Cho U by 0.5 points in the first round of the 17th Agon Cup.
Michael Redmond (photo source: http://www.usgo.org/news/category/world-amateur-go-championships-wagc/)
It seems that Michael is in a great shape this year. He managed to the second round of Tengen tournament early this year, but lost by 1.5 points to Yoda Norimoto.