The Second Game of the 50th Oza Title Match
The following report on the "incident" in the second game
of the 50th Oza title match was written by John Fairbairn.
Game 2 resumed at nine o'clock in the evening after dinner. Reporters idly
players on the monitor in the press room on the third floor of the hotel,
suddenly saw, at
9.30, a hand movement by Cho Chikun that led them to believe he had
resigned in an
unresignable position. Unable to comprehend what was happening, they all
rushed pell mell
downstairs to the playing room. What they found was indeed an unimaginable
Cho had lost on time after 144 moves while ahead and under no pressure -
except of course
the self-induced pressure of being yet again in overtime early in the
game, this time from
A disconsolate Cho was telling the referee and scorekeeper: "I didn't
realise it was my move.
I thought it was O's move. Was it my move?" He admitted he thought it was
strange when the
scorekeeper (Yamamoto Kentaro 4-dan) started counting out the final
seconds, and was on
the verge of querying it... maybe he'd missed hearing that O was in
overtime too? Then he
hung down his head, rubbing his eyes with the back of his wrist as he sat
glued to the board.
Again he raised his head in dismay: "Was it my move?"
The head drooped again - he struck himself on the cheek with his fan,
muttering, "Why, why?"
His inadvertently victorious opponent, O Meien, was also a picture of
course he had known it was Cho's move, but he had been engrossed in
preparing his own next
move. He had been lost for words when the flag fell. As referee Sakaguchi
Ryuzo 9-dan surveyed
the position, O could barely croak, "Yes, I was behind."
Sakaguchi too was clearly affected by the general confusion. Though the
live web broadcast
announced the result at around 9.45, it was not until five minutes after
said, "Black has run out of time, and so we have to assume White wins." It
was not the most
official of official pronouncements. But then nothing like this had ever
It appeared afterwards that Cho had already decided on what his move 145
would be - indeed he
had already seen the path to victory - and was looking down into his lap.
He had not noticed
that O had played. But he was in no fit state to go through the usual post
mortem and so
not much more than that was revealed. Instead, he quickly left the playing
room, silently and
apparently with tears welling up in his eyes, as soon as Sakaguchi had
indicated his likely
The referee and the reporters repaired back to the press room, still
debating whether Cho
had to lose. In the end they agreed he did.
Based on John Fairbairn's writing and used with permission