1981-1985: strongest player of Japan

In these 5 years Cho must have been the strongest player in Japan. Of the 15 "big titles" matches between 1981 and 1985 he participates in 11 matches and wins 9. After winning the Kisei in 1983 he holds all three major titles simultaneously, be it only for a short period, because he loses the Honinbo in the summer of that year to Rin Kaiho. Then in 1985 he also loses the Meijin title, to Kobayashi Koichi. An omen for the period to come, where Kobayashi will dominate the Japanese Go scene.

1981 - Meijin Honinbo

After winning the Meijin for the first time in 1980, Cho succeeds to become Meijin Honinbo in this year. The Honinbo league is won with a perfect score of (7-0), the first time ever. The Honinbo match is against Takemiya and won (4-2). Challenger Kato for the Meijin does not put up much resistence (4-0).

Games: [1981]. Total score this year is 36-10.

1982 - Meijin Honinbo Judan

A third title is added: the Judan. Otake is the victim (3-1). Cho Sees a lot of Otake in this year. He loses the Gosei to Otake, but the match goes all the way (2-3). Otake is also the Meijin challenger, and although Cho dropped only one game (4-1), the series was marked by fierce large scale fighting where Otake did get his chances. Actually Otake was handicapped by bad health for part of the series. Cho has now held the Meijin title for three successive terms. Rin has done that twice, but no one had made it yet to four terms, so next year there is a new record to gain.

In the Honinbo match, Kobayashi Koichi puts up strong resistance and took a 2-1 lead. But Cho recovered brilliantly, winning three games straight to defend the title (4-2) .

Finally, near the year end Cho beats Kato (2-0) in the Kisei playoff to become the challenger for the most prestigeous title.

Games: [1982]. Total score this year is 34-13.

1983 - The triple Crown

The seventh Kisei match goes all the way, but after the third game it seemed to be all over, with Fujisawa Shuko leading 3-0. The next three games were won by Cho however, in brilliant style. Game seven saw Fujisawa in the lead until move 143, and a second error at move 149 gave the game to Cho. A unique era in go history came to an end with this game, and a new one started. When the Kisei title was started in 1976, no one could have dreamed that it would be dominated for the first six terms by the veteran player Fujisawa Shuko who seemed to have his best days behind him. "It remains to be seen whether any other player will be able to hold the top title for six consecutive terms," said the press. In 1986 Kobayashi Koichi will take this title from Cho and hold it for eight consecutive years.

So Cho is Kisei, Meijin, Honinbo, Judan. Only for fourty days though, because Kato beats him in the 21st title match (2-3). Then the Honinbo title is lost as well, To Rin Kaiho. Another dramatic upset, where Rin comes back after a losing the first 3 games (3-4). For Rin this is not the first time either, he defended the Meijin in 1973 against Ishida in the same way.

The Meijin match is again against Otake. Cho wins again (4-1) and Cho is the first player ever to hold the Meijin title for four consecutive terms.

Games: [1983]. Total score this year is 28-22.

1984 - Kisei Meijin

The eighth Kisei match is against Rin Kaiho. Rin is slightly the favourite, because of his win in the Honinbo last year. There are some fierce fighting games, but after the dust has settled it is (4-2) for Cho.

In the Meijin Cho again faces Otake, for the fourth time in 5 years. It's another miraculous comeback by Cho. After losing the first three games, Cho takes the next four games and the match. That's five in a row.

But other things are not going that well for Cho. He has not even managed to stay in the Honinbo league: the 40th starts without him.

Games: [1984]. Total score this year is 27-19.

1985 - Kisei

Cho defends the Kisei title against Takemiya, but it's not easy (4-3). Takemiya was in the lead twice. In almost every game it was a battle between Takemiya's moyo and Cho's skill in invading and making life for his groups. The first game was played in Seoul (starting the tradition to play the first game of a match outside Japan), Cho invading a large moyo and surviving. But in game two and three the invader died. And in game six it should have died. Finaly in game seven Cho did not need an invasion. Takemiya's moyo was some 120 points big, but Cho's corners and side teritory was enough to win by 1.5 points.

But then Kobayashi takes his Meijin title. Kobayashi took a 3-1 lead, Cho fought back to 3-3, then lost the last game (3-4). This was the first major title for Kobayashi, but there are many more to come...

Games: [1985]. Total score this year is 33-13.



The databases on this site are a service to the Go Community:
"The databases have been compiled by Jan van Rongen and are his copyright. They can be distributed freely, as long as this copyright statement is distributed with them. The databases shall not be made part of any [non] commercially available database collection of games of go without the written permission of Jan van Rongen."