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NHK Cup - Go

The NHK Cup (Go), or as it is more commonly known the NHK Cup TV Go Tournament (NHK杯テレビ囲碁トーナメント), is a professional Go tournament (Go competition) organized by the Japan Go Association(Nihon Ki-in) and sponsored by the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK). The tournament lasts roughly one year from April to the following March. Tournament games are televised each Sunday from 12:30 to 14:00 (JST) on NHK Educational TV (NHK-E) and live commentary and analysis is provided by two commentators (Go professionals): A host (司会) (typically a female Go professional) who serves in that role for the entire tournament and a guest commentator (大盤解説者) to provide detailed analysis. Post-game analysis involving the two players and the two commentators takes place once the game has ended (broadcast time permitting). This year marks the 63rd time the tournament has been held. Prior to 1963, the tournament was broadcast on the radio.

Tournament Format

The tournament is a single-elimination tournament with 50 Japanese Go Association professionals (棋士) competing for the title of NHK Cup Champion (NHK杯選手権者). A fixed number of spots in the main tournament are reserved for "seeded players" (higher ranked players, existing title holders, those with superior win loss records, etc.) while the remaining spots are decided through a series of preliminary tournaments. Once the final 50 players have been determined, they are divided into two blocks (Block A and Block B) of 25 players each.

The tournament consists of 6 rounds: the first 5 rounds determine the winner of each block、and then the two block winners meet in Round 6 for the tournament championship. The reigning title holder and runner-up as well as a select number of other players are awarded first round byes, thus actually only needing to win 5 games in order to win the tournament. The basic time control for each game is 30 seconds per move. In addition, each player has 10 periods of extra thinking time, 1 minute each.

The winner of the tournament receives 5,000,000 Yen (approximately US$48,000 ) in prize money, in addition to the NHK Cup.

Past winners

Player Year(s) Won
Shimamura Toshihiro 1954
Iwamoto Kaoru 1955
Hashimoto Utarō 1956, 1963
Sakata Eio 1957 - 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1982
Kitani Minoru 1960
Takagawa Shūkaku 1966
Hashimoto Shōji 1967, 1980, 1985
Ōtake Hideo 1968, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1994
Fujisawa Hideyuki 1969, 1981
Rin Kaiho 1970, 1974, 1978
Tōno Hiroaki 1979
Cho Chikun 1983, 1992, 1996, 2007
Honda Kunihisa 1984
Kobayashi Kōichi 1986, 2004
Ishida Yoshio 1987, 1990, 2001
Katō Masao 1988
Takemiya Masaki 1989
Yoda Norimoto 1991, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000
Kobayashi Satoru 1995
Ō Rissei 1997
Cho U 2002, 2005, 2008
Mimura Tomoyasu 2003
Hane Naoki 2006
Yuki Satoshi 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014
Yamada Kimio 2011
Ida Atsushi 2015

Lifetime Champions

The title of "Lifetime NHK Cup Champion" (名誉NHK杯選手権者) is awarded to players who win the tournament 10 times. To date, only one player has won the tournament enough times to be awarded this title: Sakata Eio who won the tournament a total of 11 times.