Wednesday 3 July 2013

Visiting Kansai-Kiin

Most professionals have to do official games on Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore we do not have lectures on that days (but on the weekend). Today we took the chance to visit the Kansai Kiin instead. As you may know it is a Go organization like the Nihon Kiin but it is just located in Kansai (the region Osaka is in) and a bit smaller.

Kansai Kiin is located in the City centre. In the ground floor of the building there is a public Go salon. There is even a daily tsumego (on the left side) in front of it. I think the sentence on the door is a congratulation to Yuki Satoshi for winning the Judan title but I'm not completely sure.

We have been the first customers. I'm not sure when it opens. However you can go there every day expect of Sundays. The playing material is very decent. I would guess that I have never been in a room with so many slate and shell stones, so far. Most of the places can be used for normal matches. Some tables are prepared for simultaneous game (like the one in the front right).

There is even an extra place for following professional games. Later there were some people sitting there and watching games played upstairs. The games were broadcast live by a camera hanging over the board.

There is a small shop in the salon where you can buy playing material and funny merchandise article. I like this fan with pro cartoons a lot. Unfortunately I was just able to recognize Cho Chikun and Takemiya Masaka at first glance.

In the 7th floor the really cool things are happening. It is the playing site for professional games. This room is like the regular room for "normal" Dan players. Two of the players looked very old but were still playing official games. I was wondering if they are still active or if you somehow have to play official games for the rest of your life as a professional. I will try to find out how retirement works in the Kansai Kiin.

This is the more luxurious room for high Dan players. I guess for Japanese it is an upgrade to sit like this :-)

The main room is a bit hidden in the back. We should not disturb them to much but I was allowed to take some photos. You first have to go through this beautiful tatami corridor.

There you find Yuki Satoshi, Judan playing against a 3 Dan which name I do not know. Yuki-sensei is kind of the pop star of Kansai Kiin. He is the most successful player at the moment and won the Judan title against Iyama Juta this year. He is told to be very good in rapid games. In the NHK Cup a rapid all-star tournament he managed to be victorious four times in the last five years. He is still in competition for being the next challenger of the Tengen and the Oza title. The people at Kansai Kiin hope for him to get a second title since this would probably lead to a lot of donations by Kansai Go fans.
Unfortunately for us Yuki-sensei is very busy because of him winning so much. Therefore he will not have much time to visit the Go camp. However it was quite impressive to see so many professionals playing serious games and even visit a title holder "in action".
Tomorrow a lot of people will go to a trip to Kyoto. The remaining people, like myself, are planning to visit the Kansai Kiin again to play and watch a game.

PS: Maybe you already noticed that I like PS's. It's just a fitting place to point out that even the single-use drinking cups at the Kansai Kiin are very beautiful.


  1. "This is the more luxurious room for high Dan players. I guess for Japanese it is an upgrade to sit like this :-)"

    I had to laugh out loud on this one :-D

    Anyway, thank you so much for the frequent updates on the Go camp. I couldn't go there myself, but am reading your blog every day.

  2. I second this. Every aspect of the comment above. *g*

    The photographs are really impressive, it's a great opportunity to get such a close-up glimpse. Thank you for passing this on.

  3. I third the comment on laughing about how it's an upgrade for the Japanese to sit as they do in the high Dan room.

    I definitely really appreciate the photographs. They really help to bring life to the post. Mind if I ask if you bought anything at the shop? I know that I would've been compelled to empty my wallet there. xD

  4. Actually some of our teachers recently debated that they prefer to play in the room with chairs :)

    Emptying my wallet was not an option since there was already not much left. I got later the fan with the comics of professionals.