Event_Coverage

Saito’s Back (to Back)!!!

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Congratulations to Tomoharu Saito the Grand Prix Kobe 2009 Champion!

Watch out LSV, Tomoharu Saito has the lead in the Player of the Year race squarely in his sights. With his victory over Yuuya Watanabe in the finals of Grand Prix Kobe 2009, Saito closed what had once seemed like an insurmountable Pro Points lead to single digits. Of course, when you win back to back Grand Prix titles you can make up a lot of ground. Saito took his Naya Zoo deck that he recently used to win Singapore and worked on making it a deck that could go toe to toe with all the top archetypes in the field. His maindeck Ethersworn Canonists gave Yuuya Watanabe and his TEPS deck fits in the finals after Saito squeaked past Tzu Ching Kuo and the Tezzerator in the seminfinals. In the quaterfinals the Canonists made short work of another TEPS player in Ryuma Shiozu

This was the closing weekend of the Pro Tour Honolulu season. It was a season that opened with Luis Scott-Vargas dominating back-to-back Extended Grand Prix and closes with Saito doing the same. Going into the next leg of the Pro Tour season, which kicks off with Grand Prix Barcelona in May, all eyes will be on these two players and Gabriel Nassif as they jockey for the coveted Player of the year title.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Katsuya Ueda   Kentaro Yamamoto, 2-1        
8 Kentaro Yamamoto   Yuuya Watanabe, 2-1
       
4 Yuuya Watanabe   Yuuya Watanabe, 2-1   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-1
5 Kenji Hamamoto    
       
2 Tomoharu Saitou   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-0
7 Ryouma Shiozu   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-0
       
3 Tzu Ching Kuo   Tzu Ching Kuo, 2-1
6 Keiichi Kondou    


EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Saitou, Tomoharu $3,500
 2.  Watanabe, Yuuya $2,300
 3.  Kuo, Tzu Ching C $1,500
 4.  Yamamoto, Kentarou $1,500
 5.  Ueda, Katsuya $1,000
 6.  Kondou, Keiichi $1,000
 7.  Hamamoto, Kenji $1,000
 8.  Shiozu, Ryouma $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Yuya Watanabe – KEION’ Storm
    GP Kobe 2009 / Top 8

    Kenji Hamamoto - Scepter Zoo
    GP Kobe 2009 / Top 8

    Tomoharu Saito – “Super Naya Zoo”
    GP Kobe 2009 / Top 8

    Keiichi Kondo - Thoctar Deck Wins
    GP Kobe 2009 / Top 8

     

  • Top 8 Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Kentarou Yamamoto
    Hometown: Saitama
    Age: 24
    Occupation: Student

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    I draft with my friends on the weekends.

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 7-0-1
    Sunday: 4-2

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Level Blue
    Designer: Yuta Takahashi
    Notable features: It’s different from other decks because I’m not running Umezawa’s Jitte and I play Condescend.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    Not really.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    Second place at a Pro Tour.

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    None.


    Katsuya Ueda
    Hometown: Aichi
    Age: 30
    Occupation: Hunter

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    In and around Nagoya.

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 3-2
    Sunday: 6-0

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Elves
    Designer:
    Notable features: Tuned for a Demigod metagame.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    Seeing Shuhei Nakamura lose to K.K.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    Metagaming against Demigod.


    Yuya Watanabe
    Hometown: Kanagawa
    Age: 20
    Occupation: K-on

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    On flat surfaces.

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 4-0-1
    Sunday: 4-2

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Desire
    Designer: Myself
    Notable features: Engineered Explosives in the sideboard.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    Keiichi Kondo’s last match on Day 1.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    2007 Rookie of the Year, Grand Prix Kyoto Champion

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    K-on.


    Kenji Hamamoto
    Hometown: Higashiosaka-shi
    Age: 28
    Occupation: Company employee

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    Niji-iro Kujira (Magic store), premier events

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 8-0
    Sunday: 3-2-1

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Scepter-Zoo
    Designer: Myself
    Notable Features: Isochron Scepter, which rules the mirror match.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    In the last round, against Jin Okamoto, we thought we could ID, but then we did the math and realized we couldn’t. In the end, it turned into an Unintentional draw, so I was really nervous.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    Grand Prix Top 32

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    Investment.


    Keiichi Kondo
    Hometown: Nagoya
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Company employee

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    I like to play Legacy in local shops.

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 6-1-1
    Sunday: 5-0-1

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Thoctar Deck Wins
    Designer: Myself
    Notable Features: This is a slightly burn-heavy deck that assumes a Zoo metagame but can also beat control.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    My first Swiss match was again Tomoharu Saito. I beat him, but he was clearly the better player.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    3rd place in the Grand Prix Okayama 2008 side event.

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    Reading, hiking.


    Ryoma Shiozu
    Hometown: Nagoya
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Self-employeed

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    My home, FIREBALL Nagoya, Big Magic Nagoya

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 4-1
    Sunday: 4-1-1

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Storm
    Designer: Main deck—Yuya Watanabe, Sideboard—myself
    Notable Features: The deck plays itself.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    Seeing Yuya Watanabe play Mind’s Desire with the storm count at 6 and lose.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    Five GP Top 8s.

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    Playing Magic with retired players (congratulations, Shimura!)


    Tomoharu Saito
    Hometown: Tokyo
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Pro Player

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    At my home.

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 3-1-1
    Sunday: 5-0-1

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Super Naya Zoo
    Designer: Myself
    Notable Features: I succeeded in metagaming against all the best metagame decks.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    The Scepter-Zoo deck that went undefeated on Day 1. I didn’t think of that trick.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    Player of the Year, Pro Tour Champion, 2-time GP champion

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?
    Magic is pretty much everything for me. The only other thing I really care about is dieting using “Yubeat”, an electronic music game made by Konami.


    Tzu-Ching Kuo
    Hometown: Taiwan
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Trader

    Where and when do you usually play Magic?
    Taiwanese cardshop “Card Master” and “Moku”

    Swiss Record
    Awarded Byes: 3
    Saturday: 7-1
    Sunday: 4-1-1

    What deck did you play?
    Name: Tezzeretar
    Designer: Chen Liang
    Notable Features: Wildfire, to deal with Naya Zoo.

    Anything memorable about this Grand Prix?
    Playing against Nakajima in Round 13, there was a communication problem that took about 13 minutes to resolve due to the language barrier. In the end, I topdecked Tezzeret the Seeker and that play let me get into the Top 8.

    What are some of your other memorable Magic achievements?
    Six Grand Prix Top 8s.

    What other hobbies or interests do you have outside of Magic?

     

  • Quarterfinal Match Coverage: Tomoharu Saito (Knight Zoo) vs. Ryouma Shiozu (TEPS)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Tomoharu Saito has been traveling pretty much every weekend for the last two years to play Magic. The recent lull in the schedule before things pick up again in the weeks leading up to Hawaii allowed him the rare luxury of working on his deck for this event for more than just a couple of days. Working with a Tokyo based community of players who all playtest at his house, Saito set out to build a Zoo deck that was good against what he felt were the other pillars of this Extended format; Faeries, Loam, Elves, and TEPS.

    Against the two latter archetypes he was sporting maindeck Ethersworn Canonists and Nagoya’s Ryouma Shiozu was hoping to challenge that theory. Shiozu, a mainstay of the Japanese Grand Prix circuit, was playing TEPS. If he was upset by the sight of the Canonists – the players get to review each other’s decklists before the start of the match – Shiozu did not show it. He calmly freshened up before the match with a lemon scented wet towelette while Saito’s slaps to his own face – his traditional pregame ritual -- rang through the large hall.

    Game 1

    Saito’s Ethersworn Canonist landed on turn two and was followed up with Kird Ape a turn later. Saito also wanted to play Tarmogoyf but remembered that he was also bound by the Canonist’s rule – he used the mana at the end of Shiozzu’s turn to instead Helix the storm player. Tarmogoyf was Remanded a turn later but Saito continued to peck away. Shiozu used his one spell per turn for some Sleight of Hand. The Canonist was paying off for Saito in Game 1 even if he could not get that darned ‘Goyf to stick to the table -- Shiozu played Remand again. Saito was able to finish the game off with Lightning Helix a turn later.

    Game 2

    In came creature removal and bounce for Shiozu while it was flowing in the opposite direction for Saito’s sideboard as he took out dead Path to Exiles for an assortment of miser’s cards such as his singleton Choke and Ancient Grudge.

    Throughout Day Two I have watched players pitch back perfectly serviceable hands with lands and spells in favor of six cards more suited to the task at hand and Saito did so this game despite having plays for the first turn. He kept the next six and led off with Kird Ape to Shiozu’s Dreadship Reef. There was much deliberation – and playacting of how he saw the next few turns going – from Saito as he decided on what mana to fetch for the turn two Canonist he had mulliganed to.

    Shiozu had two Reefs and had to put a counter on one and then use it on his turn to Ponder into his third land, a Flooded Strand. Shiozu cracked the Strand and put a charge counter on his Reef eot and Saito took the Remandless window to Lightning Helix the Storm player. Saito passed the turn without a play and Shiozu bounced the Canonist with Echoing Truth. All Saito could do was frown and Helix his opponent. Shiozu played Seething Song and three copies of Manamorphose. He also played Desperate Ritual and ended with Mind’s Desire as his sixth spell of the turn.

    Saito cut his deck each time and flipped over the cards...

    Land...Echoing Truth...land...land...land... one more try...

    Desperate Ritual. Saito extended the hand and grudgingly Shiozu accepted it.

    Final result: Tomoharu Saito – 2 Ryouma Shiozu – 0

     

  • Quarter Final Roundup
    by Zeilend Powell
  • Yuuya Watanabe (TEPS) vs. Kenji Hamamoto (Scepter Zoo)

    Game 1 saw Watanabe suspend double Lotus Bloom hoping to race the creature deck. Despite facing down a pair of Tarmogoyfs that were bearing down on his life total, Watanabe’s start enabled him to go off the turn before he would hit zero.

    In the second game, Hamamoto started off with an early Gaddock Teeg, meaning that Watanabe would be forced to find a removal spell in order to cast the six mana sorcery – which he did in the form of Chain of Vapor to bounce the Legendary Kithkin but his Mind’s Desire for six only yielded rituals, land, and a Lotus Bloom, sending the players into the third game.

    The final game of the match gave Hamamoto both Pyrostatic Pillar and Gaddock Teeg an ideal early game against Mind’s Desire. Watanabe’s Lotus Bloom came into play, dropping him to twelve life, with an army of creatures facing him. He cast Ponder, going down to 9, and went into the tank for what seemed an eternity. After calculating the exact sequence of events needed to pull out a win, he managed to bounce both of the hate cards and cast Mind’s Desire for the win.

    Final result: Yuuya Watanabe – 2 Kenji Hamamoto - 1


    Katsuya Ueda (Elves) vs. Kentarou Yamamoto (NLU)

    The first game started well for Yamamoto who suspended Ancestral Visions on turn one. After stumbling on mana, however, Ueda was able to go off when the Blue deck tapped out to play Tarmogoyf. Watanabe and Hamamoto were still in their first turn when this game ended.

    The final two games of the match, however, favored Yamamoto who was able to take control of the game with Engineered Explosives. He did not allow Ueda to keep creatures on the board. Tarmogoyf held the ground, while Vendilion Clique slowly took chunks out of the Elf player’s life total.

    Final result: Kentarou Yamamoto – 2 Katsua Ueda - 1


    Tzu Ching Kuo (Tezzerator) vs. Keiichi Kondou (Ranger Zoo)

    Zoo started the game in typical fashion, with undercosted creatures attacking Kuo’s life total. Despite being stuck on land -- 2 Islands, Academy Ruins, and a Chrome Mox imprinting Stifle -- he played Engineered Explosives and cleared the board. At a precarious 2 life, he declined to Spell Snare Umezawa’s Jitte, which was bait for what would be a lethal Lightning Helix. Kuo then played Chalice of the Void for 2, keeping his opponent’s other burn spells at bay. With the Kondou already at less than 10 life due to attacks from a Trinket Mage earlier in the game -- not to mention his own mana base -- Tezzeret the Seeker’s ultimate ability was more than capable of sealing the game.

    Game 2 went the opposite way with sideboarded Ancient Grudge and Gaddock Teeg preventing Kuo from casting his most relevant spells, and Tarmogoyf was able to go the distance.

    By the time they started Game 3, all of the other quarterfinal matches were over. Kuo spent his first few turns Stifling Kondou’s fetchlands, but that didn’t keep a Tarmogoyf from hitting the board. Seal of Primordium threatened to make any of Kuo’s artifacts short-lived. Kuo dug with Thirst for Knowledge and one last turn to topdeck the only card in his deck that could save him. Tezzerator found Ensnaring Bridge and when Kondou tried to Seal it. Kuo showed him the timely remaining Stifle in his deck. Wildfire cleared the rest of the creatures from the board and allowed Kuo to win with a Clique and three cards in hand for the rest of the game.

    Final result: Tzu Ching Kuo – 2 Keiichi Kondou – 1

     

  • Semifinal Match Coverage: Tzu Ching Kuo (Tezzerator) vs.Tomoharu Saito (Knight Zoo)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Tzu Ching Kuo was eager to play against Saito in order to make the Finals of Grand Prix Kobe. Over the course of the tournament he had played Zoo decks six times and not lost a match. Saito was not playing just any Zoo deck. He had tuned this deck to beat the major archtypes, a club which he did not consider Tezzerator to be a member of, but he was confident he could make the adjustments necessary to beat Kuo’s build.

    Game 1

    In the first game Saito came out of the gate strong but was quickly shut down by Chalice for one and an Engineered Explosives for two. His hand was jammed up with one-drops he could not play and lands he did not want and Kuo’s deck seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

    Game 2

    Saito brought in 3 Gaddock Teeg, 2 Oblivion Ring, 1 Choke, 1 Ancient Grudge, and 1 Ranger of Eos taking out Canonists and Path to Exile. Meanwhile, Kuo was bringing in 3 Blood Moon, 2 Wildfire, and 3 Sower while taking out 1 Needle, 2 Thirst, 2 Chalice, 1 Tezzeret, and one 1 Shackles.

    Saito came out of the gate fast with Wild Nacatl but made no turn two play. He made Knight on Turn three – a pretty safe play while Tarmogoyf would have been Snared. It turned out that Saito did not even have the Goyf when Clique revealed Oblivion Ring, Fanatic, Treetop Village, and Mountain. He pushed down the Ring. Saito’s Fanatic cleared the path for his team and they rumbled into the red zone.
    Sower of Temptation took the Knight but Saito had ripped Lightning Helix and Kuo was done in short order from the three a turn he had been taking from the cat.

    Game 3

    Kuo stood pat but Saito continued to tinker with his post board strategy. He also pile shuffled Kuo and was amazed to discover: “Sixty-one cards?”

    Kuo had merely added Relic of Progenitus to a previous build of Tezzeret without taking anything out for it. What has Nassif wrought?

    Nacatl was the opener for Saito, who agonized over which shockland to get on turn two to fully power it up. He found Stomping Ground and offered up Kird Ape, playing around the possibility of Spell Snare. Saito was Cliqued on turn three and revealed a hand of two Goyfs. Two Fanatics, Ranger of Eos, and Lightning Helix but no third land. Kou pushed the Helix and Saito drew the land which let him kill the Clique, attack for five, and play Tarmogoyf without fear of Spell Snare. Kou was at ten life but he did have Sower of Temptation in the wings for next turn.

    Saito sized up his attack seeing if there was any way around his purloined Tarmogoyf. He finally sent both his creatures in seeing as there were only lands and creatures in the graveyards and knowing Kou could not block effectively with Sower. Kou was also tapped out again ensuring the next Goyf would stick as well. Kuo ultimately let the Kird Ape bounce off the Future Sight rare and Saito had to decide if he was going to kill it with his remaining Fanatic. He finally decided to do so and decided to play Gaddock Teeg instead of the Goyf – shutting down the Tezzeret in Kou’s hand and once again sneaking in under Spell Snare.

    Sower merely chumped Wild Nacatl on the following turn – Teeg stayed back to mind the fort. Spell Snare finally got its Tarmogoyf and Saito passed the turn. Kou played Thirst for Knowledge and was able to reset the game with Firespout the following turn. He also had Clique to push Ranger of Eos to the bottom of Saito’s deck. Saito slapped his deck and demanded an action card. He was rewarded with Knight of the Reliquary, which was 5/5 and looming larger with a fetch land on the table.

    Tezzeret came down and Kou removed one counter to fetch Relic of Progenitus – the legendary 61st card – and passed the turn. Saito had used his fetch land in response to Tezzeret and now had fewer options for making his Knight large should the Relic be activated.

    Kuo imprinted Blood Moon on Chrome Mox, used up Tezzeret for Vedalken Shackles, and activated the Relic. The last part prompted Saito to pull aside the judge for a question about what happened when a Shackles left play. Kou activated the Shackles and Saito played his Ancient Grudge – the only card in his hand – to keep his Knight on his side of the table. Kou sighed deeply – knowing it was the only copy of the card in Saito’s deck – and played Trinket Mage for Engineered Explosives but did not have the mana to play it that turn.

    Saito “tutored” up Treetop Village at the end of Kou’s turn and considered his attack sending only his Treetop Village into the Trinket Mage. Kou chose not to block and fell to 2. Saito played a fetch land and passed the turn. Kuo had to deal 9 to Saito before the former PoY could deal two. Kou attacked in the air and passed the turn with abundant mana up. Saito had to consider the possibility that he was holding Cryptic Command.

    Saito fell to five to crack a fetch land and then used the Knight to get his other Treetop Village – one of the unique characteristics of his deck. Saito also flashed back Ancient Grudge to kill the Chrome Mox. He untapped and tried to get the right read on the two cards in Kou’s hand. If one of them was Cryptic Command he would be in trouble – at the very least he would give Kou another turn. He activated his Treetop Village and finally decided to activate the other as well.

    Kou extended his hand and congratulated a suddenly jubilant Saito on making the finals.

    Final result: Tomoharu Saito – 2 Tzu Ching Kuo -- 1

     

  • Final Match Coverage: Tomoharu Saito (Knight Zoo) vs. Yuuya Watanabe (TEPS)
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • When Tomoharu Saito won the Player of the Year title in 2007 it was also the year his opponent, Yuuya Watanabe, won the Rookie of the Year title. He and Saito are good friends and they took a break from the pregame shuffling to pass on a note of congratulations to a friend who could not play this weekend since he was getting married.

    Ichiro Shimura got married on Saturday which finally the absence of Kenji Tsumura and Mashashi Oiso who were in the wedding party. Saito spelled out a congratulatory wish, using the cards in his deck, to Ichiro Shimura, who was married yesterday.

    Game 1

    With the wedding wishes out of the way the players wished each other good luck. Each of these players had been incredibly deliberate with their mulligan decisions in this very fast paced format and the two of them looked at their openers and play acted their opening turns. Neither one seemed terribly happy that they each concluded their starting seven were good enough – especially considering how willing they each have been to go back to the well.

    Sure enough both players’ openings were textbook. Saito would be attacking for three on turn two with Wild Nacatl while Yuuya suspended a pair of Lotus Blooms – would that even be fast enough for him on the draw?

    Saito cracked for three and followed up with Tarmogoyf – not as textbook as he would have liked. Saito was running maindeck Canonists and would have loved to have one instead of his 1/2 Goyf. Saito crashed in for four and made another Nacatl and a Jitte. Watanabe had missed land drop number two but found one a turn later. He fell to six on Saito’s next attack – five after a fetch land – but his Blooms would come online. He played Peer Through Depths at the end of the turn and nabbed Desperate Ritual.

    Two Seething Songs, Ponder, another Seething Song, Desperate Ritual, Manamorphose, and a Mind’s Desire later the game was over but for the flipping.

    Game 2

    Both of these players had been through this matchup multiple times on the day and their sideboard strategy did not require much focus beyond finding the cards they were taking out. Saito had been hoping to get his PT Charleston teammate, turned coverage reporter, Tomohiro Kaji to cover his match for the Japanese page but Kaji had to catch a train and could not stay for the duration. The two old friends bantered to the delight of the crowd and the chagrin of the Japanese reporter actually covering the match in his stead.

    Saito kicked off Game 2 with Mogg Fanatic – and was holding Canonist for the following turn. Yuuya was happy to not be racing to beat the clock of a turn one Nacatl. He played Ponder – a card he named his MVP during the Quick Questions – and chose not to shuffle his deck. Saito played the Canonist. There were no Lotus Blooms for Watanabe this game who just played his land and passed the turn. Saito came over for three damage and offered up Knight of the Reliquary. Watanabe broke his land and put Steam Vents into play untapped – he fell to 13 – and Remanded the Knight. He suspended Lotus Bloom and dropped to 11 to pass the turn with three mana open for Volcanic Fallout.

    He was at 8 when the dust settled and facing down Tarmogoyf, Wild Nacatl, and a Treetop Village. He played his fourth land and passed the turn back to a wary Saito. Saito did not activate his Village and sent in only the two creatures. Yuuya bounced the Goyf with Chain of Vapor. Saito replayed the Goyf and offered up Canonist. Yuuya Peered in response and came up with Electrolyze. He removed the Canonist on his turn and made an attempt to win before Saito could untap, playing Rite of Flame and Manamorphose. He found nothing that would let him keep chugging along and conceded the game to Saito’s army.

    Game 3

    Both players shuffled their decks for well in excess of the suggested amount of time for sideboarding and shuffling. When they fnally drew their cards, Yuuya laughed at his hand which featured six gassy cards and Cascade Bluffs. Saito was all frowns as he sent his openers back in favor of a one lander with a pair of Nacatl, Ethersworn Canonist, Ranger, and Mogg Fanatic. Yuuya did not find his second land and could not Ponder off of his Bluffs but if he got to his turn with Lotus Bloom looked to be in okay shape.

    Saito found his second land and played the pesky Canonist. Yuuya began to show frustration with his mulligan decision and slammed his hand down as no second land appeared for him while Saito went straight to turn three Knight of Reliquary from his one-lander.

    Yuuya played his Lotus Bloom and found Dreadship Reef but kept looking at the Canonist that he had to kill before he could do anything else. He passed the turn to take 11 from Saito’s team and he went to 1. Saito attempted to end the game with Mogg Fanatic but Yuuya was forced to break his Lotus to Remand it – Saito could not play any more spells due to Canonist but Watanabe’s miraculous Ponders could do nothing for him this time and Saito won the second GP in a row to close ground on LSV and Nassif in the Player of the Year Race.

    Congratulations to Tomoharu Saito, the Grand Prix Kobe 2009 Champion and the winner of the last two Grand Prix tournaments.

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