As Bruce already noted, the Kyushu banzuke has been posted. I have to say that this time I am proud of my forecast. Despite the difficulties created by the lopsided performances at Aki, I correctly predicted the exact rank and side for 30 of the 42 Makuuchi slots, including all 10 named ranks and 20 of the 32 maegashira ranks, which are much less predictable. Of my 12 misses, 6 resulted from exchanges of rikishi pairs in adjacent banzuke positions: Hokutofuji and Tochiozan at M1w and M2e, Tamawashi and Nishikigi at M2w and M3e, and Kagayaki and Abi at M6w and M7e. Two additional misses were also by half a rank: Yoshikaze at M5e instead of M4w, and Yago at M16w instead of the top rank in Juryo. I also switched Ikioi and Daieisho at M8e and M9w. The other miss, by 3 whole ranks, resulted from the obligatory head-scratcher by the banzuke committee. It seems like every banzuke includes one decision that’s impossible to predict, understand, or defend. This time around, it’s the wildly disparate treatment of Ryuden and Takanoiwa. The two were ranked at M13e and M13w for Aki, and put up identical 10-5 performances that should have resulted in similar banzuke positions. Instead, Ryuden is ranked at M3, as predicted, while Takanoiwa ended up all the way down at M6 and has every reason to feel aggrieved.
Aside from the easy named ranks, my predictions were especially accurate in the lower portion of the banzuke. From M10 down, my only error was demoting Chiyomaru in favor of Yago.
Unfortunately, all my close misses line up in such a way as to earn me exactly zero points in Guess the Banzuke, which awards two points for exact matches, a point for correct rank but wrong side (e.g. 6e vs. 6w), but, frustratingly, no points for other adjacent rank misses (e.g. 6w vs. 7e). Nevertheless, I tied my highest previous point total, achieved exactly a year ago. Apparently, Kyushu for me is what Aki is for Goeido 😉 On to the basho!