Hatsu Banzuke Forecast Postmortem

With the January banzuke posted, it’s time to review how my forecast fared. This time around, the crystal ball was clear on the big picture, but cloudy on some of the details.

The banzuke committee decided, against [edit: what this Westerner would consider] common sense, to move Kisenosato up into the top East Yokozuna slot, despite his 0-5-10 record. Perhaps he can retire at the top. This dropped Hakuho and Kakuryu to Y1w and Y2e, respectively.

Following his 12-3 jun-yusho, Takayasu takes over the top East Ozeki slot from Goeido, who slides over to the West side. You might think the same “losses are better than absences” logic might move 8-7 Tochinoshin ahead of 8-4-3 Goeido, but the Georgian continues to occupy the O2w rank to balance out the two East-side Yokozuna.

As predicted, the Sekiwake ranks are manned by yusho winner Takakeisho (new career high rank) and by Tamawashi, who last held this rank exactly a year ago. I correctly forecast that the Komusubi slots would be held by Mitakeumi and Myogiryu, although in a surprising departure from past practice, Myogiryu (M1, 8-7) is ranked ahead of the former East Sekiwake (7-8).

In the maegashira ranks, my forecast tended to err in favor of rikishi with strong winning records. I correctly had Tochiozan, Ichinojo, and Nishikigi in the top three ranks, but I thought Shohozan’s 10-5 record would be good enough to jump him ahead of Hokutofuji and Shodai; the banzuke committee disagreed. I also had 11-4 Okinoumi ahead of 10-5 Kotoshogiku, 9-6 Daieisho ahead of the make-koshi duo of Chiyotairyu and Ryuden, and 9-6 Endo ahead of 6-9 Takanoiwa.

Toward the bottom of the banzuke, Kotoyuki and Kotoeko return from Juryo in higher positions than is typical. And Daishomaru gets to stay in Makuuchi despite a record poor enough to warrant demotion. Terutsuyoshi, who put up Kyushu numbers that should have been good enough for promotion, has to settle for the top rank in Juryo, to the disappointment of his many fans here at Tachiai. We’ll console ourselves with the fact that a winning record in Hatsu should definitely translate into a top-division debut for the diminutive rikishi who wrestles like a much bigger man.

In all, of the 42 Makuuchi ranks, I called 31 correctly, and in 20 of these, also got the East/West side right. Of the 11 misses, 6 were by half a rank, 4 by one rank, and one by a rank-and-a-half. That’s right, my biggest miss of the entire forecast was ranking Chiyotairyu at M7w vs. M6e.

With the official rankings now in the books, and hopefully more forecasting lessons learned by yours truly, it’s on to the basho!

13 thoughts on “Hatsu Banzuke Forecast Postmortem

  1. pretty good picking

    the painful one of course is terutsuyoshi
    seen another way, for the long haul it may be just as well

    he can put up strong numbers again, then enter to top division at higher rank
    hatsu will whet his appetite as he sharpens the blade

    fingers crossed

  2. The winner of GTB had a great performance. Called all 42 slots right including 34 exact-bulls eyes. When the selection stats come out, I expect there to be many players who picked Kisenosato to be top, which means its not against `common sense’ just that you and I were wrong.

    There is a good logical argument to suggest that `showing up’ is better than not showing up and Goeido also showed up, if not for the full 15 days.

    • If Kisenosato showing up and going 0-5-10 is better than 0-0-15 then 8-7 has to be better than 8-4-3. You can’t have it both ways. If showing up has value (fine) then Tochinoshin should get credit. The reality is that Kisenosato and Goeido are Japanese and Hakuho and Tochinoshin are not.

      I don’t care what the rules are, but they should at least be consistent. Either both Kisenosato and Tochinoshin deserved to be ranked higher or both should have been at the bottom of their respective groupings.

      • If I were to try to guess how they’d defend it, the argument would be that showing up but then withdrawing with injury is different from being absent for the whole tournament, and that once you show up for the start, losses and absences are equivalent. For what it’s worth, I don’t think nationality made the difference between these two cases. I personally would just go by the number of wins…

        • I guess? It just always seems that whenever it’s Japanese vs Gaijin the Gaijin gets the short end of the stick…once you’ve seen the same shit happen fifty times, my default is always “they are fucking over the foreigner” and until and unless that stops happening, it’s going to be my explanation for every single time this stuff happens.

      • I think these rankings can be explained by the principle that getting a kachi-koshi should protect one as much as possible from getting demoted and getting a make-koshi should prevent one as much as possible from getting promoted.

        • Except it doesn’t work that way in the two highest ranks—e.g. an 11-4 record at East Ozeki will get you swapped with a 12-3 West Ozeki every time. And Kise did get “promoted” with a make-koshi without any strong reason to do so.

    • Fair enough. And yes, that was an amazing performance, contrasted with a very middling GTB result for me. It’s a hard game—you can be close on everything and still drop a lot of points.

      • That was the highest score I’ve seen in my short time playing the game. It was an astonishing performance. There were some good scores this time, and being wrong in some simple areas (the Yokozuna order, not having Daishomaru) caused me to be much lower than I was hoping.

      • Funny enough 3 of my 4 adjustments to your prediction happened (only Ryuden stayed ahead of Kaisei. It’s mostly Shohozan and Chiyotairyu messing up things ;-) I guess after some over promotions last time, it was more modest promotions this time.


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