The May banzuke is out! While the Crystal Ball is no better than anyone else at telling you when the tournament with this banzuke will be held, it did its finest job yet at forecasting the new rankings.
The first five positions on the banzuke were not difficult to get right: Y1e Hakuho, Y1w Kakuryu, O1e Takakeisho, O1w Asanoyama, S1e Shodai. There was slightly greater uncertainty about the rest of the san’yaku, but the Crystal Ball correctly predicted S1w Mitakeumi, K1e Daieisho, and K1w Okinoumi.
It was clear who would occupy the top two maegashira ranks, but the order was less predictable, and I am especially pleased to have correctly forecast M1e Endo and M1w Yutakayama, who jumped ahead of M2e Takanosho, followed by M2w Onosho. From there, M3e Takarafuji, M3w Kiribayama, and M4e Kagayaki were easy calls.
This is where we come to the first rank the Crystal Ball got wrong: the real banzuke has M4w Aoiyama, M5e Abi, and M5w Hokutofuji, who appears not to have gotten the full deference often given to demoted san’yaku rikishi. My more lenient prediction had him switching ranks with Aoiyama.
After this glitch, the forecast was back on a roll, correctly predicting the next eight banzuke positions, from M6e Enho to M9w Ikioi. And then we hit the messiness of the lower maegashira ranks. Of the last 16 spots on the banzuke, the Crystal Ball called only 6 exactly right, placed two more rikishi at the right rank but on the wrong side, and made 5 one-rank switches affecting the remaining 8 placements. At least it got the identities of all 42 Makuuchi rikishi right, with Nishikigi surviving in the top division (and at a higher-than-expected rank of M16e) and Tobizaru having to wait longer for his top-division debut.
Overall, that’s 30 rikishi placed at the correct rank and side, two more at the right rank, and the remaining 10 off by one rank. I don’t know when the Crystal Ball will next be called into action, but it can rest on its laurels in the meantime.
(Full disclosure: This analysis applies to my final Guess The Banzuke (GTB) entry, not my published prediction. I ended up making three last-minute half-rank switches: Takanosho ahead of Onosho, Myogiryu ahead of Sadanoumi, and Nishikigi ahead of Kotoyuki.)
P.S. This turned out to be the winning GTB entry! I am very happy. I will continue to try my best and do my own brand of sumo forecasting.