Iyama Increases Lead in Honinbo Title Match: Iyama Yuta (right) is now just one win away from defending his Honinbo title. In the third game of the 69th title match, played at the Lake Abashiri Tsuruga Resort in Abashiri City, Hokkaido, on June 4 and 5, Iyama (B) beat Ida Atsushi by resignation after 201 moves. Iyama had one minute left and Ida 18 minutes.
The game started with an innovation by Ida. After making a small-knight approach move to a star-point stone in the top right corner on move 6, answered by Iyama with a knight’s-move enclosure, Ida invaded on the 18-3 point (instead of the usual 17-3, that is, the 3-3 point). Iyama didn’t know what to do, so he switched elsewhere, for a while, but later there was complicated fighting linked to this move that continued for a large part of the game. On the first day, there was a trade on the left side that seemed reasonable for Ida, and many observers thought that he had made the better start. On the second day, however, Ida seemed to miscalculate after launching an attack on Black; Iyama settled his group satisfactorily and took the lead. Ida started a ko fight, but was unable to catch up. In the end, Iyama had an unshakeable lead of ten points on the board, so Ida had to resign.
In this game, Iyama showed what a skillful all-round player he is: he attacks well, defends well, and does everything in-between well. Ida is now down to his last chance. The fourth game will be played on June 18 and 19.
Yamashita Closer to Becoming Meijin Challenger: Three games in the 39th Meijin League were played on June 5. Yamashita Keigo (B) beat Yuki Satoshi by resig.; Cho U (B) beat Ko Iso by half a point; and Hane Naoki (B) beat Ryu Shikun by 1.5 points. Yamashita (left) has maintained his two-point lead over the rest of the field, so he is edging closer and closer to a return match with Iyama Yuta Meijin. He just has to win one of his last two games, which are with Cho U and Murakawa Daisuke, to win the league outright. Both Cho U and Kono Rin have just two losses, so they still have an outside chance of making a play-off.