American Go E-Journal » Honinbo

Iyama Yuta Wins 67th Honinbo in Exciting 7th Game Showdown

Sunday July 22, 2012

Yamashita Keigo and Iyama Yuta - 67th Honinbo photoIyama Yuta 9P won his first Honinbo title on July 19. Iyama bested the defending title holder Yamashita Keigo 9P, 4-3 in the title match series. Go fans who’d been anticipating the game were not disappointed. The pair produced an exciting and highly unusual game that kept observers on the edge of their seats, providing serious competition for the Tour de France. A series of kos in the early middle game resulted in a division where white (Iyama) took over 70 points of solid territory and black took thickness across the remainder of the board. White went on to win by 7.5 points after some impressive shinogi (fending off black’s severe attacks). This year is also the 400th anniversary of the formation of the Honinbo house, making the tournament even more special than usual.
David Ormerod; based on his original article Iyama Yuta becomes Honinbo at Go Game Guru. An Younggil 8P has commented game 5 and game 7 of the Honinbo title match. Photo: Yamashita Keigo 9P (left) and Iyama Yuta 9P prepare to play the final game.

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67th Honinbo Title Match Goes the Distance

Thursday July 12, 2012

Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo 67th Honinbo title match game 5 photoThe 67th Honinbo title match between Iyama Yuta 9P and Yamashita Keigo 9P is currently being contested in Japan. The match started in May 2012 and on July 9-10 Yamashita faced a kadoban (game that could decide the match) in Game 6. With his back against the wall, Yamashita fought hard and won by resignation. This levels the score at three all and leaves the Honinbo final to be settled by a decisive seventh game on July 18-19. Yamashita Keigo took the Honinbo title from Hane Naoki 9P in 2010 and successfully defended a challenge from Hane in 2011. Iyama Yuta is one of the top professional go players in Japan and this would be his first Honinbo title. More news to follow next week.

Jingning; based on her original article Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo deadlocked in 67th Honinbo on Go Game Guru. Photo: Iyama Yuta 9P (left) and Yamashita Keigo 9P.

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Yamashita Keigo Wins 66th Honinbo

Saturday July 23, 2011

Yamashita Keigo 9P has won the 66th Honinbo in Japan, after a hard-fought seven game match with Hane Naoki 9P. Yamashita won the first three games in the final, but Hane fought back to win the next three. This took the Honinbo to a 7th game decider. Hane (playing black) seemed to have the advantage after the first 100 moves and it looked as though he would win the title. However, Yamashita met Hane’s move 115 with strong resistance and the game quickly became complicated. As the dust settled it was clear that white was ahead, and Yamashita won the game by 4.5 points. This is Yamashita’s first successful defense of the Honinbo, which he won from Hane Naoki in 2010.

E-Journal readers may also be interested in An Younggil’s commentary of the Honinbo game.

- David Ormerod; based on his original report: Yamashita Keigo defends his title in 66th Honinbo at Go Game Guru. Photo: Hane Naoki (left) and Yamashita Keigo count the final score. Match referee Rin Kaiho 9P sits in the background (center).

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Hane Naoki Stages Comeback in 66th Honinbo

Monday July 18, 2011

Hane Naoki 9P has staged a dramatic comeback against Yamashita Keigo 9P in the 66th Honinbo, taking the title match to a 7th game. Yamashita appeared to be on track to defend the title, which he took from Hane last year. He won the first three games of the best-of-seven Honinbo final, needing only one more win to clinch it. However, Hane fought on to win the next three games, leaving the series tied at 3-3 on July 14, 2011. Hane would now appear to be the favorite to win the tournament. Typically players who come back from three down in a title match go on to win the title. Hane himself did this against Takao Shinji in the 63rd Honinbo (2008). One notable exception to this trend is the 28th Kisei in 2004, where Yamashita’s attempted comeback was derailed by none other than Hane Naoki. With the history between these two players, the final match promises to be exciting regardless of the outcome. The decisive 7th game starts at 8:00pm July 19, US Eastern Time and will likely be completed the following day.

- David Ormerod; based on his original report: Hane Naoki fights back in 66th Japanese Honinbo at Go Game Guru. Photo: Yamashita Keigo 9P (left), Hane Naoki 9P (right), Ishida Yoshio 9P watches (standing back-center).

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