Iyama wins Ryusei title after life-and-death hallucination
The final of the 31st Ryusei title was telecast on December 26. Iyama Yuta (B) beat Yuki Satoshi 9-dan of the Kansai Ki-in by resignation after 111 moves. This is his fourth Ryusei title, but his first for ten years. Most title matches in 2022 featured at least one young player, but this was an exception: Iyama is 33 and Yuki 50. This is Iyama’s 71st title, so he is just four behind Cho Chikun. His pace has slowed considerably, so it no longer seems so certain that he will reach three digits.
There’s a strange story attached to this triumph, though. In his quarterfinal game with Kato Atsushi 9-dan, both Iyama and Kato hallucinated that one of Kato’s groups was dead when it could live with one move. As a life-and-death problem, it could easily be solved by an average amateur. Having assumed it was dead, neither player took another look at it. At the end of the game, Iyama took this group of six stones off the board and counted the score. He and Kato had agreed the game was over and the latter made no objection when the former took the group off the board (it needed another move to live). The result was a 3.5-point win for Iyama. Kato accepted this result, so there was no problem as far as the rules were concerned. Takao Shinji 9-dan, who did the commentary for the TV program, said that in 30 years as a professional he had never seen anything like it.
Iyama confided to Cho U, who later became the commentator for the final, that he was deeply upset by his oversight and felt that he had lost the trust of go fans. He told Cho that he was determined to win the final while playing a good game to regain the trust of fans.