This is game 3 of the 39th Tengen final, which was played on November 28, in Nagahama, Saga prefecture, Japan.
When the game finished at 7:44pm, after 176 moves, Iyama Yuta had defeated Akiyama Jiro 9p by resignation.
Iyama Yuta’s second Tengen defense
Iyama successfully defended his Tengen title for the second time, chalking up three straight wins to take the title match.
Iyama first won the Tengen title in 2011, after he challenged and defeated Yuki Satoshi 9p 3-0 in the final.
In the following year, Kono Rin 9p became the challenger, and fought to gain the title, but Iyama defeated Kono 3-0 too.
That makes 2013 Iyama’s third consecutive 3-0 win in the Tengen title match.
As his 9-0 title match record in the Tengen suggests, Iyama’s currently unbeatable in Japan.
Challenger Akiyama Jiro
Akiyama Jiro, the challenger, defeated Yamashita Keigo 9p in the challenger decider match, and proceeded through to a major title match for the first time in his career.
Unfortunately for Akiyama, he wasn’t able to win a game against Iyama, but it was still impressive to see him in the final.
Akiyama was born in 1977 and became a pro in 1992. He studied Go under Kikuchi Yashuro (a top Japanese amateur player) and Yamashita Keigo also studied at the dojo at that time.
I once played a game with Akiyama at a China, Japan and Korea friendship match, and it’s nice to see him again in this title match.
He won the 18th NEC Shun-Ei Cup in 2003, defeating Han Zenki 8p (Pan Shanqi) in the final, and it was his first title.
Iyama still chasing the grand slam
After this Tengen victory, Iyama still holds six of the seven major titles in Japan.
Iyama cleared another hurdle on his quest to hold all seven when he defended his Oza title, 3-1 against Cho U 9p, on December 2.
The only title Iyama Yuta doesn’t currently hold is the Judan, which he lost to Yuki Satoshi in April 2013. However, Iyama is on track to become the challenger in 2014, having progressed to the semfinals of the Judan league.
The 38th Kisei final will start in January 2014, and the challenger will be Yamashita Keigo.
If Iyama can defend his Kisei title against Yamashita, and become the challenger for the Judan title next year, he’ll be able to challenge Yuki for the Judan and aim to complete the Japanese grand slam of Go.
Up until now, nobody has ever achieved this in the history of Go in Japan.