The best of seven Honinbo title match, which started in May 2012, culminated in an exciting and unusual 7th game.
Yamashita, playing black, built a large framework in the opening, while Iyama took solid territory.
Severe fighting broke out in the top left part of the board, followed by a series of ko fights.
A battle of territory vs influence
When the dust settled, white had amassed a huge territory at the top, but black’s position was thick throughout the rest of the board.
White had no choice but to dive into black’s sphere of influence, creating two unsettled groups in the process.
White manages both groups to win
When white managed to skillfully connect both groups together and lead them out to safety, black’s game ran out of steam and white eventually won by 7.5 points.
Congratulations Iyama Yuta!
400th anniversary of the Honinbo house
2012 is not only the 67th year of the modern Honinbo tournament, but also the 400th anniversary of the Honinbo house (which was established in 1612).
The Honinbo is the oldest professional Go tournament in the world. Today it is, arguably, still the most prestigious title in Japan.
The Honinbo is sponsored by Mainichi Shimbun (The Daily Newspaper) and the prize money is currently $32 million Yen (approximately $400,000 USD at the time of writing).
During the Edo period, the Honinbo was a ‘hereditary’ title, which was bestowed upon the head of the Honinbo school, passed down from master to student. The last hereditary title holder, Honinbo Shusai, sold (some say gave) the title to the fledgling Nihon Kiin (Japanese Go Association) and it became a tournament title.
Typical of Japanese titles, the title holder is challenged by the winner of a league. The title is decided in a best of seven match. Each player is given eight hours of play over a two day period.
67th Honinbo photos
(See games 1-6 of the 67th Honinbo in our previous article)