After six exciting games, the score stands at three wins each.
Iyama Yuta starts strong
Iyama started off strong, winning the first two matches in May 2012 and throwing down the gauntlet to Yamashita.
Yamashita answered by winning games three and four, bringing the scoreboard to 2-2.
On June 25, Iyama won the 5th match, giving him the chance to win the title in game six.
This was a golden opportunity for Iyama, who lost his Meijin title to Yamashita late last year and was surely looking forward to having his revenge.
Yamashita Keigo evens the score
However, Yamashita wasn’t ready to give up his title just yet.
He faced down the kadoban (game that could lose the match), equalling the score at three all on July 10, 2012.
This brings the best of seven Honinbo title match to a decisive 7th game.
The final two day match is scheduled for July 18 and 19, one week from today.
Two exciting players
Yamashita Keigo, well known for his sharp attacking style, is arguably one of the most aggressive Japanese professional players of the current era.
Iyama Yuta, in contrast, prefers to play a thick game, but can fight it out with the best of them.
Whatever happens next week, we can look forward to an exciting and explosive final game.
Who will win?
Can Yamashita hold on to make it three in a row? Or will Iyama reverse 2011′s Meijin result? Who are you supporting?
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
Here are the games for the series so far…
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 1
Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 3
Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – Game 4
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 5
Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – Game 6