The Honinbo is the oldest professional Go tournament in the world. Today it is, arguably, still the most prestigious title in Japan.
The Honinbo tournament is sponsored by Mainichi Shimbun (The Daily Newspaper) and the prize money is currently $32 million Yen.
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.

Go Commentary: Iyama Yuta vs Ida Atsushi – 69th Honinbo


This is game 5 of the 69th Honinbo final, played between Iyama Yuta 9p and Ida Atsushi 8p on June 30 and July 1 2014. Iyama Yuta was already leading the match 3-1 at this stage, so this game was a kadoban (match deciding game) for Ida…

Google celebrates Honinbo Shusaku’s 185th birthday


It’s not every day that our favorite game appears on the homepage of the world’s most popular search engine, but today is Honinbo Shusaku’s 185th birthday! Google celebrated the occasion by changing their logo to a drawing of Shusaku with Go stones spelling out the word ‘Google’…

Go Commentary: Iyama Yuta vs Takao Shinji – 68th Honinbo – Game 7


This is the final game of the 68th Honinbo title match, played between Iyama Yuta and Takao Shinji. Iyama won the first game, but Takao won next two games, leaving the score at 2-1. Iyama countered by winning games 4 and 5, and Takao defended the kadoban in game 6. This left the Honinbo title tied at 3-3, to be decided by a single decisive game…

Iyama Yuta defends Honinbo title – 68th Honinbo


The final game of the 68th Honinbo title match was played on July 17 and 18, in Hadano, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan. When the game finished, Iyama Yuta had defeated Takao Shinji by 4.5 points. With this win, and a final score of 4-3 for the best of seven series, Iyama successfully defended the Honinbo title…

Classic Go Games: Yasui Chitetsu vs Honinbo Dosaku – Castle Game

Castle Game: Yasui Chitetsu vs Honinbo Dosaku.

This is a castle game between Honinbo Dosaku and Yasui Chitetsu from early Edo period Japan (17th century). Dosaku was acknowledged as having been stronger than practically all of his contemporaries, and was later referred to as a Kisei (Go Saint) along with Honinbo Shusaku.

Go Commentary: Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – 67th Honinbo – Game 7


This is the final match of the 67th Honinbo final between Yamashita Keigo and Iyama Yuta. Iyama won the first two games and the fifth game, and Yamashita won the others. At this point in the series they’re tied at 3-3, so this game will decide the winner of the Hoininbo title…

Go Commentary: Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – 67th Honinbo – Game 5


This is the 5th game of the 67th Honinbo final between Yamashita Keigo and Iyama Yuta. In this series Yamashita is the Honinbo title holder and Iyama is the challenger. Iyama won the first two games, but Yamashita won the next two. So this is a very important game in the series…

Iyama Yuta becomes Honinbo


Iyama Yuta took his first Honinbo title on July 19, 2012, defeating title holder Yamashita Keigo by 7.5 points in the final game. 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…

Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo deadlocked in 67th Honinbo


Over the last few months, Iyama Yuta and Yamashita Keigo have been playing the 67th Honinbo title match in various locations throughout Japan. Yamashita won the 6th game on July 10, 2012 and the score now stands at three wins each. This brings the best of seven Honinbo title match to an exciting and decisive 7th game…

Honinbo Shuei: Great talents mature late


Honinbo Shuei has long been esteemed by other professionals, even outside Japan. But who was Honinbo Shuei? Phrases such as the ‘Meijin of Meijins’ are bandied about. Takagawa Kaku even took up a professional career on the strength of having acquired a set of his collected games. Yet it has never been quite to clear to amateurs why he is so highly regarded…