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.


Ida Atsushi 8 dan (left) and Iyama Yuta 9 dan, after the deciding game of the 69th Honinbo title match.

Iyama Yuta was already leading the (best of seven) matchΒ 3-1 at this stage, so this game was a kadoban (match deciding game) for Ida.

Iyama won the first three games of the match, and Ida won game 4.

Iyama Yuta

Iyama Yuta is arguably the best player in Japan.

He still holds six out of seven of the major Japanese Go titles.

The only one he doesn’t currently hold is the Judan.

Ida Atsushi

Ida Atsushi was born in 1994 and he became a pro in 2009.

He entered the Honinbo league in 2013, and broke through to become the challenger that same year.

His result in the league was 6-1, which was a tie for best with Yamashita Keigo 9p.

Ida won the playoff against Yamashita, and he became the challenger for this 69th Honinbo final.

This was his first major title match.

Let’s have a look at the game!

Commented game record

Iyama Yuta vs Ida Atsushi


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About Younggil An

Younggil is an 8 dan professional Go player with the Korean Baduk Association. He qualified as a professional in 1997 and won an award for winning 18 consecutive professional matches the following year. After completing compulsory military service, Younggil left Korea in 2008, to teach and promote the game Go overseas. Younggil now lives in Sydney, Australia, and is one of the founders of Go Game Guru. On Friday evenings, Younggil is usually at the Sydney Go Club, where he gives weekly lessons and plays simultaneous games.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Move 31 is the kind of amateurish move we’re often reminded to unlearn: allowing hane at the head (and the foot!)
    Why doesn’t Black connect O3 then keima M2? Is it to retain sente and be able to play first at the right side? Or to keep the P5 cut severe?

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question.
      If Black connect at O3, White will play at P6, and the right side and the bottom are miai for White next as you mentioned. That was the reason why Iyama didn’t choose that solid connection.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Ida’s play was full of brilliant ideas ! Even if he was defeated by Iyama’ experience, this is very promising for the future !

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, I felt so too.
      Ida’s other games in this series were also impressive with some brilliant ideas. πŸ™‚

  3. To show this level of play and still feel he’s playing badly, Ida has nice standard ^^

    Is there a commentary of game 4 ? I saw the big dragon die, but the game was too hard for me.

    • Younggil An says:

      I think Ida felt he was playing badly because he lost this winning game at the end. He must have very disappointed himself.

      I couldn’t find any commentaries of game 4. There must be a commentary in Japanese though.

      • The Nihon Ki-in’s server (Yuugen no Ma) has live pro commentaries on the games, which are also broadcasted on WBaduk. I read those while I was watching the game live.
        Obviously, these aren’t as detailed as a commentary made after everything is over and everyone has more time, but they still are pro commentaries πŸ™‚
        If someone knows how to access these (sadly, the games are no longer on record in the server), I’d be glad to translate them.

        • Younggil An says:

          Thanks Seon for sharing the information.

          Yes, I’ve been there with my friend’s help. It’s written in Japanese, and hard to access, so I felt that it’s hard to get there.
          I didn’t know that WBaduk also broadcasts from that.
          Anyway, thanks a lot for your information and offer to translate of the commentaries. πŸ™‚

  4. All the sudden the game became very complicated when Iyama got just a little behind, haha…

  5. Uberdude says:

    Did Ida play the end of the game in byo yomi? It seems like his play deteriorated under time pressure. Lower left is a nice example of yose that’s not locally the biggest but gives your opponent bad aji and the opportunity to make mistakes later.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, both of them were in Byoyomi at the endgame stage.
      I assume that Ida made some mistakes in the endgame, because he was under time pressure.

  6. Where are some the young Japanese players being trained? And in your opinion, is the Japanese training on par with the Koreans?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Bill for your question.
      I’m sorry, but I have no idea where they’re being trained. I’ve heard about Go Go Japan, but it’s a study group for top Japanese players.
      Their training system wouldn’t be on par with the Korean.

      Recently, a serious study group for top and young talented players is established in Korea to catch up China, and they’re being trained five days a week.

      • lichigo says:

        @william (bill) – the training in korea is pretty hard . Few friends to me are in the national team training . Five days in a week, 7 hours by day ( one hour free for the lunch ) and some older players are coach like lee changho and lee sedol . They should play each others and review of course together (that’s the main point of this study group ) .
        But for japan i dont know haha .

      • underworld says:

        How strong are the young and talented students compared to professional players in Korea?

        • Younggil An says:

          Oh, I meant the young talented players are pros who want to become the top. πŸ™‚

  7. Lazystone says:

    Thank you for a great commented game. I think Ida played creatively aggressive in the middle game ,there are many brilliant moves from him throughout the series. Give him a year and a more exposure to world class players,he surely will give Iyama a very hard time. I feel the same with you that it is good to see a young talented player like him (and Ichiriki Ryo)in the Japanese Go scene , i wish these players can stir something in Japan Go.

  8. I understand the game much clearer with your commentary. Thanks a lot! I’m your fan πŸ™‚

  9. The competition is truly thin in Japan these days. Maybe Iyama should consider playing in the Korean or Chinese league to truly challenge himself.

    Come on Iyama, to truly be the best you can be, measure yourself against the best of the best.

    • Younggil An says:

      I also thought about that Jeff. Iyama’s getting older, and not much time’s left for him to compete with other great players from China and Korea.
      It’s up to Iyama, but I also want to see more of his games in the international matches.

  10. Younggil, I believe Iyama has the potential to become even stronger, but he will not reach that potential in Japan. He must play in Korea or China. I hope he will do so very soon. It’d be sad to never find out how strong one can be.

    • Younggil An says:

      I agree with you. However, I doubt Iyama will do that. He seems to be too busy for defending his titles to think about challenging like you said.

  11. Lazystone says:

    Iyama in Chinese or Korean league ! That will be very interesting indeed ! I always review the Chinese and Korean game and i always feel like drifting in the storm of chaos. I like that a lot but still,there are something in the big,more time period match in Japan like hononbo ,Mejin ,etc, that I still fond of . I think it migth be interesting if there are 2 days match in national title .But i don’t think it’s possible nowadays.

    • Younggil An says:

      Yes, that will be interesting to see Iyama playing in the league.
      By the way, I don’t think two days match in international is possible nowadays, unless an exhibition match.

  12. Nocturne says:

    Why dosen’t black push at K9 and cut at move 57. It looks dangerous

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question. The cutting from K9 is the first instinct, but Iyama would have thought that his own stones were rather weak.
      He even spent one more move at Black 61, and White got safe after the exchange at White 62 for Black 63.
      It looks like the game became slightly better for White after the exchange.

  13. Crazy, i just wondering how deep these player can read..
    And nice game commentary!

    • Younggil An says:

      Yea, actually, they must have read far more and deeper than I commented here. πŸ™‚

  14. On your variation for move 23, if black tries to resist R11 with a pincer (perhaps Q8) how would white continue?

    I am guessing something like P11 O8; S12 S13; O13 and black’s group is bigger than white’s, so R18 and white gets time for – but there are doubtless holes in my thinking :-).

    Do you look about this far ahead in a serious game? Or play a bit more by feel and experience?

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks for your questions Hippo.
      If Black plays at around Q8, White will attach at R13, B R14, W Q14, B R12, W Q12, B S13, W P13. White can try to seal Black in, and that looks alright for White.

      I didn’t look at the continuation that far, so I can say the move(White 28) was a bit more by feel and experience.

  15. So variation white 28: “in this shape, black must avoid the squeeze” is just automatic when the position is not busy.

    Useful (hopefully to others too). Thanks.

    • Younggil An says:

      It depends on the situation, but normally you’d better avoid being squeezed like that. πŸ™‚

  16. Perhaps Iyama likes 1 and 2 day games?

    Isn’t it frustrating for a pro to have to play shorter format games all the time, and not be able to search for those deeper ideas?

    • Younggil An says:

      I don’t know if Iyama likes two day games or not.
      It can be frustrating for some pros, but they would accept that it’s trend and they can’t easily change it. They can’t be helped for this issue.

  17. sorry for my ignorance, but if black had cut with K9 as move 57?? what would have happened????

    thx madan

  18. Nice question.

    Assuming then K10 L10 M9 L11, it’s complicated enough all right! πŸ™‚

  19. Younggil An says:

    Yes, it’s complicated enough.

    If Black pushes at K9, W K10, B L10, W M9, B L11, and White can counter attack at H8. It’s still complicated, but Iyama might have thought this fighting didn’t favor Black.

    That’s why Iyama didn’t cut, but looked after his stones first. πŸ™‚

  20. according to Iyama Yuuta comment published on GoWorld, white 160 should be at F6,after black block at H13, white is looking at aji around E9,D7, which in the end resulted is furikawari of black gain centre and white get lower left, and he said that this exchange is good for white. Is this valid?

  21. oh and for the variation after black 213, white L5, b k5,W k7, instead of B L6 as show in the variation, b L7,W J8,and then black come back wedge at K2, which is a better variation for black

    • Younggil An says:

      Thanks Kairu for the variation. But isn’t it still better for White compared to the actual game? It’s because Black has less liberties in that variation, and White doesn’t have to fill in his territory afterwards.

      As you can see, White has to play several more moves at the end in the actual game.

  22. Thanks An Younggil, i just confused since in his comment he said that he was leading by a small amount nearing the end game which was quite contrast w your commentary.