Go Commentary: Kono Rin vs Iyama Yuta – 38th Gosei – Game 5

This is the final game from the 38th Gosei title match, between Iyama Yuta 9p and Kono Rin 9p.

It was played at the Nihon Ki-in Kansai branch in Osaka, on August 23, 2013.

Iyama Yuta

Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 38th Gosei title match.

Iyama Yuta 9 dan at the 38th Gosei title match.

Iyama Yuta is the #1 player in Japan, and he’s also Japan’s greatest hope on the international Go scene.

He recently won the 25th TV Asian Cup for the first time, defeating Park Junghwan 9p, and defended his Honinbo title against Takao Shinji 9p too.

He challenged for the Gosei last year, and defeated Hane Naoki 9p 3-0 in the final to take the Gosei title.

Therefore, this final was his first time defending the Gosei.

Kono Rin

Kono Rin 9p was born in 1981, and he became a pro in 1996.

He won the 1st JAL New Stars Haya Go tournament in 2004, and it was his first title. He won the 31st Tengen, defeating Yamashita Keigo 9p 3-2 in 2005, and that was his first major title.

Kono Rin 9 dan challenged Iyama Yuta for the 38th Gosei title.

Kono Rin 9 dan challenged Iyama Yuta for the 38th Gosei title.

He defended the Tengen title for the two following years, defeating Yamashita Keigo 9p in 2006 and 2007.

He also won the 29th NEC Cup in 2010, and he recently challenged Iyama Yuta to reclaim the Tengen title (2012), but was defeated 3-0.

This final was seen as a kind of grudge match for Kono Rin, and he won the first two games with his powerful style of play. However, Iyama won the next two games, making it a tie.

This final game would decide the best of five Gosei title match.

In general, we’d expect Iyama to have the psychological advantage going into this final game, because he was in good form and was on a winning streak.

Let’s have a look at the final game of the 38th Gosei title match.

The time limit was 3 hours and 5 x 1 minute byo-yomi each.

Commented game record

Kono Rin vs Iyama Yuta


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. That W32 has been seen a few times, however the exact sequence up to mv. 40 was also seen by Iyama in other diagonal game against Yamashita Keigo in 2010. But in that game Iyama chose to extend once more to F13 after which White capped the shape around E5. It’s interesting to think why he played differently this time.

    • Younggil An says:

      Thank you for sharing the information. And, you’ve got a really good memory logan! 🙂

    • David Ormerod says:

      That’s interesting, thanks Logan. I remember seeing it in a game between Lee Changho and Yu Changhyeok too. In that game, Lee pushed and cut with C13 etc straight away, but this newer pattern seems to be more forceful for black.

  2. Jeremiah Donley says:

    Awesome! I was hoping you would do this game! thank you! I love the content, again thank you! ^^

  3. Thank you for this great commentary!
    Awesome game – after all these trades and reading they finish with 2,5.

    • Younggil An says:

      All the top players are extremely good at balancing. They often finish only with 0.5~1.5, after endless fighting with huge trades. 🙂

  4. Hi Younggil,

    At move 47 you say ” … but black could have made things simpler …”. Next 48 is a bad idea but all the alternatives are also bad according to you. So was there then another alternative for White or was 47 simply a good move? Or is the game already bad for White due to the high invasion of the bottom (instead of the low one, as you suggested).

    • Younggil An says:

      That’s a good question.
      I couldn’t find any satisfactory result for white after move 47, so probably, the opening was already favorable for black.
      It sometimes happened to me that even if I didn’t make any mistake, the game was already bad somehow. I couldn’t find what was wrong by white, so I can say black’s opening was great. 🙂

  5. A question: at move 187, why does white save his group with g16, instead of killing the black group in the center?

  6. Younggil An says:

    Alright then. 🙂

  7. Hello Younggil,
    may we take this game and commentary for the German Go Journal with mentioning you and gogameguru.com, of course?
    Kind regards, Tobias Berben