Game 5 of the 38th Meijin final was played on October 16 and 17 in Gofu city, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.
When the game finished at 8:03pm, after 258 moves, Iyama Yuta had defeated Yamashita Keigo 9p by 4.5 points.
Iyama Yuta’s Meijin comeback
Iyama lost the first game of the series, but he came back strong and won four games in a row to take the title.
This is Iyama’s third Meijin title.
The triple crown
The triple crown (Daisankan in Japanese) is the term Go players use to describe the feat of holding the three biggest Japanese titles at the same time.
Up until now, in the history of Go, only Cho Chikun 9p had achieved this feat (twice) in 1983 and 1997.
Iyama now holds six of Japan’s seven major titles once again. He lost the Judan to Yuki Satoshi 9p in April 2013, delaying any ambitions he (or his fans) might have of him attaining the Japanese grand slam of Go (all seven titles).
Games 1-4 of the title match
Iyama and Yamashita traded blows for the first two games, with Yamashita winning game 1 convincingly and Iyama countering in game 2.
In game 3, Yamashita had the advantage, but he made a tragic mistake at move 196 – reducing his own liberties when making a ko threat – and Iyama was able to take a 2-1 lead.
Yamashita’s famous attacking skills failed to best Iyama’s shinogi (the skill of managing weak groups) in game 4 and Yamashita had to resign when he couldn’t capture white’s huge dragon.
See the recent Power Report for more details.
However, he wasn’t able to repeat his victory over Iyama this time and, as of now, he doesn’t hold any titles.
The final game
I haven’t had time to analyze this game carefully yet, but in the meantime, here are some brief comments from a Japanese commentator:
- Black 13 and 15 were fresh and interesting.
- Black 35 was calm and nice, and it was the last move of the first day.
- The opening up to 35 was favorable for black.
- Black 79 was a good choice, and the game was still good for black.
- However, black 101 was a mistake, and the game became even.
- White 152 was a mistake. If white had blocked at H15 instead, the game would have still been playable for white.
- After black 153, it wasn’t easy for white to win.
Iyama Yuta’s comments
Iyama gave a short interview after the game, where he said “it was a difficult series, but I tried to do my best.”
“I have a deep respect Cho Chikun 9p, and I’m very honored to achieve the triple crown, as he did.”
38th Meijin photos
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 5
Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – Game 4
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 3
Yamashita Keigo vs Iyama Yuta – Game 2
Iyama Yuta vs Yamashita Keigo – Game 1