Iyama Yuta defeats Gu Li, Japan wins Bosai Cup

Following on from his victory over Lee Sedol 9p earlier this week, Iyama Yuta 9p has done it again, defeating Gu Li 9p of China and winning the Chongqing invitational Bosai Cup for Japan on May 18 2011. [Update: Younggil has commented this game between Gu Li and Iyama Yuta]

Iyama has been a rising star in the Japanese Go world for the last five or six years. Many have speculated that he might one day rekindle Japan’s success in international Go. Has this day finally come?

A solid opening by both players

Iyama Yuta (9 dan, left) plays an opening move against Gu Li (9 dan)

In the opening, both black and white played solidly, which is their style. Black (Gu) took territory on the right side, starting with an attack at move 25. White responded in a calm and solid fashion.

White (Iyama) attacked black’s lower left group from move 34 onwards, gaining some influence while black dodged the attack deftly.

When white played to reduce black’s right side area at move 50, the fighting escalated. An exchange followed in which black took more territory and white created a very strong group, with influence over the center.

Gu continues to dodge Iyama’s attacks

White then attacked black’s group on the left side, but once again Gu managed the situation skillfully. Still black had more territory, but white was building more and more power in the center.

At this point, white played some sharp moves in the top right (starting at 108). Surprisingly, this resulted in white living in the top right corner in sente and then resuming the attack on black’s lower side group. White took control of the game.

Iyama’s crushes Gu in the center

Iyama Yuta studies the Go board

In the subsequent fighting, white managed to create a large area in the center, playing skillfully with white 156 through 166. Black played aggressively, attempting to break into this area.

However, white managed to capture most of black’s stones in the center, crushing black’s attempts to reverse the game.

Gu played on for a few more moves and resigned at move 208.

All in all, an impressive game by Iyama Yuta.

Go Game Guru readers guess it again!

Following on from correctly predicting the winner of the 3rd BC Card Cup, Go Game Guru readers have done it again.

Our poll closed one hour into the final match between Iyama and Gu. Here are the results:

  • Iyama Yuta (Japan) (54%, 41 Votes)
  • Gu Li (China) (25%, 19 Votes)
  • Lee Sedol (Korea) (21%, 17 Votes)

Keep it up everyone. 🙂

A long awaited celebration for Japan

Even though this was a small invitational tournament, the strength of Iyama’s opponents can’t be disputed.

Furthermore, the total prize money for this tournament was around 600,000 RMB (roughly $75,000 USD). Iyama has done very well.

Go players in Japan will no doubt be celebrating Iyama’s success tonight. In this Bosai Cup, he has arguably defeated the top player from both China and Korea.

For more information about the tournament see our previous article: Lee Sedol, Iyama Yuta and Gu Li go head to head

Will this be the beginning of resurgence for Japanese professional Go players? Or will it turn out to be simply one bright spark in the dark night? We shall see…

Game three: Gu Li vs Iyama Yuta


Download SGF File (Go Game Record)


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About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

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  1. scwizard says:

    Starting at around move 145 it seems Gu thought that G12 and M16 were miai, but from the result it seems to have been a miscalculation. Time pressure? Maybe a bit of overconfidence?

    There is a saying among low dan players: beating a pro isn’t too difficult, what’s difficult is beating the same pro twice.

    If Yuta continues to best Korean and Chinese pros after this, then I might start to believe in a Japanese resurgence.

    • David Ormerod says:

      I’m really not sure what Gu thought in this case. It felt to me that he was ahead on territory for most of the game, but white had so much influence and used it well. I think Gu lost control of the game after white lived in the top right (in sente!). I’ll ask Younggil what he thinks.

      I know you like stats SC, and Iyama now has two wins in two games against Lee Sedol! It’s also surprising to see him beat both Lee and Gu in quick succession. One maybe, but both? In any case, this is making things more interesting :). Let’s see what happens next.

  2. A “bright spark” indeed. I’ll be looking for that light as we move forward.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Well Iyama certainly is one bright spark. It will be interesting though to see how this helps him psychologically, as well as other Japanese pros. I’ve been wondering for awhile whether there could be a ‘four minute mile’ effect here for younger Japanese players (once one person does it many people can do it).

  3. Uberdude says:

    Well done Iyama Yuta! Hoepfully we’ll see more of him in international tournaments. In both these games he seemed to play a thick and confident style, almost as though saying “what’s this agressive nonsese you are trying?” to the fighters Gu Li and Lee Sedol, and he came out on top. For example in the game against Gu Li I was surprised how he just extended along the O column, giving Gu 5th line points (of course if he blocked Gu would cut and the fight is hard), but still, to give all those points away and have faith in the power of the wall requires a very level head.

    • David Ormerod says:

      Uberdude, I was surprised to see Iyama calmly extend after move 25 too. Presumably the followup at H4 was part of the thinking behind E7, since both players would have been well aware that black could play P5. It feels like he didn’t want to be forced and traded instead, which worked out well for him.

      • Uberdude says:

        Yeah, Younggil just reviewed this game and says it looks successful for b to make territory on the right, but it isn’t really =). I suppose a key point here is black already had low strong stones at r14 and s6 so the right side was uninteresting. Agreed about e7 and h4.